- Produced 1959-61 (1960) KMZ, Krasnogorsk (Moscow), Russia
- Film type 135 (35mm)
- Picture size 24 x 36mm
- Lens LTM Jupiter-8 (KMZ copy of Zeiss Sonnar) 50mm 1:2-22
- Filter size 40.5mm threaded, 42mm slip-on
- Focal range 1m to infinity
- Viewfinder coupled rangefinder
- Exposure meter none
- Shutter double cloth curtain
- Shutter speeds B, 1/30-1/500 (sync at 1/30)
- Diopter correction lever
- Accessory shoe and PC sync connection
- Flash sync timing adjustment
The rock-solid Mir was sold within the USSR as a slightly scaled-down version of the Zorki-4 with a fairly limited production run, and subsequently is a little hard to find these days. Like its brother, this a real classic camera, essentially a KMZ copy of the Leica II. Early ones are reportedly found with the Industar-22, later ones with the Jupiter-8 or sometimes (if replaced) the rigid Industar-50. Mir means “Peace” in Russian. The basic difference between the Mir and the Zorki-4 is essentially that here the shutter speeds are limited to 1/30 (sync speed) – 1/500.
As with the Zorki t’s an enjoyable user, with a large bright finder, rounded sides and comfortable vulcanite exterior; smooth, snappy shutter and sharp lens (regardless of which of the above you’ve got). Not quite as ergonomic or sexy as the FED-2 (which has the same speed range BTW) but very solid and definitely built for the long haul.
Yes I know that by now you’ve slapped your forehead, given the sad little head shake and thought about some nice ways to tell me I should seek professional help, but I didn’t buy this one, really. I won it! It was first prize in a self-portrait contest on the now defunct Beststuff russian camera forum. Donated to the contest by the semi-famous Oleg Khalyavin, who used to do repairs and overhauls on these type of cameras until he retired from the demanding work in early 2004. I can see why he was sought out — he did a great job adjusting this Mir. In comparison, my Zorki-4 feels the way I do most mornings, creaky and a little stiff till the juices get flowing….
And for the record, the winning picture, taken on Tri-X with a FED 3b and the same Jupiter-12 you see above:
Mounted on my Bogen tripod, taken with self-timer, plus a little acting. Extra credit if you can recognize the camera I’m posing with in the picture!
None needed, it had a CLA from a master technician before finding its way into my grubby hands…
Tips & Tricks
Always cock the shutter before changing film speeds! In fact go take a peek at the Zorki 4 manual to familiarize yourself with the camera, it’s close enough to the same thing. Changing film speeds without tensioning the shutter can damage the shutter. (This is apparently true of any camera where winding on also causes the film speed selector to turn, eg they are coupled.)
Bear in mind also that the takeup spool is not attached and can fall out without warning.
- The Zorki-4 Manual – close enough, give it a good once-over
- Part of Alfred’s wonderful Camera Page is an homage to the Zorki-4
- A page devoted to Russian Rangefinders
- And a nice page on ‘Why Russian Leica Copies?’ Well, because!
- If you lose the takeup spool or get one without, Mike Elek has an easy way to make a replacement