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Zenit EM

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This is a Zenit EM and according to
Princelle between 1972 and 1984 nearly 1 million were made by the KMZ factory in the USSR.  The EM was one of the successors to the very common Zenit E. The main difference between the 2 is that the Zenit-EM has automatic stop down of the aperture on firing the shutter. This means that focussing can be done at full aperture (normally F2) - but there is no risk the picture will be taken at anything other than the aperture selected on the lens' aperture ring. The feature however relies on using lenses designed for auto stop down. Older lenses - known as 'preset' as used with the Zenit E still need stopping down as before.

Photo of Zenit EM SLR 

This picture was taken with an Epson PhotoPC650 camera.

This particular Zenit EM is in the 1980 Moscow Olympic livery. Moscow Olympic cameras are generally rarer than standard models though  still quite common. The Russians were very proud of the fact they were  staging the 1980 Olympics and marked cameras with this logo for several  years around the event.

The standard lens on the Zenit EM is the Helios-44M - however in the picture it is shown fitted with the more desirable optional 85mm Jupiter 9 lens.

Lens Specifications

Focal Length 

No. of Elements 

Angle of View 

Maximum Aperture 




40 deg





28 deg


The Zenit EM is still quite a usable camera as it takes ordinary 35mm film  and standard
(M42) 42mm screw fit lenses. As well as being able to use the range of Russian lenses designed for Zenits - the M42 fitting allows the use of numerous lenses from other manufacturers. The camera however is not worth much - maybe 25, though the Jupiter-9 is probably worth just as much if not more on its own.

I don't use Zenits much (we are more collectors than users) - but when  want a Zenit for use - this EM is my first choice.

HERE for a Zenit EM manual on Alfred Klomp's excellent camera site.

Got a question or can't find the info you are looking for? Click HERE to contact us.

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All text and images Copyright © 2000-2011 Roland Givan, unless otherwise stated. All Rights Reserved.

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