Sunday, November 21, 2010

Franka Solida

Franka Solida I
Franka Solida I by RaúlM.

Franka Solida IIE (3)
Franka Solida IIE by RaúlM.

Franka Solida III E
Franka Solida IIIE by RaúlM.

I love medium format folding cameras. They allow me to always carry a medium format on my pocket.

The Franka Solida range is amazing in manufacture quality, reliability and as practical shooters.

These cameras were made in Bayreuth, in the Black Forest, by Franka-Kamerawerk.

Franka Solida I
Solida I back by RaúlM.
Franka Solida III E
Solida IIIE back by RaúlM.
These are post war cameras marked "Made in Germany US Zone".
They were manufactured around 1954.

They all use 120 film giving me twelve exposures per roll of film.

The Solida I is the least sophisticated of the three I own.

Franka Solida I & Watameter rangefinder

It lacks range finder, that's why this one came with a Watameter, when I bought it.
I bought it from an English gentleman, who told me that this camera was his seventeenth birthday present, from his brother, who was stationed in Germany at that time.

Franka Solida I & Watameter rangefinder

The lens is a Frankar - Anastigmat 75mm, 1:4.5 on a four speed Pronto shutter, 1/25-1/200 and B, with self timer.

Even being the least sophisticated is a sharp shooter, as you can see in the following pictures:

Medieval by RaúlM.

Bell Tower
Bell Tower by RaúlM.

The Solida IIE, is a more sophisticated model, with a built-in, uncoupled, range finder, a better lens and shutter.

Franka Solida IIE (4)
Solida IIE top view by RaúlM:

In the picture above you can see the distance indication of the range finder, the red dot warning that the film is advanced and the camera ready to shoot, the shutter release and the advance knob, that includes a film reminder.

Franka Solida IIE (1)
Solida IIE front view by RaúlM.

This was one of the first folding cameras I bought. The range finder was non-operational. I send it to repair, it was a loose mirror. Later when I gained more confidence in my mechanical skills I made a complete CLA to the range finder, that was quite misaligned vertically. Now it's great.

On this one the lens is an Ennagon 75mm, 1:3,5, from Enna Werk, München, on a eight speed Prontor-SVS shutter, 1"-1/300 and B,  with self timer, V, and two flash synchro positions  X and M.

I have an anecdote about this camera:
The other folding cameras I had, when I bought this one, in order to fold I had only to force down the struts.
When this one arrived I opened it and was incapable of closing it. I turned it upside down, looked everywhere but to no avail.
I handed it to my wife, not telling her about my difficulties, and asked her to close it. What she did, to my complete surprise, immediately.
As she picked the camera, she saw at once the silver button, under the lens, that must be pressed  to unlock the struts.
It was a good laugh afterwards.

Once again this is a sharp shooter:

Franka - Douro
Douro by RaúlM.

Peaceful morning
Peaceful morning by RaúlM.

The Solida IIIE is the top notch on the scale.

Franka Solida III E with case and filters
Franka Solida IIE with leather case and filters by RaúlM.

I bought this one with the leather case and a set of filters, in a leather case also.

Franka Solida III E
Solida IIIE front view by RaúlM.

The Solida IIIE has a 80mm 1:2.9, Sheneider-Kreuznach Radionar lens on a eight speed Synchro-Compur shutter, 1"-1/500 and B, once again no self timer, M and X flash synchro. Edit - Thanks to the info provided by Malcolm Grant Purvis, I found that this shutter as a self timer:
On the Synchro-Compur the little conical button on top of the lens is the self-timer. Cock the shutter, then pull back the button and push the cocking lever some more, about 5mm. This sets the self-timer.
The built-in range finder is uncoupled, it has double exposure prevention and a film reminder on the film advance knob.

One distinguishable feature in this camera is that the bellows bed swings to the right, while in the other models it drops to the front.  

This lens is a beauty and what can I say? Another sharp shooter:

Sabugal by RaúlM.

Sabugal by RaúlM.

These folders are among my most cherished cameras.

Edit - For a very comprehensive information about these and other Franka Models visit:

Stay tuned (o;