View Full Version : Fed 2e and Fed 3b -- What have I gotten into?

10-31-2004, 10:47
Hi, my name is Joe and I just bought two strange cameras...

Recently, Epson announced their digital rangefinder. I was curious as to what the big deal was and did some poking around.

It turns out there's some kind "aura" surrounding rangefinder cameras. I decided I had to find out first hand what the deal was.

After an exhaustive evening of googling I discovered these FSU rangefinders. From Jim Blazik's site I learned of the FED and promptly orderd a fed-2e and a fed-3b from some guy named chiliredketchup on ebay. I'm twiddling my thumbs waiting for their arrival.

So now that I've taken the initial plunge just what on earth do I do with these things? I've never owned a film camera. Much less one that only has cyrillic markings on it! I don't even know if these take regular 35mm film cartridges! I don't know how to wind them. I don't know how to rewind them.

Basically, I'm a rangefinder baby.

Is there some kind of FSU rangefinder primer out there? Any gotchas I need to be aware of? Any helpful tips you remember from when you first started? Any must have accessories?

Well, this sure will be an interesting journey for me.....


I do have a couple digital cameras, a Nikon D70 and a Canon S30, so I do have a small clue as to what's going on.

10-31-2004, 11:45
Don't ever drop a FSU rangefinder on your toes. :) Good luck. Sounds like fun!

10-31-2004, 12:39
Joe, you're in TROOOOUBLE!! These FSU cameras can become addictive! :D

The FED's will accept normal 35mm cassettes and load pretty much like an SLR. Remove the back and insert the cassette. Pull the film across and insert the leader into the spool. PARTIALLY advance the film wind mechanism to ensure that the take-up spool has captured the film. Hold the cassette with your thumb and use the rewind knob to tighten the film in the cassette until it's flat across the shutter opening AND make sure it engages the teeth of the sprocket that advances the film. Finish the film advance and click the shutter. Close the back and secure it.

With the lens cap on, advance the film two times and click the shutter, making sure that the rewind knob turns as you advance the film. (That tells you that the film is actually being advanced in the camera.) Set the counter to zero and you're ready to take your first picture.

The FED's are nice and if yours are in good condition, you'll be pleased. You'll also likely be hooked! :)

Gordon Coale
10-31-2004, 12:57

The FED 2 and FED 3 work pretty much the same the same. Here is a user manual:

FED 3 Owners Manual (http://www.fortunecity.com/marina/marine/569/rusrngfdrs/fed3.html)

You will need a handheld light meter or learn the Sunny 16 rule (http://www.camerareview.com/templates/sunny16.cfm) .

I just got my FED 2e and haven't had this much fun shooting in a long while.

10-31-2004, 13:47
You've stepped up from a 5 megapixel digital to a 10 megapixel Fed. Congratulations.

The Fed is one cool machine.

Jon Flanders

10-31-2004, 18:20
I should tell you of the problem I have with my first Fed 2(I ordered another). Despite its overall good looks, it turned out to have a shutter pinhole problem that someone had attempted to fix with a small bit of tape. Unfortunately, all the pinholes weren't covered. Attached is a photo illustrating the problem.

So I attempted a fix with a piece of black duct tape a little bigger than the first one. The pinholes were gone, but now the first shutter curtain ran slower than the second, resulting in an underexposure to a quarter of the negative.
I will attach an example to the next post.

Jon Flanders

10-31-2004, 18:30
So I peeled off the tape I had applied and looked for another solution. I saw via Google that fabric paint was recommended. I picked up a small bottle of Tulip black fabric paint and painted over the shutter curtain that is exposed when the shutter is cocked, working the paint into the edges around the first piece of tape. I didn't(yet) try to peel that off for fear of ripping the curtain.

So now the first curtain runs faster, but pictures still show the darkish sign of a slightly slower running first shutter curtain. I suppose the paint is affecting things a bit.

That's where I'm at with this Fed 2. If the (hopefully) better one works out, I will try for pulling off that original tape and going with fabric paint only on the first one. Or maybe even major surgery(installing a new curtain.)

In the attached picture you can see a darker tinge to the picture on the right side. You can also see that the Industar 2.8 is a pretty good lens.

Jon Flanders

10-31-2004, 18:35
Jon, there's a product sold at Lowe's or Home Depot called "Plasti-Dip" or something like that. It's made to dip tool handles into and forms a pliable grip. A few drops of it thinned with naptha and brushed on a shutter curtain very thinly will seal pin-holes while remaining flexable. It's a much better repair than tape or paint or fingernail polish. Just be sure to thin it well and don't apply too much to the curtain. Then, allow it to dry well before using. Be sure to buy the black Plasti-Dip. HTH

11-01-2004, 03:09
There is of course a more painful alternative to fixing a shutter curtain with pin holes.


11-01-2004, 06:01
Thanks all for your tips so far. I'm sure I'll be coming back with lots of questions.


11-01-2004, 06:30
There is also a fascinating history of the factory in Kharkov where these Fed's were made. This is a PDF fie. There is an html version on the fedka website as well.



11-01-2004, 06:37
Great link, Paul. Thanks!! :)