Russian Camera Company Zenit is Back

If you're old enough to remember Russian made Zenit cameras, then you probably think of them as cheap Leica knockoffs. Which they kind of were, at least their most famous rangefinder ones anyway.

In 2005, Zenit closed down after 53 years of making 35mm SLR cameras, but at that point, they hadn't mass produced cameras in decades and were making more of a niche product. That was thirteen years ago, now, they're coming back with their first full-frame mirrorless digital camera, which in a fitting twist, is actually made by Leica.

Leica is reviving the legendary Russian Zenit brand to deliver a full frame mirrorless range-finder style camera called the Zenit M that's based on Soviet-era Zenit and Zorki cameras. Those cameras themselves were based on Leica cameras.

Let's hope this doesn't end up like Mel Brooks THE PRODUCERS, which was a movie that inspired a musical, that in turn inspired a movie... that was terrible.

The Zenit M will be made and designed in Russia in a collaboration with the German engineers at Leica. Despite the fact that the Zenit M is a Russian camera, it's hardly something that's "for the people" as it will cost somewhere between $5,900-$7,000 US dollars.

The Zenit name is controlled by the Russian holding company Shvabe, who in turn is controlled by the Russian state conglomerate Rostec.

A spokesperson for Shvabe told AFP:

"The main target audience is luxury and amateur photographers... The price of the product will be absolutely adequate, taking into account the brands that are taking part in this project."

There are no specs on the camera as of yet except for the ridiculously high price. I'm not sure a camera like that even works anymore. With cameras like Fuji's amazing X-T3 selling for $1,500 and Sony's excellent A7 III for $2,000, anything new on the market better be great at taking pictures if it costs 2-3 times more than its competitors.