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Zenit 122 35mm SLRs

3.09/5 (11 Reviews)


  • Product ID21815760
    Camera TypeSLR (Single Lens Reflex)

Product Description

  • Manual 35mm TTL metering camera
  • Available with Pentax K-Mount or M42 screw mount
  • Shutter speed: B-1/500 sec
  • ISO range from 25 to 400
  • Flash synch: 1/30th second


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    Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) | Next 15

    User Reviews

    Overall Rating:3
    Value Rating:3
    Submitted by Steve a Casual

    Date Reviewed: April 19, 2013

    Strengths:    Good kit lens, solid construction, Pentax K mount (122K), can operate without power, DOF preview, simple operation

    Weaknesses:    Terrible light meter, dark viewfinder, mirror slap, loud mirror/shutter

    Bottom Line:   
    Optically I really like this camera. The kit lens is pretty good (f2, 50mm) and I think it's almost worth buying this for the lens alone. The Pentax K mount is great. There are countless K mount lenses on the market which make your lens options almost limitless. The construction feels very solid but not overly heavy. The only part of the camera that feels plasticy is the film door. The viewfinder has nice focusing aids but it is normally so dark that you can't make use of them. It has a depth of field preview, which I like, but it renders the viewfinder even darker than normal. The light meter, when it actually works, is usually inaccurate. After shooting one roll of film relying on the built in meter and checking against a handheld meter, I decided it couldn't be trusted so I removed the batteries. From what I understand, the stock that was sold on the Lomography website was manufactured in the late 90s in Russia. They were sold as "new" but were sitting in storage since their manufacture. This may explain the shoddy light meter and any other discrepancies that may pop up.

    This is a cool camera. It has a nice "collectible" feel to it. For experienced people looking to add to their collection this is a pretty cool buy. For beginners and students, look elsewhere for your first camera. For under $100, your money can go much further on the used market.

    Expand full review >>

    Price Paid:    $89.00

    Purchased At:   Lomography



    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by DedekindRing a Expert

    Date Reviewed: June 16, 2009

    Strengths:    Rugged, simple, reliable, Helios lenses are very sharp.
    Not many people know that Zenit is the only camera with the body made of ONE PIECE. Its because only a giant state-run factory could afford the very expensive and complicated process of pouring the whole body into one cast, which is a very, very tricky procedure. All other manufacturers, including Leica, just machine out the front and back part and then screw them together.


    Weaknesses:    Hard to find wide-range zoom lenses by russian (all glass) manufacturers,
    you will most likely be stuck with fix-lenses of different makes and styles.


    Bottom Line:   
    Very durable and heavy-built (weighs the same as the Leica R8 !), with a const-ruction designed to work in -50 C. Completely mechanical cloth-shutter operation is not affected by battery dying in the cold, under the plastic cover is the same metal-body as the other Zenits. All this with a reason: Issued to red-army units from Siberia to the desert, it had be utmost reliable and easy to operate. Very smart feature: NO film-window in the back! (No light-leak ever). You can screw a T-cord to the exposure-button, tripod-socket, lens-collar are both heavy metal.
    Viewfinder is bright and shows 95-100% of picture, focusing is simple and reliable. The shutter is limited to 1/500 sec, but fast lenses are available. Shutter-release button feels rickety, but this is because of the large tolerance for extreme tempetature changes. The camera operates completely battery-free; you should know how to set time and aperture yourself. In short, its obvious that this camera was made for military personnel in the first line, where ruggedness, reliability and ease of operation is emphasized. The Helios lenses are tack-sharp, but colors tend to be watery. Solution: invest into a top-notch polarizer-filter (it will cost more than the camera), and then you will have amazing quality pictures.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

    Price Paid:    $25.00

    Purchased At:   Ebay

    Type of photography:   Outdoor


    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Isidor Demerzs Baghul a Intermediate

    Date Reviewed: December 23, 2008

    Bottom Line:   
    After a number of cameras for beginner's, quite unplanned I ended up acquiring this camera. It si very rugged and what at first glance appears as basic, ends up as a camera with a most satisfactory range, very dependable and very russian: only the necessary bells and whistles and a mechanical set that can sustain continous use.
    Certainly, in a first encounter this camera, taken at face value might not measure-up to other SLRs, but that's true only if you take [and appreciate] cameras based on appearance and for the myriad of possibilities you might have -my other worshipped cameras include a Canon A-1 and Nikon F100- but in the end it is not the camera: it's you.
    So this camera challenges you as photographer every time while offering quite a lot to take the images where you want. Give it a chance, turn to basics and won't be disappointed.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   0-1 years

    Price Paid:    $60.00

    Purchased At:   Madrid

    Type of photography:   Outdoor


    Overall Rating:2
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by jcduran a Intermediate

    Date Reviewed: August 9, 2004

    Strengths:    - CHEAP! CHEAP! CHEAP!
    - Great value/cost ratio
    - The Helios lens has better optical quality than the average 28-80 zoom, and it's included for the price.
    - Not too bad
    - Perfect to get started in photography with very little expense


    Weaknesses:    - Russian made: a bit bulky not so reliable, eventually breaks.
    - The Light meter is not very acurate.
    - Slow 1/30" flash synchro speed
    - Well, what were you expecting for the price?


    Bottom Line:   
    Probably the most inexpensive SLR in the market, at least in Europe. Russian made: it's simple, sturdy, and very VERY inexpensibe (about $75 in Spain with the lens).

    Manual, mechanical shutter (1/30", 1/60", 1/125", 1/250", 1/500" + bulb), M42 screw mount (Pentax K bayonet in the 'K' version), TTL exposure meter in viewfinder, X-sync flash hot shoe + PC. Equiped with a 58mm f/2 Helios prime lens. It's a fantastic choice for students, beginners, and people who wants to give a try to photography without much expense, just to see how it feels.

    Very popular for young students in Europe, it has been the first SLR for many beginner photographers (including me). I began to learn photography with this camera, and when I realized it was starting to really like it, I moved to a better and more expensive equipment (Nikon F80).

    Mine is the M-mount version, but I recommend the 'K' version with K-bayonet mount, since there are more (cheap) lenses available from Pentax and many other third-party brands.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   2-5 years

    Purchased At:   (Received it as a gi

    Similar Products Used:   - Nikon F80 (N80 in USA), my main camera since a few years
    - Borrowed Nikon F601, F65


    Type of photography:   Outdoor


    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by taylorje84 a Intermediate

    Date Reviewed: February 9, 2004

    Strengths:    Solid as a brick, the cheapest 35mm SLR on the market, not too bad optics, M42 lens mount, the most aesthetically pleasing Zenit model.

    Weaknesses:    Handles like a brick. Dim viewfinder, but in fact considerably brighter than other Zenits I have used. The wind-on crank sticks out the back of the camera, in such a way that it can interfere when the user is composing their shot. Like all Zenits the shutter release is stiff to operate and conspicuously loud. The range of shutter speeds are limiting, but it makes up for this somewhat by having a fast lens.

    Bottom Line:   
    Even though it has its shortcomings, this is arguably the best overall Zenit camera of them all. Most of the other Zenits should be collected up and shot into orbit, because they are so overwhelmingly hideous. However, I would keep the 122, it has the brighest viewfinder and most aesthetically pleasing design.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   2-5 years

    Price Paid:    $35.00

    Purchased At:   Ebay

    Similar Products Used:   Zenit TTL

    Type of photography:   People



    Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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