Zenit 122 35mm SLRs

122

  • 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

  • User Reviews (11)

    Showing 1-10 of 11  
    Steve   Casual [Apr 19, 2013]
    Strength:

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

    Weakness:

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

    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.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    3
    VALUE
    RATING
    3
    DedekindRing   Expert [Jun 16, 2009]
    Strength:

    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.

    Weakness:

    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.

    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.

    Customer Service

    None.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Isidor Demerzs Baghul   Intermediate [Dec 23, 2008]

    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.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    jcduran   Intermediate [Aug 09, 2004]
    Strength:

    - 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

    Weakness:

    - 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?

    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.

    Customer Service

    Never used. Well, I don't ever know if there is an official service in Spain. The light meter went mad. I have a zoom (not from Zenit) and the internal diaphragm lever gets stuck. I didn't repair them. Given the price, probably it would cost more than a new unit. I moved to Nikon.

    Similar Products Used: - Nikon F80 (N80 in USA), my main camera since a few years - Borrowed Nikon F601, F65
    OVERALL
    RATING
    2
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    taylorje84   Intermediate [Feb 09, 2004]
    Strength:

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

    Weakness:

    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.

    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.

    Customer Service

    It is a Russian camera, so it is bound to need a service sooner rather than later.

    Similar Products Used: Zenit TTL
    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    manal   Intermediate [Dec 22, 2003]
    Strength:

    Cost ,Fully manual

    Weakness:

    shutter speed

    Nice !! if you dont want to invest much go for it . i got a second hand camera from my friend . plus i got a Jupiter-21A,4/200mm lens along with it in just 50 usd. it is the best camera for students who wants to learn what photography is . A fully manual camera with nice performance .

    Customer Service

    Locally available

    Similar Products Used: Minolta
    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    DaleD97   Professional [Aug 15, 2003]
    Strength:

    Optics, optics and optics. World class and very sharp. cloth shutter (pre wwII design, very reliable, simple and keeps working) price all manual takes heavy use under plastic body is a basic metal camera

    Weakness:

    limited shutter speed range if you wear glasses lightmeter is effected by light coming in from by your eye.

    This camera is very simple and basic. It takes Carl Zeiss Jena lenses, Pentax lenses and Russian/Ukraine lenses. The camera works at -25f on ski trips. It works in the hot humid weather. It is a great beginner camera and a great for special uses.

    Customer Service

    if you buy from KievCamera and a few others 1 year warrenty other wise none

    Similar Products Used: Nikon F, Nikkormat, Praktica, Pentax
    OVERALL
    RATING
    3
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Marco Silva   Beginner [Jul 24, 2003]
    Strength:

    Fully manual Mc-Helios lens Pentax k-mount (122k) Solid construction DOF preview

    Weakness:

    Narrow viewfinder Heavy body Shutter Controls could be a little more intuitive (Well ... it's russian)

    Subject : Zenit 122k/122 I bought this camera to get started in photography - It was the most affordable SLR at the time , but price , as I soon found out isn't everything. The camera takes great pictures - on some days! The shutter tends to get stuck in speeds above 1/125 , and the photos come out with a dark strip on them . My brother in law 's camera , the 122 , has exactly the same problem , despite of beeing a different body. The 122k body is mostly plastic , but the construction feels very solid whereas the 122 is metal and has a cooler classic look. But looks aren´t everything , and when you can only take photos from 1/125 and lower speeds you get a bit frustrated . The MC-Helios lens however is quite good : It's still running occasionally with my borrowed pentax P30. Don't get me wrong : I did take some great pictures with this camera (BW,Slides,color) , it's just not 100% reliable. I've read that older Zenit cameras used to be great , But this particular model isn't that great. Look for a begginner SLR somewhere else.

    Customer Service

    None. It would be cheaper to buy a new one.

    Similar Products Used: Pentax P30
    OVERALL
    RATING
    2
    VALUE
    RATING
    3
    Pantxu   Intermediate [Apr 07, 2003]
    Strength:

    Manual Hard Cheap

    Weakness:

    Shutter speeds (too few) Shutter courtains (too weak)

    Cheap and reliable manual SLR. At 70$, you can try a really manual SLR and begin with the study of photography. Not "nice" at all, very few speeds, too slow the higher ones (1/250, 1/500) and too few the slow ones (1/30, 1/60). Slow flash sincro (1/30), shutter of coutains... BUT really iron horse, will be usable under any circunstances, good and cheap optics (you don't need to throw away those incredible Pentax SMC Takumar, even you can try an excellent russian fisheye for already $100...), nice and sharp pictures. If you want to study fotography, and don't want to spend too much money, give a try to this camera. Let the "wonderful" NikonF65 or Minoilta Dynax to those "new profesionals" that think that is the camera who takes the pictures, not the man behind.

    Customer Service

    None yet

    Similar Products Used: Pentax SP, Yashica TL Electro X, Praktica MTL 50
    OVERALL
    RATING
    3
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Ozer   Casual [Mar 05, 2003]
    Strength:

    Manuel Cheap lenses Low repair cost

    Weakness:

    Shutter Speeds 1/30-1/500 and "B" Curtains Viewfinder Area, about %70 No good zoom lenses for M42

    It is an ideal camera for a poor student. I didn't buy it, but the price of it is about 50usd. It is a beginner camera because it is a full manuel camera. Of course it has disadvantages; shutter speed,viewfinder area and the weak curtains. And it is hard to find a good quality zoom lens. But on the other hand, advantages are good and cheap russian lenses from market,low repair cost,cheap extension tubes and bellows.Shutter speeds are ideal for daylight. To brief, it is an good camera for the students, and manual camera users for this price. p.s.: i advice Zenit 122 K, which uses pentax K lenses.

    Similar Products Used: Zenit 12XP Zenit 11 Pentacon 200/4 Sigma xq 18mm
    OVERALL
    RATING
    3
    VALUE
    RATING
    3
    Showing 1-10 of 11  

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