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Choosing a FED 2
Old 02-18-2013   #1
CliveC
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Choosing a FED 2

Hello, I'm new to both this forum and rangefinders. I've picked up a couple in the past few months and I'm hooked. Mostly I've gotten Japanese, so it's time to expand my range a bit.

I'm looking to add a FED 2 to my collection and I've been reading up on them. Do they generally follow the Soviet camera rule where older cameras are generally better?

The FED 2 seems to have so many subtypes. On Ebay, I'm looking at either a Type C or a Type D. As far as I can tell, the Type D has standardized shutter speeds, but with film there's latitude so probably doesn't matter as much. The Type C has the earlier Industar 26M lens, which has the little focusing handle.

Can anybody tell me other things I should be looking at or certain models to get?
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Old 02-18-2013   #2
Alowisney
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Welcome to RFF! I bought a Fed-2 from eBay with an I-61 on it. It looked great, but the shutter didn't even last until I loaded my first roll of film in it. The I-61 has no coating on the front element and flares like crazy.

I would shop for an FSU camera with www.fedka.com or http://www.okvintagecamera.com/cameras.html rather than eBay. Either of them should supply you with a working camera and will stand behind what they sell. Good luck!
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Old 02-18-2013   #3
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I have used both 2b and 2d. In terms of ergonomics I prefer 2d, since the shutter speed can be set and visible either before or after cocking the shutter. Otherwise they are very similar, so condition is key. The 2b I had was a bit older and the shutter curtain start to stick, so I returned it and got a 2d which is newer and in better mechanical condition. Therefore I wouldn't say older is better, but choose the one with best mechanical condition. You might also consider spend a bit more and buy from reputable places like Oleg (okvintagecamera) and Yuri (Fedka). I bought from a local gentleman who collects FSU gear so I got to choose and return if it does not work well.

In terms of lens, I got the FED 50/3.5 collapsible since I was looking for the most compact package.
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Old 02-18-2013   #4
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Mine is a last variant FED-2 D6 that I got from Fedka (highly recommended, BTW). As others have said, it's all about condition. The Industar-26 is a fine lens, though it's not as compact as the collapsibles, nor is it as fast as the Jupiter Sonnar-clones. If getting a particular lens is a major factor in your decision, see if your chosen seller will sell you a body plus whatever lens you're looking for.
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Old 02-18-2013   #5
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I don't think that the FED 2 suffered the same quality decline over its lifetime as, for example, the Kiev cameras. I would tend to agree that the later ones with the newer shutter design are a better bet. These can be recognized by a small circular centre piece of the shutter dial which does not move when you lift and turn the knob. Also the latest ones have a raised accessory shoe which allows a wider range of finders and other gadgets to be attached.

Treat the lens as a separate question. There are MANY different opinions on what FSU lens to use as can be seen in another string on this page. Me, I vote for the Jupiter 8.

Please see this excellent site for information on the different versions.

http://www.sovietcams.com/index.php?1883986375

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Old 02-18-2013   #6
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I like the FED 2 ergonomics, but the viewfinder always seems dark to me. I much prefer a Zorki 4/ J-8 combo. Buying FSU cameras in ebay is pretty much a gamble. I have had a couple of good cameras and some real clunkers. If I were to buy another I would most definitely buy from a dealer like Fedka. Good luck and enjoy your camera when you find it.
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Old 02-18-2013   #7
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Don`t get caught up in FSU or Ebay angst. People are going to give you soooo much to worry about - don`t. Do your research - decide - buy.
I have purchased 6 FSU cameras from the FSU. all worked fine and came as described, all still work fine. There is a thread around here somewhere recommending who to use on e-bay if you need it.
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Old 02-18-2013   #8
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Like pakeha, I also had good luck with sellers from the FSU on ebay. Ultimately I would have spent about the same with someone like Yuri at Fedka, but it was more of an adventure to see what was coming next from Mother Russia (or Ukraine or Estonia or...). Much of the gear needed a CLA, not a big deal. You really can't buy any 50 year old mechanical camera and expect it to work perfectly out of the box unless you have proof it was recently serviced.
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Old 02-18-2013   #9
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I have already purchased from the FSU (just a lens) and it was fine so far. My Zorki 4K was purchased from somebody in Canada though.

The bloke I plan on buying from claims to be a UK businessman on long-term business in the Ukraine and even allows returns to the UK.

I would love to buy from Fedka, but the prices, even ignoring the hefty shipping charges, just don't compute.
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Old 02-19-2013   #10
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I have purchased one FED2 and one Zorki 4 that worked well. The other four cameras (three zorki 4s and a Kiev) were door stops. I never paid more than $25 or any of the cameras (not including the postage). It wasn't worth the money to return them. In my case it would have been cheaper to buy from Fedka. I wasn't trying to discourage buying FSU cameras on ebay. There are a lot of reputable dealers on ebay. Again, good luck with your FED search!

Mike
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Old 02-19-2013   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alowisney View Post
The I-61 has no coating on the front element and flares like crazy.
I've never heard of an uncoated I-61 but they do tend to flare anyway.


For a FED 2, the later ones tend to have brighter VFs, at the expense of some, slight loss of RF-spot contrast. Only the very early ones have one-piece shutter dials, where you ought not set the speed before cocking the shutter.
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Old 02-19-2013   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolves3012 View Post
For a FED 2, the later ones tend to have brighter VFs, at the expense of some, slight loss of RF-spot contrast. Only the very early ones have one-piece shutter dials, where you ought not set the speed before cocking the shutter.
Interesting, does that mean that with a later FED 2 (starting with the D-series I think) you can set the shutter anytime?
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Old 02-19-2013   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CliveC View Post
Interesting, does that mean that with a later FED 2 (starting with the D-series I think) you can set the shutter anytime?
Indeed you can!

I don't have one myself but serviced several; most come with a very smooth shutter. Indeed their finder is darker than that of the zorki's. Looking at the measures I think it should be possible to switch its rangefinder with that of a Zorki 5 or 6, btw I think you would only need to switch the prism.
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Old 02-19-2013   #14
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Do you have your heart set on specifically the FED 2? In my highly biased opinion it is one of the two most practical screwmount FSU cameras, the other being the Zorki 6. They both have excellent VF's, and tend to be better looking than the other FSU camera designs. By far the most featured screwmount FSU camera is the Leningrad, but it is scarce and rather more expensive. A bit on the clunky side, but the only Russkii camera with multiple parallax-correcting framelines.








Note that the lens on the Leningrad is the 85mm Jupiter 9.


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Old 02-19-2013   #15
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I bought my Zorki 1D/B from a gent in Maryland, but it's pretty worn out. However, before I gave up on it, I purchased an I-26M from one of the FSU dealers, and was very happy with the results. I've been thinking of getting a Fed 2c because of the feature set, and wasn't worried about the shutter speed dial business, as I got used to that on the Zorki. I do highly recommend the I-26M lens, no matter which model you get.

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Old 02-19-2013   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolves3012 View Post
I've never heard of an uncoated I-61 but they do tend to flare anyway.
Mine has had the coating rubbed off in the center. "Cleaning marks" my butt!
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Old 02-19-2013   #17
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Dez: I already own a Zorki 4K but I'm awaiting a lens to come in to start using it (Industar 61 LD). I think ideally I'm rounding out the FSU part of my 35mm rangefinder collection with the FED 2 and then finally a Kiev 4A. On the medium format front, my first camera was a Kiev 88. I would not be opposed to getting a Moskva 5 if the opportunity presents or an Iskra.

As for the FED 2, I am ideally looking for one with a Jupiter 8 so I can swap between my Zorki and FED. It seems the majority has the Industar 26M bundled though. A Jupiter 12 would be nice as well, but am I safe to assume I would need an accessory viewfinder?
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Old 02-19-2013   #18
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accessory viewfinders are quite easy to find, i use a 35mm petri viewfinder , look out for an obscure auxiliary lens kit for a fixed lens camera,they usually come with a viewfinder and can be found for a lot less money than a turret finder
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Old 02-20-2013   #19
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Hi,

It doesn't have to be the turret VF - nice as that is - because there's the Japanese made albada available still (even brand new) for a reasonable price. So we've a choice between the classic all original outfit or the practical user outfit with one of those nice Chinese made "Leica" vented lens hoods and so on.

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Old 02-20-2013   #20
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I have had about a dozen FSU's over the years and the only one that worked properly right out of the box was a Fed2. The only ones I had to give up on were Kievs, later production variants. All the others were sorted out after some work.

Choose the lens aside from the body. I am a fan of the I61 with a hood. A great lens IMO. Also the J12 is a gem.

Good luck
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Old 02-20-2013   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CliveC View Post
Dez: I already own a Zorki 4K but I'm awaiting a lens to come in to start using it (Industar 61 LD). I think ideally I'm rounding out the FSU part of my 35mm rangefinder collection with the FED 2 and then finally a Kiev 4A. On the medium format front, my first camera was a Kiev 88. I would not be opposed to getting a Moskva 5 if the opportunity presents or an Iskra.

As for the FED 2, I am ideally looking for one with a Jupiter 8 so I can swap between my Zorki and FED. It seems the majority has the Industar 26M bundled though. A Jupiter 12 would be nice as well, but am I safe to assume I would need an accessory viewfinder?
Hi, Clive,

Yes, you would need an accessory finder for the Jupiter 12. I don't know of any FSU camera with a 35mm finder, although the full field of the Leningrad finder is a decent approximation. The J12 is a really excellent lens and superb value for money. It is cheap in LTM, and even cheaper in Contax/Kiev mount. As several people pointed out, there are lots of choices for auxiliary finders, and these do not need to be expensive.

OK on the Moskva 5- I have one of these, and it is a very good camera indeed. Re the Kiev, though, I would advise going for something older than a 4A. Kievs were in production for over thirty years, but over this period they gradually slid from a level of quality that was in some ways superior to that of the Contaxes of which they were a copy, to at the very end, cameras that were best used for landfill. You can still get a good 4A of course, and many people on the list are getting great results from theirs, but statistically, the older the better. You would do well to look for a good 50's Kiev 2 or 2A (sync added). Kievs are almost always found with J8 lenses.

Cheers,
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Old 02-21-2013   #22
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Hi,

Get any version of the FED and a Jupiter 8 or Industar 61 and you should be happy. There are differences between them but you'll only find what you like by using the thing.

BTW, any FED 2 or Kiev may be 50 or more years old. After so long QC doesn't matter so much compared to what the previous owner or owners did or didn't do with it.

In your shoes I'd pick a good looking one and get it checked and repaired or adjusted before even putting a film in it. No point in wasting money on film etc before you know the thing will work. This applies to all second-hand cameras, even Leicas...

Regards, David
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Old 02-21-2013   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CliveC View Post
Interesting, does that mean that with a later FED 2 (starting with the D-series I think) you can set the shutter anytime?
The rules are much simpler than you might think: (1) If it has slow speeds fitted - don't set before. (2) If it has a two-piece dial (inner part with a dot or line, outer part with speeds marked) - set before or after. For single-piece dials, you cannot see the speed you've set anyway until it's cocked, so it's pretty pointless. Rule 1 overrides rule 2 (since there happens to be an early FED 3a with slow speeds and a 2-piece dial!). A safe approach if you're unsure is don't set before cocking.

The "rules" apply to FED/Zorki models. On Kievs you can set before or after and no harm will be done. However, it's possible to "confuse" the mechanics if you change (un-cocked) between some of the slower speeds and you might not get the speed you expected until the next frame after.
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Last edited by wolves3012 : 02-21-2013 at 05:32. Reason: typos + more info
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Old 02-21-2013   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolves3012 View Post
The rules are much simpler than you might think: (1) If it has slow speeds fitted - don't set before. (2) If it has a two-piece dial (inner part with a dot or line, outer part with speeds marked) - set before or after. For single-piece dials, you cannot see the speed you've set anyway until it's cocked, so it's pretty pointless. Rule 1 overrides rule 2 (since there happens to be an early FED 3a with slow speeds and a 2-piece dial!). A safe approach if you're unsure is don't set before cocking.

The "rules" apply to FED/Zorki models. On Kievs you can set before or after and no harm will be done. However, it's possible to "confuse" the mechanics if you change (un-cocked) between some of the slower speeds and you might not get the speed you expected until the next frame after.
I like your definition of simple!
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