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Franka Solida 3

 

The technical stuff:

Type: Folding Bellows Type Medium Format 6cm x 6cm on 120 roll film .

Lens: Schneider Kreuznach Radionar f2.9 - f22

Shutter: Prontor S, 8 speed + B 1,2,5,10,25,50,100,250

 

 

Once in a while a camera comes along that you instinctively know is going to be special, this is it. When it arrived my wife said "it looks a bit tatty" and it did but after a bit of TLC it's a completely different story. It was quite neglected, cosmetically, and mechanically the shutter was sluggish to non performer and the lens was a disappointment, after all I bought this camera for the big Schneider lens. However, I stripped the lens down and cleaned and lubricated the shutter. Then as I reassemble I cleaned the lens elements and slowly it started to take shape. With a good blacking and polish on the leatherette and chrome-work it now looked how it should. The shutter speeds all work and, although I can't guarantee accuracy, they all seem pretty near the mark. As a bonus the self timer also works more efficiently than any other Prontor shutter that I have.

Now for the serious stuff, film loaded, sun shining and a free day...ish. I have to go out to see someone in Melksham and what better detour than a trip to Mecca, well Lacock actually. For those of you who are unaware this was the home of William Henry Fox Talbot, the man who invented the negative-positive process. 

I have to say that this camera has a somewhat clumsy feel to it when using hand held but I do have small hands. The balance is good and it has a clear, bright viewfinder and the shutter release is smooth, remembering to cock it first helps. As for the results, these have been a problem. I managed to find somewhere to get the negative processed but trying to scan them is another story. I was forced to surrender to my HP scanner in the end but this only scans up to about 1 3/4 inches wide. I could have done 2 passes for each and stitched them but this was not very satisfactory and incredibly time consuming. So I decided to scan across the centre of the negs leaving out the extreme top and bottom. This accounts for the roofs being chopped off, they are there, honest guv. The quality of exposure is not the best I've ever done but with practice I'm sure this will improve and better scanning will help. What this first roll does show is the detail resolving power of the lens which is as good as I had anticipated. I think that the next time I use it I will send the film off to have it processed to print. I can then scan the prints which, I'm sure, will be better.

 

 

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