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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    they have an amusing history as Leica copies
    This issue has come up a couple of times in this thread, and I think requires some elaboration for those who aren't in the know. First, as I stated in my previous post, FEDs and Zorkis are based on Leica designs; they are, in modern parlance, clones of Leicas. The Soviets did a lot of this, in many realms, not just cameras; it was a quick way of catching up technologically. (The Tu-4 bomber was a copy of the American B-29; and the Agat was an Apple II clone, for instance.)

    More recently, FEDs and Zorkis have been modified with fake Leica engravings and sold on eBay and elsewhere. Sometimes the cameras pick up extra engravings (Nazi-related stuff seems common), gold (or at least gold-colored) platings, etc. The honest sellers claim these are "fake Leicas," "Leica copies" or some such; the dishonest sellers claim they're genuine Leicas. Most knowledgeable Leica collectors and users can spot the fakes pretty easily, but somebody who doesn't know much about them could easily get taken in. Although it's easy to find these fake Leicas on eBay, my impression is that the majority of FED and Zorki listings on eBay are for honestly-labeled cameras, not fake Leicas.

    In any event, I don't believe the OP is asking about the fake Leica type of Russian camera.

  2. #22
    b1bmsgt's Avatar
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    I have had numerous FSU cameras, with mixed results, mechanically. As stated previously by a number of people, the build quality can vary quite a bit. That said, when you get a good one, the quality of the pictures is quite amazing, IMHO. I couldn't believe it when I developed my first roll taken with my Zorki 2c. Considering how cheap they are, I would say to go for it. That's half the fun of ebay anyway, isn't it?

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  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by srs5694 View Post
    In any event, I don't believe the OP is asking about the fake Leica type of Russian camera.
    Agreed. By "copies" I didn't mean "fakes" but "clones".

    -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_

  4. #24
    Tempt f8's Avatar
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    After almost 50 years of taking photos, I should know better, but I'm getting the 'itch' looking at some of those beautiful (& cheap) old Russian 'Leica II D' copies' on eBay, as well. I'm certainly hearing from some of you that Ukranian build consistency was a problem (no surprise), so you roll the dice for an operable camera when buying. I'm gonna tempt fate here by saying that after shooting digital professionally for the last 10 years and FINALLY getting back to film with a brilliant Mini Speed Graphic, I'm realizing that I probably won't shoot many pix with a 'fake' Leica anyway (good or bad)? I'm reminded of what Wally Dryer (my ODU photo prof.) said when classes started. I tried to hide a 5th hand, beat-up Miranda SLR wrapped in a piece of blanket in a pink briefcase (yeah, I was de-moralized) while my Navy pilot classmates argued about their Nikon vs. Hasselblad vs. Leica gear. Wally brought the class to order by saying "Ok, put away the jewelry... we're going to study photography". Wow, clean slate! I could do this, if I tried! I've never forgotten that quote when a kid comes up drooling over my ThinkTank bag full of toys. Sure, functional gear is important, but it's still all about the vision & talent of the person pushing that button. My point is... maybe it's time I bought a piece of decorative 'jewelry'... just 'cuz it's pretty? Let the arm-wrestling begin...

  5. #25

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    You might want to look at the combination of an Industar 61D lens with a Voigtlander Bessa body. This will get you a camera with a builtin electronic meter. I have a Bessa R and two Bessa L's and like them very much. I picked up one of the L's brand new for $60.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  6. #26
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    Do bear in mind that we are not talking about brand spanking new cameras which are still rolling off the production line, but cameras which have been used, and cared for (or the lack thereof) by as many people. The previous career of a camera is actually more important than the inherent merits when it was new, so you ought to take that into account.

    That said, it is true that FEDs and Zorkis do tend to fare less well due to age compared to similar Leicas, partly because they were less likely to have been owned and used by people who knew what they were doing! I have heard of plenty of cases where after a rebuild by an experienced technician, a FED or Zorki could out-perform a corresponding Leica. If you can find a technician familiar with screw-mount Leicas and willing to take on such a project, it would be quite rewarding, and you would also get a smug satisfaction akin to winning the Grand National riding a shetland pony!

    Nevertheless, if you choose to embark on this enterprise, it would still be an idea to get a nicer camera to start with; a late - somewhat tinny - FED 5 might not quite cut it. If I were to do it, I would start with a clean, early FED 2, or a Leicaresque FED or Zorki, and work from there.

  7. #27

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    I own a very late FED-2, and have had the opportunity to handle a Zorki-6. Both are quite solid and capable, though the Zorki feels about a half a generation newer given it's shape and features (hinged back, lever advance). Build quality seems to be quite good. Both were purchased from Fedka.com in NYC. I cannot speak highly enough of them; the cameras were pristine, tested and ready to go out of the box. Unless you are doing this as a rebuilding project (which certainly has an appeal all its own), IMHO it's worth it to pay a little more and get one that's not going to drive you crazy.

  8. #28

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    If you later want to add a 35mm Jupiter 12 lens it may not fit on an unmodified FED-2.
    http://www.griffinbyteworks.com/phot...jupiter12.html

  9. #29

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    Have both Fed and Kiev. Fun to play with; where else can you get RF lenses for under $50. Of course, in many respects, inferior to my OM-1 with 50mm (which is not much larger). Bottom loading is a pain but not too bad if you don't need to reload quickly. Some FEDs do not have strap lugs (they're on the case) which I don't like. They will scratch your glasses; I glued an o-ring to the eyepiece of mine but it does restrict view.
    "Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer

  10. #30
    Tempt f8's Avatar
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    Well said, Seele!

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