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Setting Shutter on ZORKI 4?

dave f , Nov 29, 2008; 12:00 p.m.

Let me start out with a disclaimer. I've never used rangefinder, the closest I've come is a Nikonos III (which is a viewfinder). So I really don't know how rangefinders are SUPPOSED to work, so I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out how this one works.

I am tinkering around with a Zorki-4. Everything seems to be in good practical order except I am having a bit of trouble figuring out the shutter dial. I am told Zorki-4 needs to be cocked before I set shutter speed, but once I cock the shutter, the shutter speed indicator moves out of place so I can't point it to the speed I want directly. Can anyone point out what I am doing wrong? The indicator seems to be pointing at the current speed when the shutter is not cocked.

Also, what is under the shutter speed setting? I have a dial with an arrow then number increasing by 5 from 0 to 25. Is this the flash delay setting?


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dave f , Nov 29, 2008; 01:23 p.m.

let me clarify the problem. Essentially, after cocking, the shutter speed select doesn't rotate a full 360 degrees back to its original position so it is difficult to ascertain what shutter speed is actually selected.

Kelly Flanigan , Nov 29, 2008; 03:21 p.m.

You wind the shutter wind knob on the far right clockwise. Then you set the shutter speed by lifting up the smaller concentric knob; thats the one closest to the accessory shoe. Thus when fired the 1/50 setting appears like its on the 1/2 second mark; when cocked its back at the 1/50 mark. The 1/10, 1/5, 1/2 and 1 second settings have one feeling abit more resistance when changeing/setting the shutter speed; one is winding up a delay geartrain. Here one the focal plane setting is fully "full frame" and thus the shutter is held open longer. The high speeds such as 1/1000; 1/500, 1/250, 1/100 etc have the slit non full frame. The markings of 0,5,10, 15,20,and 25 are the old delays in milliseconds for flashbulbs; one uses a 0 setting for strobe and a slow full frame setting like 1/25 second.

Kelly Flanigan , Nov 29, 2008; 03:30 p.m.

The inner concentric dial thats got the pointer that revolves and is about 11mm in diameter only revolves abit over 3/4 a turn; say 280 to 290 degrees.

The pointer on the knurled 11mm dial *points* to a different shutter speed when cocked; than non cocked. ie this is normal.

Kelly Flanigan , Nov 29, 2008; 03:45 p.m.

The dial at the far right of course ar the number of exposures on has fired off; it points to the three o'clock position; ie towards the center of the camera. Its a friction fit; one rotates the knurled deal to aim the say 0; and one fires off say a frame or two as a buffer. Or one can aim it at say -2 or -1 and just have it read good frames shot.

The 11mm dial that revolves during a shot is tied to the shutter; thus one should'nt touch it during an exposure; or you get a slower exposure.

Kelly Flanigan , Nov 29, 2008; 03:56 p.m.

Ok ; maybe this is obvious but one Lifts up the 11mm dial with the pointer after winding the shutter knob; and drops it back in place say in the 1/250 second position. Wind the shutter and set it to 1 second adn fire it off and one hears the geartrains buzz.

The outer knob around the shutter button when pushed down and rotated clockwise declutches the sprocket; when one has shot a roll and is rewinding back into the 35mm cassette.

The lever on the far left by the rewind knob is a diopter adjustment; ie to make the viewfinder more clearer for folks like me that sometimes get tired eyes!

Kelly Flanigan , Nov 29, 2008; 04:04 p.m.

My references to with the older shutter speed sequence like on my favorite Zorki the 3C.

Here is some more info on the Zorki 4 and similar cameras.

Michael Hendrickson , Nov 29, 2008; 05:57 p.m.

I got my old Zorki 4 out of the drawer to play with, to make sure I'm not lying to you! :)

Wind/cock the shutter -- as Kelly said, far right knob. As you do this, you'll see the small knob, on the right side but more towards the middle of the camera, revolving. This has a black line inscribed on its top; that's the pointer. This knob revolves as you cock the shutter.

Lift this little knob, and adjust the pointer until it points to the speed you want.

As I recall, you can't revolve this 360 degrees. For example, to get it from the highest number (fastest speed) setting to, say, one second, you have to revolve the knob all the way through the smaller numbers, not just straight through "B" over to "1".

It's important to note that, as you're setting the speed, don't force anything. Don't try to force the setting knob by pressing down on it to get it into position. Let it come to rest (stop lifting), then a gentle rotating of the knob once it's in the "neighborhood" of the setting you want, and it will just drop into place. If it doesn't, let it drop into another setting, then lift and try again.

By the same token, if the knob doesn't "want" to rotate in one direction, stop and rotate it the other way.

They're fairly tough little cameras, but you do have to mind your Ps and Qs when setting the speeds, because you definitely can damage the mechanism with forceful wrong moves.

There were a couple of different models of the Zorki 4, but I believe they're functionally the same. They do look different.

Here's a link to an online copy of the original English-language manual (translation is all right, not the best, but hey, it's Soviet, okay?):


As I said, this is only for one of the Zorki 4 models, but the shutter speed setting should be the same on both.

Hope this helps.

dave f , Nov 29, 2008; 10:02 p.m.

Thank you all for your detailed contributions. I just realized my clarification of the problem is probably causing some confusion. What I meant to say is that AS you cock the shutter, the speed speed indicator will turn, but not a full 360 degrees back to its original position. Thus I have to guesstimate what shutter speed I am selecting based on the relative original position. I think Kelly touched on this in her first post, that all Zorkis do this. Did I understand that correctly?

Kelly Flanigan , Nov 30, 2008; 01:02 a.m.

dave; you wind the shutter knob first; the one on the far right that has the 0 to 40 frames dial; the one that cocks/winds the shutter.

THEN; ONLY THEN do you lift up the 11mm dial with the pointer up and set the shutter speed ie the 11mm diameter dial. Thus there is no guessing involved at all. .

When the shutter is already fired the camera shutter reads a nonsense shutter speed. .

You do NOT set the shutter speed before the camera is cocked. .

There is only guessing if you want to set the shutter before its cocked; and risk doing it the non recomended way; one that sometimes causes shutter problems.. .

The 11mm dial is not suppose to rotate 360 degrees; it never will; thus do not focus on this nonsense. .

Once the zorki camera shutter is cocked you set the shutter speed. If you want 1/250; you lift the dial up and place it in the 1/250 position. .

Imagine watching a football game; each player has a number on his jersey; thus you know who is who during a game. Now imagine a pre game practice and all the jerseys are mixed up; thus the numbering is wonky; thats what the shutter speed dial is before its cocked; ie nonsense. Thus all you do is wind the shutter; set the dial; shoot the image; bingo.

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