The Zenit-122

Alfred's Camera Page

This page is no longer actively maintained. (Pardon?)

The Zenit-122 (read Zenit-12-2) is an amateur SLR that evolved out of the Zenit-E through the Zenit-TTL and the Zenit-12. In essence it's the same camera, although in 35 years KMZ added a TTL light meter, clear viewfinder, design body and plastic controls.

The 122 comes complete with a Helios-44M-5 or -6, or a Helios-77M-4, all of which are of unimpressive mechanical quality (i.e. lightweight and all plastic). The 122's main merit is that it does the job reliably and cheaply, but without the frills.

Some derived models include the Zenit-122K (with K mount), the FS-122 (fotosnaiper), and the Zenit-122B (a stripped model).

I'm very grateful to Canadian Zenit dealer for sending me one of their "more temperamental" Zenit-122's as a Christmas gift! It makes the first post-Soviet Union camera in my collection, and a very nice addition to my collection of older Zenits. No, it's not the golden anniversary model below.

50th anniversary model

A remarkable variation is the "fiftieth anniversary special edition" that was produced in 1992 to mark KMZ's fiftieth anniversary. The camera is a greyish silver with gold lettering. Serial numbers are eight-digit and are prefixed "50...". The person who reported this camera to me says his camera has a passport dating to October 1993, which is almost a year after the anniversary year ended. His camera, however, is from 1992 (serial number 5092xxxx). Contrary to the rare silver commemorative Horizon-202, this camera appears to be mass-marketed. They were sold in English language cardboard boxes, reading "fiftieth anniversary special edition" and showing a Russian Orthodox church in silhouette against a gold backdrop.

The viewfinder

From the leaflet

Zenit-122 is a 35-mm reflex camera intended for taking various amateur pictures on black-and-white and colour films. It can be used for special kinds of photography, such as copying, taking close-up pictures of small-size objects at short distances (ultraclose-up photography), taking pictures with the help of a microscope (photomicrography), etc. The camera accepts interchangeable lenses with M42x1 screw fittings and mechanical back focal distance of 45.5 mm.


Frames size:24 x 36 mm
Number of frames:36
Shutter speeds:from 1/30 s to 1/500 s; "B" (by hand) and long exposure
Standard lenses:MC Helios-44M-5; MC Helios-44M-6; or MC Helios-77M-4
Focal length:Helios-44: 58 mm; Helios-77: 52 mm
Maximum aperture:Helios-44: f/2; Helios-77: f/1.8
Aperture scale:Helios-44: f/2 to f/16; Helios-77: f/1.8 to f/16
Distance scale:Helios-44: 0.5 m to infinity; Helios-77: 0.45 m to infinity
Lens mounting:M42x1 thread
Overall dimensions:142 x 97 x 99 mm
Power supply:From 2 batteries of Mallory D386; Seiko SB-B8; Cts-32; Mts 0.105 types
Mass:0.82 kg
Graph of production data

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