Another casualty: Zorki 1 shutter craps out.

The end of the road for my Zorki 1?

This has long been one of my favorite rangefinders. The viewfinder is tiny, and the controls are fiddley, but it’s small and with the collapsible Industar-22 lens, easily slips into my jacket pocket. I even found the excessive heft comforting, giving me the feeling that I was holding a solid piece of equipment.

Well now the Zorki 1 has joined my growing ranks of disabled cameras. The shutter crapped out as I was loading a new roll of film which somehow got caught up in the shutter mechanism. Now the front curtain is stuck open and inoperable. This camera had been working great for a year since returning from a CLA and new shutters from Oleg.

I own three FSU rangefinders. In addition to the Zorki 1, I have a Zorki 3m which just came back from a shutter repair from Oleg, after the shutter on that one went less than a roll after Oleg gave the camera an overhaul. Also I have a Fed 2 that’s also acting up. In the final few frames of the last roll I shot, there’s a thin strip along the bottom of each picture. this one came from Fedka and served me well during my trip to Japan back in July.

Given the money and time spent on these three cameras so far, it might be time to give p on the FSU and move up to something with a better track record, maybe one of the Canon rangefinders or even save up a bit and get a Voigtlander.

The Leica III series rangefinders are lovely, but they don’t make sense from a money standpoint. I got into FSU rangefinders, of course, because they were a cheap way to get into the whole manual rangefinder camera experience.

I like having to take the time to check the light, set the shutter speed and aperture, a process that slows me down enough to make me think a bit about the picture I’m taking. I also own enough decent compact rangefinder with the auto exposure and even a couple of point-and-shoots for when I need quicker shooting.

The point is, after all, to take pictures. I’m now to the point where continuing to put money into my FSU cameras is starting to look a bit foolish (as in penny wise, etc.).

Nov. 25, 2010: Got the roll of film back and found that the shutter had been bad the entire time, only it was still cocking. Each frame has some several weird crescent-shaped light leaks almost as tall as the frame. Looks like the Zorki 1 is in need of serious work. This is an investment I’m hesitant to make just now. With the money this little baby would end up costing me, I could get me a beater Leica.


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