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Advice on Zenit ET
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:28 am    Post subject: Advice on Zenit ET Reply with quote

Hi everybody!

Although I'm still keeping my two film cameras since long (Fuji+Minolta), due to the fact that I've been buying some manual focus lenses to be used with my Canon 350D, and also to the fact that most of my MFLenses are of the M42 kind, I'm thinking in getting another body with M42 mount to be used with the new old-lenses, without messing too much with adapters.

I've been offered a russian Zenit ET in good condition, but I don't know about that camera.

Has anyone else any experiences with it?

I'd appreciate very much any advice.
If this turns to be not a solution, what would you recommend for a cheap M42 body?.

Thanks in advance,
Jes.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although I have to much Zenits of all kinds I would not use a Zenit ET for everyday shooting. The selenium light meter tends to show wrong values after all those years. The viewfinder isn't really good. The vertical curtain sometimes didn't close correct especially if using lower shutter speeds. The ET is one of the most produced Cameras ever and some of the producing factories had very poor reputation regarding to quality control. Most ET's I have bought are crap. Only one of my five is o.k. (if you forget the reading of the light meter).

For real use I would go for a newer one like 12xp or 122. And if you want a very good viewfinder with microprism and split screen, a solid body and a good lightmeter then look for a Pentacon MTL 5 B (B is important because you can use modern batteries).

Michael


PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:25 am    Post subject: Re: Advice on Zenit ET Reply with quote

Jesito wrote:
What would you recommend for a cheap M42 body?


I go along with Michael's comments about Zenit. My best recommendation would be a Pentax Spotmatic, but be careful about the model. Go for either SP, SPII or F. They have TTL match-needle metering and semi auto lenses there's a switch which stops down the lens and switches on the meter. The SPII has a hot shoe, otherwise basically the same as the SP. The F was the last model (apart from the ES electronic version which I would avoid) and it goes for higher prices usually. It has a mico-prism VF screen and open-aperture metering if you use S-M-C lenses. They are solid, fairly heavy, beautifully built, and were quite expensive when new, so used ones have usually been well cared for. The original batteries have been discontinued but suitable alternatives are available.

Praktica "L" range is another choice. Build quality is good but not up to Pentax standard. The open-aperture metering system on later models requires "electric" lenses. Some models use batteries which are very hard to find. I really like the easy and fast method of loading new film on the take-up spool, I think it was patented. These cameras are cheap and plentiful, so it's easy to get parts or a complete replacement.

But Spotmatic would definitely be my choice.

edit: Info on different Pentax M42 SLRs


Last edited by peterqd on Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:24 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter has 100% right if you need good M42 film camera for reasonable price take a Spotmatic , second choice any Praktica and the last one is Zenit in my opinion.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Michael, Peter and Attila,
many thanks for your answers.

I will avoid the russian one, and go for a Pentax.

In 1972, when I was passing my service in the Army, I was destined to Melilla (northern Africa). I met there a nice guy (a photographer) that was then doing the job for all the commandment (family pictures, social events, etc.). He was also serving as soldier as myself. He owned a nice Asahi Pentax, that's the first time I met that wonderful camera.

Now that you're telling me that for a little price I can own one of those gems, I've decided to go for one and rewind some memories.
I've to look for my old pictures and scan them. At that time I owned an AGFA silette LK (I could'nt afford a SLR).

Thanks again!!
Jes.


PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Zenit E, which I bought for $10. Actually I have been quite pleasantly surprised by it: the shutter is smooth and quiet and the camera feels comfortable and solid - nicer than a number of cheaper Japanese cameras (such as Petri, for example), and being rock simple it seems to be quite reliable as well.

It is also rock ugly, of course, and I wouldn't use the selenium meter except as a prism decoration.... and its range of shutter speeds is very limited (though it covers the handheld range pretty well).

At today's prices perhaps you can get a Spotmatic so cheap that it makes no difference, but if you want something for the price of a Zenit, I wouldn't be afraid to go for a Zenit.

I don't know, though, whether the quality got worse in later years. The only Zenits that I have are an S and an E, and both are quite satisfactory.


PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rick_oleson wrote:
I have a Zenit E, which I bought for $10. Actually I have been quite pleasantly surprised by it: the shutter is smooth and quiet and the camera feels comfortable and solid - nicer than a number of cheaper Japanese cameras (such as Petri, for example), and being rock simple it seems to be quite reliable as well.

It is also rock ugly, of course, and I wouldn't use the selenium meter except as a prism decoration.... and its range of shutter speeds is very limited (though it covers the handheld range pretty well).

At today's prices perhaps you can get a Spotmatic so cheap that it makes no difference, but if you want something for the price of a Zenit, I wouldn't be afraid to go for a Zenit.

I don't know, though, whether the quality got worse in later years. The only Zenits that I have are an S and an E, and both are quite satisfactory.


Hi Rick, thanks for answering. I've been looking for a Spotmatic, but there aren't too many around eBay. A local colleague (that owns one), offered me a package consisting of three Takumar lenses (50mm 1.4, 35mm 3.5 and 135mm 3.5), the spotmatic SP body, a bellows unit and a multiplier x2 for 400. It's in mint condition, but I think it's too much for me... specially when I'm only interested in the body.
In the meantime (whilst I wait for a good opportunity), I've seen quite cheap Zenit's, some even with a Helios lens, some the body only for less than 5. I'm tempted to get one of those 12 ET with the russian letters in the front side, just for the aesthetics Wink, and maybe it does work fine either... Could even be a nice housing to avoid dust going into de Helios lens.
Thanks again for your advice,
Best regards,
Jes.


PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jesito wrote:
Could even be a nice housing to avoid dust going into de Helios lens.


That's the first time I've ever heard of a camera body being used as a lens cap..... Laughing

It's normally a Domiplan that's used as a body cap..... Laughing


PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy


PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bob955i wrote:
Jesito wrote:
Could even be a nice housing to avoid dust going into de Helios lens.


That's the first time I've ever heard of a camera body being used as a lens cap..... Laughing

It's normally a Domiplan that's used as a body cap..... Laughing



At 3, a body is cheaper than a lens cap...Wink

Best regards,
Jes.


Last edited by Jesito on Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:11 am; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use bodies as lens caps all the time. Kind of bulky in the camera bag....

If you find a Zenit in good working order for 5-10 Euros, certainly get it. It is a very capable camera; limited, certainly, compared to a Pentax, but it really is more pleasant to use than it is to look at.


PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi everybody!

I've been sistematically losing bids on Zenit cameras. The winner always surpassed me by 0,5... Yesterday, a spanish bid that was sold by 6,5.
But today I've won mine.... A Zenit 122 mint, like new, with an Helios lens 44-M6, case like new...
Just 25,50 , hope this is not too much. I use to overbid a little.
Best regards,
Jes.


Last edited by Jesito on Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:09 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulation! Enjoy film shooting with an excellent camera.Hopefully it will works, Zenit, Praktica, Pentacon not so famous from permanent quality build.


PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Attila wrote:
Congratulation! Enjoy film shooting with an excellent camera.Hopefully it will works, Zenit, Praktica, Pentacon not so famous from permanent quality build.


Thanks!. I'll show some pictures as soon as it arrive,
Best tregards,
Jes,


PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello and congratulations.

I had a 122 ( here it is -"was": http://cosmin_m.sitesled.com/m42/zenit_122.JPG Very Happy ). What I like about it is that I can use the shutter button , by depressing it halfway, to calculate the right exposure (the light meter only then goes on) and in the same time to see the DOF, beeing a DOF preview buton, in the same time. So after you are pleased with what you see you just continue depressing it until the shot is made. Another good thing is its ergonomics (except the shuuter time dial).
The thing what I do not like is the same thing I do not like concerning the other Zenit cameras: the very small number of shutter speeds you can choose from.
Good luck with the camera.

PS. Here is a manual, if you don't have one already. http://www.zenitcamera.com/mans/zenit-122/zenit-122-eng.html
http://www.rugift.com/photocameras/manuals/zenit-122.htm
http://haardt.net/manuals/zenit122manual.htm


PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

montecarlo wrote:
Hello and congratulations.

I had a 122 ( here it is -"was":
Good luck with the camera.

PS. Here is a manual, if you don't have one already. http://www.zenitcamera.com/mans/zenit-122/zenit-122-eng.html
http://www.rugift.com/photocameras/manuals/zenit-122.htm
http://haardt.net/manuals/zenit122manual.htm


Wonderful!. Zillion of thanks for the manuals!
I'm looking forward to receive it. I'll be shooting slides as a crazy for a few days, let's see what I can do with it.

Best regards,
Jes.


PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

katzer wrote:

I must say that 85mm on full frame is indeed different that 50mm on crop, the perspective is different and I am considering getting a full frame digital slr now (conflicted between 5d now or wait for its successor).


O.k., we've got you. Very Happy

After the first look through the viewfinder of the 5D the vf of our old 350D seems to be a small black hole.

Michael


PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

katzer wrote:
FWIW,

I started taking pics with my Zenit 12xp.
I haven't developed the film yet (soon).
But here is my experience so far:

It is an interesting camera, shutter speeds are limited (30,60, 125, 250, 500) but I can compensate for that with half stops on the lens without messing up my desired DOF too badly.
The viewfinder is nice and bright in my opinion, bigger than the one on my 400d.
The light meter is pretty easy to figure out, though I think an analog one would have been even more useful.
The focus screen is ok, I have at home an SLR like NIKON with a fixed lens (it never worked so it doesn't count) but it has an easier to use focus screen.
This is my first and only film SLR so I can't really compare it.

Another point was that the flash shoe bracket sticks a bit and when I looked through the viewfinder, it presses and hurts my eye socket, the solution was to tape some foam on it, now it is ok.

It is also my only "full frame" camera, and I am quite surprised and the view and perspective offered by a non-crop camera.
I have 3 lenses for it: Helios 44-2 58/2, Mir 1b 37mm 2.8 and a Jupiter-9 85mm f2.
I must say that 85mm on full frame is indeed different that 50mm on crop, the perspective is different and I am considering getting a full frame digital slr now (conflicted between 5d now or wait for its successor).

HIWA (hope its worth anything),

Erez


Many thanks for your comments!. I got two 35mm SLRs in the past, but they were parked in the drawer since the advent of the digital... (A Minolta X300 and a Fuji STX).
After discovering the manual lenses, I wanted a M42 body to carry along with the digital one and sharing lenses, that's the reason for the Zenith. But as a side effect, I've taken the dust off to the other bodies, and I got a couple of slide films for them...
On the other hand, I see many of you have gotten a Jupiter-9 and all of you are praising it a lot!. That's the lens size that I'm missing now, so after the Zenith I'll go for a lens of that size..
And yes, 35mm are much wider than the cropped dSLRs!!
Michael's comment on the 5D is getting echoes inside the buying zone of my brain, although the refraining side says "too expensive" quite loud. Wink

Best regards.
Jes.


PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

katzer wrote:
I must say that 85mm on full frame is indeed different that 50mm on crop, the perspective is different


Hi Erez. So often you see someone say "50mm on a crop camera is the equivalent of 85mm on a 35mm film camera". I've been saying for ages this isn't true. A 50mm lens on a crop camera is just the same as a 50mm lens on a film camera, it just looks through a smaller window.


PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peterqd wrote:
katzer wrote:
I must say that 85mm on full frame is indeed different that 50mm on crop, the perspective is different


Hi Erez. So often you see someone say "50mm on a crop camera is the equivalent of 85mm on a 35mm film camera". I've been saying for ages this isn't true. A 50mm lens on a crop camera is just the same as a 50mm lens on a film camera, it just looks through a smaller window.


Yes, Peter, same as here. I spend hours after hours trying to explain that a crop is just a crop, especially regarding DOF - and not more focal length. I convinced them with a full frame image with lines marking the cropped result of a x1,6 camera.

Michael


PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

if you can find one cheap, you need to get one of the 20mm MIR lenses to fit on the Zenit: that's a view you won't get with a crop camera without spending a lot of money!

I'm not sure I quite understand the 50/85 crop-vs-fullframe argument, it begins to sound more philosophical than optical. Unless you get into fisheyes, perspective is purely a function of where you're standing and what you're looking at, it has nothing to do with the focal length.... all the FL does is to determine the size of the window you're looking through. It does this in conjunction with the frame size, so in that respect a 50mm on a 1:1.6 crop camera is indeed equivalent to an 80mm (not an 85mm) on a full frame. Depth of field is different, but there are apples and oranges there too, since DOF also varies as a function of aperture and so is adjustable in any given image.

The 2 images below were shot with the same camera from the same spot with 2 different lenses; I cropped the image from the 50mm lens down to a 1:1.6 ratio to duplicate the difference you would see between the 50 on a 1.6x 'crop camera' and the 80 on a full frame.

(Looks kind of equivalent to me)


PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Borges wrote:
peterqd wrote:
katzer wrote:
I must say that 85mm on full frame is indeed different that 50mm on crop, the perspective is different


Hi Erez. So often you see someone say "50mm on a crop camera is the equivalent of 85mm on a 35mm film camera". I've been saying for ages this isn't true. A 50mm lens on a crop camera is just the same as a 50mm lens on a film camera, it just looks through a smaller window.


Yes, Peter, same as here. I spend hours after hours trying to explain that a crop is just a crop, especially regarding DOF - and not more focal length. I convinced them with a full frame image with lines marking the cropped result of a x1,6 camera.

Michael


What you both say makes a lot of sense...
I was confused as many others.
Thanks for clarifying it!.

Best regards,
Jes.


PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rick_oleson wrote:
if you can find one cheap, you need to get one of the 20mm MIR lenses to fit on the Zenit: that's a view you won't get with a crop camera without spending a lot of money!

I'm not sure I quite understand the 50/85 crop-vs-fullframe argument, it begins to sound more philosophical than optical. Unless you get into fisheyes, perspective is purely a function of where you're standing and what you're looking at, it has nothing to do with the focal length.... all the FL does is to determine the size of the window you're looking through. It does this in conjunction with the frame size, so in that respect a 50mm on a 1:1.6 crop camera is indeed equivalent to an 80mm (not an 85mm) on a full frame. Depth of field is different, but there are apples and oranges there too, since DOF also varies as a function of aperture and so is adjustable in any given image.

The 2 images below were shot with the same camera from the same spot with 2 different lenses; I cropped the image from the 50mm lens down to a 1:1.6 ratio to duplicate the difference you would see between the 50 on a 1.6x 'crop camera' and the 80 on a full frame.

(Looks kind of equivalent to me)


Hi Rick!,

So the only difference should be the first shot has better resolution than the second (more pixels, if I've understood properly).

Best regards,
Jes.


PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rick_oleson wrote:

I'm not sure I quite understand the 50/85 crop-vs-fullframe argument, it begins to sound more philosophical than optical. Unless you get into fisheyes, perspective is purely a function of where you're standing and what you're looking at, it has nothing to do with the focal length.... all the FL does is to determine the size of the window you're looking through.


If the behaviour of the lenses was constant over the whole focal range, you would be right, but a wide angle lens (especially if super-wide) captures the world in a different fashion than a normal lens (or a tele lens), so in spite of the apparent equivalence, it is my opinion (not supported by any test so far) that the world captured by a 25mm lens on an Olympus digital reflex (2x crop) should probably look different from the same scene captured by a 50mm lens on an EOS 5D. I'm talking about distortion and subtle proportion differences.

Quote:
Depth of field is different, but there are apples and oranges there too, since DOF also varies as a function of aperture and so is adjustable in any given image.


It's true that you can adjust DOF by operating on the aperture, but obviously the DOF of a 25mm lens (to stay with the example above) is significantly deeper than that of a 50mm lens at the same aperture. I have not tested that either, but I suspect that you will not be able to obtain the same narrow DOF that you can get with a 50mm lens and a full frame camera, by using a 25mm lens on a 2xcrop camera instead.

Quote:
The 2 images below were shot with the same camera from the same spot with 2 different lenses; I cropped the image from the 50mm lens down to a 1:1.6 ratio to duplicate the difference you would see between the 50 on a 1.6x 'crop camera' and the 80 on a full frame.


I think that the really significant test for this case would be what I described above: to shoot with two different cameras (one crop and one full frame) and with a pair of lenses chosen by taking into account the crop factor in order to produce the same FOV on both cameras. I may try that someday.


PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orio wrote:

If the behaviour of the lenses was constant over the whole focal range, you would be right, but a wide angle lens (especially if super-wide) captures the world in a different fashion than a normal lens (or a tele lens), so in spite of the apparent equivalence, it is my opinion (not supported by any test so far) that the world captured by a 25mm lens on an Olympus digital reflex (2x crop) should probably look different from the same scene captured by a 50mm lens on an EOS 5D. I'm talking about distortion and subtle proportion differences.


This will be true only if the wide angle lens you're using is a fisheye. Rectilinear lenses, whether wide angle, normal, or telephoto, are rectilinear.

Quote:

It's true that you can adjust DOF by operating on the aperture, but obviously the DOF of a 25mm lens (to stay with the example above) is significantly deeper than that of a 50mm lens at the same aperture. I have not tested that either, but I suspect that you will not be able to obtain the same narrow DOF that you can get with a 50mm lens and a full frame camera, by using a 25mm lens on a 2xcrop camera instead.


This is true: the DOF is a function of ABSOLUTE aperture, and the marked numbers on a lens refer to RELATIVE aperture. To get the same absolute aperture on an equivalent lens with a 1.6 crop factor, you would open your lens up an additional 1 1/3 stops (DOF on a 50 at f/1.8 is about equal to an 80 at f/2.8). If you have a 2.0 crop factor camera you would open up 2 stops (a 25mm at f/2 equals a 50mm at f/4).

Quote:
I think that the really significant test for this case would be what I described above: to shoot with two different cameras (one crop and one full frame) and with a pair of lenses chosen by taking into account the crop factor in order to produce the same FOV on both cameras. I may try that someday.


Please do. You may be surprised at the result. Whether the crop is done my the edges of the sensor or by cropping down in an editor does not have much effect on the path of the light rays through the lens.

: ) =