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Fed 1 - The Wonderful Ukrainian Leica!

This was the FED, affectionately called the Fedka, the first Soviet 35mm, called now the FED1. It is a Leica IId without a large capital investment.

The Fedka otherwise known as the Fed 1 was the first Soviet 35mm camera, manufactured by the Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinski Memorial Industrial Commune in Kharkov in the Ukraine. F. E. Dzerzhinski was the founder of the infamous Cheka. He died mysteriously in 1926 and the Commune was founded in 1927. The great Soviet educator, Anton Makarenko, ran the Commune until 1934 as a industrial trade school and began manufacturing appliances, then worked the way up through power tools to copying and trying to improve the Leica IId. The Cheka became the OGU, then the NKVD, and in 1934 took over the FED Commune, and running it as a military-industrial factory, continued to manufacture the original FED camera with slight changes until 1955, with a break in production from 1941 to 1945. There were about 700,000 Fedkas made.

My Fedka was bought from the Lomography Shop, and with a little cleaning and adjustment, works perfectly. I Looked up the serial number on fotoua.com and found it was made in 1950, my birth year. It does not have the buttery smoothness of a Leica, but the f/3.5 FED lens is exquisitely sharp and contrasty, and otherwise works exactly the same as a Leica IId. You can slightly feel the gears meshing. It loads the film from the bottom, and requires a 10cm leader to be cut and only 2 sprocket holes to be exposed when you slide the film into the camera. Do it right and you have no problems. Do it wrong and you go straight to Hell. Never forget, always wind the shutter before you change the shutter speed!! In use, the camera is very fast and good handling, and with the lens collapsed, will slide right into your coat pocket. The camera is so old school and antique looking, that, for street photography, the subjects are charmed and fascinated before
they can become paranoid.

With reasonable care and maintenance, you and your progeny should be using the Fedka for generations to come. Enjoy!

written by herbert-4

5 comments

  1. plyshbel

    plyshbel

    Interesting article and charming photos!

    about 5 years ago · report as spam
  2. herbert-4

    herbert-4

    Also, the Fedka DOES NOT have flash sync.

    about 5 years ago · report as spam
  3. bravopires

    bravopires

    great gallery, herbert-4!

    about 5 years ago · report as spam
  4. 7samurai

    7samurai

    great

    about 5 years ago · report as spam
  5. lomodirk

    lomodirk

    Cleaning when you you got it from LSI shop??? Nevertheless, would like to have one but I think my Zorki 4 might be jealous :)

    about 5 years ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Русский & 中文(繁體版).