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  1. #11

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    I've played around with one-or-two FED's and the Jupiter lenses (The 50mm, f/1.5 copy of the Zeiss Sonnar is very interesting and quite usable). They can give good results with care, just like many older cameras.

    A bit like the old USSR Lada cars, they could be nothing but trouble, but get one made on a good day (or a good garage technician who knew how rectify all the build problems properly and it would "last for ever".

    Don't pay too much for the Russian/Ukraine equipment, though, don't expect miracles just because they are derived from Leica designs. (Though, as someone says above, I'd agree that they could be addictive and quite collectable.)

  2. #12
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Only the British made a Leica copy that was better made than the originals, the Reid cameras.

    Ian

  3. #13
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    If one must have a barnack copy (I certainly do) then I'd recommend Canon III or IV models. A clean Canon equipped with a collapsible Industar 22 is good and economical substitute for the real thing.

  4. #14

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    I'd obviously agree about the Reid and the Canons are being of better basic quality than the USSR versions.

    I handled a mint Reid once, it was gorgeous...and way beyond my pocket!

    Referring back to my car analogy....depends what you want, Ladas (like the East German Trabants) could be quirky fun cars for the enthusiast, but you might look elsewhere if you just want good and economic motoring. Maybe the Reid is the Rolls, the Canon the Honda, and the Fed the Lada! All great in their different ways.

  5. #15

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    Most of the FSU Leica- and/or Contax-alikes are decent copies/derivatives of the originals, however like many things the Soviets put a lot of emphasis on quantity of cameras and not so much on quality control. So, the reliability and fit-and-finish on individual cameras may not always be equal. I have a FED-2, Zorki 4k, and Kiev 4a - the FED was a gift which I had refurbished by the online seller "Fedka" - the shutter is now butter-smooth. The Zorki has some issues with slow speeds - I had a local guy check it, and he said I need to be gentle with the winding stroke. The Kiev 4a has some issues with frame spacing - I suspect the removable take-up spool is slipping, but I haven't had an opportunity to work on that further.

    So, the moral of this story is to buy from a reputable seller (online you can search for Fedka, OKvintagecameras, or sovietcamera.co.ua), but be aware that due to production inconsistencies and/or the age of the cameras they may not be as "polished" as the Leica or Contax originals.
    i can't wait to take a picture of my thumb with this beautiful camera.

    - phirehouse, after buying a camera in the classifieds

  6. #16
    Jesper's Avatar
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    I have among others, a FED Ia with a lens with clearly visible bubbles in the glass. Sharpness is bad, and contrast is awful but outdoors in soft light it takes wonderful "vintage" pictures that everyone will guess was taken at least 70 years ago.
    It is not a camera for serious usage, but for the fun of it. Using it to photograph people will put a smile on their faces and it is not in the least as threatening as a F4 with some 2.8 zoom would be.

    Later cameras have diopter correction that is a neat feature, and later optics is not at all bad. Especially the Industar 61L.
    Leaks are common in the old ones so be sure to take a testfilm before you buy (unless it is cheap enough).

  7. #17
    bsdunek's Avatar
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    There's a lot of discussion of FSU (Former Soviet Union) cameras on Rangefinder Forum http://www.rangefinderforum.com/ This should give you some information. I notice a lot of APUGers on RFF, so I don't feel bad about mentioning another forum.
    Bruce

    Moma don't take my Kodachrome away!
    Oops, Kodak just did!
    For all practical purposes, they've taken Kodak away.


    BruceCSdunekPhotography.zenfolio.com

  8. #18

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    I have a Fed 5B. It is reliable and the lens is tack sharp (lanthanum glass). Feels like the internal machining was done by the Leningrad Locomotive Works.
    Rick Jason.
    "I'm still developing"

  9. #19
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    I first used a Zorki, and yesterday got my first Barnack/Screwmount Leica. The zorki is pretty good, but does not compare to the Leica at all in terms of quality, sound, and general feel.
    Marko Kovacevic
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  10. #20
    stradibarrius's Avatar
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    What about the difference between the Jupiter and Industar lenses?
    "Generalizations are made because they are generally true"
    Flicker http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradibarrius
    website: http://www.dudleyviolins.com
    Barry
    Monroe, GA

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