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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jun 30 2015 :  10:46:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello,

I have just got a Fed-Arsenal, very bad condition but very cheap. So, I won't be deceived!
This camera is certainly a fantasy camera. But it seems that a small series could have been made at Arsenal's before Fed begin again their work. With Fed spare parts, of course.

I don't know more than that was said here on the subject five years ago: http://ussrphoto.com/Forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1549
And I don't forget that Bill's one was made of Zorki 1b parts: http://ussrphoto.com/Wiki/default.asp?WikiCatID=76&ParentID=1&ContentID=21&Item=FED%2DArsenal

That said, I wonder (just a little!)... On my s/n 00067, some parts don't come from Fed's: the view counter (pins between 10/15 and 30/35) and the speed dial, with a different engraving. And the 00004 (on Abramov's and Luiz's sites) has exactly the same replacing parts, as if they had missed when mounting the camera and the factory (or the forger?) had to re-make them...

Here is a photo of the seller (The camera is not yet here)


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/3062015_Fed Arsenal 1.jpg

Any ideas? Do we know other Fed Arsenal cameras now?

Thanks. Jacques.


Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
3930 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jun 30 2015 :  2:34:20 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Jacques,

here's what I know about it:

Georgiy Abramov writes the following: "Based on some unsubstantiated claims, right after the war a small batch of the FED-1's was made on Arsenal and had a KMZ optics". See link below and there's a picture of another one there:
http://www.photohistory.ru/1211830320838208.html

The image is this one:



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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jul 03 2015 :  10:13:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Thanks a lot, Vlad.
By what I can see, this s/n 00067 should have been made from 1d or 1e parts.
Probably, I can be more precise when I have it.

Jacques.
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Ilya Stolyar
ilyast
USA
61 Posts
Posted - Jul 03 2015 :  11:24:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Jacques,
Do you want to sell it?

Edited by - ilyast on Jul 03 2015 11:55:55 AM
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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jul 03 2015 :  4:20:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Ilya!

I don't even know if the camera is genuine. For the moment, I always think it is not.
Anyway, my first passion as a collector was for the Feds. And it is always the case.

So, thanks, Ilya, but no...

Amitiés. Jacques.
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Ilya Stolyar
ilyast
USA
61 Posts
Posted - Jul 03 2015 :  5:03:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Or we can exchange if you interesting.
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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jul 04 2015 :  07:08:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

I send you a pm.
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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jul 04 2015 :  3:52:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello,

I have just received the camera. I can confirm it was originally a 1940/41 Fed:
- there is no hole in the press film (after c. s/n 150000)
- the release button is of the 1d/1e type,
- the two plates are made of iron. It was not the case before the s/n # 150000, it will not be the case for the postwar Fed, including my Red Flag (checked with a magnet).

So, I think this camera could be a genuine Fed-Arsenal, if these cameras ever existed...

There are some details which are original:


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/472015_DSCF2165.JPG

The speed dial has engravings never seen on Feds.

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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jul 04 2015 :  3:56:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

The winding button has an unusual arrow and the frame counter has original engravings and a special position of the pins: between 10/15 and 30/35 rather 15/20 and 0/35:


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/472015_DSCF2168.JPG


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/472015_DSCF2167.JPG

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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jul 04 2015 :  4:06:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So, the engravings are much deeper than on ordinary Feds. It is lighteron the cover:


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/472015_DSCF2163.JPG

This camera was in bad condition when I received it. I cleaned it a bit, but it seems that it had very bad conditions of storage during its life. I had never seen rust on the upper plate. Unless the chrome was of very bad quality?

Thanks for your comments!

Jacques.


Edited by - Jacques M. on Jul 05 2015 03:24:51 AM
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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jul 05 2015 :  03:23:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Two more photos.
An inscription under the pressure plate:


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/572015_DSCF2178.JPG

And rust on the upper plate:


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/572015_DSCF2170.JPG

A former owner tried to hide rust with metallic paint...

Jacques.

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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jul 05 2015 :  07:48:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Two last photos: the camera is re-mounted.
I have put an early Industar Moscow "tomb" which is not in the good position. After checking, the lens plate is not of Fed origin: it does not have the marking at 9 o'clock. I don't know for which lens this lens plate was made.


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/572015_DSCF2187.JPG


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/572015_DSCF2190.JPG

Amitiés. Jacques.

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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jul 05 2015 :  11:47:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

In fact, it's a Fed 2/50mm lens which fits.
It will stay with that lens: it looks well.


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/572015_DSCF2191.JPG

Now I remain silent... unless you have something to say (I hope).

Jacques.

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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
3930 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 05 2015 :  12:33:25 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
It is a most fascinating find, Jacques! I guess this question is to you since you have the camera plus the most experience in taking these around-war-time period cameras apart: do you see any elements in this camera that is similarly used in the early Kievs? Can you see anything at all that can be a clue relating to Arsenal factory? A font, an internal marking, etc?

Cheers,
Vlad.
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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jul 05 2015 :  4:04:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Thanks, Vlad.
In fact no. There is nothing common with the (future) Kievs, I think. It's normal: the two ranges, Fed and Kiev, are completely different. And the first Kievs were in fact Contaxes made in Ukraine with Zeiss machine tools...

But I think more and more that a small series of these Fed-Arsenal can have been made at Arsenal's in 1946 or 1947. Of course, with parts coming mainly from wartime Feds. And when parts are missing, Arsenal could have made them in small quantities, but only for the simple ones: the speed dial, the winding button and the frame counter, the lens plate... Not a very difficult work for them.

Contrarily to what we thought some years ago, these cameras are always very rare. They were not massively made by the usual forgers! So, the only way to be sure of their genuineness would be to compare all of them, and specially the parts not originally made by Fed.

But Bill's camera is for me an enigma. A Fed-Arsenal with a Zorki 1b mechanism, it's a non sense...

Amitiés. Jacques.
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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
3930 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 07 2015 :  2:51:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
That's very interesting, in fact the engraving on the speed dial does look very odd, very unrefined. Maybe you're right in that it was done on pre-Zeiss machinery.. Thank you for your analysis! Bill's camera is in fact enigma as it seems to be made way later than the period we're talking about..
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1005 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 07 2015 :  4:23:44 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Jacques and Vlad,

Although I no longer own my FED-Arsenal, I can say that the engraving, poor chrome quality, and very flat top plate (looks to have been ground and re-engraved) looks to be the same as the other known examples. It is only an enigma if you assume that the cameras are authentic and not made by an early (1970's - 1980's) forger. Of course if the cameras are fake than the forger could have easily used many different parts from whatever he had or could buy.

I have always doubted if a camera made or assembled by Arsenal would have used a "FED" logo engraving as well as an Arsenal logo. Also I have doubted that Arsenal would make such a large version of their logo since all of their pices use a small logo. I have also doubted that Arsenal, known for their fine quality even before the war, would allow such a bad chrome plating job to leave the factory. And last, I have wondered why a camera like this would be made for the military just after the War since there were many regular FEDs and Leicas around for military use. The TSVVS was made at this time, but had special features that were different from FED and Kiev, and was a very high quality camera, which the military always demanded. The military logo of the hammer and sickle looks a bit 'off' as well.

All of these doubts and the poor quality of the cameras lead me to believe that the FED-Arsenals were not made at Arsenal, who after all was the factory chosen to receive the commission of building the Kiev cameras because they were so technically advanced. So given these qualities and my doubts and unless there was some documentary evidence to the contrary, I would not believe they were made there and are the work of a forger.

But I love the camera and have always considered it an important part of Soviet - Russian camera history because even the forgeries tell something important about Soviet Era cameras.

Regards, Bill

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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
3930 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 07 2015 :  5:07:19 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Bill, thank you very much for your opinion, what really troubles me are the parts used of "unknown" origin which is very uncharacteristically of a forgery, thus the continued discussion about this piece.

Cheers,
Vlad
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1005 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 07 2015 :  5:35:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
You are right Vlad. The engraving on the counter and speed dials looks amateur. Probably not factory engraved and made just to make up parts that the person who assembled and made the camera did not have available. It is hard for us collectors to understand today how a camera forger may have so little money and so little parts to make a camera to sell to pay the rent. But it was the case and may still be for some.

Regards, Bill

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Juhani Halmeenmaki
cedricfan
Finland
885 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 08 2015 :  09:44:00 AM  Show Profile  Visit cedricfan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
This is a highly interesting topic, and I have to say, that in my eyes Bill's comments are also very logical!

Best regards,
Juhani
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1005 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 09 2015 :  7:06:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Also, if the KMZ 'tomb' Mockba lens was made in 1948 for FED-Zorki, and it seems that the known examples of FED-Arsenal come with that lens, it does not seem probable that these cameras can have been made in 1946 or right after the war, as the story goes. And even if the FED-Arsenal was made as late as 1948 ,would KMZ actually make this Mockba lens for FED-Zorki and then send some to Arsenal? I would think that would probably make the statement on Abramov's site, "Based on some unsubstantiated claims, right after the war a small batch of the FED-1's was made on Arsenal and had a KMZ optics" somewhat suspect. Maybe they were fitted with the Mockba lenses to make them look to be from that time period?

Regards, Bill

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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jul 10 2015 :  08:53:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Bill, for your strong and logical argumentation.

Sure, I could have say the same (in French!) before having made some researches. Now, I am not so sure, more especially as there are "rumours" (I should say "certitudes") coming from Arsenal saying that one (or rather two) small series of these cameras were made at the factory just after the war. That my camera belongs to the first series or not is not really the problem: the main problem is: did these series ever exist?

That these cameras were made by the factory or a forger, it would be useful to check the non-Fed parts (of which I had spoken) to see if they are the same. And to check too if there are engravings inside which could give us indications. But it seems I am alone to have such a camera here!

You are absolutely right about the lens. Certainly a 1945 or 46 camera would be better with a "normal" Fed lens, not an Industar 22, even a Moskva "tomb" made in 1948. But I cannot completely follow you about the "amateurism" of the engravings: we don't know in which exact conditions they were made, and the immediate postwar was a troubled period... And if they were made by forgers, I am a bit surprised too that these cameras are always so rare.

Perhaps some of us know more? Anyway, for me, this camera is much more than a (perfect) item in my collection; it's a question!

Amitiés. Jacques.




Edited by - Jacques M. on Jul 10 2015 09:01:45 AM
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G.Franco Giordano
Francesco
Italy
22 Posts
Posted - Jul 10 2015 :  12:50:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Maybe a silly question: but in 1946-47 the Arsenal logo was still the classical "diamond" we know?
I remenber I saw a manual of a 1948 kiev 2 and there was no logo on the front page, only the name KIEV.
In my collection the oldest kiev logo is on a 1954 Jupiter 8.
Francesco
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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jul 10 2015 :  1:11:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

A perfect question, Francesco!
I have a manual of 1949 Kiev III, and there is no "diamond" logo as well...

Amitiés. Jacques.
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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
3930 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 10 2015 :  2:24:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
According to Russian Wikipedia Arsenal logo as we know it (stylized letter "A") was introduced in 1950.

Cheers,
Vlad.
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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jul 11 2015 :  07:51:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If this logo appeared in 1950,and if the information is confirmed, there is no more question!
It doesn't change anything to my pleasure to own this symbolic camera...

Thanks, Vlad. Jacques.

Edited by - Jacques M. on Jul 11 2015 07:52:32 AM
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altix
Ukraine
149 Posts
Posted - Jul 13 2015 :  03:17:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi everybody.

Arsenal logo existed prior to 1950. You can see it on military optical devices, theodolites from 1947. If you are able to have a look on the Kiev camera instruction manual from 1947-1948 you will find this logo as well.

Concerning the Fed Arsenal camera it is genuine. Two versions are known: early with logo with hammer and sickle and later ones without hammer and sickle on the logo.

with best regards
altix
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1005 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 13 2015 :  12:02:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Altix,

Please tell us how you know FED-Arsenal is genuine. Can you show any photos of documents? When was the second series made and do you have photos of one of the cameras from the second series? Is this just what some collectors or dealers in Ukraine, or workers at Arsenal are saying, or is there documentary evidence such as a passport, manual, or factory document? Any information would be helpful.

Best regards, Bill



Regards, Bill

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altix
Ukraine
149 Posts
Posted - Jul 13 2015 :  3:59:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dear Bill,

I do not know if some documents were preserved (except probably blueprints or documentation). I never saw any passport for this camera and the possibility that there exists one is zero. As far as i know nor more than 400 pieces were ever made. What I've heard is the recollections of old former workers. I trust them since many things what I've heard from them later was proved by documentations or some artifact finds. It is quite easy to find the documentation of more recent cameras and optics since some designers are still alive and they have their own archive. Of course workers or camera assemblers have no such drawings or documentation and they can only recollect what they saw.

I know that this sounds silly and you may not trust me since I cannot provide any documentation. Remember that Arsenal is strictly secret object even today and its archive is closed for any research. Almost everything that I could find about the early post-war period of Arsenal comes from the Zeiss Jena archives.

I told Jacques about the existence of this camera for a long time ago and I think he still does not believe in its originality despite he managed to buy one.

Concerning the second type of the FED Arsenal I put some photos with the agreement of the owner. I know the history of how this particular camera has found the new owner and I have no doubts about its originality (I will not tell you explicitly where this camera were previously but you can easily guess why I am so sure)


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/1372015_2.jpg


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/1372015_3.jpg


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/1372015_5.jpg


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/1372015_7.jpg


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/1372015_8.jpg

And concerning the Arsenal logo, here is some proof that it existed say in 1947


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/1372015_1a.jpg

with best regards
altix
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altix
Ukraine
149 Posts
Posted - Jul 13 2015 :  4:17:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Another little thing. The FED Arsenal was produced in another place as Kiev-Contax cameras. Here is this building

http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/1372015_comparison.jpg

This is an old Arsenal workshop that more or less preserved after the war. So the munition and FED Arsenal was produced there. After the German equipment arrived and was installed in this building:

http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/1372015_Arsenal.jpg

the production of optical devices were moved to the new workshops. Bill, your photo of the Kiev cameras inspection was done in the latter building (second floor). The third and the fourth floors were build in mid fifties.

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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
3930 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 13 2015 :  4:27:49 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Altix, thank for you the information, very fascinating! Regarding my statement of Arsenal logo, my source was this:

https://goo.gl/X3cwLg

Just for the recordkeeping .

Cheers,
Vlad.
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altix
Ukraine
149 Posts
Posted - Jul 13 2015 :  4:52:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dear Vlad,

you should take into account that Wikipedia cannot serve as a trustworthy source Fides sed affirmo - trust but verify.

altix
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1005 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 13 2015 :  8:37:53 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Dear Alix,

Thank you for the photos of another copy of FED-Arsenal. They are helpful to compare with the other examples known. It is certainly not a question of trusting you, as I have seen your other posts to be informative, knowledgeable, and without bias. So, as you yourself have just said, "Fides sed affirmo - trust but verify". In this case, until some documentation is revealed or discovered, there will remain a question in my mind as to authenticity of FED-Arsenal.

The cameras were supposedly made around 1946 - 1950 and so any person working at Arsenal Zavod at that time was doing so at least 65 years ago. If they can remember how many were made of each of two series, but have no other details that would help to authenticate the memories, then it is not much of a story. So far, I have not heard anything that convinces me that these cameras are real and there are many facts that do not line up with the usual details that show authenticity.As well, I do not rule out that they are authentic and only write about it at all to try come to some reasonable answer.

There are many reasons to fake such a camera, and many reasons to proclaim it authentic, both involving mostly money, but also the pride of discovery and being part of history. I don't know why you say that there is zero possibility of passports existing? All cameras and equipment made for the Soviet military had passports. Indeed the known FED-Arsenals have serial numbers, so of course they had passports.

The TSVVS camera was made in a series of about 1000 and presently there are about 75 examples known and listed in our USSRPhoto.com WIKI. Why, if there were 400 FED-Arsenal cameras made are there only a few to be found. I know only of numbers: 00004 (Yuriy Davidenko) / 00020 (Bill Parkinson) / 00067 (Jacques Morin) / 00070 (mentioned as owned by a third party in Kiev, in correspondence I had with Yuriy Davidenko) / 00216 camera you have just shown / 00222 sold on Ebay by German seller in March 2010. So only six that I have heard about. If there were 400 FED-Arsenal cameras it would seem like more would be known, judging by how many TSVVS have survived out of 1000.

Maybe you can find out more about the story than just some workers remember them. Any details or documentation could be helpful as it does not seem that any of the historian - authors of Russian cameras has heard anything other than that they were made after the war, twice. I thank you and your friend for the images of No. 000216 and I'm sure Jacques may tell us what model FED it is made from.

Why would the one I owned, No.00020 have been made from a Zorki? Any ideas? Also, I have some photos of No. 000222 from Ebay if anyone wants to see them.

Best regards, Bill

Regards, Bill

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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jul 14 2015 :  05:55:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Dear friends!

Delighted by this thread!

As Altix says, it's several months we have discussed together about postwar Arsenal productions: these exciting 1945/50 years. And when I saw this camera for sale... But even now I am not completely convinced, like Bill and for the same reason: there is no "material" certitude.

On the other hand, a very small series made from Fed parts is not such a problem. They can have been made unknown from the rest of the factory and be the task of an internal workshop with two or three persons. All the work is to assemble spare parts, to reingrave plates, and to make some spare parts which can be missing. The last task can be the most delicate, it's why I have insisted on it.

As for a possible passport... After all, we found nothing about the TSVVS, Bill... If we had passports or papers about this camera, we would know for sure where the TSVVS were made.

Concerning the low number of these Fed-Arsenal, I found mine only under the specification of "Fed". Nothing else: these cameras are not well known. Another possible explanation about the difference between the number of 400 cameras and those really found : that the covers were engraved, but the very bad condition of parts coming from Berdsk couldn't have allowed to mount the foreseen number. It could explain too why we find a Fed Arsenal cover on a Zorki 1b, later...

But all that are only guessings. Nevertheless, I must say that after Altix's pictures of Arsenal, I imagine a small team working on the mounting of these cameras...

Now, concerning the original Fed series of the 00216, showed by Altix, it's impossible to say without having it in hand. Is there a hole in the press film? If no, it's a post s/n c. 150000. Are the two plates magnetic? If Altix could put these two questions to his friend? But at first look, I would say that this camera was probably made from wartime Fed parts, exactly like mine. But the vulcanite seems different.

Something else: the frame counter is exactly the same too, on the two cameras, with a position of one pin at "12" (and at "32" on the other side, of course), never seen on a Fed. To compare with Bill's Fed-Arsenal, which has a normal Zorki frame with pins at 5/10 and 25/30. These famous missing parts...

It should be interesting to speak of the lens plate too, and of the choice of the lens: a very early "1 turn" on the s/n 00216. But I stop there!

Amitiés. Jacques.




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altix
Ukraine
149 Posts
Posted - Jul 14 2015 :  08:23:22 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello everybody,

Jacques has already mentioned some points I also wanted to stress. I do not expect the existence of manuals for FED Arsenal for several reasons:

1. It seems that the FED Arsenal was produced for a very short time and was distributed among the workers. I always wondered how much care used to take the Arsenal directors about the workers. They gave a lot of commemorative pins and medals (I guess also with money premium) to Arsenal workers who assembled munition during the war. I expect that FED Arsenal was issued almost immediately after the war to reward the outstanding Arsenal workers who made a lot of effort during the war. If the manuals ever existed then they were most probably printed by FED as a standard manuals for FED.

2. Most probably the Arsenal factory did not possess its own typography at the end of the war. The typography equipment arrived in Arsenal from Jena factory and only in 1947 they were able to print manuals for Kiev on relative high level. If you look on the passports for the cameras they were produced by printing in dark room until 1951. If you look on the documentation for trophy military optics or theodolites from late forties, the instructions are of really bad quality.

3. The movement of the production line from one building to another could also cause the damage to documentation (but I still believe that the documents and blueprints if existed are in Arsenal archive)

When collecting the Soviet cameras you should always learn the psychology of Soviet citizen and the essence of plan economics. Some things sounds to unaware people insane but it was natural to do this in the context of that epoch in USSR. I can speak about this a long time. But let me give you some examples.

Let us take German optical industry in seventies. German engineers and optical designers develop new cameras and lenses. They do it since the new outstanding optical design can bring big material profit from selling the lens to German or foreign customers. There are some money invested in the project, some money you spend for materials and production costs. But at the end after selling the lens you got more money that you invest. You have a profit. It is very trivial and logical way of reasoning why Germans invest in new design developments. The system is optimized for getting profit.

Now let us consider the lens or camera production in Soviet Union also in seventies. There is a plan economics. Say Arsenal has also very brilliant engineers and optical designers. But they have limitations by plan economics to produce such a number of cameras that are able to shoot. At the same time the cost of the camera cannot go beyond some threshold since than nobody from Soviet citizens would be able to buy it. Usually the optimal solution is to produce the camera the production costs of which is almost the same as the selling price. In any case Arsenal workers will get their salaries from the state.

But where to get extra money for the factory itself? There is again the solution in plan economics. The factory asks money for the development of new optics or cameras that are more up to date or similar to the best designs from the West. And the state gives a lot of money for the development of the camera within 5 years plan. During this period appears the new camera and optics, the factory prints manuals and advertisement booklets. Than they report that they managed to create this camera and spent all money for the project. Then other persons in ministry decide if this camera and optics could be mass produced. They conclude that it is impossible since the cost of materials and assembling is so high that nobody would buy it. The factory shows the prototypes on State exhibition or even on some international exhibitions. At the end the prototypes could go to some photojournalists or to party bonze. Everybody is happy. There is also some logic here but it has nothing to do with the profit from the development of new technologies.

Another example that was very trivial for Soviet people and is hard to understand on the West that if you need to repair the broken camera you do itself (and could scratch it or destroy completely) or you go to the repairman who do the same thing as you with some probability of successful reparation since he has spare parts or know a little what to do. This guy is not much interested to preserve the originality of the camera or its beauty. He can replace any part he wants, he can scratch it or drill a hole (as on Iskra cameras) despite he can repair even without doing this. He always chooses the simplest and cheapest solution since he is not interested to do it well. At the end he will get for his work amount of money regulated by the state. Of course if you have the guarantee then you go to factory service where they perform reparation on a more or less good level. If you see the FED Arsenal camera with Zorki parts this only means that you are unlucky since the camera was some day repaired by somebody who had no idea that this camera would sometimes be interesting for the collectors.

Edited by - altix on Jul 14 2015 10:45:41 AM
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altix
Ukraine
149 Posts
Posted - Jul 14 2015 :  08:46:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bill has mentioned here TSVVS and I find it interesting. I was very skeptical about the originality of TSVVS cameras for a long time (I speak about the genuine TSVVS excluding later fakes). My reasoning for that was exactly opposite to Bills argumentation. I asked myself why there exist so many TSVVS and with every year appears new and new known cameras? It looks very strange from the statistical point of view. I compared the frequency of TSVVS appearance with the frequency for another camera Drug (Droog or Zorki 7). Despite the fact that TSVVS is much more rare camera than Drug their frequencies in the last years are almost the same. That was for me the strong evidence for considering TSVVS as a fake camera. But a friend of mine gave me very simple explanation for this fact. Now I have no problems to consider TSVVS as genuine.

The reasoning is the following. TSVVS was distributed among the officers. These people had little to do with the photography. But for them the camera was a kind of memory of their platoon or probably the status thing. In USSR you could be considered as successful person if you had a car, a camera, a summer cottage, etc.

But the generation of these officers passed away recently and their relatives try to sell all rubbish left. Since almost all the time these cameras were never used they are good cosmetically and look great.

On the other hand Drug camera is not a reliable camera and many of them one can find in completely awful shape. I think many cameras ended their existence in trash bins.

For FED Arsenal the frequency of appearance is quite normal. However I afraid that after our discussions the market would be overflooded with fake FED Arsenal. Alas...

Edited by - altix on Jul 14 2015 12:14:40 PM
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Juhani Halmeenmaki
cedricfan
Finland
885 Posts
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Posted - Jul 14 2015 :  10:05:11 AM  Show Profile  Visit cedricfan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
And more questions arise!
I did write this answer while at work, and now I see Altix has written mostly same ideas.

Military: Like Altix points out, TSVVS was a trophy and luxury item for high ranking officers, and not for field use. So they were not to be used in daily work, and I can think that many were kept as an investment for the bad day. Remember also all those anniversary cameras we have seen: many are hardly ever used ones.

Was this Arsenal-FED then that ordinary tool like camera, used eg for documenting war traces, and rebuilding? I have seen a lot of these pictures, so there was a need to photograph what was left after war. Even propaganda: we did rebuild everything this fast and well, destroyed by others. Or actually by the Soviet troops in many cases…

For those cameras there was a need. And I can imagine that if there was passports, they went to army records, not followed with cameras.

Some say that there was Leicas and such to use after war. I say the opposite. So much was lost, hidden and stolen in the chaos just after war. Even here in Finland it is as late as now, that these war time items have been popping up from the homes of war time soldiers. Those generations saved everything, and anything they could. It was not stealing when there was no physical owner, and it could save your own life someday. Even my grand dad had an illegal WWII-pistol in his drawer, and his children did not know of it until he died. Just like Altix wrote, again…

Also if the camera was a tool, the survival percentage must have been very low. Broken or lost and just thrown away when aged enough. Most likely these were not the worlds best made cameras: when you see the finish of Arsenal-made parts it is poor. More poor “fast made replacement” parts inside?

Some hundred units: were these meant for Red army in the just occupied Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Baltic countries, Czechoslovak and so on? Where there was no Red army from past, but a need for all inventory.

Bills odd camera with too new insides? Maybe it was a factory-repaired one? I can imagine that it has been easier to repair an old one, than purchasing a new camera in Soviet bureaucracy. A couple of years error could still be possible.

Best regards,
Juhani
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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
3930 Posts
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Posted - Jul 14 2015 :  11:17:41 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by altix

Dear Vlad,

you should take into account that Wikipedia cannot serve as a trustworthy source Fides sed affirmo - trust but verify.

altix



I completely agree, I just pointed out that this was the only source I have found on the web that dates the logo in any way at all. Doesn't mean it's accurate .

Cheers,
Vlad
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1005 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 14 2015 :  2:42:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hello All,

Yes, it is possible that the FED-Arsenal was assembled at the Arsenal Zavod in Kiev and that::

1. There were no passports made or all have been lost or are still in archives somewhere.
2. That Arsenal had no means of printing anything.
3. That movement from one building to another caused a loss of FED-Arsenal documents.
4. That it was made unknown from the rest of the factory by two or three workers.
5. The workmanship and chrome-plating were poor due to end of War problems.
6. That the condition of parts from Berdsk was bad and so new parts had to be fabricated upon occasion.
7. The top plate was ground down to eliminate previous FED engravings and then an Arsenal logo was added with a 'FED" engraving as well.
8. That the Soviet military was in desperate need to 200 cameras to photograph war damage and rebuilding.
9.That the Soviet military was okay with poor chrome-plating and engraving due to urgent need.
10. That very few cameras survived due to hard use.
11. That soon many more FED-Arsenals will turn up from relatives.
12. That the vulcanite on the various known examples could vary in style.
13. That old former workers have said that from 65 years ago they remember the camera (among the many cameras made by Arsenal).

But it is also possible that the FED-Arsenal is the work of early forgers who:

1. Never made passports.
2. Had no means of printing passports, did not think it necessary to have one, or were not capable of making them.
3. Was made by one or two forgers, unknown from others in general.
4. Performed poor, at-home electro-plating with chrome over the newly ‘FED-Arsenal’ top plate which had been previously ground to remove old FED or Zorki engraving.
5. Poor workmanship due to lack of sophisticated tools and machine tools.
6. That the “FED” engraving was added, along with the Arsenal logo just to make the camera more attractive to buyers. (Seems like the camera would
just have Arsenal logo if made at Arsenal.)
7. There was no need by the military at the time to have an extra 200 cameras made to photograph war damage and rebuilding.
8. That the military would not have accepted the standards of poor chrome job, replacement parts and varying vulcanite and would have specifications
in mind when making the order for 200 cameras.
9. That many more than are now known would have survived, as is usual with FED cameras.
10. That not so many more will turn up (remains to be seen).
11. That different vulcanite coverings are due to different camera bodies being used by forgers which already had the vulcanite in place.
12. That the former workers were not there 65 years ago, their memories are not accurate, or they remember seeing one in the Arsenal Museum, but that the one in the       museum was not authentic. Evidently, the worker who remembers it was not working at Arsenal until 1952, I am told.
13. That the FED-Arsenal No.000020 was made by forgers using a Zorki body, not anticipating the scrutiny of the details that the camera is now receiving, but only
wanting to make another camera to sell

Although I would not like to close my mind to the idea that the FED-Arsenal has a possibility to be authentic, I would also not consider the theories advanced, so far, as proof that it is authentic. Of course Arsenal Zavod is one of the great camera factories, but that alone does not mean the camera is authentic. It is easy for theories that are not documented to be published and republished, making them appear to be fact when no real proof has been offered.

For example, look at Yuriy Davidenko’s article about TSVVS being produced at ALMAZ. He provides no proof, only writing about the factory, their rocket production, etc. but nothing about that TSVVS was produced there. Now his theory is in books, the internet, forum posts and WIKIs. Personally, I still think that TSVVS has a possibility to have been produced for the Soviet Military in Eastern Germany, that may be why no passports (but another subject altogether). It seems to me that FED-Arsenal is in this process of becoming authenticated without fact, both in this discussion as well as in a film about Arsenal that I am told about (but I have not seen the film or the role the FED-Arsenal plays in it yet).

Sorry for the long post!


Regards, Bill

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altix
Ukraine
149 Posts
Posted - Jul 14 2015 :  3:56:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dear Bill,

you are absolutely correct. One cannot be hundred percent sure in matters like this. A reasonable skepticism is always good. For me the word "proof" always means the mathematical proof. Mathematics is the only discipline that can be objective. Concerning different proofs based on documents or other evidences it is always a little bit tricky. You should always keep in mind that documents could be modified depending on political situation or could be influenced by the viewpoint of the person who wrote them. The technical documentation is the most precise in this sense. Say if I would forger the documents I would do easily booklets or advertisements. But it would be almost impossible for me to fake the technical documentation since I do not posses the engineering knowledge. And of course the mechanics or optical design is based on extensive mathematical calculations that are hard to fake by nonspecialists since it can be easily found out.

So from the purist point of view I would accept as proof for camera originality only its technical documentation. Of course such an approach leads to nowhere in the case of Soviet cameras. This is because in the USSR many factories that produced toys and cameras were secret military objects. Actually camera or toys production was kind of legend for foreign secret services. Say the heart of Arsenal was the constructor bureau that dealt with military optics and space technologies. And workshop with cameras was something for camouflage. And of course you will get the trouble if you would like to have a look on technical drawings from such factories. They are probably exist but under the seal top secret. It may sound strange may sound like this is good explanation from the standpoint of forger but it is unfortunately the reality I faced with.

Concerning FED Arsenal the story is that I am more sure that the camera existed than it is a fake. There are many arguments pro this decision and I do not see any reasonable argument counter this statement. But you can charge from the purist viewpoint that this is my own belief. But analogously you should admit that TSVVS camera is also probably forgery since nobody saw any technical documentation on this camera. I would say however that the TSVVS is genuine since I have many arguments that supports the statement that it is genuine and almost no arguments against.

I am also sorry for my long discussions.


Edited by - altix on Jul 14 2015 4:06:53 PM
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1005 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 14 2015 :  4:43:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Alix,

If this camera was a forgery and the forger made some documents, I can imagine that it would be easy to tell that the documents were forged as they would be of a low quality. I am not a purist and could believe that this camera was authentic if there were some other type of proof or strong indications, like in the case of TSVVS. But so far, other than some stories that are not verified and are more like memories, I don't see indications that it is authentic. If it is authentic I doubt this camera was a secret military project. Especially the 'second series' and paperwork would have been made.It is not the case that most Soviet cameras were made without paperwork ... even the KGB workshop of KMZ had manual, passports, etc. as I know because I have the papers and cameras-disguises in my collection. So, in my opinion it is not likely that these cameras would not have papers if authentic.

As far as the "FED-Arsenal story", I am not clear as to what arguments are pro about it. I have only heard that a FED-Arsenal was bought from the Arsenal Museum and that a former employee who is 86 and started working at Arsenal in 1952 has memories of it. That alone is not enough to tip the scales in favor of authenticity considering variations in the details of the different examples, the poor quality of the plating, the ground-down looking top plates, no documentation as of now, and why the logo of FED was engraved on a supposedly Arsenal product (no one has yet addressed that double logo issue or pointed out another Soviet camera that has the logo of two factories).

I don't know where TSVVS was made, but I see no evidence of ALMAZ even though many sites are now saying that it is "ALMAZ TSVVS". This is all due to Davidenko's article which has no facts concerning the camera's origin. People are hungry for answers and will take any theory as truth just to have an answer. Maybe there is evidence for ALMAZ that I have not seen?

So, I don't think it isa good idea to authenticate the FED-Zorki until there is clear information that it is not a fake, Maybe there is no clear information and it is a fake. It is better to leave it up in the air, in my opinion, until the truth is certain or the known facts overwhelmingly point to one or the other. Maybe we will finally know when Vlad (who is very fair, careful, and open-minded) moves the WIKI entry to either the "Arsenal" category or "Unidentified / Contested Authenticity" category!

Regards, Bill

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altix
Ukraine
149 Posts
Posted - Jul 14 2015 :  5:27:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dear Bill,

I did not get the point why FED Arsenal was a secret military camera. I personally said that it was most probably issued for Arsenal workers. No wonder that the finish was of low quality. Prior to 1946 Arsenal was by no means connected with optical or camera production. The chrome plating is involved technology that was completely new for Arsenal workers immediately after the war.

FED logo has little to do with FED factory it only refers to well known brand. Everybody heard in Soviet Union about the Soviet Leica - FED. FED Arsenal is like "Fritz Cola" that has little to do with "Coca-Cola" or "Pepsi-Cola". Similar story is with the early FED-Zorki.

I think the following discussion makes no sense since again it is the matter of belief. You don't believe that FED Arsenal is genuine. Fine. I accept your skepticism. At the same time I do not see any reasonable disproof of my statement that it is genuine. I don't think that I need to search for some mean forgers that managed to create the very complicated scheme how to fool us and who put the FED Arsenal camera in the factory museum. Probably these mean forgers pay me now the salary and I try to pose the camera as genuine. I think the world is not so complicated.

with best regards
altix

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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1005 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 14 2015 :  5:54:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Dear Alix,

You are wrong. I don't believe that FED-Arsenal is fake. And I don't believe it is authentic. At this time I can see that it could be a fake or it could be authentic. I am not trying to convince anyone either way and I like the FED-Arsenal either way. This is why I have written all of the information I have. I only think that it is better to withhold judgement and look at the facts as they become available. No doubt more information will become available over time. You are the one who has the belief that it is authentic, as you have said, "At the same time I do not see any reasonable disproof of my statement that it is genuine."

I didn't say that mean forgers put the camera in the museum. It is what you call, in the art world, provenance. If in a museum then there would be some records of when it was added to the museum collection and it also should be in mint condition if acquired by the museum directly from the factory when made. If it was not acquired by the museum when made and was acquired at a later time, then who donated or sold it to the museum. And, did the museum curator of the collection keep records? If it was stolen from the museum in the 1990's then there is no history that came with it. If it was not taken from the musem, how did it come into private hands. I am just saying that if these questions are answered, then there is meaningful provenance. That is all. If the questions can't be answered then the story does not mean so much as far as authenticating the camera and where it originated.

I have never talked about 'mean forgers' and no doubt many forgers are very nice people just trying to make a living. I have no problem with fakes or the people who make them.You are the one with all of these complicated thoughts about forgers and paying you, etc.

Would, in your opinion, the Arsenal factory be allowed to put the military logo of hammer and sickle on a camera made for workers?



Regards, Bill

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altix
Ukraine
149 Posts
Posted - Jul 15 2015 :  12:23:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dear Bill,

I don't believe that military Arsenal logo is a certain proof that the cameras that bears it was initially assembled for military. It is a tendency that every military device from late forties- early fifties has military logo but is not true that every civil product from that time should have the logo without hammer and sickle. For me the proof of military camera or military device is the presence of the inventory number. There are a lot of Arsenal civil products from early fifties that bear the military logo. Just one example


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/1572015_1.jpg



http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/1572015_2.jpg

But of course I cannot exclude that the first batch was produced by request of military.


regards
altix

Edited by - altix on Jul 15 2015 12:50:20 AM
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1005 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 15 2015 :  01:20:17 AM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Alix,

What kind of item is that in the photos? Do you think that one (with hammer and sickle) is for military and the other (without hammer and sickle) is civilian model? On the items I have seen, from all factories, the hammer and sickle always denotes made for the military.

And in any case, unless I find or hear new information, I don't have much more to add about FED-Arsenal. My opinion is, that I am open to authenticity, but I am not convinced at this time from what I have heard and seen. Thanks for the photos and info.

Regards, Bill

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altix
Ukraine
149 Posts
Posted - Jul 15 2015 :  02:26:26 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I showed the containers for film cassettes that were produced for civil market. The earlier one has logo with hammer and sickle. Just to show that this logotype does not mean that the item was produced for military purposes. I think that time nobody paid much attention which logo to put on the product.
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1005 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 15 2015 :  12:49:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Alix,

Thank you for the photos. Maybe Arsenal was very used to having the hammer and sickle in their logo as they were primarily a military factory before and during WWII.

To All,

I have made changes to the FED-Arsenal entry, that was originally made by myself, to reflect the current information available and the discussion as to it's authenticity. Please feel free to edit, add photos and details about individual examples of FED-Arsenal cameras to the entry.

Also, although I am not personally convinced of it's authenticity at this time, I no longer think the entry for FED-Arsenal belongs in the category "Modified & Fantasy Cameras" and would be better classified in our WIKI as either "Unidentified / Contested Authenticity" or possibly a new category of "Arsenal"
if the consensus of our members is that the FED-Arsenal is for sure authentic and made at the factory. Maybe a discussion of the appropriate category would be helpful.

.

Regards, Bill

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Guido Studer
Guido
Switzerland
315 Posts
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Posted - Jul 15 2015 :  2:31:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit Guido's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Hello my friends

Thank you very much for this very interesting discussion about this rare cameras. I have no final opinion on the question of authenticity.

The FED-Arsenal remember me much to the FED-KMZ, only the FED engravings are not exectly the same (regular vs. italic). On the other hand the FED-Zorki with a more rounded FED logo.

Could it be that Arsenal was selected to produce a FED like camera in the years after the war and then the desicion was changed because the Contax production moved to them and KMZ was selected to continue the program? Only a guess ...

I think poor engravings and chroming says much about the authenticity of the camera, a fake would be much more perfect at my opinion.

For the category ... "Kiev / Arsenal - ..." looks wrong for me, "Arsenal - Kiev ..." and "Arsenal - other" would be better and the FED-Arsenal could be sorted in the last category.

By the way about categories ... I just saw a so called "FED-Zorki Jura" as a "fantasy camera" ... "*FED-Zorki* Jura"! I think we will be d'accord about the fact this was a Zorki (1d or 1e), so "Zorki Jura" should be the better choice. No, I don't want to change it, but if someone agrees with me he will do the change.

Best wishes - Guido

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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jul 15 2015 :  3:18:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Hello!

For the moment, I have no idea about the place where this camera must be put... Perhaps we could wait a bit before changing something.

I am gathering some different detailed informations about the 00067 and the 00216, so that we have an idea when the important parts were made, if there are differences or if they are homogeneous. I will let you know, of course!

Amitiés. Jacques.
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Jacques M.
France
1963 Posts
Posted - Jul 16 2015 :  07:33:00 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Guido



I think poor engravings and chroming says much about the authenticity of the camera, a fake would be much more perfect at my opinion.





Interesting remark! I wouldn't have thought of that. Thanks, Guido.

The magnetic parts of the Feds can help to date them. To be as precise as I can:

- the shutter boxes were made in brass up to the s/n c. 12xxxx. So, non magnetic. Magnetic after until the end of the 1e series (c. 184xxxx). Then, NKAPs and the first 1f have shutter boxes made in brass again, before it turns to magnetic metal up to the end of Fed 1.

- the two plates are first made of chrome brass, then of chrome magnetic metal from the s/n c. 15xxxx up to the end of the 1e (184xxx). In fact, during WW2. Certainly Fed had other uses for brass at that time. After, the plates of NKAP, 1f and 1e are always made of non magnetic metal.
But I am not 100% sure of my NKAP, so, if Alexander could check on his camera?

Of course, I don't speak of the cover which is never made of magnetic metal (as far as I know).

Concerning the hole in the press film, it disappears at c. 15xxxx. It allowed to regulate the camera/lens with the corresponding hole in the back of the camera. This hole in the camera had disappeared years before!

That question of magnetic properties was initiated by Niko80 on this site. Of course, there can be exceptions (repairs, remountings, etc).

On the cameras s/n 00067 and 00216,
- there is no hole in the press film,
- the shutter box and the plates are made of magnetic metal.

So, I am sure that they were made between s/n c. 15xxxx and 184xxx, corresponding to the years 1940/41 or 1940/46, depending on where we put the 1e Berdsks: that's another question!

I try to find something about the original parts now: view counter, winding button and speed dial.

Amitiés. Jacques.


Edited by - Jacques M. on Jul 16 2015 07:33:40 AM
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1005 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jul 16 2015 :  5:32:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hello everyone,

Concerning FED-Arsenal No. 00020.

It is possible to tell the difference between the rangefinder housing of a Zorki and the rangefinder housing of a FED by looking at photos. Specifically, if you look, from the top, at the shape outline of each, it can be seen that FED rangefinder housings look to have been hand-filed and are less square towards the rear section (where most of the engraving is). They look hand-shaped or hand-finished. The Zorki rangefinder housing, when looked at from the top seems more squared off, possibly more finished by machine than by hand. The Zorki has an almost strict right angle around the accessory shoe, where the FED has a slightly 'wavey' or bent look to the line, somewhat uneven as though hand finished - filed. Probably this is due to a slightly different and more advanced manufacturing process and technique at KMZ or more advanced machinery used at KMZ since they were a more modern plant. I have always noticed this and have used it to determine if cameras that had mismatched parts (rangefinder housing to body).

From looking and comparing photos, it seems that FED-Arsenal No. 00020 has a Zorki rangefinder housing (more squared in the outlines, seen from the top) that matches it's Zorki body. In other words, the camera is totally a Zorki, not a Zorki with an older FED rangefinder housing. If that is the case, then it would mean the camera was a Zorki when engraved with the FED-Arsenal logo and number. I have no doubts that the No. 00020 camera is the same as the other FED-Arsenal cameras as far the engraved logo and number details, in every way. I can not imagine that No. 00020 is a fake of an authentic FED-Arsenal camera as I bought it nine years ago (in October of 2006) when the others had not yet come to light and there was little or no discussion of this camera. If correct, this would point towards at least one FED-Arsenal "first series" being made from a later Zorki, not matching the time line of the FED-Arsenal story and not something a factory would be likely to do

Below are some comparison photos showing the rangefinder housings.

FED-1c

http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/1672015_FED 1.jpg

Zorki-1b

http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/1672015_Zorki 1.jpg


FED-Arsenal No. 00020 (Zorki body)

http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/1672015_FED-Arsenal 1.jpg

Auction of FED-Arsenal No. 00020

http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/1672015_No.20 Auction.jpg




Regards, Bill

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