View Full Version : Fabulously French Foca
I recently acquired a Foca 3 Star camera on ebay. It is quite an interesting beast, and appears to be extremely well made, with a few features I haven't seen on any othe RF camera. It's rather pushing the point to call it a Leica copy though as it is quite different. Being a French machine, it is more or less required to look strange, but everything is logical, if a bit odd.
It has F and X sync at 1/50th, which is nice, but it uses strange flash connectors, the like of which I have never seen. They look like PC's but about 2/3 the diameter, and I cannot find any adaptor that fits. Anyone have any info on this strange connector?
Probably best to have a PC connector installed. I had to do that on my M3. How does the film wind on?
Also, what kind of lens mount?
The great french photographer Willy Ronis used one for some of his work.
Also, what kind of lens mount?
Appears to be LTM, no?
Cool camera, riouzann et al, thanks for the info and links.
The Willy shots are quite spectacular, very classic euro.
Hi, a few months ago i purchased one Foca trois etoiles, 3 stars!
I agree with you quality is superb!!!
The RF is clear and conttrasty!
I must say is really something in terms os quality and use, it doesn´t seem a Leica copy because as you feel it you realize the great machine it is.
The sad part of my camera is the lens 50/2.8 has heavy wiping marks that renders images almost unusable when shooting broad day light.
Hope i can get a new lens for it.
Congratulations on your camera, great in everyway!!!
Looks like a lovely camera. Looking forward to seeing some images from it.
Some interesting features...the large shutter speed dial is also the wind knob. It is possible to cock the shutter of a SM Leica or similar camera by turning the shutter speed dial, but when you see just how delicate the internal bits are, you don't dare do it. Things like the indexing pin must be massive on this camera to take the full force of winding shutter and film. That probably implies other parts of the shutter train are heavier than usual as well. The camera is extremely well made: the line along the bottom of the body in the photo above is the mating line of body and back, and there is absolutely zero mismatch. The combined VF/RF is decent, sort of like an early 50's Canon, but without zoom functions or eyesight correction. The focusing mount with its cute little depth of field scale is fixed to the camera, and the lens screws into the mount (no, it is not LTM, not even close). There are other lenses available, and the drill is to focus using the RF, note the distance indicated, reset the focus mount to infinity, and set the distance on the lens' own focusing mount. Cumbersome, like a Kodak Retina. The camera has a fully removable back with a central recessed locating key, and a unique chromed film locating gate that snaps over the film sprockets to absolutely ensure they engage properly. Sort of like the pressure plate on a Rollei 35 only more so. The pressure plate is shiny chrome plated.
A bas les mauvais reflets!
Vive le non-conformisme!
Vive la France!!
Years ago I had a complete Foca outfit, with 28-35-50-90-135 lenses, all in a Foca-unique thread, but with their own focusing mounts. The lot came in a Foca case with Foca filters and a Foca turret viewfinder: there's a picture on page 157 of my A History of the 35mm Still Camera (Focal Press, 1984). They were indeed very well made cameras and today they are silly money in France. As far as I recall, it had the same wind-on arrangements as the Three Star
I sold mine after a few weeks with almost a 3x profit in England in the 1970s, because it wasn't really a very usable camera compared with an M, and even then, I was leaning more towards taking pictures than to trying to use elderly and refractory cameras: I'd normally only buy 'em if there was a decent profit in it, which meant rare stuff I could move quickly to leading collectors.
If you want to see something REALLY weird, there's the Focaflex. The bottom-hinged half-silvered reflex mirror reflects the light down onto a focusing screen on the bottom of the camera, whence it is examined through the reflex mirror via a prism on the top.
The Foca is quite well made but not the easiest camera in the world to repair. The shutter blinds are drawn by cords - not tapes and their assembly is quite complex.
Shutter adjustment can be done without total disassembly but the range finder has no adjustments whatsoever, the original setting being locked with a locking compound.
I had a Foca ** in the late sixties and the results from it (monochrome) were very good the lens being sharp but a little low on contrast.
Finder of FOCA, FOCANOX 5cm
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