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Selecting an FSU camera: Beginner's Guide
Old 06-30-2007   #1
wolves3012
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Selecting an FSU camera: Beginner's Guide

This post is intended for those interested in buying an FSU rangefinder camera but who have little or no knowledge of them. The idea is to give you a basic understanding of the breed and allow you to select a model that best fits your needs. Most of what I've written is based either on my own experience or inference from reading those of others, so I make no claim to be definitively correct!

There are some rare models around, prototypes and the like, plus a few rather rare lenses. I have not attempted to cover these, I've stuck to the mainstream ONLY, the ones that you should be able to get without difficulty and at reasonable cost. My "mainstream" list is restricted to the FED/Zorki/Kiev models with interchangeable lenses. There are some simplifications in my descriptions too, some variations were made during production.

As a generalisation, I have found that Zorkis have the brightest VF/RFs but with lower RF contrast. FEDs tend to have dimmer VF/RFs but with high contrast. Which is easier to use is personal taste. As far as I can determine, the difference is due to the glass used in the VF/RF splitter prisms. Zorki seem to have gone for yellow/clear halves and FED for orange/green halves. I'm not sure what Kievs use but the brightness seems to be somewhere in between FED and Zorki.

A few words on quality control:
More to the point, the lack of it. It's not unknown for quality to vary substantially, for reasons that I do not feel qualified to comment on. Therefore, the subjective comments below are based on my own experience and what I've read. You may have a different view! Bear in mind though, that the quality issues may mean that a camera you buy may not fit my description in some respects. It's also realistic to expect some issues due to the age of many of these cameras. Some servicing is likely to be needed anyway, so factor it in when buying. These cameras aren't too difficult for a competent DIY person to service, or by searching this forum several recommended repairmen can be found.

A brief summary of the cameras:
All the FED/Zorki models use essentially the same focal-plane cloth shutter. This has a basic speed range of about 1/25- 1/500 (1/30-1/500 on later models) unless the "slow" speeds were included by means of a clockwork delay mechanism. This is pretty much a copy of the Leica shutter, possibly with some shortcuts taken in manufacture. Kievs use a vertical metal shutter, which is a copy of the Contax design, with a range of 1/2-1250 or 1/2-1/1000. All models include a B setting (marked Z on early models). Kievs also need the "Contax grip" which some people do not like, it's a penalty for the wide-base but accurate RF .

Some warnings:
For many of the FSU models, it is possible to damage the shutter mechanism by altering the shutter speed and then cocking it (winding on). Some models can tolerate this, some cannot. It's a good habit to change the speed ONLY after cocking, simply to avoid trying to remember which can and can't be damaged! On most models it is utterly meaningless to attempt speed changes anyway, since the marks rotate when you wind on. The models with speed ranges below about 1/20 sec are most prone to damage in this way.

A second method of destroying the FED/Zorki shutters is pinholes from pointing the camera towards the sun. The image can be focussed onto the shutter blind and burn a hole. There are conflicting opinions on how likely this is but it certainly is possible and known. Use a lens cap and avoid the issue! If you don't have one, improvise and make one, or keep the camera in the case/bag etc. Kievs do not have this issue, due to the metal shutter.

All models have interchangeable lenses and, in theory, any compatible-mount lens is ok. For the Kiev models this theory is pretty much true but not so for FED/Zorki 39mm LTM. Firstly, some non-FSU lenses do not have suitable rangefinder couplers, these can foul the rangefinder cam and lock the lens to the mount, making it difficult or (on some models) impossible to remove again. Secondly, QC issues mean that the lens-to-film distance is not guaranteed, so focussing issues can be found. A third issue is that some 39mm LTM lenses are designed for SLR cameras (early Zenit, for instance) and these will mount but will not focus.

Right, on to the overview!

Zorki - these come in models from 1 to 6.
FED - these are found as models 1 to 5.
Kiev - these were made in models 2,3 and 4.

Zorki/FED 1
Essentially, the Zorki 1 and FED 1 models are the same camera. Early models have a 7-speed shutter running from B and 1/20 to 1/500, later ones have a 5-speed shutter running from B and 1/25 to 1/500. There is no flash-synch and the cameras are bottom-loaded, which some people do not like. They use a separate RF and VF window, both of which are small and squinty but surprisingly easy to use. The VF framing isn't totally accurate and there is no dioptre eyesight correction. These cameras are physically small and usually come with a collapsible lens, making them very pocketable. There are no strap-lugs. Very early models may not have standard lens registrations or lens threads, making lens interchangeability a problem.

Zorki C
This is a Zorki 1 with an adjustable flash-sychroniser. To fit it they enlarged the top cover, making the camera slightly taller and not quite as pretty.

Zorki 2
A rare camera, it is essentially a Zorki 1 with an improved shutter and a self-timer. Sought-after and it has strap-lugs.

Zorki 2C
As for the Zorki 1/C, this is a Zorki C with a self-timer. Has strap-lugs. This does not have slow speeds, though people sometimes mistake the markings around the flash-sychroniser for slow speeds. They are actually the flash-delay settings in milliseconds.

Zorki 3
This has 3 main variations, the 3, 3M and 3C. The VF is a bright, near-life-size finder with the RF incorporated. Shutter speeds are B and 1-1/1000. A self-timer is not included but eyesight dioptre adjustment is included on this and all subsequent Zorkis. The original 3 has a slow-speed dial on the front of the case, Leica-style. It's noted for being troublesome. The 3M has all the speeds incorporated in one dial. Considered one of the best looking FSUs and highly collectible, numbers produced ensures it commands a high price (in FSU terms). Neither the 3 nor 3M have flash sync. The final model, the 3C, does have a synchroniser (adjustable for X-type and flash bulb) and it is essentially a Zorki 4 in all but name and self-timer. All models have strap-lugs.

Zorki 4
This is just about the same as the 3C. It has the same features but adds a self-timer. There is also a later variant, the 4K, which has a lever wind but is otherwise the same. Early models (pre-1965 ish, there's variation) have engraved text, an engraved shutter-speed dial and strap-lugs. Later models have no strap-lugs, printed text and dials and, sadly, the print wears off with use. Early models are usually better made and are more sought after. The Zorki 4/4K was produced in large numbers and is common and cheap, yet is a very capable camera. Framing isn't overly accurate. A variation on the Zorki 4 was made, called the Mir (meaning peace). This is a standard 4 without the slow-speed mechanism. Due to when they were made, the Mir has engraved markings not printed. Top marked speed is 1/500 not 1/1000, although some at least still actually have the 1/1000 speed, marked only by a dot.

Zorki 5
There are 2 variations on this model. The first has red-lettered front engraving and square VF/RF windows and is considered less reliable. The second has a round RF window, a screwed-on front nameplate and is more reliable. The Zorki 5 was the first lever-wind model (it pre-dates the 4K) and reverts to bottom-loading. The lever-wind on these models can give trouble and be quite rough unless set-up properly. The model also incorporates a more accurate long-base RF system, loses the self-timer but includes strap-lugs. There are no "slow" speeds. Flash-synch is fixed, with a socket each for bulb and electronic flash. There is one special caveat with this model alone: If the shutter is wound or fired with the lens removed, the shutter mechanism can be damaged. The RF mechanism is so close, internally, to the shutter mechanism that they can collide if the RF cam is fully extended, as it will be with no lens on the body. NEVER wind or fire the shutter unless a lens is fitted, or the RF cam held in slightly.

Zorki 6
This is a derivation of the Zorki 5. It has a hinged-opening back, a self timer and a much-improved winder mechanism that rarely gives trouble. It is, otherwise, virtually the same as the Zorki 5.

FED 2
This is a re-design of the original FED. It has a more accurate, wide-base RF, incorporated into the VF, a removeable back, flash-synch and strap-lugs. Speeds are 1/25-1/500. Dioptre adjustment is found on this all all subsequent models: on this model it is lever operated, subsequent models use a rotating eyepiece bezel which is the bane of spectacle-wearers! The FED 2 is considered by many to be the most reliable and prettiest of the bunch.

FED 3
There were 2 variations of this model, the A and the B. Both include "slow" speeds down to 1 sec and a self-timer but revert to a narrower-base RF. The "A" model has strap lugs and a stepped top-cover, the "B" model has a square top cover, no strap lugs and a lever-wind. The "A" model is considered by most to be prettier but the "B" model is a highly competent camera with a good set of features and is generally cheap. The "B" model usually also comes with the excellent Industar 61 lens. Flash-synch is ONLY correct at 1/30 and NOT on slower speeds, something which is true for all FEDs with "slow" speeds.

FED 4
There are variations on this model but it is, essentially, a FED 3B with a taller top-cover incorporating a match-needle light meter and calculator. Assuming it still works, the light meter is actually quite usable. The FED 4 is considered by most to be an ugly camera but it is very capable and very cheap. Film rewind is via a knurled wheel, which can be rough on the fingers!

FED 5
Again, there are variations (5C with and 5B without light meter) but the FED 5 is almost the same as the FED 4. Rewind is now by means of a knob that pops out of the exposure calculator centre or a fold-out crank on the meterless model. The light meter has a greater range but the calculator is less easy to use, the match-needle being replaced by a match-number system. This model also incorporates a frame counter that re-sets to zero when the camera back is removed. Lens is the super-sharp Industar 61L/D. Later models tend to be poorly made, however, but, like the FED 4, they are cheap!

Kiev 2
Older Kiev model, incorporates a flip-out foot on the base. Shutter speeds B plus 1/2-1/1250. Jupiter 8 lens (bayonet mount, as are all Kievs). Model 2A has flash-sync.

Kiev 3
Models 3 and 3A are equivalent to 2 and 2A but with an uncoupled meter added on the top plate. Metered Kievs are generally considered to be less pretty due to the added meter bulge.

Kiev 4
This model comes in 4 main variations, the 4, 4M, 4A and 4AM. The 4 and 4M have a meter, the 4A and 4AM do not. Metering is by turning a calculator dial until the needle reaches a fixed diamond-shaped index, with 2x and 4x index marks included for lower-light readings. Shutter speeds were 1/2-1250 on early models and 1/2-1/1000 on later ones, although it is said that the change to 1/1000 was more a reflection on the true speed than a change in the mechanism.

Lenses
With the caveat of russian quality-control, all the FSU lenses are excellent. Early LTM models came with Industar 22, FED or Industar 50 lenses, either collapsible or rigid types. These are f/3.5 and hence not very fast but they are sharp. Later Zorki models usually came with the Industar 50 or the excellent Jupiter 8 f/2. Later FEDs came with Industar 26, 26M, 61 and 61L/D which are all very similar and f/2.8.

In addition to the standard ~50mm lenses, the most commonly found lenses are the Jupiter 3, 9, 11 and 12. Jupiter 3 is a 50mm f/1.5, Jupiter 9 is 85mm f/2, Jupiter 11 is 135mm f/4 and Jupiter 12 is 35mm f/2.8. Other lenses were available but they are far less common and tend to be expensive. Again, QC issues can spoil things but these lenses are generally excellent, the Jupter 11 and 12 in particular giving few problems. Jupiter 9s are often found with focussing issues, largely due to after-manufacture poor servicing and repair attempts.

Kiev cameras generally came with the Jupiter 8 50mm f/2 or Helios 103 53mm f/2 in a bayonet mount. The other Jupiter lenses are also available and Contax bayonet lenses should also fit.

Accessories
The major accessory that is a must-have is the turret finder. This incorporates finders for 28, 35, 50, 85 and 135mm and has limited parallax correction. It allows framing that is generally more accurate than the built-in VFs and is essential for lenses other than standard. The finder features cross-hairs and includes some peripheral view; handy for seeing what is just beyond the frame.

Summary table of features:

Wide-base RF:
All Kievs
FED 2
Zorki 5, 6

"slow" speeds:
All Kievs
Zorki 3, 3M, 3C, 4, 4K
FED 3A, 3B, 4, 5B, 5C

Flash-sync:
Kiev 2A, 3A and 4-series (syncs correctly at all speeds 1/25 and slower, including 'B')
Fed 2 onwards (ONLY syncs correctly at 1/25 or 1/30, whichever is marked)
Zorki 3C, 4, 4K (syncs correctly at any speed 1/30 or less, including 'B')
Zorki C, 2C, Mir, 5, 6 (syncs at 1/25 or 1/30, whichever is marked, plus 'B')

Light meter:
Kiev 4, 4M
FED 4, 5C

Hinged back:
Zorki 6

Bottom-loading:
FED 1
Zorki 1, 2, C, 2C, 5
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Zorki: 1e (x2), 2C, 3M, 4, 4K, 5, 6
FED: NKVD, 1g, 2e
Kiev 4, 4A
Leica IIIC
Yashica Minister III
Zenith C, Zenit C, Zenit E
Minolta XG-M, XD-5
Nikon P50
Panasonic Lumix G2, 14-42 Kit lens + 45-150mm

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."- Benjamin Franklin

Last edited by wolves3012 : 04-21-2011 at 05:42.
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Old 06-30-2007   #2
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First attempt at this - comments/corrections are invited. Would someone with the knowledge chip in on the Kiev parts please? I don't know enough about them so I may be wrong on some aspects! In particular, I've missed out on the Kiev 3 - can someone put a few words on that I can plagiarise and add in?

MODS: can we have this sticky please?
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Zorki: 1e (x2), 2C, 3M, 4, 4K, 5, 6
FED: NKVD, 1g, 2e
Kiev 4, 4A
Leica IIIC
Yashica Minister III
Zenith C, Zenit C, Zenit E
Minolta XG-M, XD-5
Nikon P50
Panasonic Lumix G2, 14-42 Kit lens + 45-150mm

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Old 06-30-2007   #3
outfitter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolves3012
First attempt at this - comments/corrections are invited. Would someone with the knowledge chip in on the Kiev parts please? I don't know enough about them so I may be wrong on some aspects! In particular, I've missed out on the Kiev 3 - can someone put a few words on that I can plagiarise and add in?

MODS: can we have this sticky please?
Nice start. The Kiev 3 is a Kiev2 with meter (Kiev manufactured Contax III). The Kiev 2a and Kiev 3a have flash sync.

Michael

Last edited by outfitter : 06-30-2007 at 13:34.
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Old 06-30-2007   #4
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A little more on Kievs
Four Kiev 4s. 4 & 4M metered and 4A & 4AM meterless.
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Old 06-30-2007   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outfitter
Nice start. The Kiev 3 is a Kiev2 with meter (Kiev manufactured Contax III). The Kiev 2a and Kiev 3a have flash sync.

Michael
So a 2 and 3 don't have flash-synch? I thought they all had...whoops
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Zorki: 1e (x2), 2C, 3M, 4, 4K, 5, 6
FED: NKVD, 1g, 2e
Kiev 4, 4A
Leica IIIC
Yashica Minister III
Zenith C, Zenit C, Zenit E
Minolta XG-M, XD-5
Nikon P50
Panasonic Lumix G2, 14-42 Kit lens + 45-150mm

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."- Benjamin Franklin
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Old 06-30-2007   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonP
A little more on Kievs
Four Kiev 4s. 4 & 4M metered and 4A & 4AM meterless.
Aha, so I got the idea wrong. I know the 4 has a meter since I have one, and I know the 4A doesn't (one on its way). Are the 4M and 4AM the later versions of the 4 and 4A then? What's a 4S?
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Zorki: 1e (x2), 2C, 3M, 4, 4K, 5, 6
FED: NKVD, 1g, 2e
Kiev 4, 4A
Leica IIIC
Yashica Minister III
Zenith C, Zenit C, Zenit E
Minolta XG-M, XD-5
Nikon P50
Panasonic Lumix G2, 14-42 Kit lens + 45-150mm

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Old 06-30-2007   #7
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I prefer the smaller Japanese-made Helios brightline finders to the larger turret finders. They aren't technically FSU stuff but the framelines of 35mm 85mm and 135mm suit the FSU lenses perfectly.

Also, please tell everyone that the FED-2 is the lightest of the interchangeable-lens FSU cameras. Just tell them it's the only FSU camera they will ever need to own.

Clarence

Last edited by clarence : 06-30-2007 at 15:12.
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Old 06-30-2007   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonP
A little more on Kievs
Four Kiev 4s. 4 & 4M metered and 4A & 4AM meterless.
What's a Kiev 4S?
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Old 06-30-2007   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clarence
I prefer the smaller Japanese-made Helios brightline finders to the larger turret finders. They aren't technically FSU stuff but the framelines of 35mm 85mm and 135mm suit the FSU lenses perfectly.

Also, please tell everyone that the FED-2 is the lightest of the interchangeable-lens FSU cameras. Just tell them it's the only FSU camera they will ever need to own.

Clarence
I think you just did tell them about the FED 2! However, if someone needs slow speeds it's not the camera for them. As a matter of personal choice I think the Zorki 6 has the edge over the FED 2, not that I dislike FED 2s!

In terms of weight, the FED 1, Zorki 1, C, 2 and 2C are lighter. The Zorki 4/4K and FEDs 4 & 5 are slightly heavier, whilst the Zorki 5 & 6 and FED 3A/3B are very close to the same weight. None of them is lightweight and the differences are quite small. If you carried them around for a day, I doubt you would notice any of them as being different!
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Zorki: 1e (x2), 2C, 3M, 4, 4K, 5, 6
FED: NKVD, 1g, 2e
Kiev 4, 4A
Leica IIIC
Yashica Minister III
Zenith C, Zenit C, Zenit E
Minolta XG-M, XD-5
Nikon P50
Panasonic Lumix G2, 14-42 Kit lens + 45-150mm

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Old 06-30-2007   #10
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Corrections made to the Kiev stuff - hopefully I've got it right now. I mis-read the 4S bit, looks like I'm not alone - 4s meaning FOURs (plural)!
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Zorki: 1e (x2), 2C, 3M, 4, 4K, 5, 6
FED: NKVD, 1g, 2e
Kiev 4, 4A
Leica IIIC
Yashica Minister III
Zenith C, Zenit C, Zenit E
Minolta XG-M, XD-5
Nikon P50
Panasonic Lumix G2, 14-42 Kit lens + 45-150mm

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."- Benjamin Franklin

Last edited by wolves3012 : 06-30-2007 at 15:57.
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Old 06-30-2007   #11
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Lenses: most FSU lenses have problems with flare control and some cannot handle high-contrast and bright-light scenes very well. They suffer from light falloff and loss of definition from center to edges. Lens hoods are mandatory. Pictures taken with FSU lenses will have a "vintage" look that you may or may not like.

(all of course IMHO)

General section: A bunch of standard "before u buy" questions could be listed, to make sure that a) the seller is serious and knows his item and b) the camera is as advertised (making it easier to claim a refund from the seller if it´s a lemon with i e pinhole, shutter or RF issues).


Cheers /Richard
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Old 07-01-2007   #12
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Sorry there, 4s as in 4 plural - not flash synced as the Zorkis!
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Old 07-01-2007   #13
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Oops, you worked that out!
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Old 07-01-2007   #14
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Great work.
Check out the Ivor Mantanle article on the Kiev range which I posted last weekend under 'Classics to Use'.You may be able to pick out any missing details of all the models,plus lenses.

Brian
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Old 07-01-2007   #15
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What happened to Jim Blazik's wonderful website? I can only find it in the internet archives: http://web.archive.org/web/200309190...kis/index.html . And no pics.
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Old 07-01-2007   #16
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Right folks, I've added a couple of sentences regarding servicing. I didn't want to make the post too long by going into every variation and possibility. It's intended to answer the "I want an FSU - which do I get?" sort of question that crops up fairly often. It's just meant to be a get-you-started sort of thing....

Thanks for all the comments and clarifications!
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Zorki: 1e (x2), 2C, 3M, 4, 4K, 5, 6
FED: NKVD, 1g, 2e
Kiev 4, 4A
Leica IIIC
Yashica Minister III
Zenith C, Zenit C, Zenit E
Minolta XG-M, XD-5
Nikon P50
Panasonic Lumix G2, 14-42 Kit lens + 45-150mm

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."- Benjamin Franklin
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Old 07-01-2007   #17
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There is also a version of the Zorki 4,called the Mir.Apparently produced for home sale only,with a reduced spec to the Z4.No slow speeds,and maximum speed is 500.Has flash sync and self timer.Lettering engraved.

Brian.
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Old 07-01-2007   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCOTFORTHLAD
There is also a version of the Zorki 4,called the Mir.Apparently produced for home sale only,with a reduced spec to the Z4.No slow speeds,and maximum speed is 500.Has flash sync and self timer.Lettering engraved.

Brian.
Whoops, yes I forgot that one! Added...
__________________
Zorki: 1e (x2), 2C, 3M, 4, 4K, 5, 6
FED: NKVD, 1g, 2e
Kiev 4, 4A
Leica IIIC
Yashica Minister III
Zenith C, Zenit C, Zenit E
Minolta XG-M, XD-5
Nikon P50
Panasonic Lumix G2, 14-42 Kit lens + 45-150mm

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."- Benjamin Franklin
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Old 07-01-2007   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluesman
Lenses: most FSU lenses have problems with flare control and some cannot handle high-contrast and bright-light scenes very well. They suffer from light falloff and loss of definition from center to edges. Lens hoods are mandatory. Pictures taken with FSU lenses will have a "vintage" look that you may or may not like.

(all of course IMHO)

General section: A bunch of standard "before u buy" questions could be listed, to make sure that a) the seller is serious and knows his item and b) the camera is as advertised (making it easier to claim a refund from the seller if it´s a lemon with i e pinhole, shutter or RF issues).


Cheers /Richard
I didn't want to go into buying caveats, I wanted to keep it as brief as possible (it's already quite long). To be honest, buying is an area where common sense should prevail - if it's going cheaply then there's probably a reason for it! The aim was a resume of the common models and their features. The pitfalls of buying are not unique to FSU cameras!

With regard to flare, any lens can be susceptible to it. Whilst I'm not going to say you are wrong, my own experience says FSU lenses are no worse than equivalents. I only use a hood on the Industar 22/50 lenses (largely because I've yet to get other size hoods!) and the only lens that I've found prone is the I-26M on my FED 3A. Having said that, I'm concious of the lack of hood and tend to keep it in mind, so maybe that explains things!
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Zorki: 1e (x2), 2C, 3M, 4, 4K, 5, 6
FED: NKVD, 1g, 2e
Kiev 4, 4A
Leica IIIC
Yashica Minister III
Zenith C, Zenit C, Zenit E
Minolta XG-M, XD-5
Nikon P50
Panasonic Lumix G2, 14-42 Kit lens + 45-150mm

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."- Benjamin Franklin
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Old 07-01-2007   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RML
What happened to Jim Blazik's wonderful website? I can only find it in the internet archives: http://web.archive.org/web/200309190...kis/index.html . And no pics.
I was wondering the same, it was a wonderful job. Frankly the details of each model have already been covered in depth by many people including Nathan Dayton (http://www.commiecameras.com/) for all cameras, Keith Berry (http://www.keithberry.telinco.co.uk/Kiev-4.htm) for Kiev RF, Fed and Zorki Leica clones (http://members.myactv.net/~je245/leica2nc.htm) - anyhow you get the idea. It might be useful to leave the model details to those who have studied them in more depth and provide links to those sites.

The useful contribution that members of this forum could make, IMO, is to record their personal opinions, experiences and advice. The model features can easily be found on the web, but I for one get a lot from considering subjective evaluations.

Michael

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Old 07-01-2007   #21
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"I didn't want to go into buying caveats, I wanted to keep it as brief as possible (it's already quite long). To be honest, buying is an area where common sense should prevail - if it's going cheaply then there's probably a reason for it! The aim was a resume of the common models and their features. The pitfalls of buying are not unique to FSU cameras!"

Great idea wolves! Just include zhose thoughts in a sntence, as beginners tend to get very enthusiatic and nearly blind ("Great a Leica like camera fro only 10$)
Also some advice on the Turret viewfinders:
After a first check it seems that the Kiev and the Zorki turret viewfinders can be used on both Cameras, as the Viwefinder itself is in the same position on both of them. BUT: You can use a Zorki Vf on a Kiev rewwinding film will get a bit more difficult, but using a Kiev VF on a Zorki make changing speeds a pain.
Also there is the quality issue with the Kievs as a great number of the 4AM's compared with the earlier Kiev Versions show bad finish and sometimes even impaired function. That's an advice I tend to give personally, when I tell someone what to expect and that he has to have a good look at a camera, but once written it could lead to a run on every Kiev produced before f.e. 1962 or stupid generalizations like "All $ AM's are crap"
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Old 07-01-2007   #22
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nice work Wolves, could this information also be presented in a chart style? You know the sort, with columns for various features, ticked off for the models. Sort of slow speeds, strap lugs, 1/1000th top speed, 1/4 inch mount, etc....... for us lazy types. Many thanks for producing this.....Dave
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Old 07-01-2007   #23
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Thumbs up

Excellent introduction; wish I had something like this when I started on FSUs!

Only suggestion would be to add a few links to FSU reference sites, for instance:

Antique Russian Cameras

Russ Pinchbeck's Kiev Survival Site

Soviet and Russian Cameras

Oleg Khalyavin's site

KMZ site . (they have manuals for several Zorkis, some in English, the others may be used with automatic translation and patience)
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Old 07-01-2007   #24
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Excellent work, wolves & co. Well done and much needed. I agree this would be a great thread for others to add their "IMHOs" about particular models, links to other model variation info, etc. It's a good thread to be referenced by many for some time. I certainly wouldn't mind it being stickied as well.

Thanks all!
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Zorki.3
Old 07-03-2007   #25
reagan
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Zorki.3

Okay, I'll have a go at tossing in a comment on the popular-to-look-at-but-not-use Zorki.3. As Wolves notes, the slow speed shutter mech. is often noted for being troublesome. Because of always reading that, I bought mine with the idea that it might get extremely limited use so as not to break the fragile little thing.

However, I've had no problems with mine in the approx. 2 years of occasional use and don't recall ever reading here [at RFF] of others with first-hand troubles. I might have just forgotten, so maybe someone who has had difficulties with their slow speeds will jump in. But mine seems to work well at all speeds and is quite enjoyable to use.

My Zorki.3 owner's manual has this caution: “The front dial can be turned only from Д to 1,10, 2, 5, 25 and back. The user should not attempt to force the dial to shift between ‘Д’ and ‘25’ or damage to the camera will result.” That and the usual FSU Golden Rule, "Wind on before changing any speeds" is easy enough to remember.

So I have no hesitation in encouraging someone whose head has been turned by one of these striking scalawags to, hey, go for it.

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Old 07-06-2007   #26
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Got mine today from alex photo, Z3 (N°5441427)with a J8 (n°5312052), i also got the ready case with a plastic tablet inside, with what seems to be the hyperfocal lenght written in russian by someone years ago.
The problem with this zorki3 is that speeds are crazy,i have to check the speed mecanism,but i need a zorki 3 repair manual, i've ordered one of the Maizenberg's repair book but i have to wait it come from russia.
I think that the front slow speed mecanism is not working.
The rangefinder is accurate, i cleaned the viewfinder, here's the picture of the announce but now i've cleaned it, it's in a lot better shape.



That is the card that was inside the ready case:
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Old 07-06-2007   #27
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Since the Zorki 3 is the one model FED/Zorki I don't own (yet)...I think you're both cruel to post pics!
;-)
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Old 07-06-2007   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolves3012
Since the Zorki 3 is the one model FED/Zorki I don't own (yet)...I think you're both cruel to post pics!
;-)
how could that happen ..? 3 / 3m is a jewell among fsu-rfs. not just my opinion. ;;

all the best,
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Old 07-06-2007   #29
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Of the LTM cameras that I have had the pleasure of using, my favorite remains the Zori 6. With the amenities of the swing back, a decent finder & a lever film advance combined with the added reliablity of no slow speeds you have, in my mind, the best of the FSU LTM cameras.

In the end though, this is a really good start at what it proposes being. Thank you for creating it.

William
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Old 07-07-2007   #30
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Hi,

Don't forget the most "Soviet" rangefinder, the Zayar. It is light, simple and reliable. With a J-12 set at F8-11, you can shoot almost anything without focusing.

Zhang
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Old 07-07-2007   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misok
how could that happen ..? 3 / 3m is a jewell among fsu-rfs. not just my opinion. ;;

all the best,
m.
There's a simple reason I don't own one - they're pretty rare beasts in the UK, I haven't found one yet in the condition I'd like for a sensible price!
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Old 07-07-2007   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wlewisiii
Of the LTM cameras that I have had the pleasure of using, my favorite remains the Zori 6. With the amenities of the swing back, a decent finder & a lever film advance combined with the added reliablity of no slow speeds you have, in my mind, the best of the FSU LTM cameras.

In the end though, this is a really good start at what it proposes being. Thank you for creating it.

William
I love the Zorki 6 too and I tend to agree. Sadly the one combination that never appeared was a model with all the best features - like a wide-base RF, slow speeds, hinged back, lever-wind etc. Meaning, we have to choose amongst the features we want and need...or have a few cameras! A Zorki 6 with slow speeds would have been superb...and I don't think they make a camera unreliable if it's serviced properly (emphasis on the IF).
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Old 07-07-2007   #33
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Let's keep bumping this thread, maybe it gets sticky!

Quote:
Of the LTM cameras that I have had the pleasure of using, my favorite remains the Zori 6.
(Zorki 6)

I fully agree. I've tried a few and the Z6 is my favorite among M39 rangefinders. I don't really miss the slow speeds for what I shoot.

It helps that I used for years a Zenit 3M, which is a very similar camera.

My second favorite is Fed2.
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Old 07-08-2007   #34
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My two euro-cents : for the kievs, it's better avoid cameras made fom the late 60s to the early 80s (It's a long time for sure) since they tend to be randomly working and may plunge the owner into GAS (gear acquisition syndrom). The best values are Kiev II/IIa (Kiev II with a КИЕВ engraving are really rare and sought) and early 4. Kiev III/IIIa are nice too but not as pretty and pocketable...
Kiev 4am/4M are newer cameras with a hot-shoe, and newer winder/speed selector.
The Kiev 5 is an ugly attempt to turn the original Contax into a more modern camera, with reflected bright lines in a really big finder, and an external bayonet for the lens. They're quite rare and expensive though no one (except the collectors) wants it.
There was also a prototype Kiev TTL, quite pretty actually, and I once saw a CdS Kiev with a CdS cell instead of the selenium one, but I reckon it was never commercialised.
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Old 07-08-2007   #35
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You might consider adding the Orion-15 28mm lens to the list. It's not as common or as cheap as the other lenses that you mention, but I think it's still the cheapest 28mm in M39 or Contax/Kiev mount available. Quality is excellent, but it's not a fast lens.
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Orion.15
Old 07-08-2007   #36
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Orion.15

Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_wt
"You might consider adding the Orion-15 28mm lens to the list."
I would agree. Orions are often inquired about and for FSU enthusiasts, are quite attractive. The slow f6 has never been a problem for me since a rarely shoot wider than that with any lens, but it's a deterrent to some. The Orion's compact size is a plus as well, IMHO.
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Old 07-09-2007   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_wt
You might consider adding the Orion-15 28mm lens to the list. It's not as common or as cheap as the other lenses that you mention, but I think it's still the cheapest 28mm in M39 or Contax/Kiev mount available. Quality is excellent, but it's not a fast lens.
I did think about including the Orion but decided not to as a deliberate thing. It isn't a common lens, sadly, and I wanted to keep the introduction as short as possible and include only the most commonly found gear. Likewise I didn't include the 100mm f/6 (I think) lens and a few other items.
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I concur...
Old 07-09-2007   #38
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I concur...

[quote=rolleistef]My two euro-cents : for the kievs, it's better avoid cameras made fom the late 60s to the early 80s (It's a long time for sure) since they tend to be randomly working and may plunge the owner into GAS (gear acquisition syndrom). The best values are Kiev II/IIa (Kiev II with a КИЕВ engraving are really rare and sought) and early 4. Kiev III/IIIa are nice too but not as pretty and pocketable...
Kiev 4am/4M are newer cameras with a hot-shoe, and newer winder/speed selector."

As you pointed out the degrading quality of the finsh in the FED's it would also be quite reasonable to do the same thing with the Kievs.
Put a Kiev from the sixties beside a late Kiev and the differences are really obvious.....As I already mentioned several times before my first Kiev bought as new in the eighies had to be given to repair immediately, but then it did quite OK.
But still I think it is good advice to a prospective buyer not to overhaste things and to feel regret at home when he takes a closer look at his treasure.

Wolves the older Canons have a certain similarity to Zorki 3's. It should be possible to convert them.....now that the Zorki 3's prices are skyrocketing....
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Old 07-09-2007   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolves3012
I did think about including the Orion but decided not to as a deliberate thing ... Likewise I didn't include the 100mm f/6 (I think) lens and a few other items.
I think the Orion is different from the 100mm f6,3. The Orion is post war (production started in 1960), available for both Kiev/Contax mount and LTM and is a general usable lens. The 100mm f6,3 is a really old design (<20.000 made, starting 1938, according to Princelle) and, at least the one I own, is more of a curiosum. It flares like crazy.

But even more important: if you consider 85/90mm and 135mm as alternatives for a 100mm lens, you have plenty of options in that range. You could even find a 90mm Leitz lens for less than the FSU 100mm. In the 28mm range you don't have that many options. I would never advise someone to buy a FSU 100mm f6,3, but I do advise anyone looking for a cheap 28mm solution to consider the Orion 15, alongside the offerings from Voigtländer, or some Canon RF-lenses.

But these are just my 2 Eurocents.

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Old 07-09-2007   #40
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Example from my 100mm f6,3 attached.

I just realized that I didn't compliment you on the excellent post. I think it's a very good idea to make this beginners guide. Certainly as many of the sites that were usefull to me when I started my collection are no longer on-line or no longer maintained.
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