Under the brand "Zenith" will be released a digital camera from "Leica"? / SurprizingFacts

A few weeks ago, in a variety of news sources, a very interesting interview with the head of the Department for the Development of Civil Instrument Engineering of JSC "Schwabe" Igor Sergeyev on the participation of Krasnogorsky Plant named after S.A. Zvereva in the production of digital mirrorless full-frame camera under the brand "Zenith."
The network has a lot of speculation on this topic, and in this article I will try to outline the picture.

A very brief digression into the history: the PAO Krasnogorsk Plant named after. SA Zvereva (formerly the Krasnogorsky Mechanical Plant (KMZ)) since the 1940s has been manufacturing optical and mechanical products for various purposes (mainly for the military-industrial complex) .Family in the USSR was brought to the plant by photographic equipment for civilian purposes (photo And cameras, lenses.) As far as I know, at the moment the plant produces a small set of lenses and, probably, panoramic cameras (here it is necessary to understand that some of the products are manufactured at the request of the Lomography Society: "Jupiter 3", "Russar" And The factory is now part of the large holding company Schwabe, which unites the enterprises of the optoelectronic industry.

What about the release of a digital camera under the Zenit brand? The independent website zenitcamera will shed some light on this topic .com dedicated to the history of the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant (hereinafter referred to as KMZ) and its photographic equipment (domestic photographers will be able to find there for themselves a lot of interesting and new).

What is the history of civil digital technology KMZ? Projects of cameras were developed for about fifteen years, but it did not come to serial production (one of the digital functional prototypes is depicted at the beginning of this article).

What is happening now?
The first mention of the visit of representatives of Leica to KMZ dates from October 2016. Further, with reference to the magazine of the Krasnogorsk plant "Patriot", information is provided about the meeting held in April, attended by representatives of CMP, "Leica Camera AG" and the design studio "Smirnov Design". Here the situation is clear (here is a quote from the site zenitcamera.com).

The meeting discussed the new key pricing factors for the production of Zenit-D1 and Zenit-D11 cameras, the circulation of the issue, the design was negotiated New camera. Christopher Gredler (designer Leica Camera AG) presented the first design proposals for D1 cameras in the Zenit style. Until the end of April Smirnov Design will present an alternative design proposal and in the future it plans to support Leica (Christopher Gredler / Stefan Albrecht) with respect to design and feasibility studies.

The D11 camera will have a design and a name Zorki. Also, the need to lower the retail price of the camera was discussed, but the circulation was increased, in contrast to the original plan for production and sales.

The mention of Zenit-D and Zorky-D digital cameras is in the presentation of the beginning of 2016 The year, where, in particular, it is said that there were no investment projects for these devices at that time.

What is the design of Zorky and Zenit? In Germany they produced cameras "Leica", in the USSR they were copied as "FED", after the Great Patriotic War, "ZED" became a branch of "FED" at KMZ, and Zeniths were being developed on the basis of Zorky (so Leica was the mother of " Zorky "and the grandmother" Zenith ").

Leica II


Finally, on the site zenitcamera.com there is an analysis of the interview of Igor Sergeyev, from which all the fuss began. The author of the analysis assumes that the digital camera produced by CMZ in cooperation with Leica will be expensive (comparable to Leica's products for the price), the participation of Krasnogorsk plant is likely to result in the production of camera lenses and the provision of brands (Igor Sergeyev in an interview stated that " KMZ is in the production of infrastructure for the production of optics for these cameras, and electronics will be manufactured abroad. ")

Now let's talk about how a camera can look. It is stated that the camera will be mirrorless: let's see what Leica can offer from mirrorless cameras.
First of all, this is, of course, the rangefinder cameras in the traditional design (Leica M8, M9 and M10).


Secondly, it's Leica Digilux 3 – repainted Panasonic. The model is obsolete, but it is an excellent example of cooperation between Leica and other companies.

Leica Digilux 3

Third, there are various compact cameras (Q, X, TL2 and D-Lux). You do not even need to make lenses here – mold the "Sharp" brand and sell it.

Leica X

Any of the above cameras, In my opinion, can be produced under the brand "Zorkiy", both with the developments of CMP, and with "native" lenses.

What cameras can be released under the Zenit brand? At the moment, there are two easily makeup cameras for a SLR camera. The first one is a V-Lux with a zoom lens.

Leica V-Lux

The second is the top Leica SL.

Leica SL

Why does Leica need all this? Additional sales markets will never interfere. Leica can sell repainted compact cameras under the brand name "Zorky" or "Zenith" (at the same time the price for the camera can be slightly reduced), M-cameras under the brand "Zorky" with optics KMZ in the kit (the same Jupiter 3, produced for the Lomographic Society ), Its mirrorless flagship Leica SL under the brand "Zenith" – there are many options. Probably, the case for the new camera will have slightly changed geometry in comparison with existing Leica cameras.

The price of the most expensive version of the camera can be about one million Russian rubles (carcass + lens) or seventeen thousand dollars.

In addition, they say that Leica does not have everything so smooth. The Blackstone trading group, which owned 44% (or 45% depending on the source) of Leica Camera AG shares for six years, was dissatisfied with the work of the concern and is rumored to want to sell its stake.

Let's hope that this news will result In interesting serial products, and the Krasnogorsk plant named after S. Zvereva will be able to take the maximum participation in their development. I would like the plant with a great contribution to the domestic photo industry to be able to show a worthy result in the present.

It will be amusing if "Zorky" and "Zenith" revive as descendants of "Leica", this time digital


PS Those who wish to discuss Soviet film technology in the comments I recommend to restrain their ardor and wait a little: if this article provokes interest, I plan to release several articles on the development of Soviet small-format cameras.

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