The Fed Experience - A Fed 3 Review


I ordered the Fed 3 without much thinking. Its looks had me at hello. I wanted a rangefinder camera for quite some time and only when the little guy was already on its way I started to really pay attention to reviews written on Lomography. And what I saw kind of scared me. I was in for a heavy old camera with a mind of its own.

Load it!
Don’t be fooled by the pictures of the camera online. The Fed 3 is huge and incredibly heavy. You will feel it when you have carried it around for the day. When purchased through Lomography it comes with a nice leather case. To load it simply screw off the case and open the back by turning the two rotating latches. Loading the film is how you are use to do it with 35mm film. The only difference is that the take up spool pulls the film under the spool. So you’ll have to make sure the film passes over the sprockets and then under the take up spool. Now make sure you switch you camera to C. Cock the shutter an release a few times an you are good to go. Fed 3 manuals can be found in different languages online.

Shoot it!
Don’t get confused by all the things you can adjust and turn on the camera. The Fed 3 is pretty easy to shoot with when you want. Since I was a pretty new to camera’s that need manual adjustments I started easy. I shot most pictures with F11/F16 and shutter speed on 250.

Very important is to remember to cock the shutter first before changing the shutter speed. Apparently it messes up your camera. If you don’t mind I skipped the part where I test this myself. Also the film counter doesn’t jump to 0 at a fresh role. You will have to put it back on 0 at the beginning of your roll or guess how far along you are with the film.

Now using a range finder was very easy. When you look through the view finder you will see a circle in the middle. In this circle you will either see the object you wish to shoot blurry as a spit image when you need to adjust, or sharp when your camera is properly adjusted. To focus simply turn your focus ring till it completely overlaps creating a single image. The original lens isn’t great for close ups. You will find that you are unable to focus properly when you are too close.

I was kind of worried that this camera would be a huge disappointment compared to my big love; the lomo LC-A+. But I love this camera! It looks great, gives you sharp pictures and is surprisingly easy to handle. If you off doing something hectic or sporty I would recommend a lighter and easier to focus camera. But if you have time and a little patience this camera will be your trusted companion for the ages to come.

written by achocolatemoose on 2011-06-07 in #reviews #lomography #russian #old #fed-3 #range-finder #vintage #ussr #user-review


  1. lomodesbro
    lomodesbro ·

    A heavy camera reduces likelihood of camera shake. Image stabilisation is here

  2. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    FED 3 is a good camera. Other lenses are available. Check out eBay and, also Fedka Store. Yuri there gives guarantees. The ideal FED 3 is a FED 3a type 1. Handier shape, and some of these have a better shutter.

  3. molivche
    molivche ·

    Nice review and even nicer photos.This camera got in my arms some 2 years ago (it was my grandpa's, just sitting in a box for some 15-20 yrs). This past months i ve been trying to study it more, and to understand analog photography. And while googling all over, i found out that actually my camera is FED 3a, type 1 :) Which, i didnt know before, and was confused about some things i read. And for sure i didnt know that it is a copy of Leica. I saw it looked quite similar, but ..ok. The first try i had with this camera was some year ago, not knowing ANY, doing totally random stuff, i was closest thing to disaster. I never gave up, i just can't wait for tomorrow to go out and shoot (with some basic knowledge)^^ The camera is a pearl. ( ive seen some photos from my grandpa :D )

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