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Fed 4 Rangefinder Adjustment **Help**
Old 11-02-2011   #1
Porky4
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Question Fed 4 Rangefinder Adjustment **Help**

Hi folks,

I have recently put my first roll of film through a recently bought Fed 4. Everything seems fine, but the range-finder definitely needs adjustment. I have swapped lenses with my Zorki 4K and it's definitely the Fed 4 range-finder that needs adjusting and not a lens problem. I have read many descriptions on how to remove the nameplate to get at the adjustment mechanism (including the reference in one of the "stickies"here) and I just can't manage to remove it. So, I was wondering if anyone had a link to images of the underside of the nameplate, plus the body where it fits, so I can, hopefully, work out what I am doing wrong? Failing that, would anyone be so good as to take a couple of photos of their own? I really want to adjust this range-finder!!

Many thanks,

Paul☺
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Old 11-02-2011   #2
wolves3012
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Here you go. As you are looking from the front of the camera, the nameplate slides to the right until the left hand side of it will lift out. There is a small, curly-shaped, near-flat spring to the right (the VF window end), be careful not to lose it because it will fall out unless you leave the camera lying on its back! Take it out and put is somewhere safe NOW before you go any further, you won't be able to adjust the RF without it falling out at some point.

You can see the round RF window that can be rotated to adjust the vertical alignment and the small hole near the VF window where the horizontal adjuster screw lives.

NOTE: The camera in the picture also has the lens mount removed - ignore that as it's nothing to do with adjusting the RF.
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File Type: jpg DSCN4035.jpg (57.8 KB, 73 views)
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Old 11-02-2011   #3
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Thumbs up

What a star you are. I must have tried that two dozen times and this time - bingo. Unfortunately, the left hand side didn't just lift out, it had to be "helped" and only added a couple of more scratches to the nameplate. Which is a shame really as the rest of the camera is really clean. Now for the adjustment!!! Thanks, again. Paul☺
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Fed 4 rangefinder adjustment
Old 09-29-2013   #4
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Fed 4 rangefinder adjustment

I am in a similar position. I have so far been totally unable to move the name plate. Any clues for how to go about it? Tools or just finger pressure? Does the entire name plate including chrome surround move to the right or just the black nameplate?
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Old 09-30-2013   #5
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Looking at the nameplate with a thin flat screwdriver slide it from the right to the left and lift it up. Just the name plate, not the frame around it.
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Old 09-30-2013   #6
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Thanks Nicos

I have tried but so far without success. Perhaps I haven't found the right screwdriver. However I did succeed in moving the nameplate of my Fed 5V, which was relatively easy. I think I must be missing some simple trick.
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Old 09-30-2013   #7
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Limited success now. I have managed to move the plate but so far not managed to lift it out. Definitely need the right screwdriver and better light. Will try again tomorrow but there is now hope.
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Old 09-30-2013   #8
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Easiest way it to put a blunt tool through the hole and use that to slide and then pop the nameplate out. With care, you can use a regular screwdriver but you need to take care not to scratch the RF window with the tip.
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Old 10-01-2013   #9
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Success! Now for the next problem; one of my Fed 4 cameras has the return spring missing from the rangefinder cam. Presumably this means taking the top cover off. I'm not sure if that's worth doing since i probably wouldn't be able to find or make a new spring and fit it. It might be useful practice at disassembly, though.
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Old 10-01-2013   #10
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Is the spring actually missing, or is the pivot simply rather stiff from old grease? In any case, peeling the top off is easy enough and will give you useful insights in how the rangefinder works. Go from there to work out if it needs only cleaning & adjusting, or also parts.

Derk
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Old 10-01-2013   #11
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As far as I can tell it's missing or broken. Perhaps I'll find it rattling round inside if I ever get around to taking the top off. I find the prospect a bit daunting.
After all the camera is quite usable with estimated focusing. Available light close-ups might be a bit difficult, though.
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Old 10-01-2013   #12
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If you have to use it without the RF for whatever reason, you might want to put a piece of electrical tape over the RF porthole. That way, the focusing spot won't distract in the viewfinder. Of the types of tape I use, electrical tape leaves the easiest cleaned off residue.

But do pop the top off at some point. I can't help with parts for a FED-4 at the moment, but somebody here just might. It's also a lot easier than you'd think!

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Old 10-01-2013   #13
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A word of caution if you decide to remove the top cover: it's not difficult, except for fiddling the top over the rewind wheel BUT just be aware NOT to remove what look like obvious fixings on the left-hand end (the meter end) on top. They hold the meter in place! Undo them and the meter falls inside, which isn't good news.

All the fixings for the top plate are on the periphery and right-hand side. If you need more information, just ask. Another trap for the unwary is the RF dioptre adjuster. When you remove the bezel, turn the inner part so that it goes inside, flush with the cover. There's a large washer over the inside of it, it'll probably fall off somewhere so recover it and don't forget to reinstall it later.
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Old 10-02-2013   #14
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Incidentally, I haven't found any flat springs behind the name plates. Only the plate with the four screws. Perhaps someone else lost the springs?

Thanks for all the helpful hints.
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Old 10-02-2013   #15
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The nameplate retainer spring looks a bit like a letter "W" that's been squashed almost flat, it's about 2mm wide. It sits at the end, vertically-orientated and it doesn't always fall out when the nameplate is removed - it usually saves that feat for later, when you don't notice! If you felt resistance when sliding the nameplate across, the spring must be in position and is not lost.

If you're stuck for one, I have one I could send to you if you PM me your address. I think I also have an RF spring if you need it. Maybe first, you'd like to see if you can identify the camera's problems and see if it can be saved.
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Old 10-02-2013   #16
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Many thanks for all the help and kind offers. I can feel a spring nestling in behind the viewfinder window, but it doesn't show any sign of wanting to come out. Perhaps I should put a bit of Sellotape over it? Presumably to get the top off a Fed 4 you have to first remove the film advance and shutter release etc, as set out in the instructions for disassembling the Zorki 4. Perhaps I'll pluck up the courage to attempt it at the weekend. I have three Fed 4s, which seems excessive really, and I may decide to leave the only slightly annoying vertical rangefinder adjustment alone as the horizontal seems OK on the two that have working rangefinders. The other rangefinder works when you pull the cam out before mounting the lens but it just stays in at the end of its travel, and as far as I can tell there is no springiness at all. There is also no obvious rattle to suggest a loose spring, although they all seem to rattle a bit when given a gentle shake. I also wonder if the apparent vertical maladjustment of the rangefinder spot is partly due to my astigmatism. I seem to remember an optician telling me something to that effect.

If I'm going to get into the pastime of pulling FSU cameras apart, I probably should have a decent set of tools. Any suggestions for sources in the UK?
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Old 10-02-2013   #17
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I still sort of suspect that the RF pivot is gummed up with old grease. The spring might just not be strong enough to push the arm back because of there simply being gunk in there... With a clean pivot and no return spring, the arm should be rather loose both ways.

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Old 10-02-2013   #18
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I'd be willing to try degumming the pivot. Would alcohol be the best solvent and would it necessitate taking the top off or could it be done from underneath?
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Old 10-03-2013   #19
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Amazingly a light application of alcohol and a bit of wiggling restored the function. The rangefinder now appears to be working OK. Will test with film.
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Old 10-03-2013   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snapper78 View Post
I'd be willing to try degumming the pivot. Would alcohol be the best solvent and would it necessitate taking the top off or could it be done from underneath?
As you've discovered, you don't need to take the top off. Alcohol isn't a very good choice, it doesn't really dissolve the grease/muck all that well. Lighter-petrol, sold in newsagents (not the butane type, liquid petroleum) is much better. Mix a couple of drops of oil in with a few drops of that, apply sparingly and work it in well and you should be good for quite a while.
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Old 10-03-2013   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snapper78 View Post
Amazingly a light application of alcohol and a bit of wiggling restored the function. The rangefinder now appears to be working OK. Will test with film.
Good work!

You can do some preliminary testing with a piece of ground glass or something to that effect over the film rails to get an idea of how the distance markings line up with the true focusing distance. On the other hand, shooting a roll will probably be more fun

Be sure to post some results!

Cheers,
Derk
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Old 10-04-2013   #22
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Thanks Derk

I'll try the method of taping a bit of clear film, or tracing paper perhaps, to the rails and focusing on a light bulb or something. So far focusing on a distant object and a near object seems to give encouraging results, to judge from the markings on the lens. Furthermore the horizontal and vertical rangefinder spots seem to be better aligned than in my other Feds ( I have too many of the blighters).
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Old 01-07-2020   #23
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What a wonderful resource this site is! After quite a long absence I'm now back and still messing with Fed 4s and other FSU jobs. I have found the Fed 4 generally quite reliable although it is ugly. I now have four of them and one on its way for spares and disassembly practice. My Fed 4s are more reliable than any Fed 2 I have tried, all of which seem to have faults. This is a pity because I think the Fed 2 is really pretty. On the subject of lighter petrol, would that be suitable for dribbling into film advance gears on a MIR that is very, very stiff but takes good pictures? Or should I be brave and take the top off?
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Old 01-14-2020   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snapper78 View Post
What a wonderful resource this site is! After quite a long absence I'm now back and still messing with Fed 4s and other FSU jobs. I have found the Fed 4 generally quite reliable although it is ugly. I now have four of them and one on its way for spares and disassembly practice. My Fed 4s are more reliable than any Fed 2 I have tried, all of which seem to have faults. This is a pity because I think the Fed 2 is really pretty. On the subject of lighter petrol, would that be suitable for dribbling into film advance gears on a MIR that is very, very stiff but takes good pictures? Or should I be brave and take the top off?
A somewhat late reply: take the top off, it's really not that difficult and the MIR doesn't have the complications of, say, the 4K. You can use lighter petrol but it's volatile and so will evaporate again, leaving the original gummed-up grease just as gummed up. Do the job once but properly and you'll be much happier, as will the camera.

You can find instructions in the Zorki 4K CLA thread, just ignore the bits about the winder spring and slow-speed escapements which don't apply.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #25
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Thanks. Will do.
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