The Russian rangefinder camera Fed 5 was my first "Leica copy" camera. I found this camera in a shop in Milano (Italy) at the beginning of the 90s. Still 100% working, I used this camera again as a good alternative to my Zorki 4 rangefinder.
At the beginning of the 90s, some people began seeing a series of Russian rangefinder cameras in Italian photography shops. These were actually copies of the famous Leica and Contax German rangefinders. I found this camera in a shop in Milano, with a wonderful Jupiter 3 (50/1,5) lens. The lens is very sharp, and it is known as “The Sonnar of Stalin” because it’s a Russian copy of the wonderful Zeiss Sonnar! Another great lens that I bought few years later is the Industar 61L/D (see photo below), a 50/2,8 lens very sharp and more contrasted than the previous lens.
The rangefinder was out of calibration, but it's very simple to calibrate! I removed the metal plate with the name “Fed 5”, then I found a little hole that allows the access to a screw. This screw is for calibration at infinity. After few seconds I had a 100% calibrated rangefinder! The camera worked (and still works today) in a very reliable way at all times. The selenium cell exposure meter is great and the lens mount (M39 screw mount, so you can use the famous Elmar lens too!) allows me to use many different lenses. My preferred are Industar 61LD, Jupiter 3 and Jupiter 8.
This camera is fast, excellent for capturing the “decisive moment,” especially in sports like bicycle competitions. The lack of the mirror is very important because the time interval between you push the fire button and the time at which the shutter opens is very little. When you use a reflex camera, you have a little extra delay needed to lift the mirror.
Here some shots taken in Como, Italy, Free time near the lake, bike trial fun!
- almost quiet shutter
- not mirror lifting delay time
- interchangeable lenses
- viewfinder is accurate and easy to calibrate
- viewfinder is less bright than other Russian camera as Zorki 4, Zorki 5 and Zorki 6
- rewind button is “hidden”… it is around the shutter button!
VERY IMPORTANT: Always cock the shutter before changing the shutter speed, or you may damage the camera!
Have fun with this camera!