The Fed 5 Rangefinder camera produces sharp photos and remarkable qualities as the more expensive Leica.
For a span of over 70 years, the Kharkov, Ukraine-based Fed company was highly-acclaimed for its production of finely-crafted cameras. Their first camera – the Fed 1 – was the Soviet version of the German Leica II, which was very modern at the time. Offering the same exceptional features at a more affordable price, the Fed 1 sales skyrocketed with over 700,000 units produced between 1935-1955.
The success kept the company going – eventually, they came up with the equally competitive Fed 2, Fed 3, and Fed 4, to keep up with the bustling camera industry. At the time, different camera models kept popping up in the market, including half-frame and 3D stereo models. But the hardworking Fed, with its aggressive approach in ensuring quality, was able to catch up with the current Leica screw-mount models at the time.
1977 was the ripest time for the Feds. It was when Fed 5B was introduced – the final refinement of the screw-mount series, enhanced with the best imaging system and the most modern optics. It guaranteed very sharp images and precise exposure control common in more expensive models. While some people think that, physically, the Fed 5B is somewhat “ugly,” it’s important to note that it sports the Industrar 61 lens, known to be one of the most excellent Russian lenses to ever grace the camera world. The lens, which consisted of four interior lens elements, was amber-coated with Lanthanum to enhance sharpness, contrast, and resolution. It was specially constructed to meet the standards of the Zeiss “Tessar” lens series.
Similar Leica features, but at a reasonably lower price – who wouldn’t want that? The Fed 5B makes a great camera for those who want to enjoy a Leica without getting bankrupt!
kylethefrench has shared three things that he likes about the Fed 5B:
- It has the aperture setting and shutter speed setting which allows you to open the lens all the way, and speed up the shutter speed so that you get these really dusty fields of view for portraits.
- The B setting is another joy because you just put it on a tripod at a lake at night and hold that down for as long as you like and you never really know how it is going to turn out, and with that in mind
- You have feature 3 which is the viewfinder focus ring to make your viewfinder clear. I didn’t know how to adjust this for about a year! I thought I was losing my eyesight but some of the results were these accidentally slightly out of focus blurry beauties that have a good retro feel.
plesaleza also sent in 5 tips:
- You can use a digital or any camera with a lightmeter to get a semi-accurate exposure.
- If you’re a non-metric person, and can’t imagine meters in front of you, actually use the rangefinder.
- Don’t forget to remove the lens cap, you can easily forget that it’s there because you can see through the viewfinder without realizing that you did not remove the lens cap.
- Keep the back off for a few blank shots to make sure the film is properly loaded.
- Don’t forget to make sure the back is actually connected and closed, that way it doesn’t fall off when you’re not looking!
Photos 1-11 by kylethefrench
Photos 21-26 by
Check out the Fed here