Zenit have a Leica rangefinder… and a 35mm f/1.0 lens!

Russian photography industry legend, Zenit, has teamed with Leica to release a Russian-designed version of the Leica M (Typ 240), and they pair this with a new lens, a 35mm with f/1 aperture, which is quite some chunk to behold.


From the image above, it looks like the camera tilts backwards slightly when set on a table with the lens. It also seems to have fewer ports than the original, and the lens probably obscures part of the viewfinder.

Some sources report that the camera and lens will be limited to a run of 500 and cost between 5000 and 6000 Euros. The combo will be available in Europe from December 2018, and in Russia from early 2019.

There isn’t a whole lot else to report, other than to point out that two years ago, rumours said that Zenit would release a camera with 50/0.95, 50/1.2 and 85/1.2 lenses. Prototypes could be seen mounted on Nikon and Sony (E-mount) crop bodies at the time, so at least some of their lenses will probably have back focal distances compatible with use on a DSLR camera, and there’s no doubt that, assuming those lenses see the light of production, some owners will machine them to allow mounting on those cameras as well – specifically the 50/1.2 and 85/1.2 seem to be compatible in this way, while the 50/0.95 can presumably be adapted on Sony.

In a news article reporting on the Zenit M, a representative for KMZ Zenit/Shvabe was quoted as saying, “We will analyze the experience gained and decide which camera will be next, perhaps it will be a SLR camera, and perhaps a more advanced rangefinder”. As Leica has only one SLR in its line-up, perhaps the SLR part points to a different possible collaboration or, given the recent widespread enthusiasm for shooting film, an in-house developed or resurrected film SLR – dare I suggest with modern large aperture primes?


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