My Salvation Army Treasure: Franka Solida I


Your local thrift store can be the best place to buy your next camera. Most people don’t have the time to sell their old cameras on craigslist or ebay…donation is easy and helps out others. The Salvation Army or the Goodwill are good places to comb through and sometimes you get lucky.

photo source

A friend and I decided to hit up our local thrift store because she needed a manual 35mm camera on the cheap…and I wanted to find something really old that could still take pictures.

We told the woman behind the register we wanted to look at all the cameras in the glass case. She started to pull out the newer, sleeker looking cameras… I told her to not bother with the newer ones, I want the old ones. The older the better, I told her. Leather and metal > plastic. We checked apertures, shutters, light meters galore! After 20 or so cameras, we had made our picks and purchases.

One of the cameras I left with was a Franka-Kamerawerk Solida I. And with a little bit of research/shooting I came up with some pleasing information. This is a medium format folding camera from Germany. Her shutter speed ranges from 1/200th -1/25th plus a bulb feature. There is a hotshoe (not quite sure if it’s synced…) and a cable release threading. It took me a while to figure out how to actually take a picture. The shutter release is in the normal position but you have to cock it first, kinda like a gun, down by the focus ring. Focusing, as with all non parallax cameras, is hit or miss. But with a 75mm glass lens, this baby is sharp. So sharp in fact, she is very unforgiving with focus. With a little more practice and/or a measuring tape I’ll harness this beast of a camera.

The best part?…It was about the same as the cost of D+P on a roll of 35mm B&W…$25

written by erikamentari on 2010-06-23 #gear #medium-format #review #cheap #german-camera #solida-i #franka-werk #salvation-army


  1. violet_rayy
    violet_rayy ·

    I want one! Lovely gallery and super little camera. Ebay here I come.....

  2. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    Great camera and gallery!!

  3. paramir
    paramir ·

    beautiful, beautiful gallery! and what a camera... I'd like to have one of those as well! great review.

  4. wuxiong
    wuxiong ·

    So Beautiful camera. I sae one here in China. But the price is crazy high....I like the fotos too.... thanks for sharing...

  5. ipdegirl
    ipdegirl ·

    Fantastic! It's like a little treasure hunt every time you go to one of those places, isn't it. Great find, it's beautiful.

  6. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    great review for a beautiful camera! And I love the shots! :)

  7. simonjamesonweston
    simonjamesonweston ·

    crisp shots and great to shoot with such an eye catching camera. I just started with an old MF folding camera too from China and it seems really similar to your review.
    good to see a review with good pictures too ;)

  8. gnarlyleech
    gnarlyleech ·

    Old cameras are best. For me, it's like stepping into a time machine and coming to future and documenting my travels on film. People can't help but stare at the guy with the old film camera. Great review

  9. dogma
    dogma ·

    I love folding cameras! the make fantastic pictures!

  10. darryl1208
    darryl1208 ·

    I bougth a Franke Solida III about nearly twenty years a go in a Photo shop. Forgot it for years and just took it to the Photokina 2010 my first try with a Lomography B&W roll is still terible.
    When I came home from Photokina I just googled a bit and recognized: I have the good version with the Schneider / Kreuznach Lense. The Camera is till workable the bad pictures that was done were only my mistake.

  11. sathish
    sathish ·

    i have a camera named franka solida1 which 1930s. do any one want it .. call me on +919066432267

  12. sathish
  13. sathish
    sathish ·

    i have camera franka solida 1 for sale
    call me . +919066432267

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