FED 3

Fed-3-with-50mm-Jupiter-8-f-2

  • Film Type: 35mm (135)
  • Lens: LTM (Leica Thread Mount)  – Here in this image I have a 50mm Jupiter 8 f/2 mounted.
  • Focal Range: 1m – Infinity with the Jupiter 8 mounted.
  • Shutter Speeds: 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/15, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2. 1 sec  & “Manual” B.
  • ASA: N/a – Although there is a “Film Type Reminder” Dial located on top…..I keep a spreadsheet of what film is loaded in each camera at any given time, tedious but worthwhile!!!
  • Viewfinder: Coupled rangefinder
  • Exposure Control: None, You will need a separate meter.
  • Weight: Just over 700g, varies with attached lens.
  • Other: Double Cloth Shutter, Hotshoe, Self Timer & Diopter Adjustment.

About

I think it was only a matter of days after my FED 2 arrived that I ordered the FED 3, I was that impressed. If you think as I do, that the FED 2 is a great looking camera, the FED 3 is all that and more……..every inch the Russian “Supermodel”. Sure, she may be getting on in years (44 years old) but this camera will turn your head every time. These Russian Beauty’s are still abundant and can often be found, like mine in near mint condition. I guess this was a big ticket purchase in Communist Russia during the late 60’s and therefore they were looked after, or at least thats what I assume.
FED 3 with 50mm Jupiter 8 f/2 Lens, Original Box & Instructions (In Russian….)
Fed 3 DSC_5230
As I have said, the FED 3 is beautiful, but it is also robust and well made, as with the FED 2 they were made by children in a Commune in the Ukraine but don’t be put off by this, the end product is excellent. You can read more on the fascinating history of the Russian 35mm Camera here. I purchased my particular camera from eBay it came complete with box and Instructions, An English copy of those instructions can be downloaded online from here.  You could have a FED 3 in reasonable condition complete with a half decent lens for as little as $50.00 plus postage, I just don’t see why you wouldn’t…………
FED 3 with 50mm Jupiter 8 f/2 Lens & Gossen Pilot Light Meter
FED 3 DSC_5239-Version-2
The FED 3 originally shipped with the Industar 26m (Zeiss Tessar Copy), this was later upgraded to the Industar 61 and later still the Industar 61LD. All of these lenses I have and the optics are superb by any standard. I use my FED 3 in conjunction with the Gossen Pilot Light Meter, this is a great combination and not as inconvenient as you’d think.

Common Issues

It is imperative to “cock” the shutter before you change film speeds. Any Change of film speeds without tensioning the shutter can cause damage to the shutter.

More Info

There is a great review of the camera here.
More technical info and fixes for the most common issues and repairs can be found here.
A selection of images taken by FED 3 users can be found here.

The Last Word

Whats good:
Great esthetics, simply beautiful.
It’s no Leica, but the build quality is better than some would have you believe.
Whats not so good:
The lack of lugs with which to attach a strap is the camera biggest flaw.
I could not imagine collecting cameras and not having one or more of these, indeed I still sometimes find myself looking at them on ebay and contemplating another…..After all I have the FED 3 Variant B, there are other variants out there!!!