Zorki vs. FED

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by marco_vera|1, Dec 7, 2004.

  1. I would like to try a Russian LTM RF camera, (I already have a kiev)
    and since camera's in the $30 range are always tempting, I need some
    help in choosing.

    I was thinking of a Zorki 4 or 4K, with the rather large VF, any
    indications against it? is a FED a better choice? I like the idea of
    a Jupiter LTM lens on a rather small camera....

    Don't ask what I need it for. I don't need it, It would be an
    occasional user with lots of shelf time in between. I enjoy marginal
    reliability too, It gives me the chance to look inside these
  2. for how much you can get them from the fsu why not get both?! to be honest theres not much to choose between them in terms of image quality( assuming youll get a good one) better selection of speeds on the zorki4(got a great 1957 one) but whether the extra slower speeds work can be a bit of a lottery. the feds a bit smaller and feels a little nicer (to me anyway) ive got a kiev 4a coming soon and thatll be the last one. honestly!
  3. I know what I'm about to say differs from the general comments about russian cameras but.... I've had three Zorki 4s and never liked any of them. Can't tell you exactly why but they never felt good to me. I'd say the same for the later Feds. I have a 5b and a friend had the Fed 3 and they just seemed big and clumsy to me. I liked the Fed 2 a great deal except that the diopter correction lever moved too easily and was always needing to be reset.

    My overall favorites were the first Zorkis 1 and 2. I think the Fed 1 is virtually identical. From what I've read and experienced I think the early cameras were made much better than those after the Fed 2.

    I really liked the small size of the Zorki 1 and 2. They are very heavy and feel very solid. The viewfinder is small but when I reach for one to take along it'll always be the little guy and the large Russians just sit.
  4. Toss a coin! I have FED2 & Zorki 4k, both working. The FED is more beautiful and offers broader eye correction range. I don't know if I'm missing slow speeds; I couldn't realy handhold no 1/15 sec, so why do I need it? It's also easyer to set this shutter if you have less choices. I wouldn't say shooting a Zorki from a Monopod is a bad idea, but maybe you'll prefer this with your serious cameras. These RFs are nice experiences and cheap enough to get lots of them.
  5. I have a FED3 and a Zorki4, which are pretty comparable models. The Zorki is easier to service if something major is needed in the shutter (but who's really going to do that at the price?), it has a 1/1000 top shutter speed, variable synch (also not likely to be used), and it has not had light leak problems like I've had with the FED and seems to be a little better built in general.

    I like the finder optics better in the FED. Smaller magnification, but i can see the whole thing and the diopter adjustment stays where I put it. Overall, if you want the slow speed range (I do), I think the Zorki 4 is probably the best of the lot.
  6. FSU rangefinders are cheap, but the shipping can easily exceed the cost of the camera (my FED 2 cost $13 plus $15 shipping). If you decide to get both of the cameras you're interested in, try to get them from the same seller and you should be able to get a deal on the shipping.
  7. The Zorki 4 and 4K are a bit more upscale and business like than the FED models which they competed with. They are you mentioned fitted with great viewfinders.

    What to look for? Up to 1959, the Zorkis had engraved lettering, on not just the name plate, but the shutter speed dial as well. You can recognize these by the embossed frames around the viewfinder and rangefinder windows. Later versions of the 4 have silk screened letter and post 1966? they are no longer were covered with vulcanite, plus the strap lugs were dropped. The 4K has faster film loading and an advance lever, but pale in overall fit and finish to the original Z-4 of the late 1950's.

    On my vintage Z-4 built in 1957 it definitely needed a good cleaning and lubrication to get the slow shutter speeds to work consistantly. Also, pre-1960 Zorki 4's usually are not in the under $30 range.

    A couple of predecessors to the Zorki 4, the model 3 and 3M are about double your price range, but are the creme de la creme of Soviet LTM cameras, even though they lack such pleasantries such as a flash connector or self-timer.

    I find FED 2's and the Zorki 6 appealing even with shutter speeds, but I've got to let someone else put in their 2 pennys worth.
  8. Even with the limited shutter speeds of the Fed 2, it will serve its purpose as a compact day time shooter.
  9. i have both a zorki 1C and a Zorki 4. the shutter on the 4 is dead. but even if it worked i would prefer the earlier 1C which is better made, smaller etc. it compares favorably with my leica IIIf but lacks some of the shutter speeds. so, i would recommend an earlier zorki or fed.
  10. For a small and good one I vote for the Zorki 1 and if you like something biger opt for the superb Zorki 3M (if you are lucky enough to find one)Or at least the Z 3. Both can charge the film very easy.
  11. Look for strap lugs. - No real fun or succes without them, I'd say.
  12. First Zorkis and Fed were made to fit into the pocket with the collapsible Industar 22. Somebody sugested for hikking. Nevertheless, if you have one of those, you can make an easy base with an old camera case. I made one to hang the Rollei 35 from the neck and just now I'm making one to fit a black Leica fake (Z1)
  13. Wow this Zorki vs. Fed debate has as much vigor in it as the Contax vs. Leica or Nikon vs. Canon for that matter....

    Thanks for all the info... I will proceed.

    That Zorki 3M looks really cool....
  14. If you're headed towards the Zorki 3M, then check out the following camera bag http://www.m-rock.com/niagara.html
    It has room to spare even with the Jupiter 8 lens mounted to the camera.
  15. would like to see how Luis does the base for straps
  16. Zorki 4's had engraved dials well past 1959 (mine is a 1963). The front logo seems to have changed from engraving to silkscreening about 1964, and the dials in 1966. From 1968 the strap lugs were gone. All 4K's have printed logos and dials and lack strap lugs. The printed dials are the real problem, if those numbers disappear good luck finding a shutter speed....

  17. Zorki 4k - no strap lugs, wide range of speeds, lever wind, easy to load.

    Zorki 6 - strap lugs, no slow speeds, lever wind, not quite so easy to load (take-up spool design inferior).

    I've got both, mostly 'cos I prefer a lever wind. My camera of choice to use is the 6 ... it "feels right" in my hands, I don't need to keep it in it's case to hang it around my neck, and I think it looks nicer (as if that makes a difference ;-)

    Of the two cameras I have, the 4k has the smoother shutter release, but the 6 is quite OK with a soft-release fitted.

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