Six side-by-side photos compare a photo taken with an iPhone 4 using the Hipstamatic app with a photo shot with a 1950′s Franka Solida III medium format folding film camera. Much like last year’s experiments with a Holga, I prefer the film images.
The certo6.com site has a lot of great information on vintage folding cameras. The Franka is compact, works perfectly, and looks beautiful — not bad for a 50+ year old camera. The best part is Jurgen from certo6.com does a full CLA on each camera before selling them on eBay.
The downside of shooting film is the cost — a roll of 120 plus developing ends up being $12 — $1 per shot. And then of course you need to scan the film. If you want to make prints, the extra hassle is worth it. Film has a lot more dynamic range than the iPhone. And the 5 megapixel iPhone 4 or 8 megapixel iPhone 4s can’t compare to the resolution of scanned 6×6 film. Even on my old Epson 4990 flatbed scanner at the 2400ppi setting I get a 25 megapixel file from my Franka negatives. Big enough to print a 16″ square image at 300 dpi, which is a nice size for these images.
Last month I received a wonderful birthday gift — a 1950′s Franka Solida III medium format folding camera. The camera shoots 6×6 images on 120 film. The Franka features a very sharp 80mm Schneider f/2.9 [sic] Radionar lens. For this first roll I shot Kodak E100VS slide film and then cross processed in C-41 negative chemistry. This roll of film was in another camera and then got pulled out and used in the Franka. Due to these shenanigans the roll wasn’t wound tightly and light leaks are visible on the edges of some images.
The Franka is really fun to use. Here’s the shooting process:
- Open the case if you’re using it.
- Press the button on the bottom of the camera to release the lens. Unlike many folding cameras of this vintage, the lens opens from the side.
- Use the rangefinder to figure out the focusing distance.
- The rangefinder is not coupled to the lens, so next you focus the lens.
- Set the aperture and shutter speed.
- Cock the shutter
- Press the shutter release.
Once you get the hang of it, this isn’t a lot of work. The camera is very compact when folded up, and was only about $200. The eBay seller Certo6 has a very informative vintage folding cameras website. The shutter on my Franka seems spot on, the lens is very clean, and everything works really smoothly. I’m looking forward to more shooting with this beautiful little classic.
Time-lapse technical details:
- The images were shot with a GoPro HD camera set to record a photo every 2 seconds.
- The results were imported into Lightroom 3, developed, cropped to 16:9, and settings synchronized.
- Next I made a collection in Lightroom with the time-lapse images and the film scans from my first roll.
- Using Lightroom’s slideshow module, I set each image to appear for 0.3 seconds.
- In order to show the film scans and a few key frames for longer than 0.3 seconds I made virtual copies of those images.
- I tried exporting the slideshow from Lightroom but the pacing seemed a lot different than the preview I was seeing from within Lightroom. I used ScreenFlow screen capture software to record the preview, add the end titles, and upload the 720p video to YouTube.
Two consecutive shots from an afternoon walk in Berkeley.
Mamiya 7II with 43mm lens. Fuji 64T tungsten slide film cross-processed in C-41 chemistry.