Folding Frena - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Folding Frena

No. 6


R & J Beck



Image of Folding Frena No. 6

f11, 5" landscape, two element. Apertures on sector scaled in US 8, 16, 32, 256.

Sector type, spring powered, adjustable sector size to vary exposure, speeds 1/5, 1/10, 1/20, 1/40. Self-capping.

Leather covered wood body, leather bellows.

40, 3 ¼" x 4 ¼" Frena film sheaths.


Two brilliant view-finders, Beck patent with mask between the lens and the mirror.
The removable changing box operates on a push/pull arrangement. Pulling the back out and moving a lever releases the exposed film by the normal Frena pin action. Exposure counter to 20.
The front can be used as a conventional camera with dark-slides in place of the changing box.

Serial Number:
16403 .

The Folding Frena appeared in 1900. The Frena changing mechanism had proved successful but the box cameras using it were, by this time, dated. The Folding Frena used a modified form of the changing mechanism; a push-pull mechanism deposited the exposed film in a chamber next to and in front of the film plane rather than behind it.

Four models were produced all in the quarter-plate size:

  • No. 8 - with Beck-Steinheil, 2 foci, f6.3 Orthostigmat.
  • No. 8a - with Beck-Steinheil f6.8 convertible.
  • No. 7 - with Beck Autograph rapid rectilinear f8.
  • No. 6 - with Beck Single Achromat f11.

All models could be supplied with double dark-slides and focusing screen rather than the changing mechanism. The first 3 models were folding plate cameras with a baseboard and pull-out front standard. The No. 6 used top and bottom struts (Shew like) to hold a front standard that enclosed the lens, shutter and finder. Optionally the models 8, 8a and 7 were supplied with a telephoto lens. This and the dark-slides could also be purchased for existing cameras.

The Folding Frena did not prove as popular as the box form and few could have been sold. After a few years the Zambex range was sold in preference. The changing mechanism was clumsy to use as well as being bulky. The price of the No.6 was £5.8.6.

The same pin-release is used to release the exposed film as is used in the box model Frena. To operate the changing box the camera must be held with the receiving chamber horizontal and below the changing box, to ensure this a gravity catch is deployed that prevents the changing box draw from being opened unless it is in the correct position. Once the draw of the changing box is pulled out a plate on the inside of the box will engage a slot in the changing mechanism, the plate can be turned by a handle on the outside of the camera which moves the pins of the mechanism. The draw is fully removed to load the films.

References & Notes:
BP 9820/1892. BP 23315/1892. BP 5120/1900. BJA 1901, pp. 936, 941, 1417. BJA 1902, p. 1399. BJA 1907, p. 167. YBP 1901, p. 193. BJP 15/6/00, p. 378. Phot. Dealer Oct/1900, p. 95.

Company Details:



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