35mm / coupled rangefinder prototype ..... no serial number ..... year : circa 1969
lens: Zorki / Industar-50 / 50 mm f.3.5 ..... lens serial # 5852683 (1958 / Princelle # K440)
factory : KMZ / Krasnogorsk, USSR .... Designer: N.M. Marenkov
Notes : The Zorki-35M full-frame 35mm coupled rangefinder was a project undertaken by KMZ designer Nikolay Mikhaylovich Marenkov during the late 1960's (the "M" is his signature ... he also designed the Zorki-3M and the Zenit-3M). It was based on the body of the Zenit-E and some of the advanced design features of the Zenit-D Automat, but as a rangefinder camera.
The Zorki-35M was to feature luminous frames in the viewfinder for 50mm and 85mm lenses, with the entire field of the viewfinder corresponding to that of a 35mm lens. Other advances included automatic parallax compensation, speeds from 1 to 1/1000 sec. and a moderne body design. The mirrored frontplate is similar to the Photon and Zenit-D Automat. It was likely an attempt to make an updated alternative for the then aging Zorki-4. At least three hand-built prototypes of this camera are known to exist and the KMZ archives list it as a "project". It was never produced in series.
Mr. Dmitry Kopp at the Research and Design Center of the Krasnogorskii Mekhanicheskii Zavod (KMZ), commented about the Zorki-35 M:
"Of course, it was an 'initiative project' -- btw, Marenkov very liked this method of work. He (in a full secret! :) build some new camera (often using old parts) -- one or more, and then went to the director to show it. Sometimes he had success."
If you look at the top view of the camera, you can see traces of the cut in the top plate where the reflex housing was removed (from a Zenit-E), and then replaced with a flat section (then chromed over). The shutter speed plate appears to be from a Droog, the rewind knob from a Zenit-B, and the body trim from a Zorki-6. The faux leather body covering is the same as that used on the Zenit-7 from 1969.
There is a photograph of a Zorki-35M in a 2001 issue of a Russian periodical, "Photo-Courier" along with an article about it. There is also a photograph of another example of this camera in the files of KMZ (though, they do not have the camera). These two cameras appear to differ from this example only in several details (see the last photograph). The nameplate is printed in different colors, the lens is a 1955 Jupiter-8, and the timer lever is like that on the Droog.
From collection of Bill Parkinson
more photos at: nightphoto.com