Zorki Type B – 1950


I took a bit of risk buying this old Zorki. At 65 years old it was quite shabby. The vulcanite covering was hard and peeling, body work dented and shutter perished.

I completely disassembled the camera and lens, cleaned all the parts, re-painted the black interior, made a new silk shutter, knocked out all the dents and recovered the body shell in antique burgundy leather.

All bushes and pivots were lubricated with watch oil or lithium grease and the film to flange distance was adjusted to 28.8mm. The rangefinder was also re-aligned both horizontally and vertically to match lens infinity.

I adjusted the first curtain spring to 4.5 turns and the second curtain spring to 3.5 turns. This gave a broad and accurate range of shutter speeds up to 1/200s and capping at 1/500s. I will leave this as-is until the mechanism beds in and then re-adjust accordingly. The new silk shutter is also much quieter than the original cotton shutter…almost Leica-like…maybe not!

The Zorki Type B – PM1050 is quite rare and dates to 1950. It was among the first batch for export, denoted by the hand engraved bilingual export markings on the top plate.

However, the attached lens is probably rarer – an Industar 22 – 50mm f/3.5 manufactured by KOMZ in 1949. This version differs from the PT5770 designation as it doesn’t have an infinity lock, just a brass pin – perhaps the new KOMZ factory didn’t have all the parts available during assembly?

As a side note, I use Fuji X-Series cameras with Kipon adapters to test lenses after re-assembly and found the colour and sharpness of this coated Industar to be much better than later versions (and even some modern lenses). Luckily, the lens was also scratch and polish mark free.

Not at all bad for a £40 investment, £10 of materials and 30 hours of work!


I decided to get to the root of the capping issue at 1/500s and found after doing some maths and checking the drum pawl alignment, I had set the first/second curtain overlap too wide and a little too far back (based on the Russian repair manual).

At 1/500s, the curtain slit is only 2mm and if the overlap is set too wide (4-5mm) then it negates the slit’s width and caps.

The drum pawl on this old Zorki is also little off relative to the shutter dial position. I therefore re-made the curtains, set the overlap to just under 3mm and positioned the first curtain to 3mm behind the film aperture (as per Leica specs).

Re-making the shutter curtains paid off – this old Zorki now clicks crisply and quietly!

I light tested all the shutter speeds and they are within 10% – Job done!


2 thoughts on “Zorki Type B – 1950”

  1. Excellent job!

    But how did you cut out the new leather skin without a template,
    since the broken vulcanite was no help?

    Thanks in advance!



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