View Full Version : Fed 5 with a Jupiter 8
I went to the New Years parade here in Philadelphia this morning, also known as the "Mummers Parade" it's a real trip. Anyway, as I'm shooting (had my Leica IIIg out with me)the various people, clowns, wenches (yes men dressed as ugly women, etc) I happened to notice a guy standing next to me with a cool camera around his neck, it was a Fed 5 with a Jupiter 8, he admired my IIIg and we talked about each others cameras. He stated that the combination of body and lens is cheap on ebay, which they are, and he also stated the results from the Jupiter 8 (50mm f/2.0) isn't too bad, I've researched the lens and body online, and this does seem the case. I mean what's to lose for about $65 you can pick up both. Does anyone here have any experience with either of these pieces or as a combination? Thanks for any information on likes or dislikes about either.
no personal info but this site might help
fed info (http://www.fedka.com/Frames/Main_Frame.htm)
soviet cams (http://www.geocities.com/fzorkis/)
J-8 shares top billing with a J-12 on my Kiev. Whatcha wanna know?
It's a good lens. Sharp, but in the 30's-50's fashion, that is, sharp stopped down, but with an overall veil and a "picturesque" look wide open, sharpens at f-8. Completely contemporary with the Solms and Japanese offerings at the time.
It has a "look" to it, it has "character"- so if you are used to shooting with lenses of the period, you won't be surprised when your wide open shots are soft-ish, though the out-of-focus areas are nice. It's good for portraits that way. Stop it down and it comes as close to a razor in sharpness that could be had at the time, and well adjusted to the camera on which it is used, close to contemporary to what we have to-day.
Use a hood, it helps with the veil flare common on this one.
I like it.
The Leica Thread Mount version is known for some things you'll want to consider. The focusing helical will need to be gone through, cleaned up and lubricated, otherwise it'll feel rough or very stiff (no, not ALWAYS, but often enough for people to mention). The glass itself will probably be very clear (the Soviets liked waxy greases which didn't sublimate, or for that matter lubricate so well). Just like everything else from the FSU, it is usually best purchased from someone that'll either back the purchase with some sort of refund/exchange, or better, someone that'll rebuild what you want to reasonable (read modern) expectations. Oleg is good for that. (http://www.okvintagecamera.com/)
I have a few of each. The Fed-5 comes in several different variations. One has a selenium cell exposure meter (Fed-5C) Another has no meter (Fed-5B). Some of the fed-5B's have only a hot shoe (no PC connector) while others have only the PC connector.
The original lens was a 55mm/2.8 Industar I-61L/D reputedly made with a Lanthanr rare earth element for greater contrast.
The Jupiter-8, my favorite, is a Zeiss Sonnar copy. It comes in both a bright aluminum finish with or without focusing tab (seems to depend on age) and a black finish. The black one was very late in the model production. Jupiter-8s seem to have been supplied in LTM mounts only with Zorki and other KMZ cameras and not Feds, but it should work just fine on a Fed.
You will probably have to buy these two components separately and put them together. I have never seen them being sold as a unit.
Most Fed's require some focus or rangefinder re-calibration, particularly if a non-Fed lens is being mounted. Don't be disappointed if your first roll of pictures is out of focus.
Most of the bright aluminum Jupiter-8's require disassembly and lubricating of the focusing helical.
The viewfinder is dim, narrow and tends to scratch eyeglasses. It's best used as an aiming device rather than a framing device. It does however have a very bright rangefinder spot.
Two important things to remember! 1. Always advance the film BEFORE changing the shutter speed. 2. The annular collar surrounding the shutter release is the rewind clutch release. It is unmarked. Push it DOWNWARD into the body to rewind the film.
Everything else is intuitive rangefinder operation.
Man, there is a ton of info online about all these various Russian rangefinders and thousands of people's opinions on each model. I've noticed that of the couple russian places I've looked online that have a decent following and feedback, have the Fed 5 available. I'll also need a 40.5 mm Yellow filter for B&W shooting (I won't even try to compare a color neg or transparency that I shoot w/my Leica glass) and a case with it, as the Fed 5 has no strap lugs and weighs in over 2 lbs (heavy!) I'll also most likely pick up a metal shade, I've seen these available at 40.5mm online as well. I'll be out of town on business for about a week, and I'll order it when i return. I'm imagining about a two or three week ship time from the Ukraine. I'll let you know how i make out with the gear when it arrives. I figure it'll run me about $110 for all of it, including shipping, for the fed 5, Jupiter 8, 40.5mm Yellow filter, Case for the camera, and a 40.4mm Metal hood. Anyone know of any links with some extensive shots taken with the Jupiter 8? Thanks for your help on this.
The choice of a Jupiter 8 is a good one for all of the reasons already mentioned plus the fact that the J-8's seem less prone to build quality problems and your chances of getting a useable lens are good.
IMHO, the Fed-5 (or Fed-4) simply aren't worth having. They are poorly made, roughly finished, and some of them actually smell bad (something about the leather - you will not want to press the thing against your face). You will get a more user friendly camera if you buy a Zorki 1 of 3M or a Fed 1 or 2.
Fedka.com, in the US, has a good reputation as a vendor and offers a warranty. If you plan to spend $110 on the camera, try Fedka in the US - or Oleg in the FSU. Some FSU vendors haven't a clue about what they are selling.
As long as you don't approach the Fed-5 with very high expectations, you can have some fun with it. If you think of it as a very high end Holga in 35mm you will have a blast.
I posted the specs for a Fed-5B in the rangefinder specifications thread here:
My gallery here has a few J-8 photos and a few Fed-5 photos, but not together since I usually don't use any of my 3 Fed-5B's with any of my 6 J-8's.
There are also a lot of J-8 photos here:
$100 may be the high end estimate for this combo. I would estimate $35 for the Fed-5 with an Industar-61L/D, $5 for the 40.5mm shade, $5 for the K-2 filter and $25 for the Jupiter-8 and $20 for shipping from the Ukraine. You can resell the Industar-61L/D for $20 to net the whole outfit out at $70. My estimate is based on all used equipment.
If you use a single vendor in the Ukraine you can keep the shipping costs down. Also, the metal lens shade is a good idea because the rubber one tends to interfere with the viewfinder. In lieu of the 40.5mm you may be able to find a Series VI shade with a 40.5mm adapter ring. Keep in mind that the Black J-8's are newer, but the front ring rotates as you focus. The shiny aluminum one's do not, but they almost certainly will have to be disassembled and relubed because of their age.
The Jupiter-8 is a very good lens indeed! Only caution is to get one from a reputable vendor, like Fedka or some of the others mentioned above.
I agree with Scoop that you might be disappointed with a FED 4 or 5. I'd go for a FED-2 or 3. The FED-3a is probably the high point of quality for the FED line - very well-made and very smooth in operation.
The FED-2 and FED-3a have knob wind, while the "flat-top: FED-3b and all later FEDs are lever-wind.
Check out my intro article on Leica-Derived Soviet Rangefinders on Jim Blazik's excellent "Fzorkis" website at
to see photos of these cameras. Be sure to go back and look at the *rest* of Jim's amazing website to see much more details about individual models.
Last week I bought a Jupiter 8 (for 25 EUR) and I'm trying it now on my Bessa R.
Normally I use as a 50mm my Elmar 50/2.8. I will make comparable shots with both lenses and let you know about the results.
that would be great, looking forward to your pics.
welcome to the forum!
While I'm not sure if it's allowed on this forum, I would only mention, you can pick up a 5C with Industar usually for about $25 US with shipping from a guy who sells under the name "studio1525". I know that's what I paid for mine and it arrived in the original box and plastic bag, still sealed. I hesitate to ever recommend a seller, I'll just say it was a smooth deal for me and the camera is great.
If you haven't decided yet to get a J-8 maybe my latest work can convince you.
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