The Zenit TTL is a Soviet Era SLR produced from 1977 to 1985 by two producer KMZ and MMZ. About 2.6 million were produced with KMZ being the largest producer. This example was make to commemorate the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
This one is pared with a Zenit Helios 44m-4 lens. The mount is the M42 screw mount, giving you access to a variety of Soviet lens that seem to go for less than similar lens in the the Leica M39 screw mount.
It is not hard to imagine this thing rolling down the factor line next to AK 47s and Soviet tanks. In part because I grew up a child of the cold war and have a warped perspective of the Soviet Union, but mostly because this feels more like the creation of the military-industrial complex than a fine photographic tool. It has the esthetic refinement of a blunt instrument. But that gives it a different kind of beauty. I has the beauty that comes from a stoic confidence that you are there to work not for show. And work it does.
The view finder was not clean and bright but usable. Focus in on a patch in the center of the viewfinder. The rest of the viewfinder is darker to give contrast but that make your frame fell darker than it is. And does not help with framing the shot. The meter shows a needle and bubble with a +/- and you adjust to center on the bubble. Simple to use but hard to see against a dark background.
Two Quirks that I noticed. The frame counter does not automatically reset, not that unusual or that big a deal but something to remember. The one that puzzled me the most was: after I shot the roll, I could not figure out how to rewind the film. It has a crank handle like lots of cameras, but no film release button or lever that I could find! Eventually, I got desperate and went on-line to read the instructions (never do that first, sucks all the fun out of life) and discovers that there is a collar under that shutter release button and an arrow. Turn the collar counter clockwise and it releases the film. Turn it back to load a new roll.
This is not a Nikon F3 but it works. Mine seemed to function normally. It may not be my first pick but it did open me up to a new set of lens and the Helios-44M-4 was a nice surprise. The lens is in much better shape than the body so, I don't think they were an original set. After shooting the roll, I was surprised by the images and went to learn more about the lens. I want to shot this lens again in color and explore the large end of the aperture and the soft background this lens seems to produce. Until then I have this Soviet tank to park on the boarder and intimidate the neighbors.
Lens: Zenit Helios-44-4 58mm f2.0