From Wikipedia:

“The FED is a Soviet rangefinder camera, mass-produced from 1934 until around 1990, and also the name of the factory that made it.

FED is indirectly named after Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Cheka. It was his name that was given to the labour commune at Kharkiv (Ukraine) whose manager, Anton Makarenko, encouraged a workshop education for indigent children and who decided to copy the Leica

Earlier, and much sought after, models of the FED 1 are sometimes reputed to have been made by criminals, but those rumours are unfounded. Despite the millions of Soviet cameras produced over decades, the FED camera remains the most famous. There are even unscrupulous sellers on ebay that refurbish them and try to pass them off as original Leica cameras!

This is my FED 1:

FED 1 camera
FED 1 Camera – 1950-1953 model

As you can see, it’s small and sleek. The lens looks to be the original collapsible 50mm 3.5 FED Industar lens. First, I’ll need to clean it up with some Isopropyl Alcohol, as it sports a textured layer of decades old grime and dust. I then need to remove the lens to check out the shutter curtains for any deformation or holes. I know that the shutter does work, but since this is a bottom loader in the classic style of old Leica cameras, I don’t have easy access to the chamber to see if the shutter curtains are in good condition.

I’ll keep you all posted as I make my way to, hopefully, making some photos with it !

You can read Part 2 here

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FED 1 camera – a journey into film history – part 1
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8 thoughts on “FED 1 camera – a journey into film history – part 1

  • March 30, 2015 at 12:06 pm
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    such elegant devices

    Reply
    • March 31, 2015 at 7:06 am
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      Definitely @loretta :good:

      Reply
  • March 28, 2015 at 12:44 pm
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    Interesting camera. I’m still looking for my Yashika-Mat, which I know will turn up in the near future as my stuff is being “gone through” in preparation for a massive ceiling repair on my house. Therefore, I’ll dig into wherever that good old camera is hanging. 🙂

    Reply
    • March 28, 2015 at 11:34 pm
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      Hi @gradmama2011 . I’d love a Yashica Mat! I have one TLR at the moment, which is a Soviet Lubitel. Mind you, most kids now wouldn’t have any idea what it is 🙂

      Reply
  • March 28, 2015 at 12:30 pm
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    I’ve thought of getting one of these a few times.

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    • March 28, 2015 at 11:37 pm
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      The later FED cameras have a combined viewfinder window and slightly better ergonomics, but this is pretty classic @andrew . I got this for a low price, but that could also mean trouble, so we’ll see how it goes. Fortunately the shutter mechanism is pretty simple and tends to hold up well over the decades, but I’ll check that out when I have some time.

      Reply
  • March 28, 2015 at 9:38 am
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    …and i’m am very much looking forward to see your photos…

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    • March 28, 2015 at 11:35 pm
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      As am I @sirpamononen . Let’s just hope it works ok…

      Reply

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