Zenit 212K

The though K-mount user camera

Zenit-212K, the successor to the Zenit-122K. Some have given it the nickname "Spud" Now with its shape you might think it to be a large potato or pherhaps you would think that the "Spud" is derived from a 312 camera but it's not. In fact it is the lovable Zenit-122 yet again, but now with K mount, like the Zenit-122K. And the two are very similar, but the handgrip has been redesigned AND it has more speeds, it has B, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/1250, 1/500. Like our trusted 122 you do not have to lift the speeddail to change speeds, it just rotates. It takes a lot of K mount lenses, so here we have an easy and cheap entry into the wonderfull world of K mount lenses. The price for a 212K is very variable but cheap nonetheless, it varies from 50 to 100 dollars (US) and the early ones come with the Helios 2/58 mm 44K (trusted and true) but most come with the very sharp 2/50 mm Zenitar K2, which imho is worth the 50 bucks or 50 euros alone.

Zenit212K Zenit212K

As seen in the left shot, the 212K has got a more ergonomic body. The selftimer is like the 122K located inside the new ergonomic handgrip. The lightmeter is identical to the Zenit-122. A simple 3 led meter, its hotshoe syncs to the usual 1/30. Just like the E-type, the 11 and the 12 and the 122. Allthough early versions had the Helios 44K, the most have the Zenitar K2 nicknamed the "Bullet" (right shot). Allthough it has a bit of a plastic feel on it it is a worthy succesor to the Helios 44K. It is sharper, lighter and has a macro mode of 1:5. It comes down to 30 cm. Which is great since you don't have to buy an additional macro lens. But the Bullet comes with a disadvantage, the 44K had a filtersize of 52mm which is a easy to get normal filtersize. But the Bullet has a filtersize of 46mm. Harder to get, so the best thing is to get a step up ring (also pricey) to use you 52mm filters.

The 212K has an odd story, some say the 212K is rare and never left the prototype stage, others like Princelle say that only a few hundered have been made. If these stories were true than the 212K would be a rare camera. But I can safely debunk these stories by simply checking with KMZ itself and their production number for the 212K is 28294 units. Hardly rare, uncommon maybe but rare... no way.

A 212K is a great manual backup or usercamera for any Pentax-K mount user. Like the 122 it is a good learning camera. The newer grip makes for an easy holding camera and it will work without the batteries. Also like the 122 it has a DOF button. You just press the shutterbutton halfway down and the lens closes to the desired aperture, this also activates the lightmeter. Like the 122/122K it is a practial, simple, all manual camera and it has K mount. What more do you want in a simple and durable SLR?

Did I mention it is cheap?

Copyright Tom A.H. Piel

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