Zenit-branded, full-frame mirrorless camera reportedly on its way

Image: “Zenit TTL” by Multicherry is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

A Russian news service has announced that a new full-frame mirrorless camera will be launched under the Russian Zenit brand.

The Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant (KMZ), which has traditionally produced Zenit-branded cameras, has not manufactured a Zenit-branded film camera for the last 12 years, and has not yet brought a digital model to market.

This latest news, however, suggests that Zenit will be an unexpected third brand to join the full-frame mirrorless market, after Sony and Leica.  

The announcement, made on the Russian information service RNS, quotes Zverev Igor Sergeev, Deputy Director General for Civilian Production and Consumer Goods at KMZ. 

Serge explained: "We have a close cooperation project with one of the leading photographic equipment companies, in order to create a joint product, where KMZ is involved in manufacturing infrastructure for the production of optics for these cameras. And electronics will be manufactured abroad.” 

Sergeev also said that the camera would be made available in “light and dark” finishes, and decorated in leather, using high-quality finishing materials. He went on to say that the camera would be available in both Russian and foreign markets.

Although Sergeev did not mention any specifications or pricing of the forthcoming model, he did state that the company was not intending to compete with well-known manufacturers of photographic equipment, but that the camera would cost more than a good smartphone. 

The cheapest mirrorless full-frame camera currently on the market is Sony’s A7 II, although older examples of Sony’s first-generation A7 cameras can still be found for less.

The last announcement from Zenit came early last year, in the form of three wide-aperture prime lenses. The Zenitar 50mm f/0.95, Zenitar 50mm f/1.2 and Zenitar 85mm f/1.2 are designed for users of Sony FE, Canon EF and Nikon F systems.

Last year, the was reportedly planning on releasing a camera that would rival Leica’s offerings, although nothing has materialised as of yet.

Zenit’s first camera was an SLR based on a Zorki 35mm rangefinder camera, which itself was produced in the same KMZ manufacturing plant as Zenit’s models. Production of all cameras appears to have halted in 2005. 

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Matt Golowczynski

The former editor of Digital Camera World, "Matt G" has spent the bulk of his career working in or reporting on the photographic industry. For two and a half years he worked in the trade side of the business with Jessops and Wex, serving as content marketing manager for the latter. 

Switching streams he also spent five years as a journalist, where he served as technical writer and technical editor for What Digital Camera before joining DCW, taking on assignments as a freelance writer and photographer in his own right. He currently works for SmartFrame, a specialist in image-streaming technology and protection.