Soviet cameras frequently are accused of being copies of Western & Japanese models. Whatever you think they do it pretty well and Ukrainian FED are no exception. The company is still best known for it’s Leica-like rangefinders and lens. However the FED Mikron 2 (ФЭД Микрон 2) is a compact rangefinder along the lines of the Konica C35.
Certainly the Mikron 2 (sometimes called micron 2) is pretty much like any mid 70’s compact rangefinder. Like them, it uses a CdS metering system for exposure in what appears to be the standard matched pair of shutter and aperture setting (if you want more control on a compact rangefinder I’d suggest the Ricoh 500RF or 500G).
It was succeeded by the FED 35 & 35A which share the same Industar 81 1:2.8 lens but have different shutter ranges. Stylistically they look like the FED 50 viewfinder camera but without the selenium metering
FED Mikron 2 Specs
- Lens: 38mm 1:2.8
- Focus: Rangefinder
- Metering: CdS
- Battery: px625
- Aperture: f/2.8-16
- Shutter: 1/30-1/650 + B
- EV 100asa: 8-17
- ASA: 10-350GOST
- Filter-Thread: 46mm
Stylewise the camera has classic early 70’s silver and black styling. It’s actually based on its half frame name sake the mikron 1, a selenium powered viewfinder camera similar to the Olympus ee. The camera is threaded for Cable but has no self timer. The lens barrel has the usual focus ring and a second ring to switch between auto mode, bulb (at f/2.8) and aperture setting intended for flash. Yup, basically like every other compact rangefinder of the mid 70’s and with broadly the same spec. The only difference is the Film speed units (set by dial round lens) are in Russian GOST units which you’ll need to adjust for.
And that’s it problem.
It has no stand out features (okay I prefer it’s aperture for flash rather than guide numbering as allows you to use in a quasi manual mode and I can never remember my flash’s GN). Focus spot is a bit darker than some and images are good but just not as crisp as the class leaders. The exposure system was intended to be powered by the defunct px625 whereas most japanese ones used the smaller px675. Whilst that’s also defunct it can easily be replaced with a widely available hearing aid battery (for px625 options see my Halina 35-600 review). My display in viewfinder under-reads although the exposure seems okay.
Look, there is nothing wrong with this camera but there is no compelling reason to get over the likes of Classic compact rangefinders like the Konica C35 which are optically better or over an even the cheaper C35 clones . The mikron 2 is relatively rare as only around 35, 000¹ were made and getting one usually involves parting with the other side of £20 GBP plus postage from the FSU. You’ll get a Konica C35 for that or less and for a fraction of that a Chinon 35EE which is at least as good. Worth noting it has the same fiddly loading of the take up spool as the FED50
- Konica C35 – The Classic compact Rangefinder
- Chinon 35EE – Good value Japanese compact
- Ricoh 500RF & 500G – Shutter priority & manual mode
¹ Figure from sovietcams.com above