View Full Version : My new Zorki 4

07-15-2004, 07:56
Bought this 1959 Zorki 4 off of eBay for 25$, with what seems to be a very nice Jupiter 8 50mm f/2 lens. From Vlad (rusantique) (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3824785022) - took less than a week to get from Ukraine to Canada!

Looks mint, except when you look inside you can see where all the paint has rubbed off the film track from having several hundred rolls run through it. Well used but well loved :D

Works reasonable well - there is a light leak by the take up spool - I suspect that leaving the camera in the case will deal with that, though I might try to line the slots with tape, around the body where the back slides into.

Also, the slow shutter speeds are off - 1/4 was like 1/8, 1 sec was more like 2/3 sec. I followed Rick Olsen's excelllent Fed and Zorki repair page (http://members.tripod.com/rick_oleson/index-58.html) to adjust the meshing of the ring gear - but to get it to the right speed, the peg on it was over the fast shutter speeds making it difficult to set those. Next thing to try is to un-wind the spring one turn to slow down the escapement mechanism.

Anyhow, here's picture of it with a Sekonic light meter

07-15-2004, 08:00
Somehow the attachment never made it...

Anyhow, there it is:

07-15-2004, 08:03
Scanned a strip off the testroll

07-15-2004, 08:21
A Zorki-4 with a Jupiter-8 like yours represents one of the two best bargains in Soviet era cameras. The other is a Fed-2 with an Industar 26m.

A J-8 by itself frequently costs $25 or more, so acquiring one with a good Zorki body is clearly a plus.

I noticed the even frame spacing on your negatives. That is also a plus whenever you can find a camera like this with it. May your Zorki-4 live long and prosper!


07-20-2004, 03:50
Nice classic camera/lens/meter combo!

The J-8 is a great surprising lens, from wide open to mid-range apertures it's a nice soft portrait lens, close it to near f/8 and up and it turns into a razor sharp optical instrument...

And for $25 ! :eek:

Rich Silfver
08-14-2004, 22:24
Beautiful camera. How has it worked for you over the last month?

08-15-2004, 04:16
Thanks for the interest Richard.

I posted 6 shots from the 2nd roll (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/photopost/showgallery.php/cat/500/ppuser/510), mainly shot at the Annual Ottawa Busker's Festival. Despite no light meter I was pleased that every shot was perfectly exposed :-)

I did try to address the light leak problem by a) putting a strip of electrical tape in the slot that the back slides into by the take-up spool and b) by leaving the camera in the case. It didn't work completely - the 2nd to last shot taken at the festival has a slight shadow on the neg (sprockets too - so I know it is not a curtain leak), meaning it got fogged while walking around afterwards in full sunlight.


Also I ruined two "portrait/vertical" shots where the case flopped over at the last second and blocked the lens!! AAARRGGHHH. :bang: I've got a couple of spare "poppers" and some leather working tools - I might try to modify the case so that the top can be removed. I don't have your "problem" of having 200$ to spend on a case :D :D


I also go that lovely shot of my daughter (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/photopost/showphoto.php/photo/2074/password//sort/1/cat/500/page/1) that everyone seems to like (thanks for the comments!). I noticed that with the digital camera she always hams it up, but with the Zorki she's so intent on watching for the shutter dial to spin that she's totally dis-armed!

Rich Silfver
08-15-2004, 07:53
Thanks for the update ;)
Seems like even though some challenges it has worked out really well. Yes, that photo of your daughter is excellent - funny, I commented on it before noticing that it was taken with your Zorki 4 :)

08-15-2004, 12:24
Vladhead, thanks for giving me the link to this site. I got my Zorki 4 last week also and I'm still playing around with the first roll of film in it. I bought a Sekonic L-358 meter also. I have several old cameras with no metering capabilities and my ability to estimate based on the sunny 16 rule seems to be lacking. Here is a photo of the stuff I bought:


I chose this one because it had the original box and the leather case with it. I bought it from a Ukraine seller also and paid $39.95 + $15.00 shipping... The camera is in excellent condition physically, but I have not had my film processed yet...

John Setzler
Hickory, NC

Rich Silfver
08-22-2004, 10:51
The Zorki 4K sure is pretty and seems to be a very able camera.

I liked this site a lot: http://fantastic-camera.com/zorki4k_001.htm (click NEXT under the photo to scroll through photos).

08-25-2004, 17:57
Have the same light leak problem with my Zorki 4. Let us know what fixes it.

Jon Flanders

08-25-2004, 18:48
Originally posted by jon_flanders
Have the same light leak problem with my Zorki 4. Let us know what fixes it.

Actually Jon, the position of the light leak is always dead centre down the middle of the frame which doesn't line up with the slot by the take up spool as I mentioned above. Instead it lines up with the edge of the baffle in front of the take up spool, that covers the self-timer mechanism.

If you look at Rick Olsen's repair page http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-58.html, down at the bottom the picture shows a light seal around the self timer level - my Zorki does not have that, so I suspect light is leaking in through there, which would explain why having the camera in the case didn't cure it.

I've put a piece of black electrical tape down the baffle to cover the gap between it and the front of the camera, where I suspect the light is leaking in from the self timer lever.

I'm planning to shoot a roll at a pow-wow this w/e, I'll see then if this cures it.

08-28-2004, 03:25
Taffer wrote:

"The J-8 is a great surprising lens, from wide open to mid-range apertures it's a nice soft portrait lens, close it to near f/8 and up and it turns into a razor sharp optical instrument..."

I've found that the J-8's are generally sharp lenses all the way down to f2, particulalry the the more recent ones with a black finish.

I ran some tests with the lenses wide open, camera on a tripod, focus at one meter and black J-8's I have seem to rival the resolution performance of a collapsible LTM Summicron I used for comparison.

08-28-2004, 13:08
Hmmm, that last sentence puts me again on the search for more Jupiter-8 lenses !!

My example (I should have said 'my' J8 not 'the' J8 :)) behaves that way though. It's a 1955 example with some cleaning marks on the front element. I was particulary curious about 'new' black units so your post becomes VERY interesting to me ! :D

Any reliable good source for 'cheap' black J8s ? Maybe the best deal is to get it with a Zorki 4k, but then it seems they were also produced as a single item with box, front and rear caps, so that 'newer' units may have also something to do with performance.

Best !


08-28-2004, 14:15
And, what about the J8 slip slide steppless aperture ring. I wonder, is the lens focusing ring tied to the on camera focusing wheel of a Contax like (Keiv) FSU camera? I would find the J8 easier to use if either the focus or aperture rings sat still when you turn the other.

08-28-2004, 18:02
On a Kiev, the whole J-8 rotates for focus in the body's focusing helix, aperture ring and all. You can use your finger on the focus wheel to prevent the lens rotating as you adjust the aperture.

The J-8M added a second aperture scale on the lens so it can more easily be seen regardless of the rotated position of the lens. The aperture ring is click-stopped.

By contrast, the J-12 fits the outer bayonet on the body, has its own focusing helix & locks the focus wheel.

08-28-2004, 19:11
OK Doug, now I am confused. You are saying that Contax Mount J8s have click-stopped aperture rings. That is different than the LTM mount J8s then, at least mine isn't. If it is click-stopped at least it can be locked in place like other lenses and not free to float away from your setting by your stumbling fingers. Sometimes I an a clutz just grabbing for everthing thinking it may be what I am looking for with my J8. If it click stopped then I can concentrate on the settings going the opposite way thing.

All this said, I really do agree with all the mention that it is a sharp little lens. I will be fumbling around with mine tomorrow again. It will be the only lens I am taking with me, I will master it yet.

08-29-2004, 13:00
Well, rover, I only have two J-8M lenses for Contax/Kiev and these are click-stopped. I recall from Fedka's site a statement that the M version added the second aperture number set. I don't know if pre-M J-8 lenses were click-stopped or not. But the text implies that both changes came with the M version. I don't think I'd care for a non-click-stopped aperture ring...

08-29-2004, 16:33
Taffer asked:

"Any reliable good source for 'cheap' black J8s ?"

The black J-8's are offered all the time on eBay for $25-$35; shipping costs tend to be relatively low because of the light weight of just a lens. Use one of the Russian vendors with a high approval rating

08-29-2004, 16:46
Originally posted by taffer

Any reliable good source for 'cheap' black J8s ?

How about me? I can be talked out of mine I am sure.

08-30-2004, 06:41
Thanks Scoop. Rover, I thought you liked yours ! What happened ?

08-30-2004, 15:35
I am on the edge of getting a Summicron 50, so passing the J8 on to a new home would be another reason to be "Bad."

08-30-2004, 16:17
Hmmm, I see, just let me debate the idea with my pillow, I'm probably being too bad lately as well :) and tomorrow I'm visiting the city for some chemicals/film/accessories, let's see how my wallet ends the day... :rolleyes:

08-30-2004, 16:22
Send me a note if you are interested. I am just looking to get what I paid for it, and I have a 2 for 1 deal to offer too. It's a SALE.

08-30-2004, 16:28
Ok Rover, I'll tell you something more tomorrow. Btw, 2 for 1 ? You mean the J8 and the 40 Rokkor as a gift ?? ;) :D

08-30-2004, 16:39
Originally posted by taffer
Btw, 2 for 1 ? You mean the J8 and the 40 Rokkor as a gift ?? ;) :D


09-04-2004, 19:29
Today's roll of film (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/photopost/showgallery.php/cat/500/ppuser/510) at the Perth agricultrual fair had no streaks on it, despite the fact it was bright and sunny and I didn't use the case.

So the piece of electrical tape across the gap in the baffle in front of the take up spool stopped the light leak though the self-timer lever.

If this cure isn't clear, let me know I can post a more descriptive photograph of where the tape went.


Rich Silfver
09-04-2004, 19:33
Love the cow and the ostrich shots!