Zorki and Fed

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by domenicopescosolido, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. Hi,<BR>
    I would like to try one of the Leica copy of the former USSR, but I
    would have some opinions about the models of that cameras because I
    would also use it. I would like to see some photos and links or
    informations in order to have a better idea of that cameras. Just to
    start I selected 3 models: Zorki 4, Fed 3, Fed 5 how do you think
    about this models?<BR>
  2. Zorki 4: nice finder, ergonomically a bit clumsy, good user, though not the most elegant looking camera in the world.

    The FED 3 and FED 5 are rather similar, except for the looks - finder is a bit darker (generally, FED finders are usually a bit darker); good workhorses.

    My two favorite Russian LTM-Cameras: Zorki 6 (looks very elegant, has a good finder, long range-finder base - good for exact focussing of longer lenses, hinged back, lever film-wind instead of knob, feels just perfect in my hands) & FED 2 (very basic, finder is a bit darker, but it also has the long RF base; looks great, and everything feels right in place on this one - unlike eg. on the Zorki 4).

    The Zorki 3M is also considered to be one of the best Russian LTM cameras, but I don't own one myself.

    I you want to stray from the Leica-copy territory, also consider one of the Contax clones, a Kiev 4 or 4AM.

    A few links:




  3. I have owned and used a zorki 1, a zorki 3,zorki 4, zorki 5, fed 3, fed 2, and a couple kievs. Here is my take.
    Of the ltm models the z3 and z4 had the biggest brightest viewfinders. My z 4 died, ( needs curtains) before i used it much, but it was big heavy and kind of klunky. The z-3 has the same finder but better ergonomics, but unreliable slow speeds. Looks very cool.
    The only zorkis I have kept are the 3 and the 1. The one is a sweet little camera.Smooth, great ergonomics, very small. But I cut my eye teeth on screw mount leicas, so it feels very right ot me. The z-5 was very nice, but really no better than the 1. Easier to load.
    As for the feds, I love the fed 2. Mine also needs new curtains, but a sweet little camera. Nice wide base rangefinder, easy to focus, good ergonomics.The fed 3 I really disliked.Not only is the rangefinder base shorter than the 2, but it is smaller and darker.Big camera.Never really felt right ot me.
    Out of all this I have kept the z1, the z-3, the non working z4, the fed 2, and my kiev 111a. The Kiev I really like. Great old camera.
    The big thing is to sure and get one that works. I would buy from Oleg, Cupog, or Fedka so you will be sure to get one that works correctly
  4. The z-5 was very nice, but really no better than the 1. Easier to load.
    Are you sure you mean Zorki 5 (bottom loading) and not Zorki 6 (rear loading)?
    Two of the better sites: www.geocities.com/fzorkis/ (don't be put off by "geocities"!) and cameras.alfredklomp.com/.
  5. I've owned a Zorki 4K, Fed 2, and Zorki 3M. The 3M was the one I kept. I like it so much I sent it Oleg for a CLA. He replaced the shutter curtains and it should be good to go for another 30 years.
  6. Hi,<BR>
    Could I see some pictures taken recently with that cameras?<BR>
    Gene M, the pictures that you show in your page are taken with your camera showed? They look like excellent.
  7. My newest buy was a Zorki 3 which is superb, but as has been stated the slow speeds are often dodgy - the Zorki 1&2 and the Fed 1 are definitly cameras designed long ago with their tiny viewfinders. The Zorki 4 is damned fragile but the best specified - I would avoid one for a user camera.
    I would suggest a Mir if you can find one (a home market Zorki 4 with no slow speeds) or as a second choice a later Fed 2 with flash sync and ideally a f2 lens from a Zorki 4 fitted - it is one of the few FSU cameras where the shutter won't be damaged by setting it before winding, so it is unlikely to be broken when you get it.
    This is one of my fave LTM combinations.
  8. I have both Zorkis and Feds. I have a handful of 1s from both, Zorki 4 and Feb 2 and 5. I've always been very partial to the earlier, smaller camera the 1s are. You give up a lot in the viewfinder but I've never been bothered by that. I've also found that I don't mind the knob film advance as opposed to the lever. I believe the 1s and the Fed 2 are bettr made cameras, taken from Leica designs. The later cmaeras just seem like cheap boxes in my opinion. I use Voigtlander Bessa Ls and an R and I like mixing their lenses on the smaller russion camera. Put a 25mm viewer and Skopar lens on the zorki 1 or 2 and you have a dazzling camera to sneak around with. The click focusing knob on the lens allows you to hold the camera in the palm of your hand and focus with one finger on the knob from underneath the camera. I attended a museum opening a few years ago and shot a whole roll with a Zorki 2 from my hip and no one ever suspected I had a camera with me. I also have a series of Canon FL lenses that work on the LTM with the Canon Convertor B. My favorite is the 28mm and I dream of getting the Canon FL 19mm but they are still too expensive.
  9. I should add that in the above image, using the Voigtlander 28mm viewer, you can see the f stop setting on the lens and the focusing scale.
  10. I've owned/used most of the Russian rangefinder cameras; I offer the following suggestions:

    1) There are quite a number of barely functioning Zorki's, Feds, and Kievs being offered for sale by Ukrainian and Russian eBay sellers. You never know what you've bought until it appears in your mailbox. Pay the extra cost to buy one from Oleg or Fedka (I don't have experience with Cupog)and get one that works properly.

    2)Th pick of the lot, IMHO are the ZorkiI/FedI, Zorki 3M, and the Kiev 4. The Fed 5 is crudely made junk - it is actually possible to draw blood on some of the crudely finished metal edges of the camera. There is quite a range in characteristics among the Zorki 4's; early ones are better made with engraved shutter speed settings - the later ones have screen printed speed setting labels that may have worn off by the time the camera finds its way to you. The Zorki 5 and Zorki 6 have pleasant ergonomics but major problems with the film advance gearing.

    3) I suggest that you consider a Kiev 4 from Oleg or Fedka; the Kiev's are the pick of the lot. Having said that, a Zorki 1 can be a really pleasant take with you everywhere camera, provided that it is working.
  11. Being a confirmed Lieca hound of many years's standing it might be supposed that I would have a well defined prejudice against FSU cameras. I must confess to a certain amount of judgemental effort, but on the whole I am rather impressed with the practical performance of certain designs an models. I own several Feds and a couple of Kievs and I believe I can honestly appraise their virtues as well as their shortcomings. Aesthetically, I admire the Fed 1 though it is diappointing in several areas. The Fed 29 (wide RF base) is probably the more reliable performer among my battery, while the Kiev 4 is undoubtedly the most precise example, its virtues as well as its shortcomings are much the same as those of its parents.<p> Probably the Fed 2 is my favorite among them. It is built like a tank and thought limited in in its 1/30 to 1/500 shutter speeds it is a rock solid performer particularly when fitted with a Jupiter 50/2.0. I would really rather use it with a 50/3.5 Elmar, but unfortunately, the body covering is flush with the lens mounting flange and the Elmar will not screw in to infinity because the infinity lock hangs up in the vulcanite covering. <p> The ergonomics of the Kiev 4 interfere with my appreciation of its mechanincal virtues, and as much as I have tried I have yet to develop any reliance on its wheel operated fine focusing mechanism. Optically it is a fabulous performer even though it does not conveniently accommodate a rectangular lens shade which for me is necessary for flare reduction. <p> Aesthetically I admire both the Fed 1 and the Kiev 4, but the clumsy old Fed 2 outshines them both in the realm of practical usage.
  12. To add my share to the confusion, I'll recommend the Zorki 4. Of my FSU rangefinders (Zorkis 1 and 4, Fed 3, Kiev 4 and 4AM), the Z4 has been the most reliable user. It's also easy to work on, should it ever need it, and it's very easy to find one at a good price.

    Look for an earlier one - preferably one with neckstrap lugs, and certainly one with engraved, rather than printed-on, numbers on the shutter speed dial.

    I very recently got a Zorki 3M like the one pictured above, and it's fast on its way to being my favorite FSU camera.... however, i've had it for such a short time that i haven't seen any photos from it yet, so i'll hold off on recommending it until i have more experience with it.

    The finder in the Z3m and Z4 is big and bright - however, it has ZERO eye relief, so if you wear glasses you can see just about the field of an 85mm lens through it. I count this as an advantage and use the 85 without an accessory viewfinder. The eyepiece focus adjustment, also, has a range many times greater than any human eye, with the result that you're always having to fiddle with it to get it into focus. I prefer the finder in the Fed 3 in both these respects, and i think i could have easily done without the eyepiece adjustment altogether (the Kievs seem to do fine without it). but in smoothness, handling, reliability and light-tightness, the Z4 is the winner overall, so far.

  13. Nick, what is fragile about the Zorki 4? Mine has seemed to be quite rugged.

    rick :)=
  14. Rick:-
    Re: Fragile Zorki 4s.

    My personal experience is on 4 cameras - When I was at school in the sixties I read a glowing review of the lens quality of the Zorki 4 in Amateur Photograper, but could not afford one until I left University and started to earn - the shutter quickly broke. Now I realise this was probably because I adjusted the shutter speed before cocking it. More recently when I tried to complete my set of 'one of each camera I have ever owned' I had to buy three before I got a good one - the first one had a jammed shutter like my old one and the second one made a clicking noise when a slow speed was selected and sometimes slipped to a different speed. The Zorki is certainly the best user camera when in good condition, like the one I have now got, but I suspect that the slow speed escapement is weaker/more prone to damage by misuse and so I cannot really recommend it to someone without a serious caveat emptor attached. Mind you - if I find another broken one or break this one I'd probably fix it now as the amount of information available over the internet is fantastic, much, I have to say, from you and other enthusiasts like you who share their enthusiasm with us amateurs!

  15. The slow speed system is not their strong point - but some of the dead ones might just need more attention than they've gotten from their previous owners......

  16. So I'm wondering, I just recently purchased a Zorki 4, and I am looking into one of those cameras that look like the old Leitz Leica II's. So far, I have come across the FED-1 and some variants of the FED-2, Zorki-S (or C), and the Zorki 1 and 2's. I am wondering which ones are the better ones in your opinions, and also, what film speed do you use for these cameras? A lot of the older ones did not have a ISO/ASA/GOST film speed adjusting knob on the camera, so what usually works best? I know this is a newbie question, but thanks in advance for helping me out.
  17. The GOST setting on my FED-2 does exactly nothing. Why should it? there's no meter in the camera, no auto-exposure, no batteries :)

    The setting is simply there to remind you what film you've got in. I wish I could remember if I set mine, it's either EFKE 25 or Delta 400 in it now...
  18. Whew, that's a relief, because one of my cameras, a Zenit-B SLR, had a bit of corrosion, and that piece where you would "set" the film speed fell off. I was a bit worried, but that really makes sense to me now. Thanks a lot!
  19. Can someone teach me how to operate the FED 4b (the one without the lever on the film advance)? I shot a roll and all the photos were blank...BUT, the shutter fires! ?? Thx!!!

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