Presenting - Zorki 4

The Camera

The Zorki is a Russian screw-mount rangefinder camera based on first Leica designs captured after world war two. I am presenting here version 4 of this camera, paired with an Industar 22 lens. The Industar 22 is a 50mm lens with an aperture that opens up to f/3.5. It is, as far as I can tell, uncoated. Oh dear…

As the camera is a rangefinder, it is worth talking about the rangefinder patch: It is small, a bit dark and hard to see. At least that was my first impression. After taking it out and using it for a while, I got used to it and was able to focus adequately. I do not have any experience with the early (Barnack) Leica design, so I am unable to do any comparison on that front. Compared to later Leica M bodies, the Zorki 4 has a couple of “quirks” in its operation.


The first oddity that I noticed when loading film, is the double lock system that is used. On modern Leica M bodies, there is a single lock on one side and a pin and hole combination to hold the other side. The Zorki 4 has a lock on each side, which helps with balance when setting the camera on the table, as both locks are not flush with the bottom.

The next oddity is the film winding knob: There is a counter for the number of frames on top of it. Wind on one frame, and the knob is turned by 360° minus (or was it plus?) one frame on the scale. Unfortunately, I have not been able to align that knob correctly after loading a new roll of film. To get the number of shots I took, I have to read the frame number indicated on the scale and subtract whatever was indicated right after loading.

Speaking of winding: When you are done with the roll of film, rewinding is initiated by turning another, small knob around the shutter release. After turning that knob, the winding mechanism is disengaged and the film may be re-wound.

Shutter times are set by pulling yet another knob up, followed by turning it into the correct direction. This only works after the shutter has been cocked by the film winding knob. This, and pressing the shutter, rotates the shutter speed knob. So, aside from the fact that you are not supposed to set the shutter speed before cocking the shutter, you would not even know what you set it to. I guess, without having seen this in action, it is hard to picture what is happening. At least with all the knobs on the Zorki 4, I will dub this kind of camera the “Knobby”.

The Lens

The Industar 22 is a retractable lens design, which makes for a relatively compact camera in total. It locks in place with a turn when fully pulled out, but there is no mechanism to lock it in place when it is fully retracted. This means that the lens may move around when you tilt the camera. Another weird feature is the infinity lock: There is a pin on the focus lever that can be pushed out and locked in place on a notch. A nice feature if you want to focus at infinity for most of the time, but otherwise it blocks you from focusing “near” infinity. Aperture is set on a ring at the front of the lens. This seems okay, until you leave your fingerprints on the front element of the lens.


The images in this post were taken on Fomapan 100 using the sunny 16 rule. Mostly for laziness reasons, as I did not want to carry around a light meter. Some of the pictures ended up too underexposed to be usable. Most of them were fine, though. The lens is sharp enough for what it is (an old, uncoated design). I did not see any problems with flare, and the contrast is acceptable. I am looking forward to give the Industar 22 a test run with some colour negatives.


The camera, in comparison to what I have had experience with so far, is a quirky one. None of those quirks are real problems that would deter me from using it more. It does make the Zorki 4 quite a bit of fun to use. And the camera feels nice in the hand.

In conclusion: Will use again.

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