FED-3 is a Soviet rangefinder camera with interchangeable optics, produced from 1961 to 1979 by the Kharkov Labor Commune named after Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky (Ukraine), which by that time existed as a large factory for the production of cameras and optical devices.


FED-3 - development of rangefinder cameras FED. Along with the innovations of the previous model, a slow shutter speed was also added to this camera. A larger set available for use was available on these cameras until discontinued. The FED-3 had a rangefinder combined with the viewfinder with a base reduced to 41mm compared to its predecessor, an extended shutter speed range and a removable back cover. Cameras were produced without a light meter. The optics were installed on the M39 connection (Leica Screw Mount), outdated by that time. More than two million copies produced.

FED-3 was exported abroad, had the name Revue-3, and served as a source of foreign exchange for the USSR. At the same time, it was appreciated there for its low cost and reliability.


By the time the last FED-3 left the assembly line, it could have encountered the following lenses:

FED-3 modifications

FED-3 meets different body finishes:

  • With rubber finish
  • With leatherette trim
  • With stepped top cover
  • With straight top cover
  • With the I-61 L/D lens, the model had the name FED-3L in the instructions.

According to the catalog "1200 cameras of the USSR" FED-3 has the following modifications:

From 1964 to 1980, in parallel with the FED-3 camera, the FED-4 camera was produced in hammerless and trigger versions. The main difference is the presence of an unpaired selenium exposure meter and a modified (geared) film rewind handle. "FED-3" served as the basis for the family of cameras "FED-5", the production of which continued until the mid-1990s.

Refers to a group of rangefinder film cameras without an exposure meter.


FED-3 in operation

The camera, manufactured in 1961, although it had an outdated lens mount, nevertheless allowed to take good photos. It had a combined rangefinder with a viewfinder, but at the same time, focusing less than one meter was not available for the lenses of these rangefinder cameras. There was an extensive park of optics, which made it possible to install various lenses with a standardized focal distance without adjusting the rangefinder, and the standard lenses of the Industar series initially had good image quality, unlike most of what is now equipped with cameras with interchangeable lenses in the kit. The extended shutter speed set, introduced in a timely manner, kept the demand for these cameras alive even when it seemed that the victory of SLR cameras was obvious.


The main inconvenience when working with a rangefinder camera was the inability to see the image from the lens. The rangefinder and viewfinder were a separate system that only gave an informational view of focusing. There was no way to visually determine the depth of field, so we used the depth-of-field scale from the lenses.


Case, build quality FED-3

Impeccable workmanship of exterior parts and finishes. No backlash, no creaks. The gaps between the panels are minimal, the back wall can be folded back, but closed with two locks. The chamber bodies had upper and lower parts made of electrochemically painted brass.


All controls are concentrated on the top cover. Here is a dial for setting the shutter speeds, a drive for the shutter cocking device and film advance, as well as a reminder of the film sensitivity. The release button with activation of the film winding mode back to the take-up spool is located between the shoe and the shutter cocking device, and the accessory shoe itself, which could mainly accommodate flashes or various devices such as a revolving or single viewfinder, is located at the highest point of the top cover.


Iris control

Manual control of aperture, determination of the depth of field on a scale from the lens. There was no mechanization or aperture preset. All manipulations were done manually.

Sighting through the viewfinder

The viewfinder combined with the rangefinder is a breakthrough in convenience after the first FED model. It was possible to crop and focus at the same time. The main thing is that the camera is in good working order, and the plane of the image from the lens coincides with the displayed image in the viewfinder and is correctly projected onto the film.

Exposure control

Exposure control is manual. To set the shutter speed, it was necessary to cock the shutter, and only then turn the shutter speed dial. The shutter speeds available for setting are B, 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30-X, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, and 1/500 sec. The shutter is equipped with a mechanical retarder. Excerpts are given in accordance with GOST USSR.

Flash sync

The classic flash sync speed is available at 1/30 second. The FED-3 did not have a central sync contact.

Light meter and exposure metering in FED-3

There is no light meter. Measurement and selection of parameters was carried out on a whim, experience, or using an external exposure meter.


Convenience of work

Convenience of work, as with a rangefinder film camera. There is nothing superfluous in the device, but some system limitations do not contribute to efficiency:

  • Depth of field is not determined
  • It is impossible to shoot the dynamics, since it is not always possible to observe the moving part of the rangefinder image correctly
  • No way to focus closer than 1 meter by default
  • There is no way to simply change the focal length by attaching a longer or shorter lens and shoot without looking through the secondary viewfinder
  • No framing frames directly in the viewfinder for lenses other than 50mm focal length


FED-3 belongs to the class of cameras with the quietest shutters. Just "clack" and that's it. Soft release button, there is no perceptible vibration, there is no mirror that would vibrate and create additional noise.


The reliability of the mechanics is slightly lower than that of cameras with a fixed cocking head. If only because there is an opportunity to break the shutter or the cocking mechanism by wrong actions. Otherwise, the troubles are like those of cameras with shutters. The shutters were used typical for the Zorkiy, Zenit, FED models of various versions, with accompanying problems in the form of:

  • Jammed curtains
  • Weakening of springs and incorrect operation of shutter speeds
  • Broken curtains
  • Burnout of the shutters due to aging of rubber or burnout in the sun, if the user has hammered to cover the lens with a cap
  • The cocking mechanism really breaks down if you switch the shutter speed on the uncocked shutter
  • Self-timer failure

Working with film

The film is loaded under the hinged cover, it is necessary to push in and fix the tail of the film in the take-up spool. Film rewinding by the head, the rewinding head is lifted from the camera body. Combined with the viewfinder diopter adjustment knob. Frame counter - manual, no reset. The film is loaded under the rear removable cover.

Loading film FED-3

Loading the film is very simple, it is done under the rear opening cover, as on the FED-5V. We push the tail of the fresh film into the slot of the receiver coil, and make a control cocking of the shutter.

Get the film out of FED-3

It is not difficult to get the film out of FED-3. Turn the skirt at the base of the release button counterclockwise, then lift the rewind knob to the left and wind the film clockwise.


Photo gallery of cameras FED-3

An example of a photo from the FED-3 camera

author - Yulia Danilova


Camera type 35mm horizontal travel focal-plane shutter camera
Print size 24 x 36 mm
Lens included Industar-26, Industar-61
Mount lens Unified threaded connection (M39 × 1 / 28,8)
Metering External exposure meter sold separately
Shutter Biaxial focal gate with fabric curtains.
Main shutter speed dial contains B, 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, and 1/500 sec.
Viewfinder Viewfinder combined with a rangefinder, diopter adjustment
1/30 FP
Loading Film Removable back panel, film cassette is inserted inside.
Frame counter Manual entry from 0 to 36 on the top cover of the camera, aligned with the shutter cocking
Film rewind Rewind knob on the top cover, reminder of the photosensitivity of the film installed in the camera
The weight 950 gross


A classic rangefinder camera for those who like rangefinder cameras. According to information from Collectiblend, cameras of this type, depending on the modification, can cost up to $ 250. In our market, cameras of free movement can be found very cheaply.

Adapters for cameras and lenses

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