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pjotr
25-Aug-2011, 16:08
Hi everyone,

recently I got interested in the russian made FKD cameras. Especially the 18x24 model. While I was able to track down it's technical specifications, I am not so sure about it's quality and usability. Yes, I know, it takes plate holders, the standard lens is shutterless, etc. But I would be really interested in how it is to actually use one of these cameras in the field and if it feels solid. Somewhere I read, that it's made of rather soft wood, which leads to inaccuracy and a lack of stability. But from the pictures it seems, like there are different 'generations' of this camera. The last ones look rather cheap, for example the knobs, or the woodwork, as far as I can tell from pictures. Also some have lensboards that seem to be made from plastic or metal. While others look rather nice, I would imagine, that cameras from the 50's or 60's are nicer made than the later ones.

Fore any insights, user experiences, or tips or what to look fore if one wants to buy such a camera I would be grateful. Yes I know there are other cameras, but the fkds seem to be cheap and they were also fascinating anachronisms.

Greetings,
pjotr

btw, the website http://www.pauck.de/marco/photo/stuff/fk/fk.html seems to be down, does anyone know if the informations there are available somewhere else?

Ash
25-Aug-2011, 23:39
I bought a 13x18 one because I wanted something sturdier and with longer bellows compared to the lightweight one I modified.

The camera took all of half an hour to modify the back to modern film holders. I used parts from a modern back (the ground glass holder piece, and springs) and then built a spacer around it on the original back. That way it still closes like it should.

My particular camera is a bit wobbly, but not so much to freak out. One of my first LF's was a Korona, and that was very wobbly.

Also, the one I bought was missing a few knobs and has pinholes in the bellows. All are easy fixes.

Steven Tribe
26-Aug-2011, 01:31
The rumours are that they are not as stable as the typical German "reisekamera" from the period 1900-20. And not quite the same degree of finish.
I have both the 13x18 and 18x25 models (from the German period) and the bigger camera is just about at the limits for the tailboard design in my view. As an admission of instability, my 18x24 has a pair of side fitments on the front and rear standards where two round metal rods can be clamped to stop flexing.
I have still have worries about the base and have thought about making a simple extra hardwood frame which uses tripod threads to make a platform which will support the triple sliding original base.
This is mostly because I want to use rather large/heavier items than Dagor and G-Claron etc.
My experience is that the type with square bellows and not the type with tapered/revolving bellows is best suited for modern heavier lenses and shutters.

Ole Tjugen
26-Aug-2011, 05:57
I agree with the "rumors", having owned both kinds.

A 13x18 FKD is almost as wobbly as the 30x40cm version, while my 24x30cm "Reisekamera" is very very stable.

I have some FKD plate holders which I intend to rework to fit the old German cameras, as soon as I get the basement cleared out so I can get some basic woodworking tools in so that .... *sigh*