Oi oi oi. Have you heard about the Zorki? The latest Russian deadstock star to hit the radar is sharper than your average rangefinder. Meaning “sharp-sighted” in Russian, the Zorki has a distinctive look and a rich deadstock history to boot.
The Zorki started off life as yet another Soviet attempt to create rangefinder to rival the Leica. In fact, the Zorki 1 looked just like the Leica II. Manufactured from 1948 in the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Factory (KMZ) outside Moscow, the Zorki originally used Fed parts and Fed workmanship. The first Zorki was christened the Fed-Zorki. However, the chaps at Fed and the KMZ guys could not agree on how the Zorki should look or be marketed. Looking through the years at the various Zorki models, we can see how the camera evolved from a cheap Leica alternative into a real photographic phenomena in its own right. The first Zorkis used a variety of lenses, which have now achieved cult status; including Industar-22 and Industar-50, Jupiter-8 and Jupiter-3.
The Zorki is a charmer: An essential piece of the Russian deadstock for those who like to have the feeling that they are really capturing something right there and then. The noisy clap of the SLR shutter and the sensation of holding a fine example of craftsmanship from a bygone era adds to the authentic appeal. However, the results are the real shocker. It yields shots which would have you believe you were taking a stroll down memory lane. The depth of field and razor sharpness keeps the Zorki true to its Russian name.