"Zenith 12 SD": camera review and instructions
"Zenith 12 SD": camera review and instructions

In today's technology markets there are a huge number of different innovations in the field of cameras. But is it worth making a decent blow to the budget by purchasing modern photographic equipment? Or is it worth paying attention to the Soviet camera, proven over the years? In this article, this issue is analyzed in more detail, and everyone will be able to make their choice.

History of Creation

All Zenit cameras are Soviet single-lens reflex cameras with small format shooting. They are also among the world's first single-lens reflex cameras with a pentaprism. Produced from 1952 to 1956. Their prototype was the "Zorkiy" rangefinder camera, which has been produced at the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant since 1949.

The redesigned body, which had a shutter from the "Sharp", was equipped with a lifting mirror, which had the ability to create a real image on the focusing screen.

"Zenith" and "Zorkiy" are united by onethe downside, which is that the viewfinder field of view is smaller than the area of ​​the entire frame, since the entire shutter design did not have the opportunity and space to accommodate a larger mirror.

Zenith is one of the few lines of single-lens reflex cameras that have been converted from a rangefinder camera.

39,091 cameras have been produced throughout the company's production.

Zenit-12 SD camera. Features

device characteristics

"Zenith-12 SD" is a new line in the list of all cameras from the "Zenith" series.

This novelty differs from its ancestors by the appearance of LED indication. Also, TTL metering has become more accurate than in previous versions.

More detailed specifications:

The photographic material used in the camera is perforated film with a width of 35 mm

The frame size is 24mm x 36mm

The case is made of aluminum alloy, which opens from the back. There is also a hidden lock

Cocking the shutter - hammer

Mechanical shutter

Shutter speed between 1/30 and 1/500 sec

The sync speed with flash is 1/30s

Lens "Helios-44M-4"

Mechanical self-timer

"Zenith 12 SD". Instruction

user manual

The process of taking good pictures is not easy. It has its own details and some buts.Therefore, before you go out and feel like a professional photographer, you need to familiarize yourself with the rules for shooting so that the pictures are not taken in vain.


It must be set in any camera. But on modern models, this is done very easily and simply. On the Zenith, it doesn't take much time to set up, but it's different in some ways.

So, in order to adjust the shutter speed, you need to turn the shutter speed dial so that the value is set against the index, which is located on the top plate of the camera. You should feel the disc lock during installation.

The numbers that are on the scale indicate the shutter speed, which will occur in certain fractions of a second.

You can set it both before and after the shutter.


In order to set it up and select the required value, it is necessary to set its value against the setting index by turning the special ring. If the camera has a Helios-44M lens, you must first set the aperture mode switch to position "A".


To achieve the best possible sharpness, focus only when the aperture is open.

You can adjust the sharpness without the help of the viewfinder. To do this, it is necessary to set the value of the distance from the object and to the film against the large scale index "30", while it is necessary to rotate the ringfocus.

The small index, which is indicated by the letter "R", is used when shooting with infrared material. Therefore, in the case of photographing in this way, focusing on a microraster or a matte surface, it will be necessary to make a small correction, which consists in setting the obtained distance value against the index. It is marked with the letter "R".

Photo creation process

After all the main details are adjusted and their correctness and accuracy is checked, you need to smoothly press the shutter button, which will start taking pictures.

You need to remember one main rule that will help you recreate beautiful, clear and high-quality pictures. In no case should you sharply press the trigger button. Due to a sharp pressure on it, the camera will inevitably shudder. As a result, you can get a blurry image that will need to be redone.

All the rules for using the camera while shooting are not that complicated, so recreating a quality picture will not take much time and effort.

Dignity of the camera

Despite the fact that this camera was released a long time ago, even in our time it can compete with the latest innovations in photographic equipment, thanks to its merits.

The ability to set the correct exposure

With the constant view mirror, you can continuously monitor your subject

The lens has a jump aperture mechanism that can automatically close when the shutter is released

Full-open aperture maximizes image brightness

Sharpening can be done both on a microraster and on a matte surface

Built-in self-timer

Increased locking security of the back cover, thanks to its hidden lock

Camera Handling Rules

machine care

A camera is a fairly accurate optical-mechanical device, which must be handled with the utmost care. You also need to always carefully monitor its cleanliness, avoid any impacts and much more, which can significantly affect the deterioration of the functionality of the device.

Multiple retention rules:

If the camera is brought from a cold place into a warm room, it is necessary to wait a little, as an instantaneous temperature change may affect its performance deterioration

Optical parts must not be touched by hand, as this may cause any damage to the surface

It is necessary to regularly wipe the optical coated surfaces with a clean and soft cloth or cotton wool slightly moistened with rectified alcohol

In case of contamination of the surface of the mirror itself or small elements, it is necessary to clean only with a soft brush (cotton bud). Do not use wet cleaning

Keep the camera in a closed case, while the lens should be closed with a cap

All additional accessories such as lenses, filters, converters forcamera "Zenith 12 SD", you need to buy only in specialized stores

Remove the lens only when necessary, as frequent removal can cause frequent contamination and unwanted dust particles to enter the camera

Charging and discharging should only be done when the camera is fully protected from sunlight

If photography takes place in the cold, in no case should the camera be left outdoors

Any repair work on the camera should be carried out only in special workshops, since only they can know how to properly disassemble the Zenith 12 SD

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Sample Photo

If you have any doubts about the quality of the pictures taken on the Soviet cameras "Zenith 12 SD", it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the samples of his photographs, which are presented in this article. They will help to make sure that the device is really of very high quality.

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"Zenith 12 SD": reviews

According to the reviews, it will immediately become clear that the camera really deserves attention. TTL metering is especially praised. Even though this device has already gone out of sale, some people remain true to their choice and use it regularly to this day.

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This is not surprising, since, indeed, it was in the Soviet era that equipment was manufactured that can surprise with its quality and reliability.Therefore, it makes no sense not to trust the rest, since it makes no sense to write negative unfounded reviews about this camera.

Worth buying?

is it worth buying

But whether it is worth buying this camera or not, it is up to the potential buyer to decide. If a person prefers more modern, high-quality, popular and expensive photographic equipment, then the answer is unequivocal - no.

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But if the company, year of manufacture and cost are not so fundamental, then in this case the answer is yes, it is definitely worth buying. Not only the functionality of the camera has a huge advantage, but also its cost in today's markets. Since it has long been discontinued, it will be possible to find it in some small shops, markets or on the Internet. The cost of the device will be minimal, but despite this, thanks to it, you can still get high-quality pictures that are worthy of attention for many more years!

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