so last century

This was shot with a No. 1A Autographic Kodak Special, introduced in 1917. (first one uncropped, second one is a crop to show how stupidly big and detailed these negatives are). Mine is probably from 1920.

The killer feature is the coupled rangefinder (below the lens, in the bottom of the front standard), something Kodak invented just a few years prior for the (even larger) 3A Special. Now that’s super cool in theory. In practice, it’s so difficult to use that it negates the whole point of it helping with focusing. It’s probably faster to get out a tape measure and then use the distance focusing scale. So there might be a hint why that particular design didn’t catch on.

At the time it was one of the more expensive Kodaks, though that’s not really saying much. This one is not made of cardboard, let’s put it like that. The “Kodamatic” shutter is actually pretty nice – not quite as watch-like as the Compur of the era, but it seems more robust. It’s running a bit too slow but not by much, and I’m pretty sure it will still work in another 100 years. The camera even has front rise, usually – mine doesn’t because the front standard was broken and I had to fix that in place to get it to hold together. I also had to replace the bellows with a home-made one because Kodak built the original one out of dirt and hopes and dreams, and it completely disintegrated over the last century. The lens is a f6.3 Kodak Anastigmat, which is Kodak-speak for “pretty good”.

It uses 116 film originally, which is a bit larger than today’s medium format film. But by combining the expensive hobby weird cameras with the other expensive hobby 3D printing, you can make yourself adapters for the film rolls, which is what I did. I also had to design them myself because none of the ones on thingiverse fit this camera. It then takes six 6×10 cm pictures per film – a bit of a weird format. Also a bit of a small number of pictures. But still more convenient than changing sheet film after each shot. I feel pretty “splendidly equipped”, in any case.

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