Last entry, I posted about my newly acquired FED 1 camera and provided some history. This evening, I spent some time removing the lens, and checking out the FED in more detail. I discovered the good and the bad…

The Good:

  • The shutter curtains seem lightproof to the eye and the shutter mechanism works.
  • Cosmetically, the camera is in good condition for its age.
  • The Rangefinder seems close to being accurate at both infinity and close range, but I will need to check further.

The Bad:

  • One of the shutter curtains is crinkled and the shutter speeds are likely innacurate.
  • The Bulb setting is unreliable and the curtains get stuck around the lathes when the shutter button is pushed down for more than a few seconds.
  • The aperture ring on the original Industar 22 lens is completely stuck in place, despite the lens itself being in very good overall condition for its age.
FED 1 camera - crinkled shutter curtain

FED 1 camera – crinkled shutter curtain

In the photo above, you can see the deformation affecting one of the shutter curtains. The other curtain seems to be in good condition. I suspect this may be partly why the Bulb speed setting is unreliable. It’s also likely that the shutter mechanism needs some tightening. The best solution would be to remove the entire shutter assembly and replace the tired old curtains with thinner modern material, like satin. But, it’s not a job for the faint of heart!

FED 1 - rangefinder arm

FED 1 – rangefinder arm

You can see the Rangefinder arm stretching out just behind the top lip of the M39 screw mount. It’s actually in very nice clean condition. If it requires some adjustment, I’ll need a small pair of needle-nose pliers to slightly adjust the tip at the end of the arm.

Here’s a more detailed view of the chamber:

FED 1 camera - chamber

FED 1 camera – chamber

You can clearly see the decades of gunk stuck to one of the rollers. A good clean and shutter curtain replacement would fix this.

The FED 1, like early Leica cameras, is a bottom loader. The bottom plate of the camera is removed in order to load and remove film. The film leader needs to be cut in a particular way to make this job easier. Unfortunately, my FED 1 didn’t come with a film spool, but the seller is sending it on to me at no extra cost. In the photo below, you can see how film would be loaded.

FED 1 camera - loading film

FED 1 camera – loading film

I’m not entirely disappointed with the state of the camera. It’s actually usable. I’m going to try and remove the shell casing so that I can clean up some of the gunk inside. Removing the shutter assembly is in another league of difficulty altogether, so I’ll need to fire up the courage for that task!

At the very least, I’ve cleaned the outside of the FED with Isopropyl Alcohol. Once I remove the casing, I should have easy access to the film winder gears. They are covered in old grease. Lubricating them with something more modern should fix the stiff film winding mechanism. For further repairs, I’ll probably need tools that I don’t currently have at my disposal.


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