Old Russian Rangefinders

frXnz kafka

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What's the scoop on these things? They go pretty cheap on eBay, are they any good? I'm not expecting miracles, just something to play around with. I'm particularly looking at the FED-2.
 

Mitica100

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Russian cameras were mostly copies of the German ones (Contax/Kiev and Leica/Fed-Zorkii). While the mechanics are OK, the optics are often underpar. That's due to a very lax quality control (I think it was rather a quantity control back then) and if you get two good lenses in a batch of ten identical ones, then you're lucky. These cameras were made in huge quantities and that explains why they're so cheap nowadays.

All that being said though, you can't beat a good working Zorkii/Fed with a good lens, at least price wise.
 

Helen B

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Back in the sixties I spent a while trying to decide between a Fed and a Zorki, and ended up getting a Zorki 4. Maybe it was because it came with a faster lens. I was quite happy with it. The lens was soft at wider apertures, but not unusably so, and it performed well when stopped down. A good lens hood was essential. As Mitica says, the quality of the lenses varied widely from example to example.

Best,
Helen
 
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frXnz kafka

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Well I guess we'll find out in a week or so. Just picked up a FED-2 on eBay.
 

jwkwd

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I have a Zorki and found that the biggest pain, is getting the film leader cut right so you can load it.
 

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