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Helios lens

Camera FED-Atlas (FED-11) review

Today we will consider the second and last model in the FED-10.11 line. The line is small and includes only two models. I have a review of FED-10, if you are interested in the topic, I recommend starting reading with it.

FED-11 replaced the tenth in 1966. At the same time, the digital index was not particularly advertised. This device had its own name - FED-Atlas. This is exactly how "FED" and "Atlas" are put on the front panel through a hyphen.

I wonder what the word "Atlas" means in this case? Well, probably, they did not mean fabric and not a collection of maps, tables, diagrams.

What then? A star in the constellation Taurus? Satellite of Saturn?

Perhaps, as it happened before, the name was chosen in such a way as to have two interpretations - the official one and the intra-company one. But now, most likely, no one knows what was meant in this case.

There are few differences between the tenth and eleventh models.

Again, now it is impossible to know exactly what prompted the company to develop and launch a new model. However, I would venture to suggest that the main motive was the rejection of the option of interchangeable optics.

The standard lens of the device is fixed in a bayonet mount of the original design. There are also mechanical transmissions of the diaphragm from the apparatus to the lens and the position of the helicoid in the opposite direction.

All this looks good, but nobody has ever seen the most interchangeable optics for FED-10. The absence of interchangeable lenses in nature is indicated even in the instructions for the FED-10.

The device, meanwhile, was produced and, apparently, was considered promising. But to bear the cost of a bayonet mount assembly that no one needs is simply not economically justified for an enterprise.

Therefore, I suppose, FED-Atlas appeared primarily as a result of the transition to a non-replaceable lens.

Although, there have been some improvements. About them a little later.

So, the FED-Atlas lens is not removable. Although some sources indicate the opposite.

It is also interesting that one of the rings on the FED-Atlas lens is knurled, but it is fixed motionless. At this very place at the FED-10 there is a bayonet ring. I could not remove the FED-Atlas lens. There may be some secret, undocumented option.

But now I am inclined to believe, I repeat, that the lens cannot be removed and this is the main point of the appearance of this model.

I have already said that the apparatus, most likely, was seen by the industry leadership as promising. How else to explain that the line, which, rather, did not "fly" by 1966, was not turned down, but tried to modernize?

Let's see what the rangefinder camera market offered to the user in 1966-67.

There are several models of FEDs in stores from the enterprise itself. The most advanced of the competitive models, the FED-4, was already in such a trigger design.

The FED-4 also has a built-in selenium exposure meter, but it is not coupled. FED-Atlas offers exactly conjugate measurement, i.e. semi-automatic exposure control.

From this point. Atlas is a representative of a higher-level segment.

Also, due to the presence of a central shutter, the FED-Atlas is synchronized with the flash at any shutter speed. FED-4 only 1/30.

Actually, the advantages of the Atlas end there.

On the other hand, FED-4 has a shutter speed of 1/500, and, most importantly, a large fleet of interchangeable optics is available for it. Already Jupiter-12 2.8 / 35, taking into account the mass of the current supply, can, I think, be considered a fairly affordable lens in Soviet times.

And a wide-angle lens, as they say, is a completely different song!

KMZ in 1967 offers amateur photographers, for example, Zorky-4 and Zorky-10.

The first is without measurement. The second - with automatic exposure, but without manual control.

From this point. FED-Atlas occupies a position higher than Zorky-10, perhaps.

LOMO has been producing Leningrad since 1956 and Sokol Avtomat since 1966.
Leningrad did not have a built-in exposure meter.

The technical level of the Falcon is definitely higher, but it was also significantly more expensive. I do not have a comparison of prices in the same year. There is information in the Wiki that the cost of the FED-Atlas in 1968 was 105 rubles, and the Sokol Avtomat in 1977 cost 145 rubles.

I don’t know if it’s possible to directly compare. Nevertheless, the Falcon was, of course, more expensive.

In general, FED-Atlas occupied a completely independent niche of a medium-advanced rangefinder on the Soviet photo market. From this point. the desire to keep the line is quite understandable.

FED-Atlas is not a very popular device. The volume of the issue is about 22 thousand copies. This is not much by Soviet standards.

However, there is not much excitement among collectors about the Atlas.

There are two main modifications of FED-Atlas. One has a built-in self-timer, the other does not.

There is confusion in the literature on this issue. All sources agree that the release of one of the earlier modifications (1966-67) was only ~ 1200 copies. Those. devices of this modification should be quite rare and in demand among collectors.

But what is this modification?

The book "1200 Cameras from the USSR" considers that the earlier was a model with a self-timer. And since 1967, the self-timer was removed, and the main release was of this particular version.

The sites, and, followed by the Wiki, believe that the first and rarer option was the option without a self-timer.

My copy of the self-timer does not have, but it is dated exactly 1967 and it is impossible to understand it from an earlier or later release.

If in the search engine you look at the images on the request "FED-Atlas", then, perhaps, more photos of cameras with self-timer are given out.

In total, I will join the opinion that my version is more rare. But, I repeat, there is no excitement around FED-Atlas. And options without self-timer appear. This casts some doubt on the version of the quantity of 1200 pieces.

The self-timer option looks like this. The self-timer, combined with the sync mode switch, is located to the right of the lens under the shutter release button. Photo from the Internet.

In 1967, there was also a limited batch of FED-Atlas devices with the anniversary stamp "50 years of October". Photo from These devices, of course, are of a larger collection value.
Well, it's time to take a closer look at my copy under the number 6706090.

FED-Atlas camera

FED-Atlas (FED-11) was produced by the Kharkov production machine-building association "FED" in 1966-1971.

The release of this device was about 22 thousand pieces. The device was not in great demand, because was quite expensive, but did not give any fundamental advantages over simpler models.

Yes, semi-automatic exposure control made it possible to take pictures for those who were not very immersed in the issue of the photo process. But, nevertheless, the task of the photographer was not so simplified.

Standard lens - fixed Industar-61 2/52

Aperture limit - f16 (FED-10 had f22).

The shutter is a central lens. Beats shutter speeds: 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, B.

Quite a decent set. However, the lack of 1/500 is somewhat discouraging on the device of the upper segment.

Flash sync at any shutter speed.

Light meter - built-in with selenium photocell. Semi-automatic exposure setting is supported.

Wired sync contact. The self-timer was on part of the release. There is no self-timer on my copy.

My copy weighs 777 grams with a lens.

Control elements:

There are not so many fundamental differences between FED-10 and FED-Atlas. However, there have been several changes in the external design, due to which the cameras look different.

The main external differences:

The decorative frame at the top of the bezel has become taller and narrower, which is why the proportions of the camera have changed visually, although the dimensions of the body have not changed.

The area around the lens has lost its decorative textured inserts.

Exposure adjustment rings are now larger and more plastic.

On the right side of the top panel, the add-on with the film speed selection dial has disappeared.

It's funny, but in the hands of FED-Atlas began to lie worse!

To the right of the lens, the FED-10 still had very little room for a hand grip. The textured insert helped a little, which lay exactly under the middle finger and nevertheless contributed to a more reliable fixation of the camera.

In FED-Atlas, not only this insert has disappeared, but also the leashes for adjusting the exposure have become more cumbersome - they interfere. In general, holding the FED-Atlas with one hand is inconvenient.

The lens is not located on a small protrusion in the front of the body. On the same ledge at the bottom left there is a socket for a wired sync contact, and at the top right there is a release button.

We will come back to the lens later.

The descent at FED-Atlas is short and soft.

In the upper part of the front panel, inside the decorative frame are collected from left to right:
- front viewfinder window;
- rangefinder window in the center of the rectangular light receiver, which forms a luminous frame in the viewfinder;
- window of a selenium photocell.

Rangefinder base 41 mm.

At the back there is a round viewfinder eyepiece and a metal trigger for the shutter cocking and frame advance.

The FED-Atlas has a good viewfinder. It gives a toned, but fairly light and very large picture.

The viewfinder spot is large and round. The picture from the rangefinder is clearly visible and it is convenient to focus.

Luminous framing frames are visible in the field of view, which move when the focus ring is rotated and automatically compensate for parallax.

At the top of the viewfinder, there was a luminous scale with a normal exposure mark. An arrow moves along the scale, looking at which you can adjust the exposure without looking up from the viewfinder.

There are no markings on the scale. Only the norm is marked. You can find out whether there is a deviation up or down, but how much deviation is possible to understand only experimentally.

In general, it seemed to me a bit of a tortured idea to really adjust the exposure without interrupting the FED-Atlas viewfinder. But the warning about incorrect exposure in the field of view is still a very useful thing.

The rear wall lock is located on the right side of the case. To open the device, you need to pull down the small bracket at the bottom of the lock strip. After that, the right side of the back wall must be pulled back.

But keep in mind that the wall is removable, not hinged. Do not drop the device.

Below in the right part there is a frame counter and a shutter release button when rewinding. The counter became self-resetting and lost the eyeliner wheel.

Tripod socket 3/8 "- along the axis of the lens.

On the top panel, from left to right, there are:
- rewind head with tape measure;
- "cold" bracket for flashes;
- rectangular window of the exposure meter;

Yeah, Atlas's rewind head got a tape measure. It's always more convenient.

The staple remains "cold", but the design has been improved. The shape has become more complex and has acquired some design claims.

The exposure meter window has become rectangular. Now it contains two triangular markers, which indicate the optimal exposure position towards each other. The galvanometer needle walks along the scale.

The FED-10 had an arrow with a ring in the window, but the Atlas had the optimal exposure position always in the same place.

On the right, there is no longer an add-on for entering a sensitivity correction.

For FED-10, the arrow with the ring shifted when the sensitivity was entered. The shutter speed and aperture rings also shifted this hand with a ring. The mechanics are pretty complicated for all this.

At the same time, depending on the level of illumination, the arrow of the galvanometer moves along the scale.

The optimal exposure position was where both arrows meet.

Atlas has a different situation. Sensitivity compensation moved to exposure compensation rings. There is no mechanically movable hand with a ring. Only the pointer of the galvanometer moves along the scale. The optimal exposure position is always in the middle of the scale.

I suppose that the change in sensitivity, shutter speed and aperture was included through variable resistances in an electrical circuit with a photocell and a galvanometer. This would remove all the mechanics.

Although sometimes it seems to me that all the mechanics have survived, and instead of an arrow with a ring, it now shifts ... the galvanometer itself ... Moreover, there are two of them in the apparatus.

I don’t know, I didn’t look inside. But sensations arise.

Lens Neighborhood:

At FED-Atlas, the shutter is central, and the metering is coupled. Therefore, there are shutter speed and aperture control rings at the base of the lens.

The ring closest to the body of the device changes the shutter speed (for the FED-10 it was the other way around). There is no knurl on this ring, but there are two leashes, one of which (left) also has a spring-loaded button.

The next ring changes the apertures.

You need to rotate the rings for the plastic leashes on the left and right.

By default, the rings are interlocked and rotate together at the same time. Moreover, if you turn them to the right, the shutter speed will be shortened, and the diaphragm will open. To the left - vice versa.

To disengage the rings, you need to press the button of the left leash. In this case, the diaphragm ring will rotate independently. You cannot change the shutter speed directly, only together with the aperture.

At the bottom of the lens there is a scale for entering the sensitivity. To enter a value, you need to press the narrow recessed button with your fingernail (on the left in the photo) and move the slide.

The process of selecting an exposure on the FED-Atlas looks like this:

1. We set the sensitivity of the film loaded into the device.

2. We estimate the illumination by eye and set an approximate exposure. If there is little light, it is longer, if there is a lot, it is shorter.

This is an optional step, but its implementation will avoid unnecessary iterations in the future.

Set the aperture to the middle value.

3. We direct the apparatus towards the scene being filmed. Depending on the level of illumination, the galvanometer needle will deviate in the direction of excess or lack of light.

4. Disengage the rings and, rotating the diaphragm ring, try to bring the arrow to the middle of the scale.

We set an approximate exposure earlier and therefore, most likely, we will be able to do this without turning the rings.

5. If the diaphragm ring rested against the stopper, and the arrow is still not in the middle of the scale, you need to interlock the rings and turn them in the opposite direction. The exposure will not change, but again there will be freedom to change the apertures. Then we disengage the rings again and continue to change the diaphragm in the direction we need.

6. When the arrow has taken place in the middle of the scale, the exposure is optimal, and moreover, all the settings have already been entered into the device. However, the photographer may not be happy with a particular exposure pair.

In this case, you need to rotate the rings without disengaging the rings until the desired combination of shutter speed and aperture is achieved. In this case, the exposure will not change.

In practice, the process is quite convenient, although it involves regular extra squats.

On the right side of the exposure scale, there are values ​​of 4, 8, 15, 30, 60 whole seconds, highlighted in red. These are estimates for freehand exposure only.

If during the calculation such shutter speeds fell out, then you need to remember the recommended aperture, move the shutter speed ring to position B, unhook the rings and set the recommended shutter speed.

We go further along the lens.

The next ring, although knurled, is motionless.

The ring farthest from the device is responsible for focusing. The ring is wide. Although the knurling is only from the bottom, in general everything is convenient.

MDF 0.9 meters, depth of field scale is available.

Camera Attitude:

Still, the segment of users who only needed to "press the button" in the USSR has always been small.

Firstly, the photo was a hobby that gave people pleasure precisely in the subtleties of the process. And (judging by myself) to a lesser extent - the result.

Secondly, the accompanying service was weak in the Union. Well, the camera allows you to shoot without delving into the exposure, good. And what about development, printing? You still need to do it yourself.

I've never heard of the service of developing and printing photographs from a customer's film in the USSR. Maybe she was like that? If you know, write in the comments.

And if you still need to know and be able to most of the process, why create complications around simplifying the selection of the exposure?

In general, few people were ready to pay for such optimization. Therefore, automatic and semi-automatic rangefinders were not in demand in the USSR.

FED-Atlas and the entire line were curtailed in 1971, and, as far as I know, no new rangefinder has occupied the Atlas niche. The concept just didn't work.
Although purely technically for the mid-60s, the device, of course, was good.

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