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  1. #1
    Steve Mack's Avatar
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    Anybody tried Russian Leica-copy rangefinders?

    I'm curious about the various Russian (well, actually, UKRAINIAN) Leica copies, and I was wondering what other people's experience with them has been?

    Any praises, pick, or pans?

    Thanks to all who reply.

    With best regards,

    Stephen S. mack

  2. #2

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    I use several of them (pre-war FED 1d + FED 3a) without major trouble.

    I rebuild the FED 1 shutter and it is now as smooth as butter. The only trouble is with the FED lens which is not at the Leica standard. I had to adjust the body register accordingly which means that I can't swap lens with another camera. But as the finder is built for a std lens, it is not a big deal.

    I bought the FED 3 + its I-26 lens to Adorama for a song. The shutter is maybe a bit slow but it is fully functional.

    I owned before some Kiev 2a cameras. They were also fine but I never felt comfortable with them (pretty weird handling).

    As these cameras are pretty old and have a bad rep, the best is to buy to a reliable vendor. You can find some on E***. Fedka is also a reliable source even if prices are higher; but Yuri has an excellent communication and is very honest.

    Good luck!

    BTW, be careful, addiction is easy...

  3. #3
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    I had a Zorki IV and it was an excellent $35 camera. The Russian glass was great as well. Lots of fun to use and great for driving nails and keeping your car from rolling down a hill as well.
    www.ericrose.com
    yourbaddog.com

    "civility is not a sign of weakness" JFK

    "The Dude abides" - the Dude

  4. #4
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    I have a FED 2 with the Industar 61 lanthum lens==a 2.8 Tessar-formula. It cuts a very sharp image.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  5. #5
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anscojohn View Post
    I have a FED 2 with the Industar 61 lanthum lens==a 2.8 Tessar-formula. It cuts a very sharp image.
    I have the same set up The camera has clearly seen a lot of use and still works great. From what I've seen, I'd recommend the FED 2 over the newer FEDs. I also use the lens on my Bessa R. I really like the lens.....probably my favorite 50 (except for the the slow speed).

  6. #6
    IloveTLRs's Avatar
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    I haven't, since the prices here for Russian RFs is the same as Barnacks. Also I am not a fan of their designs. I have heard and read that some of the Jupiter lenses are excellent, however.

    I also read that the Kiev Hasselblad clones are really, really nice (alas, they are not rangefinders.)

  7. #7
    pcyco's Avatar
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    hallo

    i use a zorki 4 (im sure) with a jupiter 8 (i think).
    a great kombination for slides. i dont like it so for black and white films.
    the handling is ok. my eos 1v is faster ;-)
    for the prices you can get them you should try them.

    and the big thing is: if something is to repair, the most things you can do by your own (the screws are big enough)

    analog greetings

    thomas
    --------------------------------------------------
    vfdkv (259)

  8. #8
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    The earlier Zorkis and Feds are true Leica LTM clones, including bottom loading and separate rangefinder/viewfinders (a disadvantage IMHO).

    Later Zorkis tend to be (sometimes much) better made than Feds. IMHO later Feds are pretty rough, in a way which won't clean up with a CLA. Also, cameras from the 1950's and 60's *tend* to be better made than late 1970's and later cameras.

    In any case, a *good* example, or by now a CLA'd one, can be a very nice and reliable camera.
    Simply buying one from anyone is Russian roulette (pun intended), but a good one is a keeper.

    Later Zorkis are actually Leica LTM improvements, having back loading, bright, combined RF/viewfinders and sometimes other features.
    Favorites: Zorki 3 for looks and feel (though some slow speeds are sytematically inaccurate), Zorki 4 for all-round (later one have painted-on & not stamped & painted shutter speed dials), Zorki 4K for its lever advance (but also known to cause problems), Zorki 5 & 6 for wider rangefinder base, lever advance & hinged back (IIRC) (but missing speeds under 1/30).

    The Jupiter series of lenses are derived from 1930's Zeiss lenses and are still very good today (given a decent sample). The Industars are Elmar-derived and also usually quite good.

    BTW: The Kiev Hasselblad clones are normally extremely shoddy and unreliable unless they have been properly rebuilt. On the other hand the Kiev 60 can be quite good, with a few caveats thrown in.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  9. #9

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    I used a Fed 1C (I think) for about 6 years with no real complaints. It did what it was supposed to. Images were reliably good.I replaced it with M2, M5 and M4 Leicas. My good experience with the Fed lead me to try others. I also have 4 carefully selected Kiev 4M and 4AM's. They are my carry everywhere cameras. They have not missed a beat either.

    Quote Originally Posted by IloveTLRs View Post
    I also read that the Kiev Hasselblad clones are really, really nice (alas, they are not rangefinders.)
    Besides using Hasselblads and Rollei's for 30 years I also use most of the time now 2 Kiev 88CM bodies and 2 Kiev 60MLU cameras. All were purchased new and are of recent manufacture, were breathed on by the best of the specialists who tune big Kievs. (Arsenal is one of the few remaining manufacturers of mechanical medium format film cameras) the lenses which are available are a major pleasure. Save but for one film back which had a counter stop last week these cameras have been flawless. Buy new from a reputable house and they are fine.

    http://www.zavodarsenal.kiev.ua/?lan=e&id=_2_2
    http://kievcamera.net/catalog/ (New hand selected KIEV 60, and Kiev 88 CM cameras)
    http://araxfoto.com/ (New hand selected KIEV 60, and Kiev 88 CM cameras)
    http://haardt.net/kiev88cmreview.htm
    http://www.kievaholic.com/mediumformat.html
    http://forums.delphiforums.com/kievreport/start

  10. #10
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    The Russian cameras are OK, they certainly don't have the silky smoothness of a Leica but they are still capable of producing good images. Don't pay too much for one, there's been a tendency to inflate their value in recent years. I have a FED 2 and used a wonderful Kiev 4a in the past.

    Ian

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