1974 FED 5C (USSR)

The FED 5 was an update to the FED 4 rangefinder and was made from 1977 until the early 1990s. Mine is a 5c which differed from the normal FED 5 by having a brightline finder and no diopter adjustment. The 5 got a new lightmeter design and a hotshoe over the 4. The lightmeter on the FED 5 shows the EV which can then be transferred to a guide on the top plate where the film speed is set and then you can read off the aperture/shutterspeed pairings. It’s actually less convenient than the match-needle system on the 4 but there you go.

Mine was given to me by a friend in Kyiv and it’s in perfect working order. It’s a bit bulkier than other rangefinders, mostly due to the extra height needed for the lightmeter. Just like other FEDs it has an m39 lens mount and mine came with the usual Industar-61 55mm, f/2.8 lens. This one is the L/D version which means the focal length is increased slightly over the usual 52mm of other Industar-61s and also uses Lanthanum in the glass composition for better refractive qualities. I can say that the L/D lens is noticeably sharper than other I-61 lenses, which tend to be very soft indeed at the edges of the frame.

In use, the camera is quite a nice piece of kit. It’s too big to be pocketable but it’s still smaller than an SLR. The long-throw advance lever moves nicely and the shutter button has a positive action. Shutter speeds go from 1/500th up to 1s with a bulb option and shutter sync, like pretty much every other Soviet film camera is 1/30th. There’s a hotshoe and a sync socket (on the back, directly below the hotshoe). The meter is a bit fiddly to use but, unless your light is changing a lot, you can just set it once and forget about it. As with most Soviet film cameras, you have to set the shutter speed after winding on otherwise you will fatally damage the speed-controller. It’s a good practice to get into the habit of winding on as soon as you’ve taken a picture so that you don’t forget.


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