Best Soviet rangefinder

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Zorkiphoto, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. Zorkiphoto

    Zorkiphoto Member

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    Hello all

    I've collected a bunch of vintage FSU cams qalong the way, and have a long-term project to use them all, review them for my blog etc.

    At the moment I have:

    Zorki 4K
    Zorki 6
    Fed 2
    Fed 3
    Fed 4
    Fed 5

    I've used the Fed 2 many moons ago - it took some getting used to back then, but now I think I've done enough shooting on rangefinders to get better results from it now.

    I've shot a few rolls each with the Zorki 4K and the Zorki 6 and find them nice and ergonomic - both appear to be working without any problems. The 4K in particular has a nice feel to it.

    So what have other people found with the cameras off that list? What have you shot with, and what were your impressions?

    What others should a shoot a few rolls with (thinking Soviet models only...)

    Many thanks in advance.

    Stephen
     
  2. Dali

    Dali Member

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    The best would possibly be the Zorki 6 as it has the most "modern" features but in reality, the best Soviet rangefinder is the one (still) working.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2015
  3. loman

    loman Member

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    The best ones in my opinion by a long mile are the 1947-1955 kiev 2 and kiev 3 cameras.
    In good working order they are as good as anything zeiss ever did!
     
  4. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    Hi Stephen

    Welcome to APUG.
    It is nice to see you here.
    And a thanks for your BBC articles.
    It has been a pleasure to read them as well as the series of articles you have done with Charlie and Tori's "Films Not Dead" website.

    For me there isn't exactly a best rangefinder.
    However it is a known fact that earlier models are somewhat better made as pointed out above.
    Saying that I have a nice FED 5 that is still in full working order.
     
  5. heespharm

    heespharm Member

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    For me the best one is the one that functions properly... I've bought about 6 of them and only one works and the light meter doesn't work on that one


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  6. cuthbert

    cuthbert Member

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    There's a similar thread on another board, this is my humble Soviet RF collection:

    [​IMG]

    The best looking one is IMO the Zorki 5 1st edition with the polished top and square RF window, but it's not the most practical as it's button loaded, my favourite is the 6, it feels solid, good quality, nice viewfinder, small, easy to load, some people complains about the double stroke advance level but I like it. The best spec'd one is of course the Leningrad but it's a capricious machine.

    This is my Soviet system:

    [​IMG]

    In the medium format range the Iskra is very popular as well.
     
  7. Fixcinater

    Fixcinater Member

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    I've only had a Fed 1, Fed 3b and Leningrad (and the Leningrad was/is DOA) but the Leningrad would be my favorite due to the viewfinder.
     
  8. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    Interesting place to put the aperture setting indicator.





    --
    不管黑猫白猫能抓到老鼠就是好猫。-- 邓小平
     
  9. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    are you absolutely sure the words "best" and "soviet" belong in the same sentence?

    I admire your fortitude.

    Having said that, the ones closest to duplicates of a Leica II are, in my opinion, best.
     
  10. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Member

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    I smell some snobbery above, but IIf is great camera for sure.

    Went through Z-4, Z-6, Kiev-4 and 4AM. I was very happy to get rid of them.
    Just Zorki is nice, because it is dead simple and small.
    The only FSU RF I'm regretting to let go was second FED-2, which I have for few months, while my family FED-2 went for assembly after I cleaned it and replaced curtains for first time in forty+ years.
    So, the only FSU RF I'm finding to be best for me is FED-2. Elegant, simple and huge RF base. With shimmed for it J-3 it does the job well at 1.5 and 1/30 in the dark or under bright light.
    The kit I-26M is good lens as well.
     
  11. zanxion72

    zanxion72 Member

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    My all time favourite is the Zorki-4 (not 4K). The Leningrad is also awesome but very prone to failures. It is the only FSU rangefinder with bright lines for various focal lengths.
    Second to them is the Fed-2, a highly reliable rangefinder camera, good looking and easy to repair when things go wrong.
     
  12. cuthbert

    cuthbert Member

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    Actually ANY of these cameras are better users than a Leica II, and I've a IIIb.

    Out of curiosity, how many Soviet rangefinders do you have?
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I have 4 Soviet cameras, Fed 2 x2, a Zorki C and a Zorki 4 but to me the best Soviet rangefinders are the Kiev 4 cameras. I wish I'd bought one years ago.

    Ian
     
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  15. Sewin

    Sewin Member

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    Well,

    I've a Zorki 4, Fed 2, Zorki 10 (the shiny silver 1970's space age one!) and a Lomo 135BC.

    It's difficult to pick between the Zorki 4 and Fed, for looks the Fed, for use the Zorki 4.

    The Zorki 10 is a lovely thing to look at, but not so good ergonomically.

    The Lomo 135 BC is not one of those toy cameras (google and see) it's a good little clockwork wind camera.
     
  16. McFortner

    McFortner Member

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    I love my FSU cameras and lenses. I have at the moment:

    Cameras
    FED-1
    FED-2(c)
    FED-2(d)
    FED-3
    FED-4 x2
    FED-5 x2
    FED-5b
    Zarya
    Zorki 4

    LENSES
    FED-50
    Industar-22 (lots, collapsible and rigid)
    Industar-50 (2 collapsible)
    Jupiter-8 (two)
    Jupiter-12 w/matching viewfinder

    I am pleased with these cameras. When CLAd by a good technician they shoot great. They are a lot cheaper than Leicas and less likely to get stolen, plus any LTM lens works on them and vice-versa (don't believe the hype against them). My favorites are my FED-2s and Zorki that I got CLAd about two years ago by someone on Flickr. Spot on accurate and as smooth as a baby's bottom.
     
  17. Sewin

    Sewin Member

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    Forgot to say,... nice blog :smile:

    And a Praktica user.
     
  18. noyart

    noyart Member

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    I only had one, the zorki 4K. It really has this sexy look, sadly it broke down on me so I can't really say that its the best.
     
  19. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    My nicest performer is a toilet seat Fed1 about '36 or so...
     
  20. Роберт

    Роберт Member

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    Models from 1949-1953 were in fact Contax cameras, build at Arsenal in Kiev (Ukraine). 99% made of Contax parts.

    The best period for the Zorki's was during the end 50's and 60's. A Zorki-6 can be very good.

    I have to many R.F. cameras so I sold a lot of FSU. But what I kept is the famous 50 years October revolution FED-3 (1917-1967), the Kiev-4 and two Zorki-6 cams.

    16949904658_242bfab656.jpg

    From left to right: FED-3 (and a J-12), Kiev-4 (J-8M), Zorki-6 with J-8 (with universal VF). In front C.V. Bessa III 667 and a Leica M7.
     
  21. BAC1967

    BAC1967 Subscriber

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    I have the folowing:
    Zorki I
    Zorki 4K
    Zenit-B
    KMZ-FT2

    I would have to say the Zorki 4K is the best overall in my collection. Putting the Zorki I next to my Leica III the similarities are amazing but you can definitely tell the difference in quality when you use it. Not that the Zorki I is a bad camera but the viewfinder and rangefinder of the 4K are much better. The Zenit-B is a nice solid bare bones SLR without a light meter. I recently got the KMZ FT-2 panoramic and I'm having a lot of fun with it though I still need to work out a few small light leak issues.
     
  22. Роберт

    Роберт Member

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    Kiev-4AM with J-12 F/2,8-35mm. OrWo Filmotec N74+ in Pyrocat-HDC 1+1+100 for 18:00 minutes at 20C.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  23. btaylor

    btaylor Subscriber

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    Nice photos! The Kievs could be excellent, as said before especially the very early ones with the Contax parts. Very nice lenses too, I very much like the Zeiss look of that period. My favorite FSU to use was the FED 2. Small, simple, mine was reliable. Great lenses too.
     
  24. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    I have a Zorki 5 with under wound shutter springs to make all the shutter speeds half what they should be. Super quiet camera. I rebuilt the camera more than a decade ago. New curtains and all. Stripped it completely and relubed it. They are remarkably simple cameras so it was easy to do. Still works perfectly today. Leica snobs always look down their nose at the FSU cameras, but they are good enough in the right hands.
     
  25. Роберт

    Роберт Member

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    Zorki-6 with J-9. Rollei RPX-400 in Klaus Wehner ATM-W developer (a kind of X-tol).

    [​IMG]
     
  26. Роберт

    Роберт Member

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    BTW, I am using a Leica M7 with Leica glass too .... (A little bit better in the technical way.) :smile:
     
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