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FED (Original) ( FED NKVD, FED-S, FED-1)

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The original FED is a 35mm film Rangefinder camera, manufactured by F.E. Dzerzhinsky factory, in Kharkov, Ukraine, former USSR. The original FED is also known as FED NKVD, FED-1 and FED-S. All original FED cameras produced between 1934-55, quantity 626847.

Brief FED HistoryEdit

The FED camera was introduced in 1934 by factory of the Dzerzhinsky Commune in Kharkov, Ukraine, former USSR. FED are the initials for F.E. Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the NKVD, in honor of him the camera was named.

The NKVD was the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (= Народный комиссариат внутренних дел Narodnyy komissariat vnutrennikh del, НКВД (=NKVD ), a public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union later known as the KGB.

The factory was originally an orphanage workforce was based on youths living and working together in a commune.

After the groundbreaking introduction of the Leica II in 1932, Soviet leaders stopped the import of photographic equipment and set the FED factory to its task of creating a Leica of their own. Only 18 months later, in 1934, the FED factory began churning out its first clone of the Leica II rangefinder camera. Since then, they have produced millions of cameras, some good and some not so good. The early FED is a true copy of the Leica II, itself only introduced less than two years earlier. The FED-1 was continuously improved and produced in great quantities until 1955 at which point series production of the FED-2 commenced.

The variations of the engravings on the FED camera tops make it worth a special mention, reflecting the changes within the Soviet Union.

As with many early Leica copies, the fact that Leitz utilized non-metric production equipment escaped most of the early camera manufactures, the consequence being slightly finer thread pitch of the M39 mount, of which the FED is an early example. The flange to film plane distance, which Leitz standardised in 1932, also differs slightly on the early FED cameras. Each lens had to be matched to the camera for correct focusing. Later production FED cameras from 1950s were given lens mounts with the correct LTM pitch, and most can be found with the proper lens register as well. From early on, a few oddities exist as well, including a counterfeit Leica II, discovered by the German army when occupying the Kharkov factory in 1941. However, the finish alone reveals the forgery. Considerable effort has been put in to revealing the story about this fascinating camera, and it is well documented and covered in articles and books. Special mention of Oscar Fricke, whose findings were published already in 1979, should suffice here.

Original FED types and engravings on the top platesEdit

According to FED classification of Alaxander Komarov in Fotoua, there are 14 types and many sub-types of the original FED cameras. This classification is an improved version of Aidas Pikiotas' classification in SovietCams . In the latter all original FED cameras are designated as FED-1, and types are from A to G, with many sub-types. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Types 2-8 are also known FED NKVD and Types 1, 9-14 are also known as FED-1.

FED type 1Edit

FED-1a

FED type 1a image by Alexander Komarov

  • 1934-35
  • with 3 sub-types
  • Engraving: FED Labor commune in the name of F.E.Dzerjinski Kharkov (=FED Trudkommuna IM F.E.Dzerjinski Kharkov = ФЭД Трудкомуа им. Ф.Э. Дзержинского Харъков)
    • IM. is the abbreviation of "imeni", means "in the name of"

FED types 2 to 7Edit

FED-2a 02

FED type 2a (NKVD) image by Alexander Komarov

  • 1935-40
  • with 8 sub-types
  • Engraving: FED Labor commune NKVD-UkSSR in the name of F.E.Dzerjinski Kharkov (=FED Trudkommuna NKVD-UkSSR IM F.E.Dzerjinski Kharkov = ФЭД Трудкомуа НКВД -УCCP им. Ф.Э. Дзержинского Харъков)

FED type 8Edit

  • 1940-41
  • the last type of the NKVD engraved cameras
  • Engraving: FED NKVD-USSR Kharkov Combinat IM. F.E. Dzerjinsky (=ФЭД НКВД - CССР Харьковский комбинат им. Ф.Э. Дзержинского)
  • Distinctive feature of this type is the engraving which only found on the FED type 8

SpecificationsEdit

  • Lens: FED 50mm f/3.5 (ФЭД M/M), collapseable
    • Mount: Leica 39M screw mount, filter size 32mm slip-on
    • Aperture: f/3.5-f/16
    • Focus range: 1-20m +inf
  • Focusing: Matching yellow rangefinder images in the rangefinder window, via the left window on the back of the top plate, lever and distance scale on the back side of the lens, Focus lever locks on infinity
  • Shutter: Horizontal focal plane cloth shutter, speeds: 1/20-1/500 +Z (= B, Bulb)
    • Setting: Old style shutter dial, lift and set, turns when cocking [5]
  • Shutter release: Old style with short collar
  • Viewfinder: Simple Galilean finder
  • Separate viewfinder and rangefinder eyepieces, right one is viewfinder, fairly bright, left one is rangefinder
  • Re-wind release: Lever just front of the shutter release, markings are Cyrillic: B re-wind, and У wind
  • Film loading: Bottom loading like old Leicas, bottom plate opens by a ring
    • Engravings around the opening ring: 3aKP - ОTKP (Zakr- Otkr = Close - Open). ОTKP is an abbreviation for ОТКРЫТЫЙ
  • Others: Special old style take up-spool; Tripod socket 3/8inch; Strap lugs; Cold-shoe
  • Body: Metal; Weight: 534g

FED type 9Edit

  • Also known as FED Berdsk (made in Berdsk in time of WWII)
  • 1942-47
  • Engraving: FED Factory in the name of F.E.Dzerjinski city of Kharkov

FED type 10Edit

  • 1947-48
  • also known FED NKAP Red Flag, a special edition NKAP -People's Commissariat of Aircraft Industry
  • Engraving: FED NKAP-USSR Order of labor red flag Factory in the name of F. E. Dzerzjinsky

FED type 11Edit

  • with 2 sub-types
  • 1949-53
  • Engraving: FED Factory in the name of F.E.Dzerjinski (= FED Zavod IM. F.E. Dzerjinsky = ФЭД завод им. Ф.Э. Дзержинского)

SpecificationsEdit

  • Lens: FED 50mm f/3.5 (ФЭД M/M), collapseable
    • Mount: Leica 39M screw mount, filter size 32mm slip-on
    • Aperture: f/3.5-f/16, setting: ring with a lever and scale on front of the lens
    • Focus range: 1.25-20m +inf.
  • Focusing: Matching yellow rangefinder images in the rangefinder window, left one on the back of the top plate, lever and distance scale on the back side of the lens, Focus lever locks on infinity
  • Shutter: Horizontal focal plane cloth shutter, speeds: 1/20-1/500 +Z (= B, Bulb)
    • Setting: Old style shutter dial, on the top plate, lift and set, turns when cocking
  • Shutter release: old style with short collar
  • Viewfinder: Simple Galilean finder
  • Separate viewfinder and rangefinder eyepieces, right one is viewfinder, fairly bright, left one is rangefinder
  • Re-wind release: Lever just front of the shutter release, markings are Cyrillic: B re-wind, and У wind
  • Film loading: Bottom loading like old Leicas, bottom plate opens by a ring on it
    • Engravings around the opening ring: 3aKP - ОTKP (Zakr- Otkr = Close - Open). ОTKP is an abbreviation for ОТКРЫТЫЙ
  • Others: Special old style take up-spool; Tripod socket 3/8inch; Strap lugs; Cold-shoe
  • Body: Metal; Weight: 544g

FED type 12Edit

  • FED anniversary 1654-1954. Commemorate 300 years of the union between Russia and Ukraine.

FED types 13-14Edit

  • 1953-55
  • The engraving is only the FED logo (ФЭД)
FED-13 02

FED type 13 images by Alexander Komarov

FED-SEdit

  • 1938-1941
  • Same appearances as the original FEDs except:
  • Faster top speed of 1/1000
  • Faster FED 50mm f/2 lens
  • This model of FED-1 was designated "S" by the factory and 20000 units of this model were made.
  • It was an attempt to make the FED a "system camera" similar to what the Leica had evolved into.
  • There are 3 sub-types:
    • Type 1 is similar to FED type 2d and engraving: FED Trudkommuna NKVD-UkSSR IM F.E.Dzerjinski Kharkov (= ФЭД Трудкомуа НКВД -УCCP им. Ф.Э. Дзержинского Харъков)
    • Type 2 is similar to FED type 3 and engraving: FED NKVD-USSR Kharkov Combinat IM. F.E. Dzerjinsky (= ФЭД НКВД - CССР Харьковский комбинат им. Ф.Э. Дзержинского)
    • Type 3 is similar to FED type 9 (Berdsk) and engraving: FED Labor commune NKVD-UkSSR in the name of F.E.Dzerjinski Kharkov (=FED Trudkommuna NKVD-UkSSR IM F.E.Dzerjinski Kharkov = ФЭД Трудкомуа НКВД -УCCP им. Ф.Э. Дзержинского Харъков)

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. In this page we used Alexander Komarov's classification for typing and some other data from Fotoua.You can also find serial numbers for dating of the cameras in this site
  2. There are usefull books about cameras of former USSR and have classifications also.
  3. Pages from the the book of former USSR cameras by Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin
  4. Discussion about clasifications in the books of Princelle and Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin in USSR Photo Forum
  5. The early Leica cameras, and the other Leica inspired cameras like Canon III, FEDs and Zorkis, and almost any camera which winding also causes the film speed selector turning, always cock the shutter before changing film speeds

Bibliography Edit

In French

  • Boussat, Jean-Claude .- Les appareils soviétiques. In : France-Photographie, n° 209, février 2008, pp. 8-9.

In English

  • Princelle, Jean Loup - Made In USSR - The Authentic Guide To Russian And Soviet Cameras, Le Reve Edition, 2004 (ISBN 2952252106 (ISBN13: 9782952252102) Paperback

In Russian

Links Edit

FED cameras
Rangefinder FED | FED-1 | FED NKVD | FED-S | FED-2 | FED-3 | FED-4 | FED-5 | FED-5s | FED-5v | FED-6 TTL | FED-10 | FED-11 Atlas | FED-35 | FED-35A | FED Mikron-2 | TSVVS

Viewfinder FED Zarya | FED Mikron | FED 50

Stereo FED Boy Stereo | FED Stereo | FED Stereo-M

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