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Zakhod   Заход
KGB surveillance camera

Zakhod (Russian: Заход) 1 , is a miniature covert surveillance camera, made in the USSR by the Krasnogorski Mekhanicheskii Zavod (KMZ) and introduced in 1989 as the successor to the F-21 Ayaks and F-27 Neozit cameras. 2 Zakhod was mainly used by the Soviet intelligence agency KGB and was in production to at least 1992 when the Soviet Union collapsed (and probably even later).
 
The camera measures 95 x 65 x 28 mm, rougly the same size as the F-27 Neozit, and is driven fully electronically, using the same electronics as the earlier F-27. It has an electronic shutter that consists of two groups of three shuttter blades and supports speeds from 1/60 to 1/1000 s [1].

Zakhod was developed especially for surveillance and inconspicuous photography. It was suitable for application in a wide variety of concealments, such as inside a handbag, inside a car or a piece of furniture, behind the button of a coat or some­where else on the body of an operative.
  
Zakhod camera with remote/PSU

The camera has a 3-element f2.8 - 25 mm lens and features automatic exposure control with a through-the-lens (TTL) measuring system. Around the lens is a 14 mm threaded ring that can be used for the attachment of special lenses. At the side is a fixed cable of aprox. 20 cm length with a 14-pin subminiature plug, for connection to a wide variety of (remote) control devices. The camera uses 16 mm non-perforated film and has a frame size of 21 x 14.8 mm, slighty smaller than that of the F-21. The fixed-focus lens allows pictures to be taken at a distance of 3 - 7 m.
 
The camera is delivered by the factory in a grey wooden box that measures 28 x 20 x 5.5 cm. The camera is stored inside a leatherette zipper bag and comes with a wealth of battery-powered remote control units, film cassettes, cables, a battery tester and a charging cable. It also contains a cleaning brush and a cleaning cloth.

The camera is powered by rechargeable 3V and 5V NiCd batteries that reside inside both remote control units. The batteries can be charged by connecting the supplied charging cable to an external dual-voltage power suply unit (PSU). 3
  
Storage case with Zakhod camera and accessories

A later version of the Zakhod camera needed only a single 6V power supply [1]. Zakhod is the last surveillance camera that was used by the KGB before the intelligence agency was renamed 4 and split into FSB (federal security) and SVR (foreign intelligence) following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, KMZ introduced a consumer variant of the Zakhod, which became known as the MA-2. The Russian word Заход (Zakhod) means Sunset.
 
  1. Zakhod is sometimes written as Zahod or Zachod.
  2. Neozit is sometimes written as Neosit, Neotsit or Neocet.
  3. A suitable PSU in not supplied with the complete kit.
  4. In Belarus, the intelligence agency kept the name KGB.

Zakhod in storage case Storage case with Zakhod camera and accessories Zakhod camera with remote/PSU Remote control unit (with built-in power source) Extended remote control unit (with built-in power source) Remote shutter release button Extended remote control with remote shutter release button Zakhod camera with standard remote control unit

 
Camera
The diagrams below show the front and the rear side of the Zakhod camera with the film cassette removed. The film cassette is released by pushing the З/О-lever at the bottom to the О-position. The small 25 mm lens has a threaded ring that allows adapters and mountings to be attached.

Front of the camera, with the film cassette removed.

Below the lens is a cut-out bay that accepts the lens concealment nozzle with its angled bracket. Before placing the nozzle in front of the lens, a locking lever at the bottom of the camera should be pulled-out. Once the concealment nozzle is in place, the lever is pushed inwards again and the nozzle assembly is held in place by a locking stub just above the lens. The nozzle assembly is constructed in such a way that the concealment control pin, just above the lens, can open the two shutter blades of the nozzle just before making a photograph and close it again afterwards.

Rear of the camera, with the film cassette removed.

The diagram above show the camera as seen from the rear top, with the film cassette removed. A small button at the bottom right (left in the picture) can be used to incease the exposure counter. At the rear left of the camera are two metal stubs to which a mounting bracket can be attached.
 
Front view of camera with removed film cassette Rear view of the camera, with removed filmcassette. Bottom view ASA setting Mounting stubs at the rear left The lens as seen from the front-top. The concealment control pin is clearly visible above the lens. Resetting the exposure counter Close-up of the shutter blades

 
Remote control units
The Zakhod is supplied with two Remote Control units (RC) that also act as the power source for the camera. Each of the RC units contains two sets of rechargeable NiCd cells for the two voltages that are required by the camera: 3V DC for the motor and 5V DC for the electronic circuits. The diagram below shows both remote control units, either of which can be used to turn the camera on or off, and make a picture by pressing the large recessed brown bakelite knob at the far end.

Both types of remote control units

On the extended remote control unit, the ON/OFF switch has been moved to the side. The left­most slide switch on top of the unit is now used to select between continuous (НПР.) and single-shot (ОДН.) exposure. In addition, the extended remote control has a socket at the far end that allows an extra remote shutter-release button to be connected, as shown in the image below.

Extended remote control unit with external shutter-release button

The image above shows the extended remote control unit with the optional shutter-release button attached. The extra button has a rather long cable with a 2-pin plug at the end. This plug mates with a 2-pin socket that is located next to the cable entry at the far end of the unit, and is normally protected with a plastic cover. Once the plug is inserted, a metal locking bracket prevents it from falling out. The extra button can be very useful when carrying the camera on the body (e.g. in a belt concealment). It is led through the sleeve and held in the palm of the hand.
 
Both remote control units Remote control unit (with built-in power source) Extended remote control unit (with built-in power source) Holes at the rear for inserting the battery checker pins Extended remote control with remote shutter release button Pressing the shutter-release button

 
Concealment
Just like the older mechanical F-21 Ayaks camera and the electronic F-27 Neozit, the Zakhod is intended for inconspicuous photography and will therefore often be integrated in some kind of concealment, like a woman's handbag, a belt, a piece of furniture or behind the button of a coat.
 
Basically, the same types of concealments were available for the Zakhod as for its predecessors. In order to conceal the most obvious part of the camera (i.e. the lens) a special nozzle with two shutter blades, mounted on an angled bracket, was used. It is shown in the image on the right.

The bracket with the nozzle can easily be mounted in front of the lens, by inserting the bracket into the cut-out at the bottom of the camera and locking it in place with the small lever. The two shutter blades of the nozzle are controlled by a small pin, just above the lens.
  
Camera and concealment nozzle

When making a photograph, by pressing the large brown knob on the remote control, the camera will first open the nozzle's shutter blades, then take a picture and then close the nozzle again. All this happens so fast and silently, that in practice nobody will notice that a picture has been taken.
 
When using the camera inside a concealment such as a woman's handbag, it will commonly be mounted inside some kind of protective frame. Two small brackets are supplied, that allow the camera to be attached to such a frame without loosing the ability to quickly remove it again.

The two mounting brackets are shown further down this page. Only one such bracket is needed for fixating the camera. At its right side, the bracket has two slotted holes that allow it to be fixed to the two mounting stubs at the camera's rear left, as shown in the image on the right.
  
Mounting bracket fitted to the rear of the camera

A messing spring blade, that is attached to the mounting bracket, prevents the camera from separating itself from the bracket once it is installed. The messing blade needs to be lifted before the camera can be shifted sideways and removed. Multiple nozzles and mounting brackets are supplied, to allows the camera to be easily swapped between different concealments.
 
Three lens concealment nozzles Two types of nozzles - with and without spring-loaded pin Rear view of a concealment nozzle Camera and concealment nozzle Placing the nozzle over the lens Nozzle in position and locked Mounting bracket fitted to the rear of the camera Zakhod camera with standard remote control unit

 
Complete kit with Zakhod camera and accessories

 
Complete kit
The Zakhod camera was usually supplied by the factory in a grey wooden storage box, such as the one shown above. Only one technical manual was supplied with every 10 units. According to the checklist [2] inside the wooden box, the following items should be present:
 
Item ID Qty Description
1 BL3.821.097 1 Camera Zachod (Заход), with lens 3 x, f1/2.8
1a BL3.821.098 1 Film cassette (fitted inside camera)
2 BL3.624.069 1 Standard Remote Control unit
3 BL3.624.073 1 Extended Remote control unit, with remote
4 BL4.164.079 1 Case (for camera)
5 BL3.930.259 2 Film cassette
6 BL4.164.080 2 Case (for film cassette)
7 BL4.863.940 1 Extension cable (14-pin male/female)
8 BL6.640.144 1 Battery charging cable
9 BL5.170.020 1 Power checker
10 BL6.640.137 1 Spare camera cable (wired 14-pin plug)
11 BL5.927.013 2 Nozzle (lens concealment)
12 BL5.927.013-01 1 Nozzle (lens concealment with spring-loaded pin)
13 BL6.356.099 2 Control buttons (for item 3)
14 BL6.461.055 2 Mounting brackets
15 BL8.849.005 Lot Cleaning cloth
16 BL6.123.364 2 Film spool
17 - 1 Cleaning brush (squirrel hair)

 
Accessories
Leatherette case for the camera Basic remote control unit Extended remote control unit Shutter release button for connection to the extended remote control unit Battery voltage checker Spare film cassettes Lens concealment nozzles Camera mounting brackets
14-pin male/female remote extention cable Cable for charging the batteries inside the remote control units Spare camera cable (with wired 14-pin male connector) Two small spare film spools Cleaning brush Cleaning cloth Wooden storage box for the entire kit
Box
Technical manual

 
Leatherette case
The camera is supplied in the leatherette zipper bag shown in in the image on the right. It is for storage only and offers no space for any of the accessories.

When the camera is delivered by the factory, it is stored inside this case and packet inside the rear left slot of the storage box.
  
Camera with leatherette storage case

 
Remote control
This is the standard remote control unit that was used with the Zakhod camera. It is connected to the camera's fixed cable and allows it to be switch ON and OFF with the leftmost slide switch. The large brown bakelite button is used for releasing the shutter and taking a picture.

The double slide switch at the right (i.e. both switches are moved together) are used to select between automatic exposure and fixed 1/30th sec. exposure.
  
Remote control unit (with built-in power source)

 
Extended remote control
For advanced applications, this extended remote control unit was available as well. It has similar features as the standard one, but the ON/OFF switch has been moved to the side. Instead, the leftmost slide switch is used to select between single (ОДН.) and continuous (НПР.) shooting.

Apart from the large button at the far end of the unit, the camera's shutter can also be released by an optional button that can be connected to a 2-pin socket next to the cable entry.
  
Extended remote control unit (with built-in power source)

 
Shutter-release buttons
When using the extended remote control unit (above), an external shutter release button can be connected to it, which can be useful when carrying the camera, say, on the body.

In this case the cable can be lead through the sleeve of the operative's coat and connected to the extended remote control unit, which in turn is connected to the camera. A spare one is supplied for the event the cable gets broken after frequent use.
  
Two remote shutter release buttons

 
Battery checker
This small battery checker was supplied with the set, to test the state of the 3V and 5V batteries inside the remote control units. For each voltage, an LED is present at the front of the device.

At the bottom are 3 thicker pins, for checking the 3V line, and 3 thinner pins, for checking the 5V line. The pins mate with the holes at the bottom of both remote control units.
  
Battery voltage checker

 
Spare film cassettes
In order to ensure that sufficient film is present during a surveillance operation, three film cassettes are supplied with the kit. One cassette is fitted inside the camera, whilst the two other ones are stored in the wooden box.

The two additional (spare) film cassettes are each stored inside a small leatherette bag, as shown in the image on the right, so that the operative can easily carry them in his pocket.
  
Spare film cassette with leatherette case

 
Lens concealment nozzles
Three nozzles, each with two movable shutter blades, are supplied with the kit. They are mounted onto an angled bracket that can be fitted at the front of the camera, in front of the lens. The shutter blades are operated by a moving pin, just above the lens.   
Lens concealment nozzles

 
Mounting brackets
Two metal support brackets are supllied with the kit. Only one of them is needed to fixate the camera in a certain position when it is built inside a concealment. The other one is a spare.

The two slotted holes in one of the arms of the bracket can be fitted onto the two metal stubs at the rear left of the camera body.
  
Camera mounting brackets

 
Film spools
These two tiny little film spools are supplied as spares. They are used inside the film cassettes for winding the film onto.   
Tiny film spools

 
Extension cable
Both the camera and the remote control units have a relatively short cable. Although in practice this should be long enough for most types of concealment, there might be situations in which the cable is too short.

For this reason a 30 cm extension cable is supplied. Is has a 14-pin male plug at one end and a 14-pin female plug at the one.
  
Extension cable

 
Battery charging lead
The batteries that are mounted inside the two remote control units need to be (re)charged from time to time. For this purpose a charging cable is supplied with a 15-pin male connector at one end and 4 banana plug at the other one.

The two shorter wires are mared + and - 3V, whilst the two longer wires are marked + and - 5V. Both voltages (3V and 5V) need to be supplied when charging the batteries.
  
Battery charging lead

 
Spare camera cable
This wired 14-pin male plug, was supplied as a spare for the camera's fixed cable. If the camera is used a lot and is frequently moved from one concealment to another, the existing cable may eventually break, rendering the camera useless.

The plug has 7 numbered wires plus a shield (ground), which indicates that only 8 of the 14 pins of the connector are used. The cable carries the two voltages and the control signals.
  
Wired 14-male connector (for external charger)

 
Cleaning brush
This soft brush, originating from a woman's beauty case, was supplied to keep the camera clean and remove and dust and dirt from its body. The brush is stored at the right of the storage case, below all other items.

The brush does not have an official inventory number, probably because it wasn't a military item. According to the checklist it is made of squirrel hair.
  
Close-up of the cleaning brush

 
Cleaning cloth
Apart from the cleaning brush (above), a large piece of soft cloth was supplied as well. It could be used for cleaning the camera in case it got wet or dirty.

It might have been intended for cleaning the lens as well, but this is not recommended, as it might cause small scratches to the coating of the lens.
  
large piece of soft cloth

 
Wooden storage box
The camera is delivered by the factory in a grey wooden storage box, such as the one shown here. When first issued, the box is secured with two lead seals, which have been removed here.

Inside the compartmented box are the camera, the remote control units, spare films and several accessories, all of which are listed above. A checklist shows the full contents of the box.
  
Zakhod in storage case

 
Manual
The technical manual for the camera is rather rare, as only one copy was supplied with every 10 cameras. The manual consisted of a stack of blue-print copies with real photographs inserted at the appropriate places.

The complete original manual, including all images, is available for download below [A]. The manual of the later model will be made available shortly.
  

 
Connector
The camera has a short fixed cable with a subminiature 14 male plug at the end. It is just 8 mm wide and mates with the 14-pin female plug on the cable of either of the two remote controls. The camera is controlled via this cable, but also receives its 5V DC and 3V DC through it. A spare camera cable is supplied, just in case the original one gets broken. Looking into the female plug:
 
  1. S1a-Auto (connected to A1a-common in Auto-mode)
  2. S1a-common
  3. -5V (ground)
  4. S1b-Auto (connected to S1b-common in Auto-mode)
  5. Shutter release (when connected to +5V)
  6. -3V
  7. +3V (switched)
  8. not connected
  9. S1b-1/30 (connected to A1b-common in 1/30 mode)
  10. S1b-common
  11. not connected
  12. +5V
  13. not connected
  14. +3V (direct)
  
Later version
Nearly all Zakhod cameras that have surfaced over the years are of the type shown here. The remote control units of these cameras supply two voltages to the camera (3V DC and 5V DC). These cameras have serial numbers in the range 91xxx, which means they were built in 1991.
 
The camera featured on this page has serial number 91104 and was supplied with both variants of the remote control/supply unit.

A later version of the camera came with a single, differently-shaped, remote control unit that only needs a single 6V power supply. It is thicker and has a rounded grip that contains the circular NiCd battery cells. At the front is a flattened part that holds a rectangular plastic shutter-release button and a slide-switch, as shown in the image on the right. The serial numbers of this version are in the 92xxx range, meaning 1992.
  
later version of the Zakhod camera and its remote control unit (1992) [3]

Also note the presence of two circular sockets at the front of the remote control unit. They are for the connection of an external shutter-release button or a wireless remote control unit. A good example of a later version of the Zakhod, is the camera with serial number 92576 that used to be in the collection of Detlev Vreisleben in Germany and which is shown in the image above [3].
 
Documentation
  1. Zakhod camera, technical description and user manual (earlier model)
    1989, with updates of 1990 and 1991. 59 pages. 1

  2. Zakhod camera, technical description and user manual (later model)
    1992. 23 pages. 1

  1. Document kindly supplied by Detlev Vreisleben [3].

References
  1. USSR Photo, Zakhod (1989)
    Retrieved September 2015.

  2. KMZ, Zachod Checklist
    Date unknown but likely 1991.

  3. Detlev Vreisleben, Personal correspondence
    September 2015.

Further information

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