Of course it wasn’t the first camera I’ve ever used. I had my Nikon 40D, which I bought 8 years ago, but it didn’t raise such interest as FED.
So! I was quite confused with mechanics. Fortunately there are lots of instructions (including videos) online.
The main and quite popular advice sounds like if you’ve got an old camera and you’re going to use it for the fisrt time right now DON’T bring it to your eye or face before you test its work.
My FED 5 was in very good condition, almost new, heavy enough for long walks under the moon light.
According to the internet the most common complaint about FED is its dark viewfinder. And it is dark really, especially for shooting indoor and in conditions with lack of light. Thus there may be some problems with focus.
But I got used to it quickly. Even my first film was good enough to bring me joy of soft and bright colours.
There are two serious advantages of FED 5. First is its construction, second is lens Industar I-61L/D.
FED’s construction is solid and stable like Kalashnikov rifle. I took my FED in journey through mountains where I rode the highlands on motorcycle. Four endless hours of jolting, stops and shooting and moving forward in the clouds of dust. After that trip I noticed one detail of lens mount fell out. I turned it back using manicure scissors but I worried about photos, vainly as I discovered later. The photos were brilliant at least in terms of camera’s work.
Next time I appreciated FED was winter frost. Minus twenty five on the street didn’t make any inconvenience for FED. For example Praktica’s shatter freezes immediately after film reload when the temperature is sub zero or the camera isn’t kept in warm for long time.
Still I didn’t test it in rainy weather. Nevertheless it will be better to aviod damp because of condensate that can appear inside the lens.
The second advantage as I mentioned before is FED’s lens Industar I-61L/D. There are different opinions about it in the Internet: some people say the lens is awful, others say it’s great. I am among the admirers of this lens. May be I’m no more than a lucky guy, but my FED 5 gives me exciting contrasty pictures, which can be sometimes hard on certain exposures . I love it!
Recently I bought another lens that is said is good for FED. That is Jupiter-9. Lens is really good, but the result of photography is unpredictable, because FED is a rangefinder camera, not a reflex one, so things you see in viewfinder don’t match with those in the final frame. Jupiter lens makes objects bigger than they are in default lens and the viewfinder doesn’t show this difference. Thus during shooting it is very important to consider the parallax effect, which increases because of zoom effect of the lens.
I didn’t knew about these features for the fisrt time I used Jupiter-9 and the model’s face on the photos was heavy croped, anyway this effect didn’t spoiled a few photos, but it must be considered when it is important to get expected result.
During my further experiments I tried to screw it up on Zenit EM using special adapter, but it was good only for macro, maybe because of the difference in focal length between rangefinder and reflex cameras. I am nor sure. Do you know the answer?
written by genasch on 2014-02-22