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  1. #11

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    hi q-x

    i hate to suggest this, because i know you specifically asked for advice for 35mm rangefinders with a m39 sort of situation ..
    BUT if you can swing it, why not look for some sort of in expensive folding press sort of 4x5 camera? the lenses are just as inexpensive
    in the FSU as they are everywhere else ... instead of 28,50, 135 you go 90, 150, 210 ... its easy as pie, AND
    instead of film you can shoot cheap photo PAPER. easy to process ( even in instant coffee easy ) and make contact prints or those other thingys with a gizmo. ... if you find a speed graphic or similar, you can use ANYTHING for a lens seeing there is a shutter in the camera ... talk about cheap
    the only set back is it is about 3x ( maybe more ! ) the size of a 35mm camera and then you need film/paper holders.

    good luck with your conundrum !
    john
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
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  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by limnidytis View Post
    On all of the cameras I have even after cleaning and lubing the camera the measured shutter speed is about 1/2 of the dial setting - I guess you can't expect too much from a 50 year old camera.
    That seems shockingly bad to me. A full stop off? Mine both came to me after a CLA (Oleg Khalyavin) and the speeds were spot on. No reason for them not to be, as far as I can tell; the timing mechanism for the fast speeds is really simple, so if they're severely off, either the shutter tension isn't even between the curtains (which would make for uneven exposures across the frame) or something is seriously interfering with the shutter speed rod.

    Did you do your own CLA? If so, I'm curious if you have any guesses as to where the timing problem is coming from.

    The Zorki's (at least the ones I have) have amazingly bright rangefinder patches - much easier to see than most modern rangefinders. The movable image is slightly yellow - so it's easier to pick out in a busy image. I don't know if this was an intentional design or if it is an artifact of aging but I find it easier to use than a modern rangefinder.
    I agree---I've always wondered why the rest of the world didn't learn from their design in this respect. The fSU combined rangefinder-viewfinder was an original design rather than "borrowed", wasn't it?

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  3. #13
    q_x
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    Thanks Folks!

    There's one question still haunting me: is the lever or the knob more prone to a major breakage?
    My Zenit 3M often skips frames, and I've had Zenit E transport serviced, both seem to be related to lever mechanism. But I've never had a camera with a knob. I guess (but only guess) less parts is better again, am I right?

    Quote Originally Posted by brucemuir View Post
    I have a Kiev 4 that leaks light
    Black yarn may be the solution, or plumbing the rangefinder.

    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    I think trading slow speeds for reliability is a good call. The FED/Zorki cameras all, as far as I know, have similar fast-speed shutter mechanisms that are reasonably simple, and there are multiple sets of repair instructions online---the slow-speed escapements seem to be where most of the complexity is and where serious problems are most likely. That criterion would militate for a FED-2, Mir, or Zorki-6 if you can find one (+FED-1 or Zorki-1 if you don't mind the separate rangefinder window and bottom loading).
    I don't mind!
    In fact, I have three cameras here without slow speeds (Zenits), all working for years now, all with 1/30 as the slowest speed. The one I like most is Zenit 3M, which is in fact based on those rangefinders.

    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    I have a FED-2 and a Mir, and they're pretty similar in form factor. I wouldn't quite call either one pocketable unless your pockets are very large, but the weight on a strap is nothing to be concerned about. The FED has a longer rangefinder base, but otherwise the two are very, very similar cameras functionally. They do have that "Soviet-industrial" feel about them, as if they might have been made in a converted tractor factory, and that bothers some people---I find it sort of likable.

    Somewhere, I found little adhesive rings of soft material that fit over the eyepiece---before that, they scratched my glasses to hell. I think all the fSU Leica-mount cameras have this problem. Unfortunately I can't remember now what the source of the rings was.
    -NT
    The cheap solution to scratched glasses is a rubber o-ring, I guess. I'll work it out somehow.
    I don't mind having no removable back.
    Zorki 6 is 650g
    Fed 2 is slightly under 600g, it's not that important, but I like the look better. Diopter adjustment would be possible .
    Mir is hard to find here (strange, but true), which is a bad sign as far as parts go.
    Zorki 1 is 520g plus 100-130g of lens, Fed-1 is only 10g heavier

    Quote Originally Posted by pstake View Post
    The FED-2 is pretty, like a Leica III ... but not the most user friendly. I had one and sold it (to someone on APUG, in fact). I now have a MIR, which is essentially a Zorki 4 but without the slow speed escapement (is this the correct word?) — it doesn't have the junk inside that goes bad most often, and consequently doesn't have speeds available below 1/30. It has a bigger viewfinder than the Fed-2, as well.

    All of this said, an early Kiev is a fine camera — in a league above the Mir or Fed or anything else FSU.

    Just my two cents.
    Kiev 4AM is 750g, 100 g of a difference is a lot here. My backpack weights 90g (about 3 oz.). But I love it's brass curtains too!

    Quote Originally Posted by randy6 View Post
    I think the zorki 5 and 6 are the better one's. I placed a leica summarit 5cm on my zorki 6. I had some bad luck with some F.S.U lenes. The summarit has very shallow depth of field so the wide rangefinder base worked well for me. One of my other favorite russian camera's would be the mockba 5 or moscow 5 a copy of a 6x9cm ziess ikonta I've had both and can't tell the difference between the photo's taken with these 2 camera's
    Randy, Moskva is on it's way! Cheers!
    Zorki 5 - tiny bit over 600g, still close to the rest.

    Wiedzmin - let's not get into politics, it's not the point. For me we were under occupation till 89, behind iron curtain, with Soviet army all over the place and people running away from here in every imaginable way. I'm trying to make PhD together with history students here, we're sort of sharing the view.

    limnidytis - I guess it's one more point for Zorki 1

    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    hi q-x
    i hate to suggest this, because i know you specifically asked for advice for 35mm rangefinders with a m39 sort of situation ..
    BUT if you can swing it, why not look for some sort of in expensive folding press sort of 4x5 camera?
    John, those are really expensive. Never mind "per click" cost, I can make less photos with those. The gear to start is 10-20x the price of a rangefinder. I even thought of building 4x5 myself some years ago, and now I'm starting to think again. It can't be that hard to make a point and click camera if I have lens, shutter and film holder made for me

    Today I'm all-in for Zorki 1C or 2 and Fed 2, 1C seems to be the most popular Zorki 1 variant. If you have anything better, please tell me what and why.

    Edit: also Zorkis 5 and 6 have only slower speeds, I'm not sure about how rigid those models are

    Thanks again, you're really helpful!
    Last edited by q_x; 05-18-2013 at 03:10 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Use the Force, Luke!

  4. #14
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    q_
    unfortunately a simple yarn/Yak job hasn't been able to conquer it.
    I've been inside there 3-4 times and a now deceased respected FSU repairman couldn't fix it either.

    It's the dreaded advance spool sprocket problem... I have tried the Kiev Survival page that deals with this problem specifically to no avail.
    It's really a shame because the shutter is good and rest of the camera is in nice shape.
    No leak in subdued light but get out in some harsh sun and you're baked. Same spot in the middle, bottom of the frame every time. Anywhere from a slight flare to a full blown starburst effect emanating from the bottom of the frame (top when in camera)
    I gave up.

  5. #15

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    An honorable mention is the Zorki 2. Not so many of these were made, but I have been able to find a cheap, working camera from time to time. The Zorki 2 has a much-improved shutter mechanism, and still retains the apearance and pocketability of the original Barnack Leica. Other good features are strap lugs and a self timer. The last one I bought even had a flash synch.

  6. #16
    q_x
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    Quote Originally Posted by brucemuir View Post
    I gave up.
    Seems like there's no point in trying more indeed. Either you could do it, or not.
    My bet is you'd have parts donor, but since Contax are great cameras...

    Quote Originally Posted by sangetsu View Post
    An honorable mention is the Zorki 2. Not so many of these were made, but I have been able to find a cheap, working camera from time to time. The Zorki 2 has a much-improved shutter mechanism, and still retains the apearance and pocketability of the original Barnack Leica. Other good features are strap lugs and a self timer. The last one I bought even had a flash synch.
    I have some 2C available here, still waiting for reply if those are complete and in serviceable condition.
    It looks like those brands were only gaining weight with time, and I wonder where to stop, looks like Zorki and Fed 1 or 2 now.
    Use the Force, Luke!

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by q_x View Post
    Seems like there's no point in trying more indeed. Either you could do it, or not.
    My bet is you'd have parts donor, but since Contax are great cameras...
    I undoubtedly will try again in 6 or 8 months after the winter comes again.
    I know where it is coming in so I hate to let it "get" me.
    Like I said the camera is nice in subdued light hahaha.

  8. #18
    q_x
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    Winter months are busy for me TBH, winter is incredibly photogenic and days are short. I can't stop myself from going out. Days are short, but if the sun shines, for 100% of the time it's the right light to take photos, at least at my lattitude. Last winter was over 6 months long, warm at first and incredibly cold by the finish. One of those years when one could buy ice cream and eat it by a frozen lake, or cool down his or her forehead with some snow that's about to melt.

    Sure, I still have two stoves to hmm... be fed. Zorki C it'll be, dated 1957. Bought it already (not cheaply), and now I'm done. It fits somewhere between models 1 and 2, it has flash sync and dual rangefinder/viewfinder and a collapsible lens, It was as close to mint condition, as humanly possible. The inferior camera with appropriate lens.

    Once again, thanks for your input everyone!
    Use the Force, Luke!

  9. #19
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    I lived in Poland and it is true that for 50-100 PLN you can get FSU rangefinder with 50mm lens. My experience: zorki 4 sometimes eats film, kiev sometimes shutter does not work. Lenses are very good. For same money on allegro site you can get some olympus rangefinder like mju or RC series. You can not change lenses, but it is much more user friendly and less chance that you get semi functional example.

    @desertratt: comment about UK - Mustafa was for sure joking , no real racism was there.

  10. #20
    q_x
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    Darko,
    I'm waiting for Minolta Hi-matic CS to arrive - in terms of cheap rangefinders with good lens it's about as cheap, as I could go.
    I've just sold Oly mju III without many regrets for about the price of this Minolta. It made good photos, but it wasn't what I was looking for.
    We have many cheap rangefinders available in questionable state, most of those are more expensive, than the Zorki was. And for some part of those there's extra problem with mercury cells, that are no longer manufactured. For mint condition or "tested and will work" state the price goes up.

    My students have about 1/4 failure rate due to power problems in their cameras, they either have to charge batteries or lend a camera from their mates - that's within 90 minutes of classes. On a multiday trip I'd rather take what will work without electricity or something weather-sealed, like first Oly AF model, but with a battery easy to purchase on the trail - even fairly modest CR2 is not one of those (though LR44 cell is).

    Now, I spent 25 euros for the camera. It's about half the price they want for Oly XA, Oly mju II or Canonets, and it's not what I'd take with me anyway. Minolta was about half the money. Plasticky, automatic, toy-like. And if it'll break I can't buy crappy part donor, start learning, take it apart and fix. It's broken.

    I have some Japanese gear and I adore it. It is reliable, dependable, but not quite as hardy or serviceable, as FSU rangefinders. Plus still, I can sell my soul for top notch Leica lenses and produce proper results with it.
    Cheers!
    Use the Force, Luke!

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