Yes folks, it’s real, and it’s out. Zenit and Leica have partnered to build the Zenit M digital rangefinder camera.
It’s been long rumored, but since it has just made an appearance at the Photokina 2018, we can all be sure that it’s real. Krasnogorsky Zavod (KMZ), the manufacturer of the Russian brand Zenit, and German camera and optics company Leica Camera AG have indeed joined forces to create the Zenit M, a Full Frame digital rangefinder camera.
Editor’s Note: I just want to add in that we confirmed with Leica that this is indeed real and that it probably won’t come to the US.
According to the press release shared by Mirrorless Rumors, the Zenit M is technically based on the Leica M Type 240 platform, but its hardware and software were modified. The design, meanwhile, follows that of the legendary Zenit and Zorki cameras.
The Zenit M comes equipped with Zenitar 35 mm f/1.0 lens, which was completely designed and manufactured in Russia, with all of its components and materials Russian-made. With this wide aperture, this lens creates a unique bokeh and soft focus effect.
As for availability, it is scheduled to be out beginning December 2018 in Europe, and January 2019 in Russia via Zenit’s online store and selected photo stores.
While we wait for word on the camera’s specs, you may want to learn more from the press release below.
Zenit and Leica Present Joint Production Camera
Krasnogorsky Zavod, manufacturer of the Russian brand Zenit, in cooperation with Leica Camera AG, German manufacturer of premium cameras and optics, designed a new digital rangefinder camera Zenit M. The Shvabe Holding, part of Rostec, has presented this product at Photokina 2018, the largest international trade fair for the photographic and imaging industries held in Cologne.
One of the participants of the project is Krasnogorsky Zavod (KMZ Zenit), a leading designer of photographic equipment in Russia, is now part of Shvabe. The Zenit M is technically based on the Leica M Type 240 platform, but was modified both in terms of hardware and software.
The camera is equipped with Zenitar 35 mm f/1.0 lens, completely designed and manufactured in Russia, 100% of its components and materials are Russian-made. The lens creates an image that doesn’t require processing, has unique bokeh and soft focus effect.
The design of Zenit M copies designs of the legendary Zenit and Zorky cameras, it’s a full-frame rangefinder camera made for shooting under various conditions.
The official presentation took place with participation of Andreas Kaufmann, major shareholder and chairman of Leica Camera AG supervisory board, Alexey Patrikeyev, CEO of Shvabe, Ivan Ozhgikhin, Deputy CEO of Shvabe, and Vadim Kaliugin, CEO of KMZ Zenit.
“Zenit and Leica cooperation forms a unique alliance between long-term experience in optics manufacturing and modern technologies of Russia and Germany. With this project we for the first time declare launch of world famous Russian brand Zenit into the new segment of photography equipment market,” said Alexey Patrikeyev, CEO of Shvabe.
Zenit M will be available from December 2018 in Europe and from January 2019 in Russia at both Zenit’s online store and selected photo shops.
“On purchasing the camera and the lens the users will get not only a high-quality device with elaborate ergonomic design and high optical characteristics, but a really smart camera which will provide high image quality,” reported Vadim Kaliugin, CEO of KMZ Zenit.
At Photokina 2018 Shvabe also presents the whole line of Zenitar and Helios lenses manufactured by KMZ Zenit as well as historic models of SLR and rangefinder cameras. This exposition is also completed with products of another Shvabe enterprise, LZOS. Along with other showpieces the leading manufacturer of space and astronomy optics demonstrates mirror-meniscous telescopic photo lens MC Rubinar-10/1000 with high light transmission and image contrast.
Images by ShvabeRus