Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2006/04/12

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: [Leica] Ted's "KGB camera"
From: tedgrant at (Ted Grant)
Date: Wed Apr 12 15:41:30 2006
References: <> <>

> So that settles it: it is a real FED and never intended to be a Leica.
> It is not a NKVD/KGB camera either, it is just inscribed with the name
> of the manufacturer, the Trudkommuna... and OK, UCCP is USSR in Latin
> letters. It is an interesting piece of history.<<<<

Raimo K offered as did many others great advice on the FED camera!

I had no idea what it was other than thinking it a "Russian Leica copy." I 
brought it home from Russia about 15 years ago, put it in an equipment case 
all this time until going to the Swap meet.. Actually I don't think I even 
put a roll through it. Now I will just to see what it looks like. :-)

All the shutter speeds sound like they're clicking Ok, time will tell.:-)

Thank you all for the assistance in "solving this."


" <>
To: "Leica Users Group" <>
Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2006 11:36 PM
Subject: Re: [Leica] Ted's "KGB camera"

> All the best!
> Raimo K
> personal photography homepage at:
> Quoting Peter Klein <>:
>> Folks: Here's my take on Ted's camera, essentially a resend of my
>> note to
>> Ted earlier this evening.  I'm not a Soviet camera expert, but I can
>> read,
>> compare pictures, and my wife is a native Russian speaker.
>> ------------
>> Ted:
>> Katya translated the inscription on the top plate.  Here it is, line
>> by line:
>> FED
>> Labor Commune
>> Named After
>> F. E. Dzerzhinsky
>> Kharkov
>> Note:  NKVD-USSR stands for "People's Commissariat of Internal
>> Affairs,
>> Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic."  Kharkov, you probably know, is
>> a
>> large industrial city in Ukraine.
>> The "Named After" syntax is standard in Russian.  For example, a
>> friend of
>> mine graduated from the "First Leningrad Medical Institute named
>> after I.
>> P. Pavlov."
>> Your top plate inscription actually matches the Type 2 inscription of
>> a
>> real FED shown on the Commie Cameras site. The serial number is about
>> right
>> for a Fed 1b, second version, which the camera looks like to my
>> untrained
>> eyes.  And the style of chrome on the top plate looks
>> right--sandblasted
>> and chrome plated with a matte finish. But the top plate does look
>> too new
>> for the camera, which should date from the mid-1930s.
>> I was wrong about the NKVD inscription being a fake.  Some of these
>> cameras
>> were actually engraved with the name of, essentially, the sponsor.
>> The
>> story is that Felix E. Dzerzhinsky, who founded the CHEKA (the first
>> name
>> for the Soviet secret police), read a report about the problem of
>> orphans
>> created by World War I and the Russian Revolution. And as Marc Small
>> notes,
>> Dzerzhinsky and his cohorts contributed substantially to the supply
>> of
>> orphans by their activities. At any rate, he put the resources of his
>> organization behind solving the problem.  Essentially, in addition to
>> committing large-scale murder and torture, Dzerzhinsky and his secret
>> police also built the Soviet equivalent of Boys' Town.
>> Dzerzhinsky died before the Kharkov labor commune opened, but it bore
>> his
>> name, and the name of the sponsoring organization.  By the time your
>> camera
>> was made, the secret police had been renamed the NKVD, hence the
>> inscription.
>> It may be that before you acquired the camera, the top plate was
>> restored,
>> or a new one crafted to match the original.  That should be
>> determined by a
>> real expert, as should the exact model number.  I'm just reading a
>> Web site
>> and matching things by eye.
>> See here for the story of the FED:
>> And click on the first "FED" button on the left to see pictures of
>> the
>> various types of FED cameras, and your matching engraving.
>> You know what?  Throw a roll of Tri-X in that camera and see what
>> comes
>> out.  The lens is probably very much like an uncoated Elmar.
>> --Peter
> _______________________________________________
> Leica Users Group.
> See for more information 

In reply to: Message from pklein at (Peter Klein) ([Leica] Ted's "KGB camera")
Message from raimo.m.korhonen at (Raimo K) ([Leica] Ted's "KGB camera")