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1919: 1 Autographic Kodak Special Model A
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:58 pm    Post subject: 1919: 1 Autographic Kodak Special Model A Reply with quote

The camera:

wollensak panorama by Nesster, on Flickr

This model was made between 1919 and 1920. After 93 years, the Optimo shutter still works perfectly, the Kodak Special Anastigmat 110mm 6.3 is still a good performer... but the bellows are shot. Over a few months I patched them up and took these pictures in low light before I folded the camera up. Once folded the bellows disintegrated entirely. I have a stash of NOS Kodak bellows however, and this camera has potential, so when I get time, I'll see about putting a new one in the camera.

All shots with Holga/Foma 400, HC-110, Epson 4490. Exposures were between 1/4 and 1/2


On the Montclair Art Museum grounds by Nesster, on Flickr


Head, on lawn by Nesster, on Flickr


#3


PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey this is something, excellent result!


PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not bad at all. I have a Kodak 3A in very nice condition, need to modify it to use 120, I forget which lens it has now, it's a dialyte type 4 element but I don't remember the specifics.


PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bellows are a typical failure point for old Kodaks. I think Kodak cut some corners somewhere.
Anyway, your shutter is an excellent piece and I think underappreciated.
I have three Optimos and all (save a minor repair in one case) are working well after nearly a hundred years.
I can't say the same for Deckel Compounds, which were the comparable competition.
I have several of these too, and all needed thorough disssembly, clean and lube to make them work.


PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bellows in general are a failure point. Although I've had better luck with Kodak bellows than with any other brand. I think Ansco bellows are probably the worst, I don't know what material they used but it pretty much just turns to dust if you look at it wrong these days. I've got a Kodak Jr. with the rapid rectilinear lens, and the bellows are still in excellent condition - unfortunately the rest of the camera has taken a beating.


PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

luisalegria wrote:
Bellows are a typical failure point for old Kodaks. I think Kodak cut some corners somewhere.


Yeah! Only 93 years before failing! Complain to Kodak (before they disappear). Laughing


Interesting shots with a nice "feel".


PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This can sound silly, I know, but the fact is that old German camera bellows from good makes tend to be in better condition that those of Kodaks of similar age.


PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

luisalegria wrote:
This can sound silly, I know, but the fact is that old German camera bellows from good makes tend to be in better condition that those of Kodaks of similar age.


This is true. The Kodak bellows that are good tend to be from earlier in the century, or then 620 cameras from the 40's and later


PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, you have got quite a lot of shutterspeeds on that old folder (even to 1/300s.) Exclamation Shocked The lenses of those old Kodak-camera's ain't bad, don't you think? I was also pleasantly surprised by the results of the Eastman Kodak No.2 Folding Hawk-Eye Model B (1926) which I own.


PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Optimo was a very high-tech shutter for that time, because it claimed such a high speed. This was not common then. The equivalent Compur and Compound shutters of the same vintage yielded 1/250 for this size shutter.

There is no easy way to tell if it could actually reach this speed. Most leaf shutters don't hit their top speeds. The apparent precision of these settings is an illusion.

Many other air-regulated shutter designs, even from the turn of the 19th century had a similarly wide range of speeds, but the usual top speed was 1/150.