FED Mikron Revisited – Back in the USSR ?

The FED Mikron half frame camera arrived last year and I was immediately taken by it. But how has it fared as time has gone on ?

FED mikron/micron. More soviet fun in a half frame format. #film #ICCD #Filmisnotdead
FED Mikron- the soviet answer to the Olympus PEN EE series

The FED Mikron (aka Micron) was originally launched in 1967 and had a 2 decade run of production ’til 1986. I’ve discussed its spec and history before but this camera apparently was based on the much rarer Konica EYE. Both fall into the same zone focus, selenium metered, Half frame class as the Legendary Olympus PEN EES cameras.

Bandstanding
Dock Park Dumfries, FED Mikron Half Frame camera with Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200 at box speed. December 2015

It is a well built little beast if you get a working one but sadly it took me 4 goes to get my current one (oddly from a UK seller – the 2 Ukraine sellers did refund me however). As you’ll recall this is technically a Zone focus number but you can use in scale focus mode. The Helios-89 lens is pretty sharp. You can see the focus zones on the left of the viewfinder with indicator needle.  It is pretty good as lens set up go with little Chromatic impact.

No Food for Pidge
Carlisle October 2015. FED Mikron half frame camera with Expired (2014) Kodak BW400CN.

Exposure-wise the camera seems pretty accurate although the meter showing film speeds doesn’t really travel a lot. Sovietcams.com rate the shutter as between 1/30 and 1/800 but it hovers around the 1/60-1/125 mark a lot (or is that just Scotland in the winter !!). The FED 50 full frame camera which shares some features also has similar issues but I find the Mikron takes more accurate exposures. Bear in mind you’ll need to convert your film’s ISO/ASA speed as the camera uses old GOST film speeds (multiply by 0.8 so 100 ASA = 80 GOST, 200 ASA = 160GOST and so on). You can Knock out of Auto (A) and shoot the camera either with set Aperture (intended for flash – syncs at 1/30) or in Bulb mode (lens wide at f/2.8)

Winterlight
Dock Park Dumfries, FED Mikron Half Frame camera with Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200 at box speed. December 2015

Actually very pleasant camera to use with good in-viewfinder info abet rubbish shutter speed info. Takes well exposed shots that are sharp although my fixed focus PEN EE-2 is just that teeny bit sharper. However this camera has a more standard filter ring and you’ll pay marginally less than a EE let alone a EES. You’ll also get an incredibly fast for the class f/1.9 lens.

My only real note of caution is that it took 3 eBay orders to get a working ‘un (4 if you count the one the seller lost it). Shame as does seem well made. The only issues of note is the lack of a flash mount although does come with PC sync.  The removable back is a pain to me (give me a hinged back anytime). A cap and or case will indicate has been cared for. My earlier review details relevant links and alternatives

 

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