A Russian-made rangefinder digital using the M-mount seemed to be one of the oddest rumours of the past year. But it is now fact, as were the L-Mount Alliance and Panasonic’s full-frame cameras, other of which were largely discounted before yesterday.
Zenit has announced a new rangefinder digital based on the M240 and produced with the full cooperation of Leica Camera AG. It will be marketed together with an f/1 lens, no less.
Initially it seemed that both camera and lens were being manufactured in Russia. But it appears that only the lens is wholly Russian. The camera, apparently, is being assembled in Germany. According to sources, the Zenit M will be available early in 2019 at a cost of between 4,000 and 5,000 Euros — and that includes the f/1.0 Noctikoff. Whatever next. Oh, and it will come in black and silver, just like Leicas.
Here is the full press release:
Zenit and Leica Present Joint Production Camera
Krasnogorsky Zavod, manufacturer of the Russian brand Zenit, in cooperation with Leica Camera AG, German manufacturer of premium cameras and optics, designed a new digital rangefinder camera Zenit M. The Shvabe Holding, part of Rostec, has presented this product at Photokina 2018, the largest international trade fair for the photographic and imaging industries held in Cologne.
One of the participants of the project is Krasnogorsky Zavod (KMZ Zenit), a leading designer of photographic equipment in Russia, is now part of Shvabe. The Zenit M is technically based on the Leica M Type 240 platform, but was modified both in terms of hardware and software.
The camera is equipped with Zenitar 35 mm f/1.0 lens, completely designed and manufactured in Russia, 100% of its components and materials are Russian-made. The lens creates an image that doesn’t require processing, has unique bokeh and soft focus effect.
The design of Zenit M copies designs of the legendary Zenit and Zorky cameras, it’s a full-frame rangefinder camera made for shooting under various conditions.
The official presentation took place with participation of Andreas Kaufmann, major shareholder and chairman of Leica Camera AG supervisory board, Alexey Patrikeyev, CEO of Shvabe, Ivan Ozhgikhin, Deputy CEO of Shvabe, and Vadim Kaliugin, CEO of KMZ Zenit.
“Zenit and Leica cooperation forms a unique alliance between long-term experience in optics manufacturing and modern technologies of Russia and Germany. With this project we for the first time declare launch of world famous Russian brand Zenit into the new segment of photography equipment market,” said Alexey Patrikeyev, CEO of Shvabe.
Zenit M will be available from December 2018 in Europe and from January 2019 in Russia at both Zenit’s online store and selected photo shops.
“On purchasing the camera and the lens the users will get not only a high-quality device with elaborate ergonomic design and high optical characteristics, but a really smart camera which will provide high image quality,” reported Vadim Kaliugin, CEO of KMZ Zenit.
At Photokina 2018 Shvabe also presents the whole line of Zenitar and Helios lenses manufactured by KMZ Zenit as well as historic models of SLR and rangefinder cameras. This exposition is also completed with products of another Shvabe enterprise, LZOS. Along with other showpieces the leading manufacturer of space and astronomy optics demonstrates mirror-meniscous telescopic photo lens MC Rubinar-10/1000 with high light transmission and image contrast.