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Your favorite FSU camera and why?
Old 10-31-2016   #1
Fotohuis
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Your favorite FSU camera and why?

The title of this thread is clear: YOUR favorite FSU camera.

For me my favorite FSU camera is the Zorki-6.





Why? Well the camera is very easy in handling. Just a few shutter times which your can not break by forgetting to cock the shutter first before turning on the speed dial. It is also a small camera. Build in dioptry. An easy bottom for re-winding the film. Engraved letters and possible to read without glasses. Strap lugs available. The VF is not bad at all. And of course compatible with M39 lenses including a J-12 which is almost touching the shutter curtain.
Some minor points: Film advance level has a bit long stroke. An adapter needed for the 1/4" regular tripod connection.

My second favorite FSU camera? Well I think the Kiev-4AM or at least one of the Kiev/Contax copies. My favorite beer? See picture 1.
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Old 10-31-2016   #2
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Mine are pre 1973 Kiev 4 and 4a and the earliest Zorki 4 with the frame around the VF and RF windows and the thicker strap lugs and the older shutter speed numbering system.

These cameras work for me better than the rest of the plethora of FSU cameras.
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Old 10-31-2016   #3
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Kiev 4A - early model without the meter. I find the rangefinder on this camera easier to use than the Zorkii's because it is brighter with better contrast on the rangefinder spot. I also find that I am able to shoot at slower speeds (1/30 as opposed to 1/100) with my Kiev 4s.
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Old 10-31-2016   #4
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It is not a rangefinder but I really enjoy working with my Arax 60, an upgraded Kiev 6.

Why? The wonderful Zeiss glass that fits to this camera provides exceptional 6x6 medium format photographs. The camera is a bit heavy, a bit clunky and requires you to take your time. Tripods are a good accessory but not absolutely necessary if you keep your shutter speeds up. That is why I chose the Kiev 6 style over the Kiev 88 style, the SLR body style, oversized and all, makes it easier for me to get steady, handheld photos. I have owned mine for a couple of years now and it has been perfectly reliable.
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Old 10-31-2016   #5
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I sold Z-6 very quickly. In short, it was loud like empty tin, too long and absolutely non informative film advance (also build as PiB to service) and shutter release with sharp edges, which made my finger soar for days.
Every time the door was open I have to watch this rare, fragile and expensive film spool, because it does fell of from Zorki 6. And it was only one camera with this PiB I have.

I'm not sure if I will ever get back my Kiev II from service in Kiev. They took camera and silence, just like Leica NJ these days or this famous USA repair guy who can't answer e-mails. But it is very fascinating camera for getting the picture from it. From trying to see the shutter speed to slowest focusing I ever used. And I impressed how sharp lenses are.

I only really like and use FED-2. It is elegant, it feels original, it has contrasty, toned VF which is not a problem to use in doors at all, but on bright light were RF meant to be used it is saving my eyes from this crazy Ontario sun.
Now I could service it completely by myself, including replacement of the curtains. No expensive tools and deep experience with personal Leica stamp is required. Film advance (with film in it) is done by fast stoke of index finger once I have it cleaned and lubricated completely. My FED-2 is "original" it means it is same camera I used in eighties. But I also used another FED-2 and it was as good as mine if not better.




This is the print from previous year.



And this one is from this year. 8x10 print from J-3 wide open and focused with FED-2 where I wanted it.





Not to show how good I'm , but to keep my post apart from FSU best camera theoretics, who will brag how great their camera is, without actual pictures ever taken with camera.
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Old 10-31-2016   #6
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I'm leaning toward the Zorki-6 with it's easier film loading, though I really like the FED-2. I was hoping the Zorki-3 would become a favorite, but I got another messed up model.

PF

Zorki-6, I-22, Kodak T-Max 100


Critter Bridge by P F McFarland, on Flickr
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Old 10-31-2016   #7
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Zorki-6 for:
Most usable viewfinder (brightness and eye-relief), long rangefinder base, hinged back, not-easy-to-touch-by-accident shutter speed dial, quick double-pump-possible advance lever, T exposure lock, and compactness.

Kiev-4a for:
Metal shutter curtains, low temperature friendly shutter mechanism, long rangefinder base, click-stopped standard lenses, T exposure lock, slow shutter speeds.

Zorki-1 for:
Compactness with collapsible lenses.

I'm bringing my Kiev-4a to my hometown in Northeast China next week (around -5 C now).
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Old 10-31-2016   #8
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Quote:
who will brag how great their camera is, without actual pictures ever taken with camera.
OK you have asked for it:



Zorki-6 with J-9. Rollei RPX-400 in ATM-W.



Kiev-4AM with J-12. Bergger BRF 400+ in Pyrocat-HDC.
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Old 10-31-2016   #9
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You are certainly right Ko.Fe.

Some artificial flowers on my back porch (I am way too lazy to water real ones) that become the subject of almost all new/used cameras that come my way.


Arax 60 - CZJ Biometar 80/2.8 - TMX100 - D76 1:1 9.5 min @ 20C

Of course, you can also see the example of poor preparation on my part in this little still life as described by Roger Hicks in another post. I should have at least taken the time to sweep away some of the old spider webs and dried leaves from around the pot. This is why I don't make the big money.
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Old 10-31-2016   #10
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Quote:
CZJ Biometar 80/2.8
The Pentacon-6 Carl Zeiss Jena lenses can be very good and still have a small price.

Although the Russian P-6 lens versions are interesting too:

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Old 10-31-2016   #11
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I have the Arsat 80/2.8 as well, and it performs great. It seems a bit more subject to flare.

There are so many terrific lenses with the P-6 mount that my LBA may never be cured.

Kind of like the M42 mount except for medium format.
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Old 10-31-2016   #12
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The Lomo LC-A. Remember, it was developed (or copied) as a serious camera.

Why? The lens, the handling and the absence of unnecessary features.
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Old 10-31-2016   #13
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Have run many rolls through my Zorki 4.

Zorki 4 by Berang Berang, on Flickr

Every other FSU camera I've had, just hasn't inspired confidence or much of anything else really. I do like the Fed 3, but the Zorki 4 has a better viewfinder, and that's what matters.
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Old 11-01-2016   #14
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If I could only keep one I'd have hard time choosing between a Kiev 4a and a Zorki or FED 1. The Kiev has a very complete set of features I like to have and metal curtains to boot. The FED/Zorki 1 is just a tiny jewel if you get a good example, pocketable. The only FSUs that somewhat disappoint (relatively) are the FEDs from 3 onwards - a bit big, not so pretty and the curtains tend to fail.
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Old 11-02-2016   #15
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I can agree on a lot of points for a Kiev-4(xx). Sturdy build but due to the large RF base the "Kiev/Contax grip" needed. Indeed a metal curtain and times from 1s-1/1000s available. More or less the same Jupiter lenses in Kiev-bayonet available.
Easy to load and re-wind (de-lock). However that infinity lock for the distance I am less pleased with it.
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Old 11-02-2016   #16
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It has to be a Kiev II , although my Contax III body with Kiev 4 top plate and meter is my impossible camera !!
[A recognised unofficial borrowed parts conversion for a Kiev III with dead meter back in Ukraine where a new camera would cost a fortune ]
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Old 11-02-2016   #17
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Kiev-4AM with J-8M. A film test Bergger BRF400 Plus in HC-110 (B). Well the lens performance is pretty good.
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Old 11-02-2016   #18
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I haven't used many but I did enjoy the FED-3. It was less bulky than the next models with light meter and had a very smooth film advance.


It was the 50 years anniversary model
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Old 11-02-2016   #19
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I have a FED-3 "50 years October revolution" too. Completely overhauled.



Not bad at all. The later models were not good anymore.
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Old 11-02-2016   #20
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Standard with an I-61 Zebra F/2,8-52mm:



BRF400+ in HC-110(B).
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Old 11-02-2016   #21
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Zorki 6, as the OP. And if pushed, it SLR equivalent, Zenit 3M. I have Kievs and Contaxes but do no like the ergonomics.

Zorki-6 with Industar-50 collapsible:

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Old 11-02-2016   #22
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I like all of them but mostly because they are not digital with electronics and batteries and stupid ideas of their own about taking the picture.

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Old 11-02-2016   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julio1fer View Post
And if pushed, it SLR equivalent, Zenit 3M.
That reminded me the Zenit 12XP .



It gave me some very nice pictures.
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Old 11-02-2016   #24
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I simply cannot do "the Contax hold" so the Kiev 4 is not a favorite.

My Fed-2's and Mir are not working, so they're out.

Thus, I'm left with Fed-1, Fed-3, Zorki-C, and a Zorki-6. All nice, but the Zorki-C seems to get the most use.

So my favorite is the Zorki-C. Mine's a 1957 model.

Super reliable and durable. Nice small size. Set the shutter speed anytime. Plus I get bottom loading and a squinty viewfinder!
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Old 11-03-2016   #25
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Hello,

my favourite 35mm. camera from the USSR, is the 1968-made Kiev-4A I've bought back in 1975, that still works perfectly;

my favourite Medium Format one is the Pentacon Six, with its very fine lenses.

E.L.
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Old 11-04-2016   #26
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Pentacon cameras were made in East Germany (DDR) which is not FSU area. Zorki's and Zenit were made in Russia, FEDs were from Ukraine a former USSR area.
Interesting nobody is mentioning Minox, at that time made in Riga, Baltic States also former USSR area.
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Old 11-04-2016   #27
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Hi,

I thought the Minox was started off in Latvia but was it still made there when the USSR took over in 1940? Just curious.

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Old 11-04-2016   #28
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Once upon a time I had a Fed 2 that had been CLA'd, and it is the only FSU camera I ever owned that worked right. Dark viewfinder though.
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Old 11-04-2016   #29
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A close second to my Zorki-C is a lightly CLA'd Fed-1 Kombinat. Its an early one and the Fed-50 lens that came with it seems like an appropriate partner. Its a fun camera to use in exactly the same way as a Barnack is. I don't remember how other [later] lenses perform on that body but it would be nice to use my neglected Super-Rokkor 45/2.8 on it. That lens is really well built, heavy, and a rather good performer, but not FSU .
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Old 11-04-2016   #30
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Mine is the FED-2, mainly because it's the only one I have left. In the past I've owned Zorki 1,Zorki 4K,Zorki 3-C,FED 5B, Kiev 4 and 4A. My FED-2 has the old style shutter speeds and has one one the best rangefinder patches than any of the aforementioned. Alas, it hasn't seen much action lately, so to cheer it up I gave it a new paint job.

FED-2 by Philip McAllister, on Flickr
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Old 11-04-2016   #31
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My Fed 2. (Click on the thumbnail):



It's viewfinder isn't as bright as a 4k and I think it's rangefinder is smaller than a 4k but even though I'm a speccy-four-eyes I can see 3 sides of the 'finder frame with no trouble, which makes framing much easier than a 4k. It's rangefinder patch is dimmer than a fed 4L and so I find it easier to use than a fed 4L as I had trouble seeing the 'real' image to focus on, and it has a re-wind knob which is easier and quicker to use thasn a fed 4L.
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Old 11-04-2016   #32
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When I wanted to document scientific fieldwork in messy locations, I needed a reliable, rugged, and simple kit. Something resistant to battery failure and not so valuable it required cuddling.

FSU gear rose to the challenge. I've used Feds and Zorkis to photograph endeavors in forests, wetlands, grasslands, and the intertidal zone. I love my Leicas and Nikons, but FSU gear is such a great fit for some situations.

Here, it was a Fed-3 with Jupiter-8:



These are two of my students measuring Douglas-fir trees.

Along with our class material, its fun to expose (pun intended?) my students to film cameras and "old fashioned" photography. Some humor me and show interest, but I doubt I'm gaining and converts. They know and love digital. That's OK.
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Old 11-05-2016   #33
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My latest FSU camera.



The Shutter speeds are a bit off unfortunately.
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Old 11-05-2016   #34
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Quote:
I thought the Minox was started off in Latvia
Walter Zapp made them in Riga, Latvia up from 1937.

In 1948 the new Minox company started in West Germany.
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Old 11-05-2016   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fotohuis View Post
Walter Zapp made them in Riga, Latvia up from 1937.

In 1948 the new Minox company started in West Germany.
Thanks, I just couldn't remember.

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Old 11-06-2016   #36
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Hi! My favorite FSU camera is the Zorki-10. The first Soviet automatic camera.
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Old 11-10-2016   #37
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My absolute favorite is my Zorki 1(d) with the Industar-22 50mm f3.5





Why?

It's crude, basic and noisy for it's size.
But it got a really nice CLA in Ukraine before I got it, so the focus and camera operation is oh so smooth.

And the lens is pin-sharp in the center, even at F4.

Timings are good too ^^

Plus, it looks like no other camera I have, or have seen out on the streets


Zorki 1d, Tri-x 400 @ 400 in HC-110B
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Old 11-26-2016   #38
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I now only have two fsu camera's. A Fed 5 & a Zorki 2c. Both are loaded with film & like shooting both but I do lean toward the Zorki being more pocketable. I had a Fed 2 & really liked that camera but it finally gave up the ghost so passed it along. Here is from the 1st roll I put in the Zorki. A roll of XP-2 & J-12 lens. I'll post more recent photos when I finish the roll.

Asian Dancers by Greg, on Flickr
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Old 11-30-2016   #39
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I'm pretty partial to my Kiev 4a because the fit and finish are a bit nicer than my Zorki 6s and it's a whole lot easier to manage than the Moskva 5. Also, the J-8 on it is a good one.

The lens on the Moskva is also quite good and a 6x9 transparency is a glorious thing, but it's not exactly ergonomic to shoot with.

My opinion of the Zorkis would probably be higher if I had better glass for them but, for now, myLTM lenses are only so-so.
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Old 12-03-2016   #40
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This is a fun thread. Hahaha....
Nearly impossible to answer because honestly, if I could squeeze characteristics out of each of my FSU cameras, I'd have ONE camera that I love! But I've many complaints about most of them as well. I've a Kiev4m with meter, a black Kiev4a without meter, a Fed 2E (sort of a cross between 2 and 3 in many ways), a Zorki4 and a Zorki4k. I was certain I would like the Zorki 4k the best - it was the last one to arrive to me long after I'd owned the others. I don't. It somehow feels "less" than the regular Zorki4 and I really don't get on with its very odd feeling and very loud advance lever.
All in all, it would have to be the Kiev 4a, for pure reliable and utilitarian style with no b.s., yet oddly refined. And the Helios-103 that I normally have mounted to it certainly blows away IMO all the other 50-ish length lenses I've had on it or the others, Contax or LTM.




the dark knight by Kevin Rosinbum (Eyewanders Foto), on Flickr
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