In an earlier post, I described how I was migrating away from the Canon SLR that has been with me for a long time to, hopefully, a rangefinder. Rangefinders are smaller, more compact cameras (typically) that are fairly unique in that focusing and composing are done with separate optics from the lens/film path.
Of course, the traditional rangefinder is the German Leica. That is a little out of my price range at the moment, and since I wanted to get my feet wet before taking a plunge I did some research on other options. I really like the ability to change lenses, and since rangefinder cameras have fixed focal length lenses, that capability is very helpful. Of course, Canon made quite a few Leica copies, and I am definitely a Canon fan. But, in this case, I went for one of the many Soviet cousins of the Leica: the Fed-2.
FED (short for the initials of the guy who founded the KGB) started out making very close copies of the Leica thread mount cameras. The earliest FED-1 is almost an exact copy. With the FED-2, however, they made one improvement: combining the rangefinder and viewfinder into a single system. This combined unit provides faster composition and focusing and - because the width between from viewfinder and rangefinder windows is quite wide (called the 'base') - good accuracy when focusing, at least in theory.
My copy of this clever 1950s vintage camera is in good cosmetic condition. The viewfinder window is small, but fairly clear, and the rangefinder patch is visible. There are some definite vertical alignment issues with the rangefinder patch; but I am not going to meddle with this until I have the first test roll developed to know how the horizontal alignment is. If the horizontal alignment is off, pictures can easily be out of focus. If the vertical alignment is off it's primarily an annoyance.
I have sent off a ISO400 roll of Ilford to processing, and so I have hopes to know better what this camera will need to be a good shooter.