Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/06/29

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Subject: [Leica] Post-Zorki 1 Soviet Cameras
From: Mark Langer <>
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 16:36:36 EDT

Rich Larsen avers that Soviet Leica copies after the Zorki I are
undesirable.  I beg to differ.  A few months back, a friend passed on a
Fed 2 body to me.  While initially rather skeptical about the camera,
using it turned me into a believer.  For those unfamiliar with this
camera, imagine taking a Leica II and Contax II and putting them together
in a dark space during camera mating season.  The Fed 2 is likely to be
the result.

The Fed 2 brings together a Leica II style shutter and general body shape
with the Contax II bright, contrasty and wide-based rangefinder system (sans
thumbwheel focus), combined range/viewfinder, self-timer, and removable
back.  It adds a couple of other niceties like adjustable diopter and strap
lugs.  Add to this the potentially high quality of Soviet optics (if you
get a good example) and you have one heck of a package.

Obviously, for something that sells for less than $75 on eBay, you aren't
going to get a Leica or Contax style level of finish.  The Fed name is
stamped, rather than engraved.  Instead of vulcanite, you get a durable
and grippable crinkle paint finish.  The knob wind is unlikely to advance
the film fully if you just run your finger along it.  And the shutter,
although reliable, is not as quiet as a Leica's.  But for situations where
I'd rather not subject my more expensive camera equipment to environmental
dangers or theft, I can get first-class results from a Fed 2 outfit.

At other times I've sung the praises of other Soviet equipment, such as
the unloved but full featured Kiev 5, which is to the Kiev what the M
Leica is to the screwthread Leica.  Photographers on a budget looking to
experiment or just add another Leica thread or Contax bayonet body to
their collections could do worse than opting for an old Soviet camera.
While we are talking 56 Ford pickup rather than Porsche Speedster, or
Gennesee Cream Ale rather than a single malt Scotch, there are some times when
one really prefers using the Ford pickup or drinking a Genny.

Oh God!  I hope that this doesn't set off a precision German car and single
malt discussion again.  While you are discussing those things, I'm off to
cruise eBay in search of the Fed S or Zorki 2 of my dreams.


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Mark Langer

Email address:
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Replies: Reply from Jeff S <> (Re: [Leica] Post-Zorki 1 Soviet Cameras)