For lending me the camera — Thanks Dave!
Amazing collection of Kodak catalogs at Kodakcollector.com.
A clarification: The camera could be as late as 1934. The catalog years overlap — 1932-33, 1933-34, 1934-35. The 34-35 catalog is the first one to show the “Action Front” push button bed release. The 32-33 catalog is the only one that explicitly states the camera is available in black or brown but I don’t know if later model years had the color choice. If it is from 33-34, the doublet was the low-end lens with an f/6.3 or f/4.5 anastigmat as an upgrade and a Diodak shutter option which added 1/10 second to the speeds of the Kodon.
The scalloping at the top of the next image is from re-spooling the film. I didn’t have it perfectly parallel to the 620 spool rim so the film & paper came off at an angle and wrinkled.
Taken with the tape and poster board seals. Still leaked.
That’s it for posted images taken with this camera. About the kludges follows.
Getting the cardboard between the bellows and the folding front was a challenge. Good view of the aperture setting: U.S. 8=f/11, 16=f/16, 32=f/22, 64=f/32.
The back is 6 X 9cm and the front is sized to let the Instax frame slide in.
I still got light leaks between the top and body. I tried yet more tape before giving up and shrouding the whole thing with my dark bag.
I don’t have a proper darkroom so here’s the process. I taped up the Instax film box to use as a transfer station.
- Put the film in the box.
- The box and camera go into the dark bag. Remove the film, remove one frame from the cartridge, insert it in the holder in the camera, and put the cartridge back in the box.
- Meter, carefully take the camera out of the bag, and shroud everything but the lens and shutter trigger.
- Take the shot and put the camera back in the bag.
- Take the frame out of the holder, slide it back in the Instax cartridge, and put the cartridge in the light-tight box.
- Put the Instax camera in the bag, load the cartridge, take it out, cover the lens, and shoot it to run the print through the Instax rollers.
I got turned around a couple of times and loaded the Instax frame with the image side towards the lens. I burned through most of a box of 10 prints to get two OK images but it was still a lot cheaper and faster than using negative film (re-spool, reload, process) for each iteration.
I did a bit of editing on most of the images. It’s from the film (age=grain and loss of speed) and scanner noise.
Fuji ISO 200 film of unknown vintage. Some grain in low light but not bad for being in someone’s garage. Processed and scanned by The Camera Shop of Santa Fe.
* With the old Achiever 115A flash, ISO 200 should be at f/22 at 3 feet but the Rokkor-X PF 50mm f/1.7 only stops down to f/16. Exposure compensation wouldn’t help since the exposure is based on the flash duration and the only correction the camera could do would be to double the shutter speed at -1 exposure compensation (to adjust the exposure down to ISO 100 which is on the flash table at f/16 and 3 feet). A -1 stop ND filter would work but I didn’t have one handy. I got lucky with the film’s exposure latitude (or it’s slower because it’s old) and it’s not overexposed.
I’m still trying to find my Photoshop Elements disk. It’s in a box somewhere. In the meantime, I’ve been using GIMP. The workflow is really different but it’s growing on me.
I have a few shots from disassembling the camera to clean it. I’ll combine those with photos of the 2nd tear-down to fix the shutter and post here. Hopefully followed by another roll of images.
Not much for images — the shutter still sticks. A couple of images and the disassembly/attempted repair experiment.
One specification missing from the manual and most of the web is the focal length of the lens. I haven’t independently verified it but this Lomography article says it is 42.5mm.
The T-shirt is a design by my brother Mike. He did it when Catherine Coulson, best known as the log lady from Twin Peaks, died in 2015.
Since I found the second camera and have 4 Rapid cartridges, I can afford to dissect one and see if it’s practical to duplicate them.
I’m using new scanning software, Vuescan. So far, I love it. Its batch processing is kind of weak. You have to be able to give it the frame spacing beforehand and I scan too much weird stuff. Also, including spacing around the negatives throws off the exposure (see images below for the way around it). Still, it’s much better for just about everything than Canon’s software.
Telling the software that negatives are slides removes the correction for the color of the emulsion. It’s pretty easy to do it right but this was fun, learn the software time. The right way: Set it for color negatives (most B&W emulsion is pretty clear), set the crop area to the image, lock the exposure, expand the crop area to include the sprocket holes, and hit the scan button.
Update 12 July 2017: This camera found a new home on my ETSY store.
New light seals since the review. They were pretty easy to do. Felt at the hinge and thin foam strips press-fitted into the grooves.
Ansco also made a box camera ca. 1926 called the Craftsman No.2A.
Not a lot of images to show in addition to what’s in the video. Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros developed in Kodak HC-110.
Because the shutter is slow I used a Y2 filter (1 stop) for most of the shots on this roll. The yellow provides a nice contrast boost too.
I’m really impressed by the sharpness of the images. No post-processing other than resizing.
I struck out trying to find a manual or information and had to find out for myself.
Checking the focal length
I taped the inside edge, where the film insert goes and marked the tape at the film plane.
Next I taped the lens inside so I wouldn’t scratch it with the calipers and put a thin piece of card stock along the film plane line.
The calipers have a post that sticks out as the jaws open allowing depth measurements.
Checking the aperture
You can see the aperture in front of the lens but behind the shutter.
The Play-Doh was covered in plastic food wrap as I held the shutter open with the stem from a cotton swab and pressed it into the aperture. I could have used about five hands for this operation. Thankfully, there isn’t glass in front of the shutter.
~90mm focal length / ~7mm diameter = ~f/13.
And then I found this ad. I need to re-find it on the web so I can give proper credit.
Checking the shutter speed
I set the Olympus to 240 frames per second and shot the shutter six times. In Quicktime, I counted frames from closed (pure black) to closed again. From my working notes:
Vid at 240 frames / second = 4.17 ms / frame
75 / 6 = 12.5 frames
12.5 x 4.17ms = 0.0521 seconds = ~ 5/100 = ~ 1/20 second avg.
fastest = 11 = ~ 4.6/100 = ~ 1/22
slowest = 14 = ~ 5.8/100 = ~ 1/17
The red window is bright and easy to read. Maybe too easy. The right edge of the aspen image and the top of the goats have some funky marks. It could be from processing. I’d need to shoot another roll doing frames with the window covered and uncovered to be sure.
Note to self: Cover the window on an old unknown camera unless that’s part of the test.