After the modest success of the early Zenit line came the Zenit C (Zenit S), of which 230,000 units were made with a body derived from the Zorki rangefinder line. The next model, the Zenit 3, sold about a quarter of the C, so designers changed course and name, where the Kristall (Crystal?) was born. The design moved slightly from the C, with added self-timer, hinged back, and lever winder. It’s all-new, redesigned top with a rounded prism housing that reminds me of the Citroen 2CV, conceived at about the same time. Not only oddly styled, but it was also hammerstone pained, untraditional, and unique.
The late C models and the early Kristall were sold simultaneously but were promptly abandoned in favor of the Zenit 3M, which outsold both.
There was also a Kristal 2, aptly marked, similar to the Kristal, with an added instant return mirror. There were two variants, with and without meter. Made in a very short run, it is hardly ever seen.
Straightforward to use, more so if you get a Latin-marked model. The speed selector can be set before or after cocking, a change over the traditional Soviet models of the time. A dial around the speed selector toggles between X and M sync speeds, marked with cute icons. Standard lens was the omnipresent Industar 3.5/50, the common lens for the Soviet SLR models.
|Weight||590 gr, Body only|
|Class average weight||610 gr, Body only|
|Filter size||33 mm|
|Shutter||Focal plane cloth horizontal|
|Mirror||None auto return|