Zenit, Repair project

A guide to cure the common problems on the following models
E, EM, ET, ES ,B, BM, 10, 11, 12, TTL and all models that look like them.
Newly added, the Zenit-19.



I do not take responsibility for any damage done to cameras when this guide is used. It is intended as a helpdocument for Zenit users around the world. Please do not email me with questions about alternative materials, tools or other stuff. If it isn't here. Then I either haven't used it or haven't thought of it.
Do not try to repair your Zenit when you are not sure about it. You might not be able to put it back together again or break something. And spareparts are scarce at best.


There are still some around, please do not email me to find out who they are because I just don't know. Instead join the Zenit Camera User group on Yahoo!


and if you own a K-mount Zenit also join


And... while you're at it, join the PhotoResourcegroup for some extra info on photography.


Not only will you be able to find out where you can have your Zenit repaired but you will be able to get all your other Zenit questions answered. Because I do not have all the answers, nobody does. I highly recommend you to use the Zenit Camera group, it offers so much extra help in both photography and the use of your Zenit. And you can meet all the other Zenit users around the world and there are a lot of them.

Subscribe to the Zenit Camera Group
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I wrote this guide for one simple reason. I got a lot of questions on the Zenit-E and its many subtypes. More then 12 million E's were made. But not only the E type, also the EM, ET, 11, TTL and the 12. The total number of cameras produced by KMZ counts in the millions. So it is not suprising that some of them break down over the years. And that is the reason this guide exists. So that you can repair your Zenit and enjoy pure manual photography. All info here is free just for that reason.

But if you want to help to keep Tigers Lair online. And if you want to part with your Zenit then send it to me. Some Zenits I'll strip for parts, some will become part of my collection and some will be revived, repaired, rebuild and sold to keep Tigers Lair online.

Or if you just want to show me that you like the info here, I'm looking for Russian Aviation pins. I've got several, and I find it fun to collect them. So if you got them lying around and you don't know what to do with them well.... you can make me happy with it.

And... webspace like this (no commercials or popups) and good ISP's like XS4ALL don't come for free.... Tigers Lair needs some support to stay online. This way the info on this site will stay available.

Do you take repairs?
In one short word, No. I do not take repairs. I've got more than enough problems allready. If you get tired of your Zenit. Send it to me, I'll make sure that you will never ever see it again.

Repair Guide

When I started this guide it was mainly intended for the Zenit-E type, but since I've gotten more Zenits I've added more info on the other Zenits namely;

B, BM, EM, ET, ES, 10, 11
(because the EM, ET, ES, 10, 11 have a different shutter assembly and rewind assembly I've added an extra page on this)
Several of the TTL versions which except for the selenium lightmeter share the same construction or are similar in construction. Rewind assembly on the left side of the camera is different but it can be worked out easily.
TTL, 12 and 122, allthough these are different in there topcover dissassembly they still share a lot of the old E type, esspecially the groundglass assembly. Some older TTL's even have the same shutter assembly as the E (chromium black ones)

This repairguide covers the following items


I would like to thank,

Jean Loup Princelle for his fantastic book "The Authentic Guide to Russian and Soviet Cameras " (Both Editions). Also referred to as " The Soviet Camera Collectors Bibel ". Even though it has its faults it is the Standard work to get.

Yuri Ryshkov.  For his handy little book called."Russian and Soviet Cameras (1840-1991)".

Isaak S. Maizenberg for writing the most excellent "All You Need to Know About Design and Repair of Russian Cameras, A Collector's and Repairman's Handbook"  which helped so many people with their cameras around the world.

Alexander Schulz for his Excellent book "Zenit Die Geschichte der russische Spiegelreflex-Prismensucherkamera mit M39 Objektiv anschluB" Which I like the call the last word on Zenit M39 SLR's.

Jon Goodman "Interslice" for sending me his most excellent sealing kit. Which is by far the best sealing kit for camera lightleaks I have ever seen. And his excellent contributions to the ZCG.

Mike Steele for his help, his excellent contributions to the ZCG and for his donation of a Zenit-212K.

Alfred Klomp from
Alfred's Camera Page for his help and most excellent website.

Martin Luerkens for his donation of a Parts Lomo LC-A so I can get one of my Lomo's up and running again and his great contributions to the ZCG.

Hans Marvel for his donation of a Zenit-11 with a broken shuttercurtain, which I really need to restore since it still looks so good.

Nathan Dayton for his help and his most excellent Communist Cameras site which is one of the best reference websites around (if not the only one).

Mike Dixon, for his great help on photography and donations.

Ian G. Martin for his donation of several Zenit bits and pieces and his great contributions to the ZCG.

Juhani Halmeenmaki, for his help and donations (including a very very nice Aeroflot pin of the TU-114) and his great contributions to the ZCG.

Anders Loberg from Zenit Camera Club who started the Zenit Camera Group (aka the ZCG)Forum to help every Zenit user around the world.

Abro Instrumentenhandel who sold me a lot of Zenits and lenses.

AGFA Theo, who sold me a lot of cameras and lenses and his excellent work on Fotografica and all things photo.

Without these people, these pages would probably not be here or they would be a lot smaller.

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Copyright © Tom A.H. Piel

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