|Frena Box pattern hand camera in 1905 ad.|
image by Internet Archive Book Images (Image rights)
Frena cameras are a range of magazine cameras for sheet film, made by Beck from about 1893. They use special sheet film: the edge of the film is notched, and this is essential to the working of the sheet-changing mechanism.
In the original model, as in a falling-plate camera, each sheet is dropped to the bottom of the camera after exposure, by turning a handle on the side forward and back. Later models have a different changing mechanism, still relying on notched sheet film, and with exposed sheets being stored at the back of the camera.
The lens on most Frenas is an f/8 Beck Rapid Rectilinear. Some cheaper models have an f/11 achromat, and an f/6.3 Beck-Steinheil Orthostigmat lens was offered for some models. The lens has adjustable aperture on the better models, achieved by an aperture disc. Focusing is achieved by sets of add-on lenses, each offering a focus range.
The Frenas have sector shutters, like those on many box cameras, but with adjustable sector-width, giving a range of exposure times (from 1/5 to 1/40 second, in the example of the Presentation Frena No. 2).
A by-product of the film-changing mechanism is that the camera can be tilted slightly up, and the film then returned to the vertical using the changing handle (which has a built-in level); this gives the camera rear tilt.
|Beck Frena No.22|
image by bratieres (Image rights)
- No. 1 (3¼x3¼ inch lantern-slide size); originally simply the Frena, and named the No. 1 after other sizes were added.
- No. 2 (3¼x4¼ inch: quarter plate)
- No. 22 (as the No. 2, but with an f/11 achromat instead of a Rapid Rectilinear.
- No. 3 (4x5 inch)
- No. 0 (2⅝x3½ inch: roughly sixth-plate)
- No. 00 (as the No. 0, but with an f/11 achromat)
- No. 10, FOP Frena ('Film Or Plate')
- Frena Max (quarter plate)
De-luxe Presentation models were made in some of the sizes. These are covered with light-brown leather, instead of the normal black, and have lacquered-brass fittings.
- McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). p115.
- Frena at Early Photography
- Frena cameras at Red Bellows: notes on the camera features and use, and some contemporary advertising.
- FOP Frena at Early Photography.
- Presentation Frena No. 2 at Early Photography. Includes notes on other sizes and variations in the cameras.
- Frena Max, also at Historic Camera.
- Examples sold at auction:
- Frena (original model) serial no. 5506, sold by Fuller's Fine Art Auctions on 19 November, 2011 (listing is on the Live Auctioneers site).
- Frena No. 0 serial no. 15648, sold at the 25th Westlicht Photographica Auction on 22 March 2014
- Presentation No. 2 serial no. 11715, sold by Christies at sale 9665, Cameras, Magic Lanterns and Optical Toys on 16 November 2004.
- Presentation camera, serial no. 11682 (described by the auctioneer as half-plate, but it appears identical to the two quarter-plate examples already cited), offered for sale at Westlicht Camera Auction 26, on 22 November 2014.
- Holland, Clive (1899): Holiday work with a 'Frena'. The Artist: An Illustrated Monthly Record of Arts, Crafts and Industries (American Edition), Volume 26, pp 18-22; a discussion of holiday photography with hand-cameras, praising the Frena as a good amateur camera. Available to view or download in several formats, at the Internet Archive.