I was ecstatic to find an old Fed 3 going cheap in a thrift store. Some real Soviet-era heavy metal for my collection of cameras. It looked great. Nice clear lens, shiny chrome bits, and everything seemed to move as it should. So I bought it and took it home.
The real proof of the pudding is, as we all know, in the eating. I quickly fed my new friend a roll of colour film. When I saw the photos it was obvious that there was a problem.
Okay, these leaks were white not red, so the problem was in FRONT of the film. They were always in the same place. It had to be the shutter curtain. I removed the back and the lens on the Fed 3 and held it up to the light. Remember that the image in your camera is reversed, so for a problem at the top of the photo, look at the bottom of the curtain; and for a problem on the left, look to the right. Also remember these cameras have TWO curtains which ‘chase’ each other across the frame. On my camera the problem was on the curtain which is visible when the shutter is cocked. I’ve tried to highlight the problems with some red circles.
I’m not skilled enough to take a camera apart and do complicated repairs. But I thought I could bodge my way around this one. All you need is some black fabric paint. I liberally daubed the problem areas with the fabric paint, then importantly DO NOT TOUCH the camera for twenty four hours. If it’s cocked, leave it cocked! It can take it.
Okay, if you’ve done everything correctly, it’s time to find out if it worked. Put your camera back together, put some more film in and take it for a spin. In my case, it worked! Maybe it won’t last as long as a proper repair, but it cost me almost nothing and I now have a working Fed 3 which I love! If the light leaks do start to re-appear, I’ll just get out the fabric paint again.