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FED cameras


There are a few different variations of the FED 1, I wasn't impressed with the bell shaped flange around the shutter button on the later FED 1s, but there was one for sale online and the price was right, so that was the type of FED 1 I started off with.

The first FED 1 arrives: FED 1g - Serial number 5329xx - Weight: Approx. 400 gms (without spool and lens)

FED 1  A nice, clean example of a late FED 1  A nice, clean example of a late FED 1
(Click image for larger photo)

In early April 2004 my first FED 1 arrived from the Russian Federation.  It was made in about 1954 and is known as a "type g". 
The top of the camera bares "FED" in a stylized Cyrillic engraving (ФЭД).
Initially I found the camera to be quite small and a bit heavier than I expected.  It seemed like a quality item.
I thought I'd try the shutter before I loaded film.  Unfortunately I'd forgotten if I had to advance the film then set the shutter speed or set the shutter speed then advance the film.  I tried the latter.  I removed the lens to check the shutter curtains.  As I advanced the film I noticed that the curtains were not closing properly!!  Then I realised that I had to advance the film then set the shutter speed.  The curtains returned to normal after a few film advances. Phew!

The shutter speeds are limited to B, 1/25, 1/50, 11/100, 1/250 and 1/500 of a second.
The lens apertures on the collapsible 50 mm lens are from f/3.5 to 16 (3.4, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16).

I trimmed the leader of a 35mm film and loaded the film through the bottom of the camera, just like an old Leica.
The test film showed that the rangefinder was pretty accurate but the shutter had some banding at 1/500 so I adjusted the curtain speed to hopefully eliminate it. 

FED 1 internals - Front  FED 1 internals - Rear
Internally this FED 1's frame appears to be pressed aluminium. The film plane is grooved.

Note the film advance isn't as long as previous FED 1 types.

The results of the next film proved better than I expected.
Killarney view
 (Click for a larger photo) - Fuji Superior 100ASA f/16 4 secs
The colours in this rural scene totally stunned me.  They are so saturated it looks more like a slide than a print. 
I got this shot enlarged to 8" x 12" just to see how good it would look.  The power poles on the right showed some slight chromatic aberration but this might even be from the enlarger...  I will need to test it with slide film.  If it is no better then 8" x 12" is probably as big as I would want to go with the standard collapsible 50 mm lens.

Russian church
(Click for a larger photo) - Fuji Superior 100ASA f/8 1/250 sec
This church looked like a good subject for a Russian camera : )
Exposure of the blue sky shows no signs of shutter banding.

Charlie amongst the trees
(Click for a larger photo) - Fuji Superior 100ASA f/5.6 1/100 sec
I was very impressed with the colour rendition in this photo too.
Once again it looks more like a slide.  There isn't too much flaring from the bright sky behind the trees either.
I was impressed with the results from a non multicoated lens.
Note: I cropped the boring foreground from this photo : )

I was very pleased with the results from this FED 1.  So pleased that I thought I'd try another one...

[Click here to continue to the second FED 1]


This page was created Tuesday 15th September 2004