Russian made rangefinders

Discussion in 'Collector's Corner' started by usayit, Sep 3, 2004.

  1. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Nov 15, 2003
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    North New Jersey, United States of America
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    So a several months ago, I decided I wanted to get back to the basics and purchased a Spotmatic and a takumar 50mm f1.4. Little did I know, how addicting cameras collections can be. Three spotmatics, a mint Pentax ME SE w/ MEII winder, Canon AE-1 Program, two flashes, and about 11 various lenses later and I'm having a blast. The best thing is that all of it was acquired at extremely low cost, each one is complete working order, and I find myself shooting less with my EOS stuff and more with the "vintage" equipment.

    Anyways, I've always wanted to experience shooting with a rangefinder and the ol'Russian models have really caught my interest. Does anyone have any experience with the Russian rangefinders?? such as the Zorki's, Feds and Kiev rangefinder cameras. Anyone ever mess with those Zorki 1 and Fed 1 Leica fakes? :wink: I know their fake and worth relatively little but they do look neat. I've also heard quite a few are decent in quality despite them being fakes.

    BTW... good reading I found here:

  2. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2003
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    Ahwatukee, AZ
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    Russian RF cameras were sturdy but not as refined as their German counterparts. Built like a tank, many of them survived years of abuse. My first camera was Russian, a Zenit B SLR. It broke down after many years of use and abuse, tried to fix it on my own and ended up with a fistful of parts and screws that didn't seem to fit anywhere. :lol:

    Their lenses are quite decent, notably the Jupiters.

    At the current time I own a Zorkii 4 Special Edition (made in 1967, with the "50 Years Of Soviet Power" on top) that is in mint condition. I've only put one BW roll in it, came out beautiful. The Zorkii line is decent by all means as well as cheap. You can get one on Ebay for under $50. The Kievs are Contax copies, also sturdy cameras. I have never owned or operated one but I know from friends that have that they're good cameras.

    All in all, they're not as beautifully crafted but they do perform well.

    Let me know if you need more info on this.

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