I’d wanted one of these for a while. I’m rediscovering film photography and wanted to shoot with a diopter adjustment on the viewfinder, so I could shoot without glasses. I thought it would be interesting to have the clear view be through the viewfinder and the view outside the camera be fuzzy.

I bought this FED 2 rangefinder with a diopter adjustment built-in for less than  price of a diopter lens for my Canon FTb. Antique camera markets are fickle, I suppose.

The camera has a wonderful heft, but isn’t too heavy to hang nicely. All of the controls fall to hand easily, the only quirk being that you don’t want to change the shutter speed before cocking the film advance. The shutter noise is a quiet flap, no mirror slap as with an SLR or digital camera playing a sound file of camera shutter. It’s very discrete in public.

After almost 20 years of shooting Soviet-era cameras, this one feels right at home. All of the mechanics work the way they did in 1959 when the camera was made, and it’s totally mechanical – just like the Leica they copied.

Shooting with film again is wonderful. Without a viewfinder, I need to be more methodical in composing my photographs – just like I used to.

Using Sunny 16 rules, I can set the exposure outside.  Stop the lens down to f/8 and use the DOF indicators to find a focus spot for street photography – 8 feet should do nicely. Set the shutter speed to the reciprocal of the shutter speed and adjust as needed for the light. Raise the camera to my eye and shoot – just like I used to.

I’m going to try my local Costco’s development with a test roll and will post the results here.

One Hour Photo


There’s a critically endangered species in the world of photography businesses: the one-hour photo shop. With the decline of film developing and photo printing, the one-hour photo niche has become the single fastest-dying business in the United States.

How bad is it? There are only 190 of the shops still open in the whole country.

[ read more on petapixel ]

Image credits: Header photograph by USAG- Humphreys

First Frame


I used to be in the habit of shooting 3 frames into the palm of my hand when loading film. A while ago I started shooting as soon as the film was loaded to see what would turn out. This was one of those weird leader shots before the film took.