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Zorki-3 test with J-8 and J-12
Old 11-11-2016   #1
farlymac
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Zorki-3 test with J-8 and J-12

Quite possibly the last bit of FSU gear I’ll ever buy. I’m getting tired of all the problems associated with “good working” cameras.

The split-beam prism was loose, necessitating removal of the camera top to be able to glue it back in place. Then I never could get the vertical adjustment to come in, making for some difficult focusing situations. And to top it all off, there was a massive light leak towards the end of the roll, wrecking four frames.

Yeah, I’m done with them. Done with the lying sellers. Done with the leaks and flares. Done with the fragile shutters. Done with the non-standard fittings.

Just done with it all.

But they do look good, with more innovations than Leica would ever come up with.
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Zorki-3 1954 Soviet Rangefinder by P F McFarland, on Flickr



Different views with the J-8 (left) and J-12 (right).
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Jupiter-8 and Jupiter-12 Lens Comparison by P F McFarland, on Flickr



Close focus with the J-8 was doable, though difficult.
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Pole Numbers by P F McFarland, on Flickr



The J-12 had it’s moments of greatness.
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Company HQ by P F McFarland, on Flickr



AAARRRGHHHH! And no, it’s not “Talk Like A Pirate” day.
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New Shoreline With Flare by P F McFarland, on Flickr

See all the photos at https://flic.kr/s/aHskNvNg8v

They’re the last Soviet Camera photos I’ll be taking.

PF



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Old 11-11-2016   #2
xayraa33
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The Zorki 3M is worth owning, even just based on looks alone.

It is a handsome camera by any standard.
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Old 11-17-2016   #3
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You are right: A lot of junk FSU is floating around. Fortunately I have some good sets now in cameras and lenses. Even when I have the possibility for a reasonable low price have them professional fixed the price for a complete CLA is often more what they have costed. However another camera will probably have the same problems. After some years I have also found my favorite camera and lenses. People who bought my less favorite FSU gear can be happy because it was in perfect condition. I am using my gear and I am not a collector.
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Old 11-17-2016   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fotohuis View Post
You are right: A lot of junk FSU is floating around. Fortunately I have some good sets now in cameras and lenses. Even when I have the possibility for a reasonable low price have them professional fixed the price for a complete CLA is often more what they have costed. However another camera will probably have the same problems. After some years I have also found my favorite camera and lenses. People who bought my less favorite FSU gear can be happy because it was in perfect condition. I am using my gear and I am not a collector.
I understand entirely. I'd like to be using these cameras, but the frustration of having to make repairs all the time has really taken the fun out of it.

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Old 11-17-2016   #5
DanskDynamit
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Lovely photos, I own a Zorki 4K with a J-8 and I love it. I've found that its easier to focus if I wear my polarised sunglasses as the focus patch becomes blue.
I also own a "50 years anniversary" 3M which is a very handsome camera.
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Old 11-17-2016   #6
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I am going to sell my Zorki-4, J-8 that is in great condition, but since I went on a buying spree, need to sell the ones I'm not going to use.
I found buying from Ukr-alex, who is a repairman there, and paying at the top of the range, which is usually $100, I've had no problems at all with my FSU.
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Old 11-17-2016   #7
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Less is better: Zorki-6

I had one model boxed for many many years from Ukraine. But do not think you can work with an almost brand new Zorki.
It needed a complete CLA and if you don't do it it will break due to the grease which is sticky and gone for where it was made for (lubricate).

But after a professional CLA it is with modern grease even much better and smooth then it was new.
The same is valid for the lenses. And because the material is often alu the result is even worse when you don't do anything about it.



Much more important is what is coming out:



Z-6 + J-9. Rollei RPX-400 in ATM-W in rotary (CPA-2).


Just my opinion of the Zorki-6:
Small model, hinging back. No slow speeds which can break. Engraved letters, simple to load and unload, strap lugs. Compatible with almost all M39 LTM lenses. Reasonable good VF and wide RF base. Full mechanical: Electronics and FSU material is a bad combination. Disadvantage: No regular 1/4" tripod connector, you need an adapter. The models are a bit older so you have to look for a reasonable good one. CLA is always needed.

About the most populair lenses:
J-8: Overall the best choice for a 50mm
J-9: Nice tele, good performance
J-12: Good 35mm WA. However you can not use this lens on all cameras due to the back element which is just before the curtain (Biogon type).
J-3: Fast lens but very soft wide open. Due to often non professional shimming often a problem.
I-50: Not bad but a Jupiter-8 is better. F/3,5 only.
I-61: Wide open even better then a J-8 but F/2,8 only. Many later models are mechanical crappy. However it has F-clicks.
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Old 12-10-2016   #8
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That's a shame because that is one lovely camera. One of my favs of the Zorki series. But I'm like you I've pretty much bought my last fsu camera.
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Old 02-07-2017   #9
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If I can, I'd like to piggyback onto your thread.

My Zorki 4 has occasional light leaks also. Typical example posted below. Not every shot, but often enough to be annoying. Its always up towards the top of the negative, so I'm thinking the leak is towards the bottom of the camera. Does light possibly leak in through the camera back attachment lever on the bottom of the camera? Or perhaps more likely, maybe its leaking in at the seal between the camera back and the camera body.

Just thinking out loud here. I think for the next roll, I will put black tape over all the edges of the camera back and on the bottom where the latches are. Maybe that might seal it better?

Light leak in upper left:

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Old 02-12-2017   #10
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As you can see from my example, it's coming from the top. And it only happened on the last four frames of the roll. The Z-3 doesn't have any seals, relying on the deep grooves the back fits into. But maybe it couldn't hurt to put something in there anyway.

I got it out the other day, and the more I think about it, the more I get ticked off that something that good looking could be so messed up. I put a roll of HP-5 in it today, and took off for the wilderness (well, what passes for it around these parts), hoping to get some more results to see if I can nail down what the problem is.

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Old 02-12-2017   #11
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Just trade it for a Zorki 4. I've had two and they both work fine. I had a 4K too which worked fine but for the slow speeds. I had a 3, and the shutter wouldn't cap so I never used it. It was nice looking though.
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Old 02-13-2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
Just trade it for a Zorki 4. I've had two and they both work fine. I had a 4K too which worked fine but for the slow speeds. I had a 3, and the shutter wouldn't cap so I never used it. It was nice looking though.
I've got a Zorki-6 that works fine, but wanted something with the slow speeds. I'll have to make a determination whether to continue with this endeavor if I can't get the Z-3 to behave, but will keep the Z-4 in mind. I've got a Nicca IIIS too, but it's truly a Barnack clone, so no combined viewfinder.

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Old 02-13-2017   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
The Z-3 doesn't have any seals, relying on the deep grooves the back fits into. But maybe it couldn't hurt to put something in there anyway.
I sometimes wonder if there are variations in tolerances which become evident after decades of use, wear and tear, etc. Weird that yours only leaked in the last four pictures, but who knows, if the tolerances are sloppy maybe just picking up the camera in bright sunlight might make the back shift a little in relation to the camera body. Enough for a light leak? I wonder...
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Old 02-13-2017   #14
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Years ago I picked up an early Zorki 5 here for peanuts since it "didn't work." I got some new curtains from Aki-Asahi (I think) and rebuilt it. I also underwound the shutter at the same time so the speeds are half what they say which gets the camera a 1/15 of a second low speed. Since the camera was completely redone with modern lubes, it is super smooth and the shutter, since it is underwound, is about as quiet as a camera can be. Much quieter than a Leica. It is a fun camera to use even though I never use it much.
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Old 02-19-2017   #15
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I have a Zorki 3 that looks and works great along with taking very nice pictures. It supposedly had a CLA before I bought it along with the J-8 lens. The camera is nice and smooth but when I got it and removed the lens, the front of the lens started to unscrew in my hand. They might have CLA'd the lens but forgot to put 2 of the screws back in. I put a different J-8 on and love the camera although I don't use it enough. With a cabinet full of FSU cameras from when I couldn't control myself, I don't use any of them enough.
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Old 02-21-2017   #16
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I have a theory as to where the leak is occurring, but will have to wait for the film to get processed to find out. I'm switching to shipping it out of town for now, as I don't have a decent scanner to be able to process it myself, or good plumbing for that matter.

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Old 03-21-2017   #17
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Got the film back, and post processed finally. It does appear I need to put some sort of material in the upper groove of the camera back (probably my old reliable black string). The leaks weren't as bad this time, but it's weird how they show up more when the light is dim, than in full sun.

The J12 is still dragging on the rangefinder arm, and I put a couple dabs of flat black on some areas where it looked like the element edge sealing had worn off. Maybe that was also a source of the flares.

I'll make another posting in a day or two.

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