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  1. #11

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    Depends on if you mean strictly the Leica II copies,(which I prefer). Any of the 1950s FED's or Zorki's that are in GWO - good working order - are good choices.
    In particular, the later versions of the FED 1 or the Zorki model 1 or 2.
    Most of these cameras came with the Industar 10 or Industar 22 lens. A collapsable 50mm that is a copy of the Leitz Elmar. I personally don't like these lense because the only hoods that fit are the two original Leitz hoods. More expensive than the camera itself.
    Better, sharper lense are the Industar 50, 46M, or 61 models. Rigid mount and use 1950s standard size hoods.
    Main thing is checking the condition of camera. If you're buying mail order/internet get a return privilege.
    A good Zorki/FED will be ALMOST the camera a prewar Leica is.
    Rangefinder should be bright/constrasty. Viewfinder clear. Shutter snappy at all speeds. Shutter curtains can have marks, but not dry spots or repairs. MOST important , the film wind should be smooth and easy. Beware those that are not.
    Hope this helps.

  2. #12
    ZorkiKat's Avatar
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    Prewar FED-1 are nice, if found clean and working. They average more than 70 years in age, and even if they've had repairs sometime, they may have been stored too long to work properly without a fair amount of servicing.

    They also don't have proper the LTM focus register and lens mount. They have varying flange-to-focal distances (usually shorter or longer than 28.8mm)- variations by as little as 0.01 mm are enough to cause focus errors). And each camera has a matched lens and body, which when 'divorced' and rematched with others, will almost guarantee wild focusing.

    The lens mount thread is also different. The prewar FED had a metric thread pitch- Leica used the English pitch. This could cause threads on either lens or camera to strip.

    Speaking of compatibility, even the later FED or Zorki don't necessarily allow easy mounting of non-FSU lenses. The entry / park points of the threads in FSU Leica copies aren't standard. Some may allow correct mounting. Many won't- at best the distance/f-stop scales of the lens will be read from the side or the bottom instead of the top. At worst, lenses with 'tongue-shaped' cams will mesh with the camera's rf follower.

    One thing about FSU Leica copies that I noticed to be unique is their bright and contrasty rangefinders. Most of the Leica or Canon I've seen have either weak or faded rangefinder patches. This is rare with FED or Zorki. They almost always have contrasty RF- even the 70 year old ones have surprisingly snappy patches.
    FED ZORKI SURVIVAL SITE
    RANGEFINDERFILIPINAS
    Zorkikat.Com

    "不管黑猫白猫能抓到老鼠就是好猫。" 邓小平
    It doesn't matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.-邓小平

  3. #13
    stradibarrius's Avatar
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    Well I bought a FED2 w/I28 and a Zorki4 w/J8. They are both invery ggod condition and eveything seems to work smoothly. I am shooting a test roll in the Zorki4 first.
    "Generalizations are made because they are generally true"
    Flicker http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradibarrius
    website: http://www.dudleyviolins.com
    Barry
    Monroe, GA

  4. #14
    stradibarrius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stradibarrius View Post
    I am curious which of the FSU Leica copies is considered the best?
    I am seeing tons of them on the auction site and most are in Russia.

    Their feedback is very good but I have never bought anything from the FSU.

    Do some of our US members mind sharing your experience. Were there any import duties to be paid?
    After all the good information I got here as I said I was able to pick up a Zorki4 w J8 and a FED2 w/ I26.

    Here are some of the test shots from the Zorki 4 with KodakBW400CN. I shot these without my handheld meter. I just guessed at the exposure starting at the sunny 16 rule.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 4A_flowers_web.jpg   13A_coffee-table.jpg   15A_Scruffy.jpg  
    "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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