Monday, 23 March 2015

Franka Solida

Franka Solida - what a name. I hadn't come across the name myself until relatively recently, when I began looking into old folding cameras, which were made from the 1920s onwards.  These particular cameras were built in occupied Germany after WWII and have a pretty decent reputation - perhaps not a par with Zeiss or Voigtlander, but not far off.  The one I ended up with is a very compact little beauty which takes 120 roll film, giving massive 6x6 negatives.  Well I say massive - compared to 35mm that is correct, since each side of the negative is 6cm instead of 36x24mm, so each negative uses occupies somewhere between 3 and 4 times the area of a 35mm neg.  The resulting images have a lovely smooth tone compared to 35mm - less grain is visible purely because you tend not to magnify the image as much.  Now sometimes you want grain, and 35mm is so much more portable and cheaper than 120 film, so there is a case for both.  Unlike 35mm film, you can't buy 120 film in bulk, unfortunately, since it requires a backing paper, so that makes it inherently more expensive.  And it takes a bit more chemical to develop it.  And you only get 12 shots per film.  But it's nice to work with - very nice.   Hopefully you can see some differences in these next couple of scans which came from the 1960s Franka.

This next one is of a subject which I've posted a photograph of before - the old lighthouse in Portstewart.   Very pleasing tones in this methinks.

The old lighthouse at Portstewart, 6x6 style

I've just realised - the lighthouse has had a coat of paint since the last time I snapped it about 6 months ago.  You can see the 'older' lighthouse photo here.  Ain't that something!  Who was responsible for that, eh?

This next shot was taken at the end of our lane.  It's not that interesting, but FP4+ has captured the softness of the early spring light quite well.

Spring has sprung, 2015 style

So I'm very happy with my 50-year old camera.  I wonder how many of today's digital cameras will be warming the hearts of photographers in 50 year's time.  Not many I suspect.  Thank goodness for film!

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