Franka Solida III

The Franka Solida III is a medium format folding camera produced around 1954 by Franka Kamera Werk in Bavaria Germany. It uses 120 roll film, producing 6x6 cm square format images.

Loenen (4)

Film: Ilford FP4 plus - Developper: Ilford Ilfosol 3


The Franka Solida III features a 80 mm Schneider Kreuznach Radionar. An aperture wide open of f2.9 that stops to f22. A weird thing I noticed is that the camera does not fold back when the lens is set to a short focal length. Before closing the camera you need to rotate the lens towards the infinity mark to make it fit in the inclosure. I never noticed anything like this with other folding cameras I own. My Zeiss Ikon folds even with a filter attached to the lens.

Schneider Radionar was a less expensive 3-element lens back in the day which makes this camera less collectible than the better-known medium format folders like Voightlander and Zeiss Ikon. However the faster maximum aperture gives you a lot more flexibility and a fast 3-element lens can be a great performer when stopped down a bit.

hedera (3)

Film: Ilford FP4 plus - Developper: Ilford Ilfosol 3


It is equipped with a Prontor-S leaf shutter capable of shutter speeds ranging from 1 sec to 1/250th of a second and Bulb. One of the nicest things about this camera is the placement of the shutter release button. It's on top of the camera where you are probably used to find it on most cameras nowadays. Not a tiny lever on the lens.


Film: Ilford FP4 plus - Developper: Ilford Ilfosol 3

After having shot one roll I found that this lens is deffinitly no match for my Zeiss Ikon alternatives. The Zeiss lenses may be half a stop slower. The focus is also a lot softer. It is definitely a nice camera to use, but don't expect razor sharp results.