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Zenit 12XP

Posted by Bengt Köhler Sandberg 2013-12-19

Zenit 12xp

Made between 1983 to 1992 by KMZ in Ukraine which was part of USSR.

Technical info

Lens mount: M42
Shutter: 1/500s to 1/30s + B and T
Light meter: Through the lens (ISO 16 - 500)
Battery: Two 1.5v SR43 (Only for the light meter)
Flash: Flash hot shoe + PC sync connection (sync 1/30 sec)
Weight: 670g


Takes standard 135 film
24×36 mm negative size.

Zenit 12xp


Quite nice but not the biggest or brightest.
Still works good and the focus aid is easy to read out.

Right side have two red led lights for the light meter.
Over or under exposed and both of the blinks when it's spot on.

Focus aid:

Shutter type:

Focal plane
Horizontal traveling cloth curtain.

All mechanical.

Build quality:

It's a tank and are very well put together.

Look and feel:
Love the look and the overall feel is good but a little clunky which I find suitable to this.


Find it fun and easy to use as long as one use it handheld.
But the lack of longer shutter speed can of course be a problem in lower light or if you want to stop down the lens a bit more.

The stop down light metering work by half-pressing shutter button.
This works well and it's a distinct difference so you don't easily press too much and take a picture by mistake.

You change the ISO by turning a quite big knob on the top right side of the camera.
It's marked with ISO 16-32-65-130-250-500 which is quite odd ISO numbers by today's film but these was maybe standard in 1980s Russia.
But this knob are in half steps so it works well with today's film as well and a ISO 100 is between 65-130 etc.
Find it however to be a little problem that this knob can't be locked and are big and easy to turn.
So it's quite easy to change the ISO by mistake when you pick up the camera from your bag etc.


Lovely camera at most points but one that I would mostly just use in good light conditions and handheld.

Thumbs up:
Great build quality

All mechanical

Thumbs down:

Lack of long shutter speeds
Slow flash sync (1/30s)

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