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FED-2L camera trigger review

FED-2 is a very popular camera in the USSR. This FED model combined the most relevant performance characteristics for the mass user and a relatively low price.
At the start of production in 1955-56, FED-2 competed with the Zorky family (including Zorky-2, Zorky-S, Zorky-2S) and the Zorky-3 family (including Zorky-3M and Zorky- 3C)

Products from the Kharkov plant did not differ in such a variety then. FED-2 took the rap for everything alone.

The first family FED-2, at first, in some way lost. For example, he received both a synchronizer and a self-timer at the same time only in 1958, and Zorky-2C had all this already in 1955.

Nevertheless, the absolute advantage of the FED-2 over the line of the first Zorkikhs was a viewfinder combined with a rangefinder and a removable rear wall.

These advantages were felt by every user; for example, not everyone needed a synchronizer.

The Kharkiv device lost to the Zorky-3 family in many ways, but apart from availability.

The third Vigilant and cost more and released them all together within 150 thousand copies. The circulation of FED-2 is an order of magnitude larger.

In general, it was the FED-2 that offered the very maximum of buns for a reasonable price to the mass Soviet user of the late 50s.

The loss of the position of the Kharkov plant in the future is connected, I think, with the fact that KMZ led the further evolution of rangefinders from Zorky-3 - from a higher-level camera. Technology gets cheaper over time, but the benefits remain.

There were also new families of rangefinder devices.

All the further evolution of mechanical FEDs, having successfully started on the second model, then, in fact, was the superstructure of various buns on this very second model. A small viewfinder and a removable rear wall were inherited from 1955 to the 90s, up to the 5th model.

The first FED, which began before the Great Patriotic War, was a copy of Leica. Read about the formation of the Iron Felix brand here.

FED-2 was developed by the enterprise independently, and this was the first such experience.

Plus, in the 50s, the formation of the Soviet photo industry in general took place. Plus, FED-2 was produced for a long time - 15 years.

Hence - a wide variety of prototypes first, and then of various camera releases inside the FED-2 model.

Collectors identify many different modifications of the FED-2, but a detailed classification is beyond the scope of this site. Therefore, I will only very briefly describe the main distinguishing features of the development of the model.


Pre-production and first production modifications had a rectangular rangefinder window. There were several options, for example, this.

FED-2 with a rectangular window is now very rare.


The next issues received a round rangefinder window, but their feature is in a rounded podium ledge under the shutter speed head. The earliest ones also had a switch under the release button of this unusual shape.


Here is a FED-2 already of the classic form without synchrocontact and self-timer.

Here is the sync contact. Pay attention, he is still in an unusual place.


Here the sync contact moves over, there is still no self-timer.


Then the self-timer appears. I have a review of the device of this modification. You will find more pictures there.

Also, in the process of evolution, the standards of excerpts, the style of writing the name, standard lenses, and numbering systems have changed. There are really many options for combining all this.

And finally, in 1969, a new modification of the apparatus was released. This is the hero of today's review.

The reason for the appearance of this device is in the desire to unify the FED-2 and FED-3 lines.

The history of the FED-3 apparatus began in 1961, and by the 69th this camera had also undergone a change of several modifications. The most notable evolution was the introduction of the trigger in 1966 and the radical simplification of the upper case.

FED-3 from FED-2, by and large, differed only in an extended set of exposures. However, FED-2 had one advantage - until now it had a large rangefinder base - 67 mm versus 41 mm for FED-3.

In 1969, the company reasonably judged that it was ineffective to produce 2 different types of bodies for practically identical cameras. From that moment FED-2 got the trigger, which is good; new, higher body, which is not good; and a rangefinder unified with FED-3, which is really bad. After all, less base means less accuracy.

Why did I name the device FED-2L? Not because of the trigger.

Since some time (there is a version that since about 1962), instead of the Industar-26M lens, they began to install the new Industar-61 L / D on part of the FED-2, in the glasses of which, as you know, lanthanum is present.

At the beginning, the 61st Industars were less common, but gradually they replaced the 26th.

The apparatus with the Industar-61 L / D lens was called FED-2L. The letter "L" indicates exactly the Lanthanum lens glass.

True, the letter "L" was not applied to the body. The devices themselves were no different. The letter was indicated only in the passport.

Industar-61 L / D 2.8 / 52 - the lens turned out to be successful, with good performance characteristics and the company promoted the quality of its optics on the market.


In particular, there was a corresponding inscription on the box.

In the review, the trigger FED-2L, but you need to understand that the 61st Industars are also found on hammerless devices. This will also be FED-2L according to the passport.


And vice versa. Kurkovy FED-2 could be equipped with Industar-26M. In general, in order to identify the FED-2L, you need a passport, which will certify that the device was sold with this particular lens, and in which the very name “FED-2L” will be.

Kurkovye FED-2 is now found much less often than the mass hammerless versions, but this device cannot be called rare either. They released them decently.

In 1970, the FED-2 line was discontinued altogether. Only FED-3 remained in the assortment of the enterprise from simple mechanics.

Apparently, by that time the prime cost of the moderator was absolutely insignificant, and it became finally unprofitable for the enterprise to maintain 2 lines for the sake of an insignificant difference in the price of the devices.

Today in the review there is a copy of FED-2L in excellent condition under the number 8169410. The number 8 at the beginning of the issue means 1968. Already in 1960, the release of FED-2 exceeded a million and the classic 2 last digits of the year of manufacture ceased to fit into the seven-digit number.

Let's take a closer look at the device.

FED-2L camera
Kurkovy FED-2 was produced at the Kharkov industrial machine-building association "FED" from 1969 to 1970. The volume of production of this modification is about 110 thousand copies, which is not much against the background of the total circulation of FED-2 of 1.6 million.

Standard lens - Industar-26M 2.8 / 50 or Industar-61 2.8 / 52.
Apparatus equipped with Industar-61 received the name FED-2L in the passport.

Optics mounting type - M39 × 1 thread. Focal length 28.8 mm.

Shutter - curtain, cloth. Bounces shutter speeds 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, V.

The camera is equipped with a self-timer and synchro-contact.

The weight of my copy without the lens is 600 grams.

Control elements:

Kurkovy FED visually, of course, is quite different from the previous version.


That's also interesting. The Soviet photographic industry knew devices with fewer differences, which, nevertheless, deserved a personal index. FED-2 was cheated in this sense. The differences are not only visual, though. The appearance of the trigger is a major improvement.


Of the minuses - the body has become taller, the device has lost its compactness and gained in weight.

Also, as already mentioned, the base of the rangefinder has significantly decreased.

I am not an expert on the internal structure of cameras. I am always honest about this. Therefore, I can be wrong, but I think that there were no internal reasons for reducing the rangefinder base except for unification with FED-3.

For FED-3, moving the rangefinder window to the right is most likely hindered by a more cumbersome mechanism for setting shutter speeds with a slower for long values. The FED-2 trigger hardly has such a problem.


Well, yes, the trigger FED-2 and FED-3 are one person. That, as they say, explains a lot ...


Actually, the arrangement of the controls is as follows:

In front, in addition to the lens, we have:
- rectangular viewfinder window;
- cocking lever and self-timer start button;
- round peephole of the rangefinder;
- wired sync contact socket.

Behind only the viewfinder eyepiece.

The viewfinder of the FED-2 is average in terms of performance. By 1969, among mechanical rangefinders without an exposure meter, the trigger FED-2 competed, apart from FED-3, with Zorkim-4.

The FED-3 has a viewfinder similar to the FED-2. The Zorky-4 has a much larger and brighter viewfinder.

Diopter correction for the FED-2 trigger is now carried out by turning the “spiked” ring around the viewfinder eyepiece.


There are two back cover locks on the bottom and an old 3/8 inch tripod socket.

The main controls are concentrated on the top bar.

From left to right are located:
- rewind head;
- "cold" bracket for flashes;
- the head of excerpts;
- the release button, around which the shutter release sleeve is located during rewind;
- head for cocking the shutter and transporting a frame with a trigger, a frame counter and a reminder of the type and sensitivity of the film on top.

The shutter speed head is small and its manipulation cannot be called comfortable. Everything is typical for devices of this type. To change the shutter speed, the head must be pulled up, turned until the required shutter speed is aligned with the dot in the central part of the head, and lowered.

When the shutter is cocked, the head rotates, but the dot, both when the shutter is cocked and when it is released, indicates the set shutter speed, which is convenient. And you can also change the shutter speed in both shutter states.


To load the film, you need to open the bottom two twist locks and remove the back wall of the camera. Further, everything is typical.

Camera Attitude:

You know, I think the trigger FED-2 is an excellent device and, probably, the most balanced one in the years 69-70.

Here, straight, it's a shame for the reduced base of the rangefinder. Otherwise, everything goes well.

The trigger is very convenient. Zorky-4K will be released only in 1972.

Excerpts longer than 1/30 have a rather low utility in my opinion. But the fact that you can change them at any time and the set value is always clear - this is IMHO very important.

Is the lid removable, not hinged? Well, the competitors are the same.

Is the viewfinder too small and dull against Sharp-4? It is a fact. But the rangefinder spot in the center has a similar size and brightness. And the other area of ​​the viewfinder field is mainly needed to determine the frame boundaries and copes with this task without any problems.

Plus the price. Kurkovy FED-2 was probably sold a little cheaper than the competitors described above.

As for the reduced rangefinder base, Zorky-4 still had it even less!

So for real use, the trigger FED-2 was an excellent device.

Source fotoussr.ru
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