Week 9: From Russia With Love

My Zorki 4k showed up on the porch last Friday without much ado. I’ve been wanting one for a long long time. I’ve been impressed by the image quality of the Zorkis as well as photos taken with the FED and Kiev cameras. I think Reg Pritchard, Ian Mackechnie and several other Facebook group Random Camera members got me started on the Russian Camera kick. Ian calls his camera his ‘Beloved Zorki 4k’. There are certainly reasons for a continual love/hate relationship and everything in between the two extremes. Let’s just say that the quality control on Russian cameras was not all the best and as more than one blogger commented “It depends on how much vodka the workers consumed the night before”.

There’s something fascinating about these so called ‘Leica Clones’ that defies quantification. Maybe part of it for me is that I love rangefinders of any sort. I’m also partial to odd, cranky and outside the box cameras. I’ll leave it to the reader to research the history of the several varieties of Russian cameras but I will say it’s quite interesting.

This is the second Zorki for me. The first was a model 1 type d with a collapsible Industar22 50mm f/3.5 which is a copy of a Leitz Elmar.  It was a beautiful camera, worked well and produced sharp images. I even named it Svetlana. We parted company because I finally got frustrated with having to cut the 35mm leader in a special way every time I wanted to shoot a roll. I’m also somewhat frugal and didn’t want to invest in one of those Ebay film trimmers. I’ve regretted trading her off many times since.

So what prompted me to go for another Zorki?  The simple answer is that I came to recognize that I’d become addicted to buying and selling cameras and that the lust for the next conquest was seriously affecting the amount of time I was devoting to being a photographer. I decided it had to stop so I took a deep breath and screamed at the heavens, “I don’t need all these cameras!”. It’s been a hard road but I’m down to one SLR, two digitals, a couple of Olympus point and shoots and a Zorki 4k. There might be a couple more in the works,  both rangefinders of course. The reason the 4k is here is because I love the sharp, colorful pics the the Jupiter 8 lens produces and being able to enjoy the Leica experience on a budget – $150 vs $1,500. Works for me. So pick up your ‘Beloved Camera’ – Zorki or otherwise – and get out there and shoot.

Roll nine is from my “Beloved Zorki 4k”.- Good old Fujicolor Superia Xtra 400


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