FSU Rangefinder Lens and Body Choices

posted in: Camera Gear, Rangefinder | 7

A picture of the two FSU solutions giving me 35mm and 50mm focal lengths:

I have accumulated a number of different FSU bodies and lenses including:

Bodies:

  • FED 2
  • FED 3
  • FED 5
  • Zorki 4K

Lenses:

  • Industar-26 50mm f/2.8
  • Industar-61 50mm f/2.8
  • Industar-61 L/D 50mm f/2.8
  • Jupiter-8 50mm f/2
  • Jupiter-12 35mm f/2.8

Based on the bodies and lenses I have to choose from, I want a 50mm (Jupiter-8) and 35mm (Jupiter-12) solution and due to the sensitivity of the rangefinder mechanics I don’t really want to be changing lenses all the time. My favourite bodies are the FED 2 and 3 and so I decided on the following set ups:

FED 2 + Jupiter-8 (50mm)
This lens has the widest aperture (f/2) and therefore focus will be critical. The FED 2 has a wider rangefinder base and therefore focussing should be more accurate. I put the Jupiter-8 onto the FED 2 and checked the focus accuracy against a tape measure and it is pretty much perfect without any adjustment!

FED 3 + Jupiter-12 (35mm)
I’ll probably want to use this lens the most as I prefer a wide focal length. The FED 3 body is probably my favourite – it’s got the film advance lever, it’s smooth, a nice shape, has a good range of shutter speeds 1s to 1/500s and it has (by far) the brightest rangefinder spot – it’s so easy to distinguish between the two images and find something to focus on.

I have a KMZ universal turret finder that allows me to frame 35mm (in addition to 28mm, 50mm, 85mm and 135mm). I was a bit disheartened at first when I fitted it to the FED 3 cold shoe as it really easily slips off again; there is no spring in the cold shoe to hold the accessory in place. I’m not sure if this is something missing from my body or not. However, I found a very simple and crude solution; a small piece of paper slipped in with the turret holds it in place very nicely!

7 Responses

  1. Nice!
    I’m definitely planning on getting a wider lens than the stock 50mm for my rangefinders, maybe 28mm.
    I’ve used layers of duct tape on the cold shoes of the cameras I have that are loose fitting.

    • 35mm isn’t as wide as I’d like, but it’s good enough. On my 5D I use a 24mm lens and I love it. The only 28mm Russian lens I know about is the Orion-15 and it’s largest aperture is f/6! :-O Maybe there’s another option out there…

  2. […] decided to try out one of James’ vintage film cameras a few months ago – a FED 2 Soviet rangefinder from 1955 with a 50mm Jupiter f/2 lens. James is the vintage camera expert, I have no idea what I’m doing, so I just go along with […]

  3. George

    I also have many FSU cameras and lenses and as I am somewhere in Eastern Europe, I decided to write to you a few words. There are two facts: the flash doesn’t fit to the FSU camera shoe , or: the turret finder doesn’t fit to the same cold shoe. The truth is as follows: the turret finder base was first made to fit only to certain models of post-war FSU cameras (that have a “cold shoe” which is , in fact, the support for the turret finder). Such cameras do not have a “flash input contact”.(EX.: my 1950 Kiev II with Zoorki ZK(Sonnar Krasnogorsk) lens). Later on, the Russians decided to fit a flash contact on the cameras and have changed a little bit the “cold shoe” by fitting a flexible piece of metal that was supposed to be enough to support both the turret finder and the flash. In 99% of the cases, this little, flexible piece of metal was always lost by the camera owner. Your cameras are very good, and I recommend you to try to buy a Jupiter 8 lens that is in silver (Al) barrel, and an I 61 L/D “panda” lens.

    • Hi George, thanks for the details on the cold shoe, it’s very interesting to know the reasons behind it. Cheers, James

  4. I found your blog by chance and I’m really enjoying your posts. They are very organized and well documented. I just got serious into teaching myself photography a month ago, and it’s still tough to understand certain concepts, but your blog is definitely worth to read. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

    • I’m glad you found my blog and thanks for the kind words! I’m looking forward to finding the time to finish my darkroom and posting about building it and the prints I’ll be making. I’ve started looking at your blog and I’m really impressed – you have an excellent way of explaining things and you illustrate concepts really well. I look forward to following your blog more! Are you planning to explore the world of film?

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