Using Zorki-6 after Leica. Photo-downshifting. Impressions.

The photo of my Zorki-6 made in 1966 with Jupiter-3 from 1975

Have scanned a film from Zorki-6 recently and have impressions to share.

My rangefinder «obsession» originated from this very Zorki-6, rather from the Jupiter-3, to be exact, which I have bought three years ago, not even knowing why. Having the Jupiter I quickly found out it fitted none of my digital cameras and.. bought a Zorki-6 body for it (22$ paid). The Jupiter-12 came later, then the Leica was bought, Leica lenses, another Leica and.. oh well I already wrote about «obsession».

Having used Leica for two years I noticed that I use it only (ok, medium format occasionally), sold all my once beloved Canons and Nikons with lenses and stated Leica as my main most loved/used camera.

So having about two years of shooting Leica M6ttl, having got used to it and having got in love with it, I started to look with some kind of neglect at the source of my «rangefinder disease» — Zorki-6. Let my 3-year-old son play with the Zorki and stopped considering it as a working instrument.

Well.. life cooked me a surprise: my M6 stopped working and the M2, bought as a spare for it through eBay, arrived broken from the beginning. In a word, all Leicas went into repair and I was to go to the Kremlin New Year party with my daughter and her class. So I had to take out the old Zorki-6, blow the dust away from it and shoot it.

Here are my own impressions on Zorki-6 after Leica:

  1. The camera is still good, think haptics of Zorki-6 is 7 out of 10 (M6ttl gets 10 from me).
  2. Surprisingly instead of my Jupiter-3, I used to love, I chose Jupiter-12 to take with me. Leica made me a 35mm guy.
  3. I did like to shoot guestimating the exposure — have seriously missed only on 2 frames out of 33 I made. Used a black and white Ilford fp5 iso 400. Exposed it guestimating at iso 600 — made the developing time 1.5 minutes longer.
  4. The camera is unobtrusive.. In other words, nobody stares at it, it doesn’t incite social discord, Nikon D3000 and Canon D50 owners stay calm and friendly when they see it. They treat you as a kind weirdo and even start posing.. Two people told me confidently that they had had same very Zorki-6 having been kids (doubt it..)
  5. The rangefinder allows fine focusing.


  1. Almost all I had to shoot at 1/30 of  a second — just no shorter shutter speeds. Wish I had 1/15 and 1/8.
  2. Tight release — had blur on several frames due to it (well.. might also be due to the train), tighter and louder than M6.
  3. Hated the outer VI-35 viewfinder — shows inaccurate frames, can’t see wat is outside the frame, has a terrible parallax — cut all people’s heads since.. got used not to bother with it on Leica.
  • Jupiter-12 seemed softer than.. let say, the Biogon ZM f2 which is my standard lens on Leica (yes I know, it has a different optic scheme and everything different, but the focus length is the same and I need something to compare with..),
  • Jupiter-12 quite distorts geometry, seems like I have never noticed it so evidently..

..but this is not related directly to the Zorki, I suppose..Resume: one can quite use the FSU, around 7 out of 10, and if we consider the price.. A super camera. Got as much pleasure as if I went with Leica. The biggest joy for me — shooting without measuring the exposure (my M6 has a built-in exposure meter, never seriously thought of taking the battery out). The greatest gut is parallax (well, one may get used to it).. hate the parallax, hate it..

People from our group (I’ve mentioned them — the ones with Nikons and Canons) were very surprised with the shots I printed and gave them after developing and scanning — said: thought it would be some blur, there are normal photos instead. That’s the way!

A couple of shots from our trip to support the review: Zorki-6 + Jupiter-12

Эта статья на русском/To read this article in Russian

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  1. Уведомление: Zorki-6 после Лейки. Фото-дауншифтинг. Впечатления. « doingphoto

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