Tag Archives: fed

Fed 4 2nd Version

I bought this from a customer at a vintage fair I had a stall at. The funny thing about the fair, I came away with more cameras than I took. Many people coming up to me saying they had a film camera at home and would I like to buy it. Mostly I said no, but I said yes to this one. I looked at ones sold on eBay and halved the price, that was the fee I was willing to pay and they accepted. This one is mechanical so I could see it worked quite well, but you never know. It was definitely missing the take up spool so I would have to buy one of those.

As the title says there are a few versions of this camera, this is the second. It was produced between 1969-1980. That is quite a long production time. You can find all the technical details you might like here. I love these old Russian cameras, they just work and rarely seem to stop. They look like bricks and last like them too. This example came with the regular Industar 61 lens. I tried it with with a collapsible jupiter lens, but it didn’t seem to work quite as well. After I put in a 100 asa film and took it to a couple of historical places. First to Chatham Dockyard and then finished the film at Battle Abbey, the site of the Battle of Hastings.

I found carrying the camera a little awkward due to the lack of strap rings. That meant I had to rely on the original camera case and strap which was a little thin. I really wanted to cut it and replace it with another, but that seemed wrong. The long length of the strap did mean I could carry it over my shoulder instead of around my neck. The viewfinder was small, but the second image was nice and clear. The camera has an uncoupled selenium cell sensor with a match the needle type indicator. I relied on that at both locations. Loading the film was fine, but unloading it was a bit of a pain due to the lack of a lever. There is a thumb wheel and boy is it hard to move, and that is even after you have managed to put it in reverse mode. To do that you have to rotate the collar around the shutter release in a clockwise direction. That was not easy if you have got to the very end of the film. This reviewer also mentioned this system as a bit unconventional. I wasn’t actually sure it was rewinding until I felt the film finally give way.

Here are my test shots.

Well would you look at that. All perfectly exposed, well done light meter. The lens is nice and sharp too. What a cracker. Still not sure it is worth the weight though. If this was your only film camera then yes it is. But if you have other, lighter choices…hmmmm tough choice. I think I prefer the Zorki 4 and the Fed 2 to this one for a variety of reasons.

Fed 2

This is by far my favourite camera. I know I said in the past that the Olympus OM4 was my go to camera and it is, but this is the camera that “means” the most to me. This is due to the circumstances surrounding when I first used it.

At the very beginning of my journey back to film and when I only owned one other film camera, which I hadn’t even tried, I bought this camera on eBay. I did this mainly because at the time I knew nothing about film cameras other than a fully working one in Japan is quite expensive. I read some information and found this camera was a Russian copy of a Leica. I could not afford a Leica so this seemed a good alternative. It was quite cheap and arrived from the Ukraine fairly quickly.

It was in great condition, coming with a box and case. I got a test roll through and was amazed by the results.

The photos had a quality about them that you just don’t get from a digital camera. Every shot was focused, sharp and had great levels of exposure.

Then I got an email calling me back to the UK. My mum, who was sick when I left, had suddenly got worse. A few days later, there I was holding on to my camera sitting by her bed. I got into the habit of carry the camera almost everywhere. The people around me got use to seeing it so didn’t over pose and seemed fairly comfortable having it pointed at them. So the next sets of shots I got were very poignant.

This camera gave me something else to focus on rather than the very real situation I found myself in. Unfortunately there was no miracle, no magic pill and life took its intended path. I used the camera, and others I got along the way, to document mum’s journey. I also tried to figure out how to use ibooks so we could write a small book  together. Eventually, she was able to share it with the wonderful nurses. It gave us all something to focus on and talk about. When mum wasn’t up to chatting I wandered around the grounds taking photos. We were very lucky to live very close to Wakefield Hospice where mum stayed, which has beautiful grounds.


I found focusing on and learning about film calmed me. Now, when I am sad or feeling a bit down, I buy a camera or take a roll. I know this about myself, it was the reason for this blog. I feel I am almost over this habit. I have a few cameras left that I have yet to test and write about, but I intend to stop this blog on the anniversary of Mum’s passing. That is in about a month…so I better get cracking.

Ok, so the Fed 2 – It’s a rangefinder with the two images needing to be aligned. The most important thing to know is to COCK THE SHUTTER before changing the film speeds. Otherwise you might break the thing. There are loads of technical details here. You will need to use a light meter as this camera is completely manual. No batteries required. No meter system. I use this one on my iphone or itouch. It has not let me down yet.

There is a solid weight to the Fed 2 and it exudes quality when you hold it. There is a self timer and a diopter adjustment lever, but that’s about it.

It is a pleasure to use and relatively easy. I would highly recommend this camera and think all film lovers should own one. I would also recommend sitting down with your family and making your end of life wishes known and clear, or finding out about their wishes. Don’t leave it until it is too late.

I know this is a camera blog, but here are some resources on this subject.
Five Tips for Families Facing End-of-Life Care






Fed 50

I love the Olympus Trip, I love old Russian cameras. So what would be more perfect than a Russian Olympus Trip. Viola, the Fed 50. It was based on the trip, but started it’s production 2 years after the trip was discontinued according to this great website. This is not a junk find, I looked for it after reading about it on a website that gave a list of cool cameras to look out for (which I can’t find now). This was on it, and on eBay at the same time…sold!

It looked pretty clean and the light seals seemed ok.

So, how was the camera? It felt great, a nice weight. It has a selenium meter so doesn’t need batteries. This one seemed to work fine as I tried it in a few situations without the film and the shutter worked and the speed or size of the aperture changed. It has a 38mm lens that goes from f2.8 to f16. The shutter speeds are 1/30 to 1/650 on automatic.

The interesting part is the focusing. It has a range finder, but doesn’t click between the distances. That means you can be a little more precise when guessing the distances as you can move smoothly between the usual settings. Though it did take a little getting use to for me. In the end I set it either to infinity or close and then moved the distance in or out depending on my subject. That helped when trying some street photography.

So did it work? How was the film? Firstly, I could not find the developing times for the film, so in the end I just used the same times as for fuji acros 100. Secondly, I thought I had forgotten to take off the lens cap on many of these shots, so I was very pleased to see them actually on the film….the developing times worked, phew.

Here is my first roll from it and my first roll of Oriental Seagull 100.

Well, the first few shots were taken as soon as I got the camera, then I caught a terrific cold and didn’t go out shooting. Then two weeks later, from the bridge picture onwards, I used the camera all in 24 hours. Oh and by the way, the shrine is Sengakuji and those are the 47 Ronin graves.

I love the camera, I love the film. I hate the slow light leaks and the fact I have to change the seals.

It has a really nice quality to it and at infinity is really sharp. But there seems to be something inside or on my scanner. I am not sure which. Some of the shots had a furry blob at the top. You can see it in this shot, but I digitally removed it from other places it occurred.


The fact it was only on a few shots makes me think it was the scanner plate. I have since cleaned that carefully.

I recommend this camera not only for the novelty value, but the utter coolness of it and the shots.