Zenit and Leica Unveil the Zenit M Full-Frame Rangefinder

The Russian camera brand Zenit has announced a new full-frame “mirrorless” camera. Called the Zenit M, it’s a rangefinder based on the Leica M (Type 240) created in collaboration with Leica.

Krasnogorsky Zavod, which manufactures Zenit-brand gear under the ownership of Shvabe Holding, announced back in 2016 that it would be bringing the Zenit brand back from the dead to battle Leica in luxury. In 2017, the company revealed it would be launching a full frame mirrorless camera in 2018 with a “leading photographic equipment company.” That company is Leica.

Zenit says it made both hardware and software modifications to the Leica M (Type 240) in creating the Zenit M, so it isn’t simply a cosmetic rebadge (though, the look of the Zenit M is inspired by famous Zenit and Zorky cameras).

The camera comes with a Zenitar 35mm f/1 lens that’s 100% designed and manufactured in Russia.

“The lens creates an image that doesn’t require processing, has unique bokeh and soft focus effect,” the company says.

While other features and specs of the Zenit M have yet to be revealed, most of the important ones are presumably similar or identical to the Leica M (Type 240), which features a 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor, a 3-inch 920k-dot LCD screen, 1080p video recording, live view focusing, a 0.68x viewfinder, ISO 6400, and 3fps continuous shooting.

The Zenit M is based on the Leica M (Type 240).

The Zenit M was unveiled at Photokina 2018 this week by Leica chairman Andreas Kaufmann, Alexey Patrikeyev (CEO of Shvabe), Ivan Ozhgikhin, (Deputy CEO of Shvabe), and Vadim Kaliugin (CEO of KMZ Zenit).

The Zenit M will be available starting in December 2018 for photographers in Europe and January 2019 for buyers in Russia, both online and in physical camera stores. No word yet on pricing or if/when the camera will be available in the United States.

Image credits: Photographs courtesy KMZ Zenit/Shvabe