Can anyone help with Zenith 80 shutter problem?

Idie

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Hi everybody! I am new to this forum and have a question about the Zenith 80 medium film camera.
I just bought one of these with three film backs and looking in very good condition. Was promised that it works. Yet, it turns out that I am not able to cock the shutter, which implies that also no film would be wound and the shutter curtain won't move. I am aware that one should not change the exposure speed settings with an uncocked shutter, and I didn't touch it at all when trying the camera out without film. I am also aware that the shutter would not fire with the dark slide in, so I removed it. But whatever I do, the two windows (at the camera and the film back) stay "red", which makes me believe that the shutter cocking mechanism might not be working as promised. Or I am doing something stupid and just plain wrong - like a little button to press, or having film in the film back ... it is the first time I am trying to play with a Zenith 80 and the manual is rather "brief", so it would not surprise me if I would just be missing a little something.
Is there anyone out there who might be able to help?
Thanks so much!
 

compur

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Soviet medium format SLRs are notoriously unreliable. I would return it if you can and look for a camera made elsewhere.
 

cgw

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The steep price of medium format gear is sadly making once-marginal cameras like the Zenit attractive. As suggested, Zenit/Salyut/Kiev Hasselblad clones were break-prone. Get a refund if possible. With respect, I'd either skip medium format altogether or be ready to pay a premium price for a major brand 645/6x6/6x7 camera kit in nice shape-likely from a Japanese seller. Do keep in mind that repair options are limited and expensive most places these days.

I'd also post over at photrio.com. Good luck!
 

compur

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For reasonably priced medium format cameras I would look at TLRs or even folding cameras. If in good condition they can produce results rivaling the SLRs. Mamiya TLRs even offer interchangeable lenses.
 

cgw

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For reasonably priced medium format cameras I would look at TLRs or even folding cameras. If in good condition they can produce results rivaling the SLRs. Mamiya TLRs even offer interchangeable lenses.
Problem is, it's 2021 and there's not been new MF gear made for over 20+ years--never mind TLRs and folders that go back decades earlier. That said, your advice might be off just a bit. I bought mint late game MF gear 15 years ago but rarely see anything comparable today aside from what's offered by Japanese sellers at premium prices. Suffice it to say that relics are poor choices unless you count capable repair techs among your nearest and dearest friends.
 

compur

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Problem is, it's 2021 and there's not been new MF gear made for over 20+ years--never mind TLRs and folders that go back decades earlier. That said, your advice might be off just a bit. I bought mint late game MF gear 15 years ago but rarely see anything comparable today aside from what's offered by Japanese sellers at premium prices. Suffice it to say that relics are poor choices unless you count capable repair techs among your nearest and dearest friends.

I agree but there are quite a few people out there who refurbish these oldies and sell them online so they are not hard to find and such cameras are still cheaper than many of the MF SLRs.

Cleaning up a lens and leaf shutter on an old TLR or folder is not all that difficult and that is the most common thing these old cameras need.

It may be beyond the skills of a newby but there are people who do it and re-sell the refurbished cameras (including me). There are also instructional web pages and videos available now that show how this work is done so determined newbies can learn to do it themselves if they wish.
 

cgw

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I agree but there are quite a few people out there who refurbish these oldies and sell them online so they are not hard to find and such cameras are still cheaper than many of the MF SLRs.

Cleaning up a lens and leaf shutter on an old TLR or folder is not all that difficult and that is the most common thing these old cameras need.

It may be beyond the skills of a newby but there are people who do it and re-sell the refurbished cameras (including me). There are also instructional web pages and videos available now that show how this work is done so determined newbies can learn to do it themselves if they wish.
Few rookies now are willing to go full bore survivalist with their film photography, especially with medium format. Sorry but buying refurbed relics is a crap shoot. Don't doubt your probity/competence in such matters but have seen a few "works like new" TLRs and folders bought by friends that were semi-functional junk.

Luckily I bought into medium format during the early 2000s when prices had cratered on truly nice stuff.
Doubt I'd risk it at today's prices on any sort of MF gear on offer. YMMV, as always.
 

Paul-H

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Seeing the prices asked for old MF gear these days makes me wish I kept mine to sell now, just seen an old Hasselblad 503 go for 4 grand, only paid a grand for mine brand new and the old blads were known to be prone to internal rust 20 years ago, god only knows what state they are in now. The prices being asked and paid in today's markets just defies belief.

And yes the Russian Blad copies were crap when brand new, by now they could all be total junk.
 

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