History of Fed favori envoyer

Fed 1 - 1934-1955.
by Jacques Morin

A little of history, initially…

The Commune of working “Fed” was created at the end of 1927. From the origin, an aim is assigned to him: to insert or reintegrate by the work some teenagers without family or to the asocial behavior. An idea that will develop Makarenko, poet and writer, first director of the establishment: one should not separate intellectual formation and production work. A still current idea, when its application is well thought…
Thus the Communards, from 13 to 18 years at the beginning, manufacture initially especially drilling machines, copies of the west. The presentation of the Leica II, in April 1932, is the opportunity of a re-centring of the activities. As of the end of this year, some copies of Leica II are built. 1933 is devoted to the manufacture of the specialized tools which it should completely be invented because the Commune does not have any experience in this domain. The first Feds 1 appears in January 1934 equipped with one 3,5/50, reproduction of Elmar of Leitz.
Beyond performance itself (even if the Fed is only one copy of Leica), it is the human adventure which appears most remarkable. The enthusiasm of Makarenko in the books quoted in addition does not leave any doubt on this subject. It seems that its “rousseauism” was not very appreciate by the authorities since he will withdraw himself in 1937, officially to write. This same year, the Communes of working will be stopped and replaced by some Kombinats, industrial complexes of which much will be also military…
At the beginning, the production struggles to be rationalized. 4000 Fed 1a be released in1934, characterized by a certain diversity in the adopted solutions: one is still in the research. In 1935 and 1936, the years of the Fed 1b, quasi-definitive choices are gradually made as for the main external characteristics: form of the viewfinder, location and diameter of the barrel of speeds, flutes of the cocking buttons, rewinding, quality of chromium plating, form of the cam of the rangefinder. Some of these details make it possible to distinguish Leica II and Fed 1.
In 1937-1939 are produced additional equipments, in particular lenses. 1938 see also the launch of the Fed S (a NKVD with shutter with the 1/1000ème and a lens 2/50) and the mythical B: an S with slow speeds, with infinitesimal quantity for this last (40 specimens?). From this time, the necessity for a massive production ordered by the Plan, do not coincide completely any more with the educational aims of origin.
During the war, materials and personnel are evacuated beyond the Ural. Essentially, the personnel will be allocated to tasks of military production. Manufacture begins again painfully only in 1946 (1800 Red Flag, to commemorate the effort of Fed during the “patriotic Great War”) and especially in 1948. All the tools will have had to be remade meanwhile.
In twenty years of existence, the Fed 1 will not have evolved compared to its model. During this trouble period - of the “hot” war to the cold war the research efforts related to other domains dictated by the successive Plans… And during the very last period, until in December 1955, stopping date of the manufacture of the Fed 1, it will have only very little final improvements there: an optics from now treated with new scales of diaphragms and the adoption of the new standard speeds (1/25ème, 1/50ème). The S and B are not started again; the preparation of the Fed 2 concentrates all the efforts. And the Zorki 1, other clone of the Leica II, is a tough competitor. Inventiveness is besides on the side of KMZ with its Zorki 3, soon 4 and especially its crowd of Zenit in preparation…

The viewpoint of the collector

More than 700,000 EDF 1: the collector is spoilt for the choice! And the face of an EDF 1 is really gorgeous, as besides that of all the clones of Leica II.
If a choice should be made, incontestably the “prewar” are most interesting. Their engraving carries testimony of the political changes which have occurred in this history which is more and more ours. And the purse finds there also its advantage: for a few tens of euros, one can treat oneself to a NKVD C (Ukraine engraving) or D (Russia engraving). That which buys a B (hardly expensive) will be able to imagine without difficulty, behind its camera, a workshop of teenagers, boys and girls, occupied with the assembly… The variety of these B is astonishing besides. The author of these lines has five different, and it is possible to better do.
The S are rather rare. Generally better finished/ than the “ordinary” NKVD, equipped with a special lens, more expensive with the purchase, they often for these reasons were maintained better by their successive owners. This camera was called “the Fed of the colonels”, perhaps because the TSVVS would have been “the Fed of the generals”! Engravings c, d or e, the latter being practically impossible to find (but not to arrange, caution…).
For the collector, there exist many other copies of Leica: Zorki, Canon, Shanghai, Leotax, Tower… (I limit myself to my shelves), each one with its distinctive features. But none is more representative of the History than a NKVD. AMHA!

The viewpoint of the user

These light and handy cameras are still largely usable, on condition that to be maintained. Optics, copy of the Elmar 3,5/50, is of an excellent quality. They also have the advantage having range speeds (1/20ème or 1/25ème with the 1/500ème) directly usable with freehands. As for the feelings, when with the 1/20ème of second slowed down a little by the age, the second curtain catches up with the first… On this subject, with a S and his 2/50, by nigh and with 400 ASA/iso, one is afraid of anybody!
However, the Fed post-war will be privileged. For the user, they offer many aces.
Indeed, the production is now standardized and normalized. More hardly of deviation of manufacture or fitting, in particular in the last series. The treated lenses from now on are with the “Leica norms”: more need to check the distance between lens and plane of film and to adjust consequently. One can use any lens 39mm LTM on these Fed 1: one did pass from craft industry to the industrial production….
For as much, it is advisable to remember that these cameras have more than fifty years and that the use of the rangefinder requires a certain habit. To get information before the purchase about the traditional weak points of the materials of this age - the condition of the curtains, the functioning of the shutter, the brightness, the contrast and the good adjustment of the rangefinder, the condition of optics is a minimum. When all is correct, one has in hand a camera which takes the photograph before the photographer is aware to have pressed on the shutter release. Osmosis, what…
Basically, which the principal difference between one Leica II and one EDF 1? Maintenance of course! Who spoke about the price?

Some references:

- Of course, the incomparable “Princelle”, the bible of the russomaniacs, even if this book is sometimes a little global. Choices should well be made… English title even for the French edition: The authentic guide to Russian and Soviet cameras (J.L. Princelle). Therefore, all the Russo-ukraino-Soviet production. - Leica copies (HPR) and 300 Leica copies (P.H. Pont and J.L. Princelle): two more former books which study the clones of Leica

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