Zenit 12XP Reviews

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★★★★☆

“The Zenit 12 XP is a brick of a camera which will...”

Written on: 23/01/2010

The Zenit 12 XP is a brick of a camera which will simply keep working. And the Helios 50mm F/2 lens is one of the most underated pieces of optics ever. I now own a Zenit E amongst other cameras, made in 1974 and still working quite happily. Compared to modern plastic junk, it feels like a Rolls Royce in your hands… Read Full Review

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★★★★☆

“this is not about the perfect exposure, contrast, or...”

Written on: 04/01/2010

this is not about the perfect exposure, contrast, or sharpness. Nor about ease of use or practicality. My old photography teacher taught me one thing: "the only thing that really matters [in photography] is what you point your lens to."
The Zenit 12xp, with its limited features, tight restrictions and relative user unfriendliness, is the perfect tool developing visual intuition.
http://www.alexzakkas.me… Read Full Review

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★★★★☆

“I think everyone realises that the Zenit cameras are...”

Written on: 05/10/2009

I think everyone realises that the Zenit cameras are bargain basement, old school heavy chunks of metal, but what has that to do with basic photographic potential? The metering, with two LEDs in the viewfinder, is very accurate. The shutter speed, albeit limited, are accurate.

I used mine for many years, it beat the hell out of my other Praktica cameras in terms of reliabilty and quality of images with the Helios 28m, 58mm and 135mm lenses. I went over to Minolta when sold my Praktica set, and… Read Full Review

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★★★★★

“I love this camera. I am an amateur, and my first ever...”

Written on: 08/06/2009 by vumpsh (1 review written)

I love this camera. I am an amateur, and my first ever SLR was an older zenit-E. Since then, I have used many newer, much more high end pieces, but when I got a Zenit-12XP recently as a present, I fell in love with the Russian SLR again. Some people criticize Zenits for being clunky, but I love how solidly it feels in the hand. Controls are significantly improved over older models by the same brand, and I could consider this to be the best Zenit. Why? It has many technical improvements… Read Full Review

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★★★★★

“I love photography.... I use this camera since I was...”

Written on: 10/12/2008

I love photography.... I use this camera since I was young... I know it just like the back of my hand... it is perfect... Recently I bought on ebay a soligor 25-55mm.... and it just rocks... I love it! It is a masterpiece for learning photography!… Read Full Review

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★★★★★

“SOLID! Dependable, satisfying, and the helios lens is...”

Written on: 14/04/2008

SOLID! Dependable, satisfying, and the helios lens is sharp and contrasty. What a juggernaut… Read Full Review

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★★★★★

“Ah Soviet engineering! Well, what Carl Zeiss was to...”

Written on: 05/03/2004 by redbaron (16 reviews written)

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… Read Full Review

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Bertie's Response to redbaron's Review

Written on: 30/08/2004

"you are restricted to screw fitting lenses"
<br>
<br>No restriction friend - there are thousands of such lenses out there and most of them for peanuts. They're 'old fashioned' you see.
<br>
<br>BTW, the 'screw fitting' was originally called 'Edixa thread' from the name of the camera that first used it. It subsequently became known as 'M42' being 42 millimetres in diameter.
<br>
<br>Just thought you'd like to know that.

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Redbaron's Response to redbaron's Review

Written on: 28/05/2006

I think you'll find there are many people who learnt on Zenit's. I know 2 people who started with 12XPs who now do freelance work and they said it was a great camera to learn with.
Sure, it's old now but because it was built out of tank metal it'll last longer than you or I will mate!

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Fivish's Response to redbaron's Review

Written on: 25/05/2006

Good god man, this camera is a dinosaur! <br>I had a Zenit E 35mm camera 40 years ago! It was rubbish!
My next camera was a Nikkormat FT2 - wow what a beaut!

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Redbaron's Response to redbaron's Review

Written on: 01/09/2004

Hi Bertie, thanks for your comment. For the serious enthusiast M42 is indeed little of a hindrance but many will be buying cameras such as this in car boot sales and the like and for children etc. and they may need to hunt a little harder for the M42, but your addition is correct.

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★★★★★

“I am a beginner in photography,Zenit12xp is a true...”

Written on: 11/09/2003 by kikhobor (1 review written)

I am a beginner in photography,Zenit12xp is a true master for my development of photographic senses and camera handling. But I am having a problem since I bought the camera from an auction and could not have any manual.Could anyone be kind enough to send me complete Zenit12xp manual at kikhobor@rediffmail.com… Read Full Review

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★★★★☆

“The 12xp represents REAL photography. If you truly...”

Written on: 22/05/2003 by Tom Tiger. (1 review written)

The 12xp represents REAL photography. If you truly wish to
learn photography then this is the way to go. No programs, no autostuf but a back to basics camera. It's cheap, it's durable and the lenses are excellent. It has a M42 mount which means you can get a lot of good and cheap lenses for it. There are even forums around the world to help you with this camera.
So... free support, a good camera, and it even has a TTL meter. Which, imho, is a good meter. The 12xp forces you to think about… Read Full Review

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★★★★☆

“I have had a Zenit 12XP 35mm SLR camera with Helios...”

Written on: 19/09/2002 by Vaidis OK. (1 review written)

I have had a Zenit 12XP 35mm SLR camera with Helios 44, Mir 1B and Jupiter 37A lenses since 1994. The TTL exposure calculation system works perfectly. The only bad point is that there are no automatic modes for fast shooting - every time you need to set shutter speed and aperture by hand. And no autofocus, of course… Read Full Review

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Doðan Akay.'s Response to 38564_Vaidis OK.'s Review

Written on: 13/05/2003

I have this camera for about 3 months.But I really don't know how to use it.I can't use the posometer.And it is too heavy but you can get a real performence from it.

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★★★★☆

“The Zenit 12XP is an excellent 35mm SLR camera for its...”

Written on: 08/05/2002 by Misiek. (1 review written)

The Zenit 12XP is an excellent 35mm SLR camera for its price. A real workhorse, I have had it for 19 years without any trouble. The helios lens is magnificent. I recommend this camera to anyone that is on a budget or just starting out in photography… Read Full Review

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28787_Moderntech.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 21/06/2002

This particular Zenit takes Pentax style Screw mount lenses, which are inexpensive of high quality and available on the used market in droves! Russian lenses have excellent glass and are considered to be very good quality. (My only bad experience with one is when a seal had allowed dirt inside the lens when dropped in the desert; I have to take responsibility for that one! It still took wonderful pictures and worked flawlessly.) I paid $12 for my Zenit 12XP. (In Russian it is sometimes seen marked as the 12CD.) Wonderful value whose only drawback has been camera snobs turning their noses up at Russian cameras.

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Guest's Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 22/06/2011

hello,can anyone help me,i have a zenit 12sd and i need some books to learn :d
thanks in advance,
Onixa

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Hotlanta's Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 24/03/2008

David (Poster #11), I was shocked to hear that your Zenit 12XP has dual red LEDS! Mine has two LED's one Red (Left) and one Green (Right). When the exposure is over or under the red LED comes on and when the exposure is correct the green LED comes on and red one goes out! I had always thought all XP's were the same!
<br/>
<br/>I went to my favourite Camera Store locally and had to search out someone that would even speak about Russian cameras. And he referred me to a customer that collects cameras, who said his current 12xp was like yours, but that he had seen both. Apparently there are variations. I wonder (hope) if mine is the rare version. The manual for mine (written in English) matches my dual coloured LEDS.

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Dexor's Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 19/07/2004

Hello to everyone, I have a big problem : my zenit 12xp works very well, but when I retire the photos from the photographer I see on them two small blue horizontal lines at two cm of distance from the top and the bottom...what problem could be? Thank you very very much.
<br>davibassjh@yahoo.it

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Rudygarrido's Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 19/12/2003

In my Zenith 12XP the counter do not function, so I don´t know in what picture I am.
<br>Any good idea to repare it??
<br>Thanks
<br>Rudy
<br>rudy_garr@hotmail.com

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Moderntech's Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 04/08/2003

To: Andy From: Peru
<br>
<br>Watch out for 'haze' or 'cloudiness' on a lens or when viewing through prism, it is a way of getting around admitting it has fungus.
<br>
<br>'I haven't put any film through it' probably means it doesn't work.
<br>
<br>Download the camera manual from the free link that was published here earlier.
<br>
<br>Finally if the price goes to the equivalent of 40.00 US dollars or more, I'd let it pass. For that price you can purchase a Ricoh TLS 401, Mamiya 500 or 1000, or even a Pentax Spotmatic which use the same M42 screw mount and are a HUGE step up in quality.
<br>
<br>(I have not had good experiences with 'as-is' auctions, if the seller offers a return privilege it's probably a trouble free purchase; if he does not, it probably isn't!)
<br>
<br>Check his or her feedback rating!
<br>
<br>Hope this helps...

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121389_Andy.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 04/08/2003

I have seen a Zenit 12xp on an auction website, and I am going to have a look at it. It has a Helios 44 lens. Are there any particular things I should check for, and how much do you think I should be paying? Thanks!

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117263_Dan.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 20/07/2003

I like the Zenith XP. It's cheap and takes good photos. I've had three Zenith XPs. Each one has eventually broken after two to five years, with the winding mechanism seizing up. Also, the light meter tends to go wrong and if you strictly obey it you will get under-exposed photographs. In this sense, it's a very Soviet-style machine - it's big, heavy and you have to adpat to it. But when it works, it's excellent and I recommend buying one if it's cheap.

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103143_Moderntech.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 01/06/2003

The Zenit 11 and 12XP are very similar cameras with one very notable exception. They both use the same M42 (Pentax) screw mount but the Zenit 11 has the externally mounted selenium light meter (compared with the 12XP's internal meter.) These meters are infamous for giving poor readings and usually become useless in time. The plus is they never require a battery.
<br>Here is the link to Nathan Dayton's excellent Website on the Zenits, (has pictures data and manuals):
<br>
<br>http://www.commiecameras.com/sov/35mmsinglelensreflexcameras/cameras/zenit/index.htm

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102873_David.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 31/05/2003

Anyone know the difference between the Zenit 11 and the 12XP?

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98386_Ble.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 16/05/2003

about batteries: yep most of the batteries with the same shape work fine (alkalines work well also) - but look out not to leave Your camera shutter release button in the V position - once I did that and the batteries did not last a night !

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98298_Kv.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 15/05/2003

batteries: LR42, but recently I was forced to buy LR43 and they work fine.

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97999_Justyna.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 15/05/2003

Can anyone please advise what kind of battery I need to power the auto exposure facility?

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96278_Moderntech.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 09/05/2003

Have to agree on your assessment on German glass, (we love the Polish!!!) The Pentacon cameras are nice pieces of work also, however they break too EASILY. (My Beloved Pentacon Six is an expensive paperweight thanks to stamped soft metal gears and poor lubrication.) Only Broken Petri cameras rival Broken Pentacon cameras on eBay. The people here at Camera shows avoid them.

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Ble.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 09/05/2003

Well I'm writing from Poland where the Zenit 12xp is the most popular amateur SLR (there are loads of these cameras in people's houses - i.ex. I own four zenit's :) - I'll write You something additional about the camera - the non-export version of the 12xp is the 12sd (not CD:) and its the same as the xp model but has writings in Russian :) Well in fact the model is a copy (with some things thrown away) of a german Praktica which in fact is a copy of the Olympus OM-1 (again - with some features thrown away :))) - now something about the lenses - please don't use the standard helios 44m4 lens (that is 1:2/58) - its a rubbish one - I would recommend pentacon MC 1:1,8/50 - its not only about the light - the aperture is a lot better than in the helios (notice that the helios lens does some ugly things in the background of the picture) - another good but rare standard lens is the japanese revuenon 1:1,4/55 which gives very nice photos for a reasonable price (something about 50US$ for a good one - I have one of these lenses and I'm very satisfied - very light, bright and precise) - f/1,4 m42 lenses from different manufacturers are much more expensive and give similar results ! Ultra wide lenses are mostly quite expensive but again there are some exceptions - in ex. the russian MIR 1b (37mm lens) is very cheap (used for about 15-20$) with a good brightness f/2,8-16 - there are also some different popular lenses here - 500/8 and 1000/11 mirror tele's are very popular also - 16mm wide lenses are expensive but also very popular - almost every lens I mentioned before is availible as a new mint product in Poland (especially jupiter lenses) - only ultra bright 1,4 and CZJ DDR - (CARL ZEISS JENA DDR) lenses are things you have to buy second hand :)
<br>
<br>well have fun with Your zenit cameras :) and when You find it too simple switch to a praktica mtl camera with the m42 and you won't have to sell and buy new lenses !!!
<br>
<br>any questions ?
<br>mail me - michal@astral-group.net
<br>BYE ! :)

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84707_Moderntech.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 31/03/2003

These M42 screw mount Lenses were used on Pentax Spotmatics, SP, SP500, SP1000, SP1 and the ES (Electro Spotmatic,) as well as the H1. Note: Ricoh models TLS/TLS 401, Mamiya Sekor models DTL500 & DTL1000, also used this screw mount as did the early Fuji, Chinon and East German Practica/Pentacon cameras. There are other variants as well such as the Ricoh screw mounts made for Sears, and of course the Zenit's...

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84672_Jorge.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 31/03/2003

Hi, i own a Zenit 12xp camera who has a M42 screwmount, and i have an Osawa Lens. I will like to know which models of Pentax camera bodies have the same type of mount as my camera. Thanks a lot.

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61994_David.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 01/01/2003

hi
<br>
<br>The light metre in my Zenith 12XP never turns green but there is a reason for that - there is actually no green bulb. Correct exposure is indicated when the two red bulbs start flashing together. The flashing of the two bulbs concurrently fulfills the function of the green light. Therefore I don't find it strange that no green light goes on - and i have never heard of Zenith 12xp with a green indication light inside the viewfinder. Hope that this helps you chris (Russia) Thanks

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61716_Moderntech.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 31/12/2002

I have had some limited success with Break Free CLP - a lubricant that frees frozen screws and the like. Use a small amount and try very hard to isolate the rest of the working mechanism from getting any on it; (use a clean towel and hold the camera upside down so the excess drips away from the rest of the camera, might be a good idea to remove the lens also.) Zenits usually have a type of grease on the sprockets/gears and I have had this paste melt off in our hot desert Southwest thus freezing the gear in place. CLP will leave a fine coat of lube behind but if this does free your mechanism, this fine coat will soon dissipate leaving the gear unprotected. Thus a CLA (Cleaning Lube and Alignment might be the way to go. Here is a post from a Pro-Russian camera thread that might help you and others seeking a good inexpensive Russian camera repair:
<br>
<br>'There are competent Russian/Ukrainian technicians who will repair most Soviet cameras at very modest (by Western standards) prices.
<br>
<br>I've had work done by Oleg at "OK Camera". He sells cameras and has a website. Oleg repaired two Kiev 4AM's for me - bad shutters = for $10 apiece.
<br>
<br>Oleg's email address is: ok@capital.mari-el.ru
<br>
<br>Oleg accepts credit card payment via Paypal or personal checks to "Western Bid", a US firm.'
<br>
<br>I have not tried this camera tech’ as yet but imagine I will need to soon. Hope this helps!
<br>Moderntech

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61599_Gabriel.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 30/12/2002

I have a 12XP, and the film selector knob is broken (don't "click"). It's locked on ISO 100 films (I know that because when I use them the photos are fine and when I use the 400 the photos are croped), and I wouldn't mind if it were locked on 400. Is there any easy way to open the camera and roll the inner part of the knob (or whatever it should) to change it to 400?
i'd apreciate any hint, my email is
gabriel.barros<!---->@<!---->folha.com.br

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43478_Moderntech.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 13/10/2002

To: Chris from Russia (but I'm Canadian)
<br>Sounds like your lens is the Helios 44M or an equivalent. This is an automatic lens in that the aperture will remain wide open, then the lens will automatically 'stop down' to the correct aperture when the shutter is depressed either partially or fully. You can manually stop down this lens by flipping a lever or rotary switch (usually white in color,) on the lens itself.
<br> I have had a meter that stayed red no matter the lighting conditions. This is what I checked, is the battery compartment free of corrosion, do the batteries need replacement, (also check if they are the correct voltage,) is the automatic lens aperture pin damaged or broken (a small silver colored pin protruding from the back of the lens near the screw mount,) or the lens diaphragm frozen. Finally (as in my case,) the meter itself might be in need of calibration (as well as a Cleaning Lube and Alignment known as a C.L.A.,) which was enough of a cost for me to just replace the body.
<br>
<br>Here is my e-mail address should you need any further help, (as I’m fairly sure Review Centre doesn’t want to get into the nitty gritty of support for the Russian cameras...)
<br>
<br>moderntechnician@yahoo.com
<br>
<br>Hope this helps...

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43120_Chris.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 11/10/2002

Hi,
<br>I have a Zenit 12xp camera. I am a TOTAL beginner so don't know much. I have two questions.
<br>1) when I play with the aperture, the objective doesn't get darker or ligher when i turn the ring.
<br>2)When I turn the ring, the red light which shows whether there is too much or too little light never goes green. WHY????????

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41405_Moderntech.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 03/10/2002

Sounds like intermittent shutter bounce to me. I'm a camera collector and I now do most of my repairs myself. When I get a Zenit that develops problems now, I just archive it for spare parts and go to eBay and purchase a working one, as they are so reasonable in price. I believe the last 3 Model 12XP/CD's I have purchased ran around $12.00 $21.00 and $24.00 respectively. (The picture at the top of this thread is of my $12.00 Zenit 12XP.) The model TTL is very similar and a good choice also. Hope this helps...

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41075_David.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 02/10/2002

i use a zenith 12xp which belonged to my dad. Recently I've been having a problem that no one in Malta seems to be capable of resolving. The first 2 cm (starting from the left)of some photographs appear whiter, as if they were overexposed while the remaining area of the photograph is ok. It appears mostly on a sky background but can also be detected on other backgrounds. Yet it is random and I could not find out a particular f/stop or shutter speed at which this was happening. A technician changed the curtain and added a seal between the camera body and the bottom cover to stop a leak. Yet the next film I developed again had the overexposed band at the left edge of some pictures. I use a Helios 44 lens and a 70mm-210mm Cosina Zoom Lens and the problem occurs with both lenses. Now I am being told to give it up. Is there hope that it will be fixed? Anyone out there knows how to solve this fault? Thanks

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40446_Moderntech.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 29/09/2002

Replace the lens cap to prevent accidental exposure during the rewinding procedure.
<br>
<br>Press Shutter Release Button.
<br>
<br>With the finger tip or a non-marring tool tip depress the Film Rewind Sleeve below the shutter release into the cut-out portion of the surrounding sleeve (it looks like a half moon cut out.) It will click and stay down.
<br>
<br>Lift out Rewind Crank and rotate clockwise. You will feel the film being rewound into the cassette - stop when all resistance ceases.
<br>
<br>I hope this helps, I'll also post the on-line English manual for the Zenit 12XP & 11 which should be useful: http://www.butkus.org/chinon/zenith_12/zenith_12.htm

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40049_Need Help.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 26/09/2002

can anyone tell me how to rewind film on the Zenit 12 xp? PLease, i messed up a couple of rolls trying to do so.

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32122_Bungle.'s Response to Misiek.'s Review

Written on: 06/08/2002

Thanks for this review.
<br>I have found one of these camera's at my local second-hand store for $45 (approx US$25).
<br>It looked interesting but I wasnt sure what lens system they used.
<br>Thanks to your review, I now know they are a M42 screwmount just like my Pentax! Excellent!
<br>I already have M42 SM lenses, so I might buy it for the fun of it and I will Gain another lens, worth it for the lens alone I reckon. Thanks again

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