Mr. Franka Solida meet Mr. Holga
I've been shooting a fair amount with my Holga's over the last few years and I've really gotten to like the look of the Meniscus lens but getting frustrated with the lack of shutter control in particular.
I thought of customizing the Holga with leaf shutter, but then thought why not put a Holga type meniscus lens in a better camera?
I've just purchased a Franka Solida folding camera, thinking it might do the trick. It's light weight and portable like the Holga and it takes 120 film.
It has a leaf shutter with two elements, one on each side of the shutter. My plan is to take out the inside lens and replace the front lens with a single element meniscus which with the correct diameter and focal length. the original focal length of the Solida is 75mm and the replacement lens will be closer to 85mm (as it's a single lens which sits further from the film plane.
I'm not sure how the focus will be effected? But if it can focus only at infinity, that should be fine as I'm using for landscapes with higher apertures.
I'm also not sure how the 'speed' of the lens will be effected? I'm guessing that as it's a single element lens more light will pass through and it's speed will increase?
Anyone else try this sort of thing? Perhaps it's crazy but I'm sure I'll learn something even if it doesn't work.
I have an old Franca Solida. You can see of my hybrid work with it on DPUG, same screen name. I find that the lens wide open is very soft, particularly around the edges. Have you tried it with its present lens. BTW, the my Solida has terrible parallax closer than about 7 feet. I have no clue how removing one lens element will affect image quality, except to take out the correction that second lens lens adds.
The problem with a folding rollfilm camera of this type is that the front standard will lock into a position designed for the focal length of the original lens and it is unlikely that you can do much to change it. I recently fitted a 55 mm lens to a folding camera of this type and pretty much had to scrap the whole door / bed / folding mechanism.
If the Holga lens has a focal length of 85 mm and the original lens is 75 mm them you might be in trouble. You need to be 85 mm from the film to get infinity and further than that to focus closer. You might be lucky, too... the focal length of the original lens will be taken from some 'nodal point' - which would be somewhere in the centre of the combined lenses. Sticking the Holga lens on the front might be far enough ahead of that point to gain the extra 10 mm you need. Or you could add a rubber washer or something.... You need a bit of ground glass (or frosted plastic, or tracing paper) inside the camera to check the focus. For landscapes, you really need the lens to focus on a hypfocal distance for the aperture you use most, say 30 feet for f16. I bet the Holga, being used for 'people snapshots', is focussed closer than that... Might be quite tricky to focus a soft lens accurately, but get as close as you can. No idea what the speed of a Holga lens is - but it will be the same speed whatever camera you fit it too (unless it loses it's stops when you remove it).
Actually, the position of the stops with a meniscus lens are part of it's rudimentary correction, I think. Placing a different iris a different distance from the lens may change the 'look' a bit - possibly not in a good way.
But I like artonpaper's suggestion best. Every camera has it's own characteristics - if you have a working Solida, why not use it as a Solida?
The heading for this section of the forums is called "Camera Building and Modifications", this kind of comment is kinda out of place isn't it? Obviously, if I was into purist photography I wouldn't be using toy cameras and experimenting!
Every camera has it's own characteristics - if you have a working Solida, why not use it as a Solida?
I'm interested in getting the look of a Holga but with the added benefit of shutter control.
My plan it find a meniscus lens (similar to Holga) with the same focal length of the camera in question. that way the fixed folding lensboard won't have to be modified.
There is site called surplusshed.com which carries a good selection of simple lenses at cheap prices.
I was trying to think of other issues which would effect this kind of modification.
You know, this kind of tinkering with cameras, is actually a great way to learn about the basic technical aspects of photography and how cameras work.
Hear hear, on the tinkering with cameras, be interesting to hear how it tuns out. Ever had a go at Brownies, they are huge fun too.
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I took the trouble to write you 350 words on modifying your camera and tried to answer your specific questions about focus and lens speed, which no one else has done.
Originally Posted by davido
I told you about my own efforts to mount a 55mm on a 6 X 6 - so I'm hardly against tinkering with cameras, am I?
I then added just one sentence at the end to reflect the fact that since there were problems with sticking an 85mm meniscus on a camera designed for 75mm that might make this project fail; then Artonpaper's suggestion that if you want softness, the Solida lens wide open might be worth trying (at least might be worth trying before you trash the camera).
So no, I don't think the comment was out of place.
Last edited by steven_e007; 10-03-2011 at 02:36 AM. Click to view previous post history.