The FED Stereo Camera

  I just bought myself a real factorymade stereo camera. It's a FED STEREO M, manufactured in the Ukraine, in the former Soviet Union. It probably is the most serious stereo camera that is manufactured today. The only problem is - it's Russian, and it's assembled by hand. Wich means you get the most advanced technology available. Available in 1962, that is. The first one was built in 1989. 

Of course I had to cruise the web for FED information right away, before even buying a film to try it out. I have that habit when I get something new, first get the latest bugfixes, even and especially if everything works fine. Don't think I'm alone with this, though :o)

There is plenty of information on the FED in the archives of the Photo-3D mailing list. But not a single webpage dedicated to this curious device far. So I decided to put all the information I gathered on this 1. FED Stereo webpage in order for you to learn everything you allready know about a toy you already have.




240$ as-is, 340$ in working condition (after several hours of tuning went into it) 
I bought mine for 170 DM or 120$ ... in Germany.
It must be (un)reasonably cheap right from the factory, but is probably a collectors item as soon as it arrives here...


It came in a lovely half-stiff black bag made of plastic pretending to be the skin of some mammal.
You get 3 straps and an assortment of small parts to carry the camera together with the bag like I never will.
You should also get 2 shades and a (siamese) lens cap,
together with an empty battery.
And there is a plastic refillable film capsule for bulk film,
and a manual in Russian (I did also get a German translation)
I think mine must be "new" because the film capsule and a protective plastic chip in the hot shoe were still in place.


Lenses: Industar-81 38mm f/2.8 multicoated optics, 27 mm diameter, M 25,5 x 0,5 threads
Negative format: 24x30mm 7 perf. 63.4 mm eye distance
Viewfinder: with reflective markings indicating the picture boundaries
Automatic exposure: ranges from 1/30s f/2.8 to 1/650s at f/14...verbatim (see below)
Film transport: thumb lever
Manual depth-of-field control with the hyperfocal distance (6.5 m)clearly marked
Manual apperture selection: f/2.8 to f/11 unfortunately only at 1/30s speed (meant for use with flash); "B" setting for random exposure at f/5.6
Hot shoe, "X" contact
Tripod thread: 1/4"
Rewinding handle
There is also an inlet for a wire trigger that is not mentioned in the manual
Weight: 800g

Automatic exposure
The FED has a very simple automatic exposure mechanism that adjusts aperture and speed both at the same time. The maximum opening of the shutters is directly related to the amount of light that hits a voltage controlled resistor in the front panel. Since the shutters return faster if they cannot open all the way, this determines the exposure time. If there isn't enough light, the trigger simply doesn't "click".
You'll get small apertures with short speeds, or large apertures with slow speeds. This works surprisingly well. However, at 1/30s and f/2.8 you'll very likely get either motion blur or insufficient depth of field, so stick with either enough light or higher speed film.
The VCR can not be switched off and will always draw current. In the dark this is neglectable, but in the sun it will drain the battery. So either keep the camera in its bag or in the pocket, or set the film speed wheel to the last possible setting beyond ASA 25 while not in use.

FED Stereo M vs. FED Stereo (non M)
FED Stereo M
"Standard" FED Stereo
Inscription front panel reads "FED STEREO M" No "M" here, sorry
"ASA" wheel push-to-twist said to disadjust easily
Focus adjust turn to adjust; snaps to certain distances; turn-lever, said to disadjust easily...
Manual aperture 2.8 to 11 2.8 to 16
Random exposure uses f/5.6 uses f/2.8
Battery 1,5 V silver button cell, 11x6.2 mm
S 76, KA 76 or the like
1.35 V mercury button cell, 11x6.2 mm
KX 635 or the like

FED operating instructions in English

Marco Pauck's experiences with the FED Stereo
E-mail me!
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© Dirk Djuga 1996, 1997