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Krasnogorsk Zenit 12 XP favori envoyer Print
Photos by Sylvain Halgand text by Sylvain Halgand. From the collection of Sylvain Halgand
France Version française

Chronology of the Krasnogorsk brand  New window

Manufactured in ex-URSS from 1983 until Circa 1992.
Index of rarity in France : Peu courant (among non-specialized garage sales)
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Inventory number: 11377

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Krasnogorsk Zenit 12 XP

Traduction de Pierre Yves Petit.

First issued in 1982, the Zenit 12 replaces the Zenit TTL, upon which it is based. Unlike the TTL, which required a PX 625 mercury battery, the 12 uses two 1.5 Volts alkaline batteries (type 186).

The built-in exposure meter is now provided with two small Cds cells located behind the prism, whereas the Zenit TTL had only one Cds cell located in front of the prism, through a semi-transparent mirror.

The benefit of this new system is that the cell is more precise while taking pictures in dimmed light. The second benefit of this system is the replacement of the traditional galvanometer by two red LEDs, one indicating under-exposure, the other one over-exposure. When the two LEDs are blinking at the same time, the exposure is correct.

The disappearance of the semi-transparent mirror in front of the prism combined with a better Fresnel lens and a better focusing screen (with micro prisms) allows a more precise focusing, done in a slightly brighter finder.

The Zenit 12xp was the camera of amateur photographers during the 80s and the 90s. Its low selling price, its Helios 44M (perfect for black & white), its M42 mount allowing the use of a wide range of lenses (many different brands & qualities !) and its soviet-tank-like sturdiness made it unrivalled as far as value-for-money is concerned.

According to Princelle, 1 170 000 units were sold, with different variations: the rather hard to find 12s has a needle galvanometer (very probably to use the TTL bodies stocks), the 12xp (stands for eXPortation), the 12cd (domestic version) as well as the s-series (XPS and CDS) specifically designed for the Photosnaiper kit.

I believe that the 12xp is one of the best camera of the brand, and one of the most pleasant to use among the old Zenit range.