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Four different factories produced Soviet rangefinder cameras. They were the first to copy the Leica II and the last to finish copying the Leica II. They then built a long series of LTM cameras. Perhaps the penultimate camera was the Leningrad with a brightline viewfinder for the accessory lenses and a spring motor drive.

Fake Cameras

Because counterfeiting is rife in Russia any really rare FED such as the Siberia, TSVVS and the FED-V must be assumed to be a fake. The FED S is more likely to be real because to fake one you need a rare lens and a body with 1000 speed. The price that could be realized for a FED S will not cover the effort to fake one,The Zorki red banner of Labor, the Siberia and Yura must also be assumed to be a fake. Even an expert can only verify that it may be original. Some Items such as the FED Stalinets and Stemar copy are known to all be fakes. In many cases even an expert can only say "this appears to be original" because only 1 or 2 of the model have been seen.

"Commerative" Cameras

There are large numbers of special cameras coming out of Russia. Original cameras are being taken into small workshops and remanufactured The workmanship on many of these cameras is exquisite. You could not afford to make a camera of this quality anywhere else in the world and sell it for a profit. In many cases they are really of gem quality. I believe that in 10 or 20 years they will be collectable as "Soviet Fakes" and worth a lot of money.

There is only one genuine FED-1 commerative, the 300 year aniversary of the Ukraines union with Russia. These were produced in small numbers of the last variation of the FED 1. The rest are "non-factory authorized commeratives'. This is especially true of the Gold Plated cameras. Ostentation of this sort was totally unacceptable in a comunist society.

{Zorki yuri} {Zorki yuri} {Zorki yuri}
{FED siberia} {FED siberia} {top of FED siberia}
{Fed stemar} {tsvvs} {Stalinet }
{Stalinet }

© Nathan Dayton 2000