View Full Version : fed 2

12-30-2004, 19:07
i was thinking about buying a fed 2 rangefinder off of ebay for $22.00 for my first rangefinder camera. It looks to be in working condition and the seller says it is working condition. I was just wondering if that is a good camera to start off with

12-30-2004, 19:36
I have a Fed 2 and a Kiev 4am, I much prefer the Kiev. It's just smoother mechanically. Of course its a different lens mount. The Russian made cameras are very beautiful but I never actuallly used them much. If you intend to take alot of pictures you might be better off saving for a Bessa. You can find used Bessa R's on ebay or on some online stores. They take screw mount lenses, which can be used on both very old cameras and new ones w/ adapters.

If you are in the Boston area you can borrow my Fed to try it out.

That's my opinion at least.

Gordon Coale
12-30-2004, 19:55
If you are only going to buy one Russian rangefinder, the FED 2 is an excellent choice. (Disclosure: I have 2 late FED 2s (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2612)). Be sure to check out Rangefinder Cameras of the Soviet Era (http://www.geocities.com/fzorkis/index.html) for everything about the FED 2s. I would also suggest you buy from Alex on eBay. He goes by alex-photo and asr-photo. I love my FEDs!

Of course it will be really hard to stop at one Russian rangerfinder. Be warned.

12-30-2004, 20:08
i just want a starter camera i plan on buying more. i am only 15 but i am considering in taking up photography as a profession. so i wanna try using rangefinders along with my nikon n80

12-30-2004, 20:18
Originally posted by Gordon Coale
Be sure to check out Rangefinder Cameras of the Soviet Era (http://www.geocities.com/fzorkis/index.html) for everything about the FED 2s. I would also suggest you buy from Alex on eBay. He goes by alex-photo and asr-photo. I love my FEDs!

Of course it will be really hard to stop at one Russian rangerfinder. Be warned.

thanks for that link, Gordon! Some awesome photos of the Russian cams.

12-30-2004, 20:25
Given that, I'll suggest a Kiev instead.

The Kiev is a decendant of the Contax II/III of prewar Germany. I'll spare you the history - it's easy enough to find online if you care - and simply say that the Soviets started with a better design, had the original production equipment and even thier lackadasical approch to quality control couldn't kill the camera for nearly 40 years and 60 years after it was designed.

I have found it to be a better built machine and it has truely world class Zeiss lenses available for it on ebay - at a much lower cost than the equivalent Leica lenses.

Look here - http://www.cameraquest.com/zconrfKiev.htm
for more information.

And welcome to the world of rangefinders. They won't replace your other cameras, but you will wonder how you ever shot without them.

OTOH, If you buy a former soviet union (FSU) camera, be prepared that you may get a lemon. Or four. I spent more money to get mine from someone I trusted to get me a good camera the first time. You might get lucky and get a perfect camera the first time - more likely that you will not. Good luck and be sure to post your images here. I know I'd like to see them.


12-30-2004, 20:48
For someone with limited funds (I assume that a 15-year old still has little money to spend) a FED2 is an excellent choice. There are a few very reputable Russian/ Ukrainian sellers on eBay, like Alex, but their prices tend to be higher. A zorki 4(K) is another good Russian camera, which I actually prefer over the FED2. AND the Zorki 4 comes with the wonderful Jupiter-8 50/2 lens, which is my standard 50mm lens. In my gallery you can find many examples of this lens's quality and character.


Sticking with FEDs and Zorkis will give you plenty of cheap LTM mount lenses to chose from; going the Kiev way means going with a different mount. The lenses are very good (as I hear) but I'm not sure the choice is as large as with LTM mount lenses.

Beware that these Russian cameras can become pretty addictive: before you know it you'll have several. If you buy a lemon it can be a nice repair/ restoration project. The cameras are not difficult to fix or adjust, and as they are cheap you won't lose much if you screw things up or chop one camera up to rescue another.

Maybe one of the members here has a FED or Zorki for sale?

12-30-2004, 20:52
ya i am probably buying both the fed 2 and either zorki 4k or kiev 4am

12-30-2004, 20:59
A couple of bits...

1) The Jupiter-8 is an exquisite lens.
2) He's one of the best shooters here. Given some ot the extraordinary photographers on this web site, that is saying a heck of alot.

I do still prefer the Kiev for your situation because it is, I believe, a better camera and is available at a reasonable cost with that exquisite Jupiter 8 standard. I will say I like the Zorki's over the Feds in the long run as well

I do hope that all this blather is helpful.


12-30-2004, 21:11
I have both a FED 2 and a FED 3. I prefer the FED 3. It may not be as cool looking as the 2 but it feels and functions better. Just my two cents to confuse the issue.


Gordon Coale
12-30-2004, 21:16
I bought the FED 2 and then I bought a Jupiter 8 for it. I really like the Jupiter 8. Since it's the lens that takes the picture, it would probably be best to get a body with a Jupiter 8 on it. I used to be afraid of nob winders but have gotten over that so you might consider a Zorki 4. The Zorki 4 also has lower speeds. Alex has a couple with Jupiter 8s...

Zorki 4 (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=15234&item=3863850522)

Zorki 4 (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=30030&item=3863762311&tc=photo)

12-30-2004, 21:20
ya i think tommorow ill grab the zorki 4 with the jupiter lens from alex. the only problem now is waiting for it to arrive on my doorstep

back alley
12-30-2004, 21:26
the only problem now is waiting for it to arrive on my doorstep

i feel your pain...


12-30-2004, 21:31
Have a look here: http://www.okvintagecamera.com/index.html

It's the site of Oleg who has a sterling reputation for selling cameras that have been CLA'd and in perfect working order. I recently received a Moskva-2 from him that is in excellent condition. He offers lots of FED's and Zorki and Kiev cameras at different prices. Oleg is another of the best sellers of FSU cameras.


12-31-2004, 00:00
Hmm, the Zorki 4 is my least favorite Russian RF - but only because of its looks, which I don't like...
The FED 2 is a good choice for its compactness (esp. if you get a collapsible lens, like an Industar-22 or -50 with it) and large rangefinderbase (more accurate), but in general, the later Zorkis (-3, -4, -5, -6) have much larger and brighter finders.
My favorite is the Zorki 6 (Alex also has one in his auctions) - good finder, long rangefinder base (like FED 2), compact, has lever-wind instead of knob-wind, and looks really sleek ;)


I would also go for a Jupiter-8 lens, or maybe for an Industar-61 L/D. As a second lens, the Jupiter-12 (35mm/2.8) is very good, but you will need an auxiliary finder, as the one inside the camera will only work with 50mm lenses; the J-9 (85mm/2) is also a good lens, but hard to use because of parallax errors with auxiliary finders (that means, if you take a portrait, about 80% of the time you will cut off an ear, a nose or something else from the subject - I'm speaking from experience - that's where a camera with parallax corrected framelines, like the Bessa R, is much superior - but also more expensive - stick with normals and wideangeles for your simple RFs, you'Ve got an SLR for teles, anyway...)

As for Kiev 4 - I also own a couple of those, and like them - but they are completely different beasts: it is true that they seem to be more accurate (RF and shutter-wise) and better made, but on the other hand, their finders are worse than those of Zorkis, theay are heavier, and if something breaks, more difficult to repair.
I like both FEDs/Zorkis and Kievs, but for an RF beginner, and as a compact addition to an SLR, a Zorki makes more sense to me (OK gotta go and hug my Kievs now... ;) )


12-31-2004, 00:02
PS: Forgot to add: If you ask Alex, he is usually willing to upgrade the lens on a camera in his auctions for a little extra fee - like if you would like a Jupiter-8 on a Zorki 6, etc.

12-31-2004, 08:48
Welcome pfloyd4317,

There is a lot of good advice in this thread and as long as you get a good working camera all of the Soviet RF models will be very useable. I agree with buying from a good seller like Alex-photo or Cupog, both on ebay. I'd also buy from Oleg (linked above) and he is said to be the best repairer of Soviet RF's there is. As far as personal favourites go I really like the FED2 and Zorki 5. Make sure you check the link Gordon posted to Jim Blazik web page (Rangefinder Cameras of the Soviet Era), his refinished Soviet cameras are to die for! And if you get the Soviet bug Jims 'favourite shooter' page is must have shopping list :D Make sure you let us know what you get and if you need further advice call out.