Kristall is a 35mm film SLR camera, manufactured by Krasnogorsky Mekhanichesky Zavod (KMZ) , (Mechanical Factory of Krasnogorsk), Moscow, former USSR, produced between 1961-62 with quantity 65.433. Кристалл (Кристалл = Kristall), means Crystal, (on the front of the camera Kristall logo is engraved as Cyrillic italics). Kristall belongs to the Zenit series of 35mm SLR cameras. It was developed by Nikolaj Michailowitsh Marenkov.

Kristall is the successor of the Zenit 3. The main differences from Zenit-3 are hinged back cover and the new mechanism of cocking lever with shutter button on it and its unique top-plate design.

Kristal has several technical features from Zorki 6.

Top plate of the camera hammerhead painted instead of usual chrome plating so this feature made this camera unique. The ribs on top of the prism are for stiffness or maybe artdeco. Unfortunatly nobody liked the design of the Kristall, and some people called it tractor like. So the ill fated Kristall stayed only in production for about a year and then was replaced or renamed by the Zenit 3M that with usual plain, chrome top plate finish.

There are three types of the Kristall that hammered grey paint top plate, green painted top and body (very rare) and the white top plate without enamel covering. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


  • Lens: Industar-50, (ИНДУСТАР), 50mm f/3.5, coated, filter thread 33mm
  • Mount: KMZ's ZM39 screw mount [6]
    • Aperture: f/3.5-f/16,
    • Focus range: 0.65-20m +inf.
  • Focusing: Fressnel ground-glass screen
  • Shutter: horizontal travelling focal plane, rubberized silk double cloth curtain
    • Speeds: 1/30 - 1/500 +B [7]
  • Cocking lever: also winds the film, right hand, short stroke
  • Frame counter: advance type, manual setting
  • Viewfinder: eye-level SLR pentaprism
  • Mirror: not instant return
  • Memory dial: displays GOST numbers and for color film type red engravings of sun, lamp and Цветная word means Tsvetnaya (= Color), on the re-winding knob
  • Self timer: activates by a small knob above the lever
  • Flash PC socket: on front of the top-plate, flash setting via a selector switch beneath the speeds dial, points a flash sign or bulb sign, works only at 1/30
  • Back cover: hinged
  • Body: moulded metal, top plate hammered grey paint; Weight: 675gr
  • Others: Tripod socket: 3/8 inch; Strap lugs
  • Serial no. engraved on the back of the top plate with KMZ logo, first two digits show the production year

Notes and references[]

  1. According to Alexander Komarov Fotoua. You can also find serial numbers for dating of the cameras in this site
  2. There is another classification by Aidas Pikiotas in [1]
  3. There are usefull books about cameras of former USSR and have classifications also.
  4. Pages from the the book of former USSR cameras by Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin
  5. Discussion about clasifications in the books of Princelle and Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin in USSR Photo Forum
  6. Looks like M39 Leica mount but due to the mirror space, the rangefinder M39 mount lenses do not work properly on this camera. You can use them only the close-up focus range
  7. Speeds setting can be done with or without shutter cocking contrary the most of the Leica inspired Soviet era cameras.


In English

  • Princelle, Jean Loup - Made In USSR - The Authentic Guide To Russian And Soviet Cameras, Le Reve Edition, 2004 (ISBN 2952252106 (ISBN13: 9782952252102) Paperback

In Russian