Restoring Fed 1

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by subbarayan_prasanna, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. This one arrived almost DOA. The packet looked okay; inside was the shock. The camera shell was damaged, dented and out of shape. The front and top were okay, thus saving the lens and the control knobs. The covering [old vulcanite like thing] was coming off in flakes. I could not remove the bottom plate. I loosened the body screws and got the parts separated.

    Took quite a few days of tinkering [body shop like work] with a mallet and wooden cylindrical rods. Finally, got most of it into shape. I removed the vulcanite fully and put in a new Vinyl covering. Performed the usual CLA rituals.

    Now I have a functional Fed 1 with a nice Industar 22 retractable lens. I am beginning to like these tiny lenses. They seem handy and produce neat pictures, with some rendering ability [As Rick Drawbridge would say it!]. I walked around the local Bazaar on Sunday morning. It was a small festive day. There was some activity to be pictured.

    Used the ORWO UN54 film and my new brew. Here are some samples.
  2. Some shots of the Camera; have trouble posting.
  3. This is very similar to Zorki 1 early model. Small differences are noticeable inside. The springs behind the pressure plate in the Fed 1 are vertical, as opposed to being horizontal in Zorki 1. Also the pressure plate is fully circular in this sample; it is not shaped.
  4. Overall, the Fed 1 seems better finished than the Zorki 1 among my samples. I believe both were of the same design as the Leica II; I have never handled a Leica; so, cannot say anything on that angle. Please, note the screw on the shutter button. I find the shutter buttons on these cameras are a bit shallow. So I put in a computer body screw on it for a better hold.
  5. The body work took a long effort. The tolerances are quite small in these cameras. Also the recent cassettes have larger brims on the caps. So I had to knock fractions of a millimetre to get the camera to accept film. The bottom loading required some adjustments too.
  6. Not a good picture of the bottom plate. The key end was damaged badly. This was the maximum extent to which I could correct it. It may need a die-press of appropriate size. I got the key to function for now. Hope it holds.
  7. This year is horribly dry. All the bore-wells in this neighborhood are dry. The local government is unable to supply water. We are buying water in Tanker trucks and bottles. Summer is on with a vengeance!
  8. The Bazaar was a little active. A semi-religious festival is on. This flower vendor sits in front of the Temple. Religion and temple offer business opportunities.
  9. Regular trade and festive fare mingle here. Vendors on the platform are temporary traders. They move from place to place.
  10. This frame has a variety of people from different classes.
  11. The vendor may be a usual trader. But on a festive day people buy specific vegetables. Some religious almanacs specify things to cook on specified days. True believers run their life rhythms by the almanac. It is one way of off-loading the decision-making burden on the mind!
  12. Not much variety this year, due to the drought. We are waiting for the rains.
  13. The multi-national is here. Some of the pizzas are made with local spices and ingredients to suit local taste. Even pizza is getting acculturated.
  14. The Multi-national is no threat these local traders on wheels. This guy sells right next to Pizza Hut on the side walk.
  15. I perceive more two wheelers in front of Banks than cars. A reminder that Banks rely on middle class custom.
  16. They dug six bore-wells for this construction. All of them have gone dry. They have also dried out the underground water in the neighborhood. I wonder where they will get the water for the Hospital.
  17. The last one on my way home. I hope you enjoyed the views from Fed 1. It is a very simple camera; does not have even flash synchronization. I like the size, its elegant design and sturdiness. Its production stopped more than 60 years ago. sp.
  18. I seem to have some problem with my software and the Jpeg compression. Most of my picture look better after scanning; They get affected after reducing the size to 700 pixels. Here is another try with picture 1.
  19. SP--I really like the pictures!
    And I am always amazed by your excellent camera repair talents!
    Do you have any pictures of the camera in its "before" condition?
    Thank you!
  20. I was so depressed when I opened the parcel that I forgot all about taking pictures. The next time I should remember this. Thanks, sp.
  21. SP, I'll take your word for it. You've done a wonderful job in not only fixing an abused camera, but also the photos that you shot with it. Fantastic. Thank you.
  22. Nice job.Both repair and images.
    I've always like the FEDs best. Imagine taking a bench-built original design and turning it into a mass-production item.
    Bangalore Baroque is really interesting - the old and the new. It's always nice to see your posts.
  23. SCL


    Congratulations - you did an incredible job, and of course, your shots of everyday life are always something I look forward to. As much as I like tinkering with old decrepit cameras, you bring a new meaning to resurrection!
  24. SP it appears no camera is ever so badly beaten up, that you can't restore it to pristine (and above all working) condition, and come back with a series of quite fascinating pictures from it. Well done.
  25. It's a beauty, and anyone that can repair these cameras is a genius. I've had so many, many Russian cameras that never worked right, some even after expensive CLA's, that I finally gave up.
  26. Good work, SP. Far better to do something constructive like this than to live mechanically by complex rules.
  27. Your repair and restorations triumphs are truly remarkable, SP; who else would have successfully put an old Fed through a panel and paint? The little Industar does produce images with a pictorial feel, which suits your style very well. This is a great series of photographs; love the contrast you've achieved without loss of the tonal extremes. Thanks for another fascinating tour of your community.
  28. Another amazing restoration! Your film/brew combo is looking good.
  29. Always love your street pictures, especially with a camera that most would give up as a lost cause! How long before the Monsoon arrives, and which part of India do you live in?
  30. Incredible Job in getting a working camera here.. Very impressed with the photos.. This new new brew has great contrast and tonal qualities are superb. The highlights are very controlled and the shadows have good separation!
    I think I know the problems you had with this camera. A good friend showed me a Fed 1 /Leica he bought knowing it was a "fake". He is not a photog etc .. so I was excited to try it out.. There was film in the camera and I couldn't get it out. A foreshadowing of things to come.
    So later when I loaded film, it jammed. I couldn't get this cassette out either. I think, like your example the camera took a fall and the tolerances are just too tight. Once the slack of the film was taken up it would jam the advance so that I ended up breaking the film twice and then the shutter. I felt so bad about breaking the camera I paid to have the shutter repaired and gave it back to him.. ..umm still broken. I guess we need to send it to your body and frame shop!!! Great job with the camera and the shop. I want one of these they are so small and like Rick said the collapsible lens is just the right thing for street shooting! Great Post!!
  31. Nice little Fed. I have a 1g and love it. It's a;most a given these days that FSU cameras of this vintage are going to need an overhaul. Nice results from you as usual.
  32. Great job on bringing the camera back to life. Like everyone else the steet scenes are great.
  33. Thanks Rob! I do it for the love of it. It keeps my mind alert and focused. Also, keeps the fingers trained. Yes, JDM I think the Fed people at Kharkov kept steady with one or two models, until they went berserk with the Fed 4, 5 and later ones. On the other hand, Zorki tried more models and sought to be sophisticated. They succeeded with the Zorki 4, possibly as much as the Fed 2 did. Thanks Stephen; it is meaningful and provides a sense of achievement. John, I am restricted to what I can do with hand tools. I wish I had developed a work bench with some power tools and fixtures. My range stops with Feds, Zorkis and older Exaktas. Others are a bit more complicated and need replacement parts. Steve thanks; no genius, just some patience and tenacity will suffice to get things done one by one. My Grandma thought I was retarded, as I could not memorize things as fast as other grandchildren! Thanks MD, Rick D, Louis. Tony, we live in Bangalore on the Deccan Plateau, with just 30 inches of rain per year. Six months are deficit. Must wait till June for the Monsoon. We get some thunder showers and one or two hailstorms during April-May; they would help. Yes Chuck, the tolerances are a problem with these cameras. I changed curtains in two identical Fed 2s. One was successful, the other was a disaster! With such old equipment it is always a gamble.
  34. Thanks Roger; I still have not learned to differentiate the variations within Fed 1 or Zorki 1. Thanks Rod, it takes a lengthy effort, but is rewarding at the end. regards sp.
  35. Excellent restoration and even better photos!
  36. Wonderful article, very entertaining narrative. I like the photos quite a bit, and have been meaning to try that OrWo emulsion, I am just not sure how it would process with normal chemicals since I believe it has a Remjet mask on.
    SP - if I may suggest, may be you can share with us some of your common cla/repair notes for Exaktas and FSU cameras, I am yet to venture inside a camera with a cloth focal plane shutter.
    Thanks for this great post.
  37. Thanks L Mar, I am glad you liked the pictures. Ralf J, the Filmotec website has a prescription/guideline for processing. The formula resembles a range from D-76 to Microdol-X. I am using only X-Ray chemicals modified by me to reduce the pH value to between 8 and 9. I also add some 30g to the litre of working solution of common salt [as suggested by Kodak in Microdol]. I am not aware of the mask you mentioned. I find that the film has a wide lattitude; the emulsion and the mylar base are quite thick. As it is a movie film it allows for double exposure to make positive slides. I process with a dilute developer solution and develop for about 15 minutes. With long development times a little error in timing does not affect the quality of the negative. Best, sp.

Share This Page