Written on: 05/03/2004 by redbaron (16 reviews written)
Metal case, Good Image Quality, Ease of Use
Strange batteries, screw lens fitting
Ah Soviet engineering! Well, what Carl Zeiss was to the DDR, Zenit was to the USSR. I have a Zenit 12XP which has finally given up the ghost on me and I think I am actually going to have to replace it. That being said they go cheap on ebay so it is tempting to nab another. It was my first 'proper' 35mm camera and I got it with a few lenses to play with. The Zenit is good and chunky, it's a durable bit of kit and can take a knock or two without a problem which compares well with many of the carbon fibre SLRs these days. The Zenit is very easy to use with simple functions, the flashing red lights tell you when the settings should be correct and as such I found it an excellent start into hobby photography. In my opinion you'd be hard pressed to find a better camera for a 16 year old say who wants to go out and snap. The Zenit is manual which forces you to learn how to use it properly rather than letting all the auto functions do the work. You feel like you've acheived something when you get that really good picture right.
On the negative side you are restricted to screw fitting lenses rather than the more common bayonet ones, that being said you can usually pick these up quite cheaply when you find them. I found the batteries in mine were a little odd and took a long time to find, I think the camera shop fleeced me for them as well, probably knew that I couldn't be bothered to look any more!