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Camera FED-Stereo review

Stereo photography was not very common in the USSR. Although it was not something rare either. Specialized cameras and sets of equipment were also produced, allowing you to take stereo pictures with a conventional camera.
I believe that the real demand from those who wanted to try 3d was more or less satisfied. The procedure is still specific, and the attractiveness of the result is not so obvious.

We will get acquainted with stereo attachments later, but for now we will consider the FED-Stereo camera.

A little earlier I already reviewed the Sputnik medium format stereo camera. If you are interested in the topic, check it out too.
FED-Stereo was released in 1988, Sputnik had not been released for a long time by that time.

The FED-Stereo was designed on the basis of the FED-Mikron-2 apparatus. It uses the same lenses and automatic exposure mechanism.

At the same time, in the structure of the case, for example, it is absolutely not visible that some details are unified. Well, apart from the lens. All in all. FED-Stereo was largely designed from scratch, after all.

I believe that after the FED-Mikrom-2 production was curtailed in 1986, the enterprise had a desire to somehow use further successful optics and automation, the production of which had already been established, and, possibly, there were stocks.

All these are hypotheses, since little information about FED-Stereo is available now.

FED-Stereo is a rather rare device, there is information that less than 1 thousand of them were produced. Although it seems to me that it is not so rare.

A rare modification of FED-Stereo M. is known. Photo from Nobody knows how this model differs from the basic one. Perhaps only the color of the case.

In 1990, several hundred devices were released with the Perestroika logo. Photo from
Export versions of FED-BOY-stereo in two color options are slightly more common.

This export version was created for the German market. The customer was B-O-Y. Hence the postscript to the name, with the letters separated by hyphens. The model was produced from 1995 to 96th year.

Interestingly, almost all photos of export versions have the names of the lenses in Cyrillic. What is it for?

In the review, a copy is in excellent condition with the number 204656.

Here, let's look at it.

FED-Stereo camera
FED-Stereo was produced at the Kharkov machine-building plant "FED" from 1988 to 1996 for about a year. The volume of the issue is not known for certain. It is believed that there are less than 1000 of them.

Scale apparatus (FED-Mikron-2 was a rangefinder).

A pair of lenses - Industar-81 2.8 / 38. 4 elements in 3 groups. Aperture limit - f16

Stereo base - 63.4 mm.
The shutter and the diaphragm are central interlens. The locks are also a couple, of course.

Shutter speeds are bounced steplessly from 1/30 + f2.8 to 1/650 + f14.
The combinations of shutter speeds and apertures are fixed and cannot be changed.

In manual mode, shutter speeds of 1/30 and V are available.

FED-Stereo uses standard 35 mm photographic film, but forms frames 24X30 mm. For a stereopair, two frames are needed, therefore, the film includes 21 stereopairs.

The unit does not have a self-timer, but is equipped with a flash bracket. Synchronization is only central.

The weight of my copy is 690 grams.

Control elements:

FED-Stereo is strongly horizontally stretched and rather weighty. The body is metal. There is a soft pasting.
The developed nodules in the right side of the body under the hand grip immediately draw attention to themselves. There are nodules both in front and behind under the thumb.

Everything was done really well. It is very convenient to hold the device. The ergonomics of the FED-Stereo grip is similar to modern miniature digital cameras.

There is a pair of lenses in front. Between the lenses at the top of the front viewfinder window.

To the left of the viewfinder there is a round window of the light receiver of the exposure metering system.

On the right is the release button. The button is moved far forward and it also looks like a modern device. The location is very convenient. The button travel is short and moderately elastic.

On the right, under the shutter release button, is the switch that controls the exposure. An arc-shaped scale and a massive toggle switch walks along it with clicks. The adjusted settings affect both shutters at once.

At the top of the scale is the letter A. Selecting it activates automatic mode. In this mode, the device independently sets the shutter speed and aperture with fixed exposure bars.

The automatics does not warn about the selected expo-pair in any way. Let me remind you that FED-Mikron-2 showed an expo-pair in the viewfinder with an arrow.

In low light conditions, the shutter button is locked in automatic mode.

The next letter on the scale is B. In this mode, the shutter speed will be manual, and the aperture will be f2.8.

Next are the specific aperture values. When you select them, the shutter will always hit 1/30. And the toggle switch in this position noticeably interferes under the fingers: o)

The leash on the left lens serves for focusing. When the leash moves, both lenses rotate synchronously. At the same time, on the left lens there is a digital distance scale with a depth of field scale, and on the right one - a scale of symbols.

It looks quite amusing.

Behind - the eyepiece of the viewfinder and a reminder of compliance with the sensitivity of GOST and DIN.

The FED-Stereo viewfinder gives a not very large tinted picture. There are framing frames.

When sighting, the nose rests against the left side of the door: 

Below are:
- shutter release button for rewinding the film in a special recess;
- 1/4 inch tripod socket;
- round screw cover for the battery compartment.
FED-Stereo is designed for 1 RC-53 battery. A separate article is devoted to the topic of replacing Soviet batteries with modern counterparts.

On the top panel, from left to right:
- rewind head with tape measure;
- the head of the film sensitivity selector and the window with the value to the right;
- bracket for flashes with a central sync contact;
- shutter button, conveniently shifted forward;
- frame counter window;
- metal foot of the trigger for cocking the jam and transporting the frame.

The trigger has two positions - marching at the ready.

Frame transfer to FED-Stereo has an interesting feature.

Stereo pair frames on the film are formed by this device not side by side, like Sputnik, for example, but through the frame. And this intermediate frame belongs to another stereopair.

For example, we take the first shot. The device exposes 1 and 3 frames.

We cocked the trigger, removed again. 2 and 4 frames are exposed.

The next time the trigger is cocked, frames 3 and 5 will be sent to the frame windows. But the 3rd is already on display! Therefore, the release button is locked, and the mechanics makes it possible to cock the hammer again (4 and 6 frames are given) and again (5 and 7 are given).

Now you can shoot again.

Thus, cocking the trigger on the FED-Stereo must be done 1 time, then 3. In turn.

To open the machine door, pull up the rewind knob.

The door does not swing back, it can be removed! Be careful not to drop the unit when trying to hold it by the door.
Although, in this case, such a decision is quite justified. The door is long and it would not be very convenient with one folded back.

Camera attitude

In general, FED-Stereo makes a good impression. Everything looks thoughtful and well executed.

The only thing that strained.

The FED-Stereo kit did not include accessories for photo printing and viewing stereo images.

It was assumed that the user would be using reversible film. Further, the cut frames had to be inserted into special plastic frames (purchased separately) and viewed on a stereo projector.

The use of negative film is remembered in the instructions, but this topic is smoothly bypassed. Meanwhile, correct photo printing and then viewing stereopairs is a separate and complex topic. Nobody tells what and how to do.

Sputnik, for example, included a complete set of printing and viewing equipment. And the printing was contact, which is much easier in the case of stereopairs.

In this case, printing from 35 mm film can only be projection.

All in all, the device is tailored for slides, and this, of course, seriously narrows the range of use. At least by the need to have a special projector.

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