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