Thursday, 12 July 2007



The Zenit Quarz 1 x 8S-2, or in the Cyrillic Russian alphabet, the Эенит кварц 1 x 8C-2, was the last amateur Super 8 camera to be built from scratch. Indeed it was still being manufactured in the 1990s, the last batch being produced in 1993. These are also sold under the "Kinoflex" label by Pro8mm. Over 300,000 of these were produced between 1974 and 1993, the peak of production being 28,853 in 1990. Even in the last year of production, over 4,000 were made.

Clockwork driven and metal bodied, these would have been more at home in the 1960s than the 1990s. Very few models of Super 8 camera were ever clockwork driven. These are- environmentally sound! There are still many of these cameras in existence which have never been used and are available as new from a number of sources, and they are one of the most versatile available for the amateur cinematographer. They can be obtained for relatively little money and, due to their non-reliance on batteries, keep working in conditions which would kill most Super 8 cameras (such as the extreme cold).

The Zenit Quarz has developed something of a cult following, almost akin to the fantastic LOMO obsession which is gripping some sections of the still photography enthusiast fraternity- the only difference being that these lovely cameras can produce stunning images in their own right, the art not needing to be the fact that the image looks so "bad" or that light is leaking all over the image. Maybe it's an interest in exotic things-these were designed and built under Communism to work to a different system of film speeds but have become one of the most versatile and affordable Super 8 cameras in the world. Or maybe it's because they are by far the most fun Super 8 camera to use and experiment with.


This page aims to be a resource for those interested in and using these wonderful cameras. I do not sell these cameras, nor is this meant to be an elaborate advertisement for them on behalf of someone else. It is constructed to enable everyone to get the very best from their Zenit Quarz camera and to provide links to films made with them so that everyone can marvel at their genius.



The lightmeters run on 2 PX 625 or PX 13 1.3v zinc-air button-cell type batteries which replace the original mercury cells. Unlike some cameras, the replacements match the voltage correctly.

Here are some common issues and their resolutions:

"I can't find the battery compartment!"

The battery compartment is easy to miss- the first time I got one of these cameras I couldn't find it. It is a small pull-out piece of plastic in the "ceiling" of the film chamber interior. It literally just pulls out.

"My batteries don't seem to be working- does this mean the lightmeter is dead?"

This is a common problem which often leads people to jump to the conclusion that the lightmeter is dead when it isn't. There are three things to check before declaring your camera dead:

1. Are the batteries the correct way round? Firstly make sure the polarities of the batteries (+ or - signs) are the same way up as the marking on the plastic holder. THEN when inserting them into the camera, make sure the holder is the right way up (the two "+" symbols should be facing DOWN with the two "-" symbols facing UP - assuming the camera is lying flat on a table with the film chamber door open that is.

2. If you are using Zinc-Air Weincell batteries, make sure you REMOVE the tabs and allow them to air for an hour or so. These batteries do not work immediately and need to be allowed to air OUTSIDE of the camera before using them.

3. If steps 1 and 2 have been completed and the lightmeter is still doing nothing- check it is actually set to auto-exposure ("A" on the knob). Turn the lightmeter knob all the way round as far as it will go, then back again to "A". Occasionally on some cameras the lightmeter can get stuck- this is how to free it. This is also useful if you suddenly find your lightmeter isn't functioning- try it before concluding the batteries need replacing.

"My local camera shop tells me these batteries can't be obtained anymore".

Wrong! The MERCURY batteries which the camera came with can't be obtained anymore as they are environmentally hazardous, however a number of Zinc-Air replacements with the correct 1.3v voltage are currently manufactured. See the Resources page for details. I would not recommend using the similarly sized 1.5v alkaline equivalents as these may mean incorrect exposure.

"I've tried all the above and my lightmeter really is dead! Sob!"

This is rarer than thought, but if it really has died, you have my sympathy. However this does not mean the camera is dead and useless! As long as the spring-wound motor continues to work, the Quarz exposure can be set manually regardless of whether batteries are fitted. Using the "sunny 16" rule with Ektachrome 64T usually gives nice results. Some users prefer to expose manually anyway as often the "correct" exposure doesn't give them the look they want for their film. For instance, slight underexposure increases colour saturation.


As for the films it can take, the Zenit Quarz can take films of the following speeds:

12, 25, 50, 100 and 200 ISO (without filter in place). Use the dial to set it:

-2 = 200 ISO

-1 = 100 ISO

0 = 50 ISO

+1 = 25 ISO

+2 = 12 ISO

The camera makes the correct 2/3 of a stop filter-factor reduction in speed when the built-in 85 filter is put into place. The great thing about this camera is that neither the film speed or filter position are determined by notches on the cartridge, instead they are set by switches on the camera itself. Just remember to use the correct setting!

This is great if you are using a film which is incorrectly notched but want to use it at it's true speed. Furthermore, unlike most "Western" cameras which can only handle 40 and 160 ISO tungsten balanced films, the Quarz gives you a choice of a more diverse range of films whilst using auto exposure.

NOTE! When using DAYLIGHT balanced film (anything with a "D" after it, such as Wittnerchrome 100D or Cinevia 50D) in daylight, switch the filter OUT of position by putting it to the BULB. Confusing, I know, but BULB = OUT, SUN = IN. The filter only needs to be IN in daylight with TUNGSTEN balanced films (anything with "T" after it, such as Ektachrome 64T and Vision 2 200T).

The Zenit Quarz camera can handle the following CURRENTLY available films at their correct speed:

Cinevia 50D (Fuji Velvia 50) - colour reversal.
Kahl UT18 (Agfa RSX II 50)- colour reversal.
Wittnerchrome 100D (Kodak Ektachrome 100D)- colour reversal.
Kodak Vision 2 200T- colour negative (quite unique to find a camera reading 200T correctly!).
Kodak Plus X 100 - black and white reversal.
Kodak Tri X 200- black and white reversal.
Kahl Dockument 12- black and white reversal.
Kahl NP21- (ORWO 100 ISO) - black and white negative.
Kahl UP24- (ORWO 200 ISO)- black and white universal.

But what about the hallowed Ektachrome 64T?

Fantastic news for users of Kodak Ektachrome 64T colour reversal film- when exposing it at 50 ISO, this camera actually makes it look BETTER than exposing it at the correct 64T speed! How? The slight 1/3 stop overexposure is barely noticable insofar as the colours remain saturated and the highlights are not blown out, but it DOES reduce the grain slightly. Brilliant! Just remember to set the filter to "SUN" when shooting in daylight as this is a tungsten-balanced film.


With the Zenit Quarz, you actually get two lenses, a Meteor 8M-1 1.8/ 9-38mm zoom lens which focusses via microprism focussing through the viewfinder. Underneath, however, is a fixed focus lens with a focal length of approximately 12mm.

"So can I use other lenses on it?"

Well yes and no. Unfortunately the focussing element is behind the fixed focus lens, so you would need to unscrew that and do some surgery on the camera to be able to do TTL focussing. This can be done if you know what you're doing, but sadly you can't just mount an SLR lens onto it without modification unless you are going to use some other system to focus the camera.

"Well what's the use of that?"

Convenience! You have the choice of a fixed focus point-and-shoot which anyone can use, for example if you give the camera to a complete novice to film you at an event, but you retain the ability to focus critically utilise narrow depth of field for dramatic effects and of course zoom, simply by replacing the zoom lens. This way you get the best of both worlds.

Fernando Morales shows that with a little ingenuity, replacement of the lens can be done!
here he has used a step-up ring to mount an anamorphic lens to the Quarz!

"The pistol grip comes off too?"

Yes, if you remove both the lens and the pistol grip, you have a fully usable little metal box reminiscent of a 1950s Standard 8mm camera! This is also handy for tripod mounting. The pistol grip has a tripod socket too, so you can choose whether to mount it with or without the pistol grip attached.


The viewfinder is TTL (through-the-lens) so you shoot what you see, there's no parallax effect. Lightmetering is also TTL- there is no external "electric eye". The viewfinder has the focussing prism in the centre. Zoom in, then focus using the microprism circle, then zoom out again. The f: stops are also shown, from 22 to 1.8.

"My eyepiece is out of focus! The dioptre wheel doesn't work!"

Actually the dioptre wheel is a dioptre LOCK. Turn this to unlock the eyepiece itself. Adjust the eyepiece to your own eyesight by turning the rubber eyepiece itself, then use the wheel to lock it into place. A common mistake.


The Quarz has the following film speeds, which correspond to the following shutter speeds:
9fps = 1/18
12 fps = 1/24
18 fps = 1/36
24 fps = 1/48
32 fps = 1/60

Single frame: 1/20

"Hang on! I can't find the single frame setting!"

Correct, there isn't one! To take single frames, you use a cable release which screws into a dedicated single-frame socket next to the shutter release button.


Whatever it is- whether it's quirky or artistic, a documentary or a home movie, if it's made with a Zenit Quarz Super 8 camera, we want to see it! E-mail a link to and a link will be added to this section, so the whole world can see the beauty of the films these lovely cameras can make. Don't forget to include details of the film type etc!

From : By "Kinematographer" this is partly shot on a Zenit Quarz. It is Kodak Vision 2 250D self-telecined "Cannes 2007 super8 kodak vision2 hand processed".

From by "Retrostudent": Kodak Tri X self processed as negative then inverted in post shot, entirely on a Zenit Quarz.

So very like moving lomography!

By Hellboysmaster shot on Kodak Vision 2 200T

By Hellboysmaster shot on reversal by the looks of it.

Beautiful example of how Ektachrome 64T turns out when using the Quarz, thanks to dominicm3:

Anamorphic Super 8! Fernando Morales's adapted camera (above) in action!

Carabanchel Quarz E64T super8

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FILMS AND PROCESSING (Germany) (Germany) (Germany) (Netherlands) (UK) (UK) (Australia) (USA)

WANT TO BUY ONE? - try a variety of searches apart from the obvious "Quarz Super 8 camera" e.g. "Russian cine camera". Search for accessories too as these occasionally pop up, and also try the regional sites if you can't find one on the .com site. seems to have the most Super 8 cameras these days.


The following companies can supply batteries for the lightmeter on your Zenit Quarz 1 x 8S-2: (United Kingdom) (Europe and US)


Here is a link to a manual for the Zenit Quarz 1 x 8S-2 in German.


Other Zenit Super 8 camera types:

Super 8 Database


Russian Film and Camera stuff- Someone has an ebay shop specialising in
Russian photographic and movie stuff! Might find a Zenit Quarz there from time to time?

The legal bit: Please note, that with all of these links, they are ALL external companies and no endorsement/ association should be implied with this blog which exists simply as a resource to those interested in the Zenit Quarz Super 8 Camera and thus no responsibility can be accepted for the content of the sites or the quality of service provided.