As one of Russia's premiere manufacturing plants for specialized hardware & optics, it's only natural that Zenit would design and produce the most rugged and hardcore camera set of all time: the Fotosniper! Essentially consisting of a Zenit 122 SLR, huge telephoto lens, and tough-guy rifle-mount, this is indispensable equipment for global espionage, top-secret reconnaissance, and no-holds-barred birdwatching.

Despite its militant appearance, the concept behind its design is quite peaceful. See, whenever you use a strong telephoto lens (like the included TAIR 300/4,5), you run the risk of “camera shake” at any shutter speed of less that 1/125 second. As you're so zoomed-in on your subject, a little movement on your end translates to a big movement at the end of the lens. So, keeping the camera still is a priority.

Enter the Fotosniper. Its basic principles are similar to a real sniper rifle, except that it shoots brilliant, contrasty pictures rather than bullets. The rifle mount and secure shoulder stock allow you to brace the camera against your body to stabilize it and minimize shaking. Leave the tripod at home – this is all you need for crystal clear shots at 1/60 or even 1/30 of a second. The camera and lens are more than capable for any task that you put them up to.

And lets talk about one more aspect of the lens – amazing portraits! The longer your lens (and 300mm is LONG), the more “compressed” your subject becomes. If wide-angle lenses serve to stretch noses and chins, then telephoto lenses work to put the proportions back into their proper place. For this reason they are preferred by most professional portrait shooters. Additionally, long telephotos are capable of extremely shallow depth-of-field. That means, shooting your Aunt Adele at the TAIR's maximum aperture of f/4.5 will render her pretty face in tack sharpness against a beautifully and completely blurred background. The quality and creaminess of the blurry background is what the Japanese call “bokeh,” and the TAIR has some of the greatest bokeh on the block.