one day at a time

day 305: Zorki 3C

Zorki 3C © Verena Fischer 2012

Zorki 3C © Verena Fischer 2012


Yesterday my new Zorki 3C arrived. I was really excited and wanted to try it out immediately. It was actually in a nice condition, no scratches, only some minor oxidation marks, which were easy to clean, and it just looks pretty in general. It came with a Jupiter 8 lens, which also seems to be in a good condition. So far so good, but these are only the cosmetic aspects. How disappointed I was when I realised that the shutter speed dial was stuck at 1/100! Well, if you buy something in the bay, that was sold as “in good condition” with a “working shutter” then a stuck shutter speed dial isn’t exactly what you expect, especially not if it’s sold by a photography shop. You’d expect that they actually know how to test a camera! Well, I was pretty annoyed.

Still, I didn’t want to give up on it and so I decided to open it up and have a look under the hood – or the top cover in this case. Easier said than done if the top cover is stuck on one single miniature screw in the flash sync that you can’t even see at all. In the end we managed to get it open though, after I finally found my 0.9 mm screwdriver. After having a look around, it turned out that the pin of the shutter speed dial was stuck between two settings. I’m guessing that someone did the unthinkable – changing the shutter speed before cocking the shutter. That’s a taboo for soviet cameras like this one. Luckily the pin didn’t break off and it’s now repaired. My new camera was good to go and I loaded it up with some cheap colour film. I’m somewhat expecting that the first film might turn out a bit of an out-of-focus / over- or underexposed mess, but oh well.

My GDR light meter – a Weimar Lux Nova – also arrived today. I didn’t even pay 10€ for this one, while similarly old Western light meters go for 5 times the price! I tried it out today and I’m glad to say that it gives me the exact same reading as the exposure meter in my Canon. Considering that both my new camera and my light meter are more than 50 years old it’s pretty cool that they still do their job as intended. It tells you something about what kind of quality you can expect if you don’t produce to maximise your own profit, but for good reliable functionality. Cameras nowadays will never ever run for that long, because they’re not intended to run forever. It would be bad for profit. Type “planned obsolescence” into google and you will see what I’m talking about.


13 responses

  1. Beautiful!
    And I can’t wait to see what you do with this, Ms. F!

    June 14, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    • Oh, indeed, it’s a sweet camera. I actually need to get a scanner or else it will be hard to show 😉 By the way, I saw Sally Mann do some wet plate stuff in a documentary the other day and had to think of you!

      June 14, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      • Sounds very cool! I watched something similar on YouTube… it was a 3 part thing… pretty long, but very interesting (I thought). And of course I drooled over that equipment the whole time. Come to think of it I’m pretty sure I never stopped drooling!

        June 14, 2012 at 7:45 pm

      • The documentary was out of a series called The Genius of Photography, maybe it was that? It definitely looked cool, but like quite a mess. Nothing you do on the road 😉

        June 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm

  2. Wow very cool…they just don’t makes things like they used to. Looks to me like a great find and you will have some fun with it!!!

    June 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    • Yeah, definitely. There is a lightbulb somewhere in the US that still runs after 100 years. They produce them so that they break earlier, because else there wouldn’t be any need for new products.Same goes for a lot of other things like film cameras. I’m sure gonna have some fun with it definitely! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      June 15, 2012 at 9:10 am

  3. I used to use it but it became broken like your one.
    However, I like the camera even if it doesn’t work.

    June 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    • Have you tried repairing it? I can point you to some descriptions of how to open it, if you like.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      • I have already gave it to the camera store. What a shame. Thank you for your kindness. If I get it again, I may ask you questions.

        June 15, 2012 at 3:02 pm

  4. Looking forward to seeing the images you get with it.

    June 15, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    • Me too actually! That’s the annoying thing about film, you always have to wait until you finish the film and then some more while it’s being developed! Since I don’t have a scanner it’s going to be a while until I can show some results :-/

      June 16, 2012 at 12:07 am

  5. that is a gorgeous looking camera…will be looking forward to the kind of results from it on your posts. so maybe you mentioned this before and I missed reading, but why a film camera now – not questioning , just curious 🙂

    June 25, 2012 at 9:57 am

    • The reason why I got this camera was that I wanted to get more into street photography. With my SLR people seem to feel threatened, since the lenses are just massive. With this camera however, I’d guess they’re more curious than anything else.

      I actually have been drooling over the Leica M9 for months now, but I really can’t afford it at all. The Zorki is a soviet Leica copy produced with original machinery that the soviets took from the Leitz factories after the war. It’s as close as I can get to a real Leica at the moment. Right now film also seems really appealing to me. There are just some things that are really hard to achieve with digital methods. I guess, film is as close as you can get to really understanding the medium, especially if you develop your own film.

      June 25, 2012 at 12:58 pm

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