There appear to be several Russian Camera collectors/users out there. Anybody want to comment on their favorites?
My favorites are the FED 1 and Zorki 1 Leica II copies. They are compact and -- well -- look like Leica IIs! They seem particularly suited to the Jupiter 12 35mm lens with a accessory shoe finder. Despite the fact that just about everyone shoots digital now, I get stopped anytime I tak a FED or Zorki 1 to a public gathering. They seem to even catch the attention of young people who never have used a film camera.
Zorki 1B w/flash sync.
The only negative on the FED and Zorki 1s, and it applies to many old rangefinders is they have metal eyepieces around the viewfinder and/or rangefinder. I have to be very careful not to scratch the lenses of my plastic glasses. That makes it harder to frame a picture. Maybe that's why I like the accessory shoe mounted finders.
Hi Wayne, I'm new here and am going through these posts the first time. I have 2 Russian RF cameras, a Fed 2E type2, and a 1959 Kiev 4a. I used to own an '80's Kiev 4am and can perceive a great difference in build quality and smoothness, the old Kiev much being better. I'd have to say the Kiev 4a is my favourite Russian. I have 50mm f2 and 35mm f2.8 Jupiters for this camera. It is very close in feel to my Contax IIa camera.
Frank: I have two Kiev 4as -- a '71 and a '77. The '71 is a better build. I probably would be happier with them if a friend hadn't given me a prewar Contax II with one of the first coated 1.5 Sonnars. It has spoiled me. I like the LTM cameras because they aren't nearly as complicated as the Contax/Kiev. The Contax shutter scares me to death -- from a repair standpoint.
Although my main collecting has been around the Mamiya 35mm line, from its early rangefinders to its demise with the Z-series SLRs in the 80s, I also have quite a few other cameras, including some Russian FED, Zorki, Kiev, Mir and others! My favorites would also be the early FED and Zorki, up through about the Zorki 3c.
I used to shoot with them quite frequently, but have not used them for a while now...just got tired of cutting that film leader for every roll!
Ron: I think we exchanged messages a wile back when I was looking at your site for info on the Mamiya 1000 tl (GREAT SITE, btw). I ended up settling for a 1000 DTL -- in fact I have two now. Bottom loaders are sorta like stainless steel developing reels--some folks like 'em and the frustrate the hell out of others. I cut my teeth on a postwar Leotax bottom loader (wish I hadn't sold it for sixty bucks) and never have had much trouble -- with one exception:
A friend gave me a nearly mint FED 1, one of the last of that model. I darn near went nuts trying to load the thing -- the film just wouldn't go all the way down into the correct path. Finally I cheated and used the thin plastic card trick to get the film seated. Then the FED worked flawlessly and produced excellent pictures. I concluded that the camera looked like new because the original owner had never been able to get it loaded. I should pull the body and identify the problem but it takes such good pictures I'm hesitant mess with it, so I just use the card trick.
I like the old Zorki's and FED's...even bought one of those stainless pattern cutter templates to help cut the film leaders, so loading them would be less of a hassle. But it turns out cutting the leaders is a hassle too. LOL
I suppose I will get them out again before too long...they feel too nice in your hand to let them just sit on a shelf!
I have several Russian cameras. Only one is a 35mm rangefinder though. It is a Zorki-4 which I use a Jupiter-8 50/2 and a Jupiter-12 35/2.8. Very nice camera to use unless it chews up the roll like it did one the last roll I put through it.
My favourite Russian camera though is my Moskva-2, 6x9 folding rangefinder (copy of Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta). I just love this camera.
I don't read the manuals. About the extent of my Russian is Da, Nyet and Babushka. Of course I seldom read manuals for modern cameras written in English either, unless it is as a last resort. The only instruction important with FSU cameras is "Always wind the camera before changing shutter speed."
I've actually tried scanning them and trying to feed the text into some of the online translation services...but even when it works, the result is worse and harder to read in English than the original Russian...and is sometimes downright hilarious!
...and...I always thought Babushka was Polish. Da?
I enjoyed using a Fed I and a Zorki (I believe it's a Id), but my favorite among the Russian 35mm rangefinder cameras I've owned and used is a Mir. It's basically a name variant of the Zorki 4, but without slow speeds. I have the Industar-50 lens on it. Great camera, never had a problem with it and the pictures are wonderful, but the best part is the attention it gets when I go out shooting. It really stands out today, everybody wants to get a closer look at it because they've never seen anything like it before, and then they flip when they see the name. I love it!
my favorite among the Russian 35mm rangefinder cameras I've owned and used is a Mir. It's basically a name variant of the Zorki 4, but without slow speeds. I love it! KD
KD, you may already be aware of this but I'll throw it out for others to read; While the top speed on the MIR's shutter speed dial is 1/500, if there is a small dot just past the 500 marking, it's for 1/1000th. The dot will be close to the dial and not easy to see so look closely. As you've said, the MIR is essentially the Zorki-4 without the slow speeds below 1/30th. Why they didn't mark the 1/1000 speed is unknown and yet another mystery of FSU cameras.