Today I'll be talking a little bit about rangefinders - the FED 2 in particular, because I can't afford to buy Leica cameras.
(View a larger version here http://www.flickr.com/photos/28858399@N06/4336021645/)
(View a larger version here http://www.flickr.com/photos/28858399@N06/4336024739/in/photostream/)
If you don't know about rangefinders, I'll do a very, very brief rundown. They're generally small cameras (by comparison to SLR types), which can have interchangeable lenses (in the FED 2’s case it does). This type of camera also focuses differently; you don't see through the lens. The user generally looks through the viewfinder to focus by aligning 2 images on top of each other.
***If you feel like getting to know these cameras better go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rangefinder_camera ***
Build and handling
The FED 2 is a Russian camera, essentially a copy of early Leica screw mount cameras. It’s very solidly built and feels hefty in hand, but small. Overall, the is a beauty of a machine in my opinion. It operates very simply and even without an instruction manual, it’s very, very easy to pick up and go. There is one little thing about the camera, though; you must ONLY set the shutter speed when the film is advanced. Not doing so can damage the camera. Oh, and I know this doesn't sound big, but the back plate on the camera comes out, so it’s easier to change film. Some of these older rangefinder cameras only have the bottom plate removable, making changing film an ASS of a job.
Viewfinder and Focusing
On the copy I got, the focusing patch is bright and contrasty. If you're coming from a 35mm film SLR or DSLR it's going to be a bit tough because the finder on this is, I believe, smaller than even a crop camera. Overall, manually focusing this type of camera in general is much simpler and faster.
The Lens in play
(View larger version here http://www.flickr.com/photos/28858399@N06/4336765962/)
For now, all I can say is that it's an Industar N-61 52mm F2.8. Next week, my first roll of film will be processed and I'll show you guys the results. Hopefully it'll be good.
See you guys next time!