Zorki 6 vs. Fed 5b

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by rikki_ocampos, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. I found two cameras that I'm definitely going to invest in at least one of them and I can't decide on which one to get. A Zorki 6 or Fed 5b? I'm somewhat new to photography. I help my dad a lot in taking pictures of weddings but it's all digital. This will be my first film camera. What are the pros and cons of both of the cameras and which one is easier to use, more durable, and produces the best photos?
  2. Not much to choose between them. The specs are almost identical, shutter speeds 1/30-1/500. The Industar 61LD 50/2.8 usually supplied with the FED 5B is an excellent lens. I have used this camera with that lens. The Zorki 6, last of the Zorki line, came with a choice of three normal lenses -- the Industar-50 50/3.5, the Industar-26M 50/2.8 or the Jupiter-8 50/2. Haven't used either of the Industars, but the Jupiter (a Sonnar copy) is on a par with the Industar 61/LD.
    Both are about as easy (or difficult) to use. Both the Industar 61/LD and Jupiter-8 produce fine results. Both the Zorki and FED use the same 39mm Leica thread, so there is a good choice of lenses.
    Most important in choosing a Soviet camera is condition rather than make or model. Quality control was iffy. Durability -- who knows? USSR cameras are a bit of a crapshoot.
  3. The Zorki 6 is smaller in size, smaller than a Zorki 4. The Fed 5B is like a brick, big. If you can try handling both and then decide what is more handy for you.
    Also, Zorki 6 has a wider range finder base, similar to the Fed 2. The Fed 5B has a shorter RF base.
    Fed 5B does have slow shutter speeds, controlled by clockwork; the Zorki 6 does not. Otherwise what Fred said, above. You may want to take a look at Matt Denton's review of Zorki 6, below. Photo.net has several posts with pictures and write up on Fed 5; try the "search" for archives. Best, sp.
    Matt's Classic Cameras: Zorki 6

    Zorki 6. click here for sample pic. Produced 1959-66 (1961) KMZ, Krasnogorsk (Moscow), Russia; Film type 135 (35mm); Picture size 24 x 36mm; Weight 1 lb, ...
  4. The Fed 4 is as far as I've gone down this road ( http://www.photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00YQxX ). That was huge but was a decent shooter. Honestly, if you don't want a Kiev (Soviet Contax), I personally like the FED-2 better than the later ones. It's much more like the old German Leicas in being very small and 'handy'.
  5. Fed 5B (Fed 5 or 5C for that matter) have the same two features. First is that there are no actual camera lugs on the cameras themselves which means you'll need to rely on the camera's leather case. Second is that you'll have to get used to the smell of the said camera case. The Fed 5B has no selenium meter or frame lines. The Fed 5 has the meter but no frame lines. The 5C has the meter and frame lines (like mine). Mine came with the I-62LD and it is truly sharp. The lens might need to be disassembled, cleaned, and then relubed. The original grease dries out and the metal chips from the original machining might still be in the lens... honestly. Mine is much better now. The Zorki's I cannot add anything to as I have not used a Zorki. I haven't used my Fed 5C lately, but I do like it (other than the peculiar smell). One other thing about the Fed 5C. Do not change the shutter speed until AFTER you have cocked the shutter. Another thing. When rewinding the film, unlike the Zorki where you turn the rewind knob left or right, you push the collar around the shutter release button down until it clicks. It took me a while to find that out. Furthermore, the flash syncs at 1/30 second. Unlike a lot of Soviet cameras, the Fed 5's have a full range of shutter speeds from 1 second to 1/500 second. Enjoy.
  6. Fed 5B has larger exposure range. Zorki-6 may be built better and has strap lugs. Rangefinder base in Z-6 is very long and that is good. Mine Z-6 is not functional. Make sure that either one get CLA. Although Fed could be more or less new. Z-6 is not in the production since 1966.
  7. If slow speeds are not wanted, perhaps the FED-2 is the best option.
  8. If I was going to get a Soviet rangefinder now I would recommend a contax mount Kiev 4A.
    A FED 5B can either be perfectly functional or nearly useless, depending on the highly variable quality of the viewfinder. I have had two, one of which had a clear viewfinder and the other is very dim and "challenging" to use. The shutter on the FED 5 is quite easy to damage or destroy if you change film speed before cocking the shutter. The Industar 61LD is very nice for the money. I recommend getting an Industar 61LD and a better body, like a Canon RF or one of the many Leica threadmount clones.
  9. I have and use both, Zorki-6 and Fed-5b. Zorki-6 is smaller and easier to handle, but it does not have speeds below 1/30. As SP said, longer RF base in the Zorki-6. Typical lenses in new Zorki-6 were the very good Jupiter-8 and Industar-50. The Zorki-6 is identical in handling and shares a lot of mechanisms with the Zenit 3M SLR camera. It was the last product of the KMZ rangefinder line.
    Fed-5B is much larger and heavier, solid-feeling. It used to come with the Industar-61 which is an excellent normal lens as well. I believe that the Fed-5B was subject to more variation in quality than the Zorki-6, just a belief or opinion.
    Both cameras will take the full line of Soviet and Western LTM lenses.
    Both are capable cameras. If both are in good condition, unless you need those speeds from 1/15 to 1 second, I'd go for the Zorki-6 because I give a lot of consideration to weight and size, and I do not use very often those slow speeds.
    As with any old camera, they will need service and care. Soviet cameras, when properly CLA'd, are quite capable as many people here have shown. And their glass is often very decent.
    Condition may be more important than features if you plan to use the camera.

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