A Couple of Kodak 1a's

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by rick_drawbridge, Apr 2, 2016.

  1. Just a bit of trivia for a slow weekend on CMC. My neighbour dropped these off yesterday, saying that he and his wife were clearing out the attic and he thought he'd leave these with me rather than adding them to the trash, a decision that met with my approval. To the best of my understanding they're a Retina 1a and a 1a Pocket Kodak.
  2. Now, I don't know very much about these two, though I have a later model Retina and another 1a Pocket Kodak with a totally different lens. From what I understand, this one is the budget model with the fixed-focus f/6.3 meniscus lens. It seems to differ from others I have found on the internet in that the "kickstand" lacks the rather charming calligraphy and the "Kodak" nameplate, but is instead a chromed item that serves as a latch when the camera is folded. Does anyone know if this suggests this is an early model in the production run that extended from 1926-32? The serial number is 23158. The camera requires some tidying, but it's basically sound with a clean lens and working shutter, and contains an original 116 spool. Naturally, the autographic stylus is missing...
    As for the Retina, I was delighted to find that it's in relatively good shape, working well with just a little corrosive deterioration on the alloy edging. The chrome and leatherette are in fine shape and the shutter and focus works as they should. I'm not familiar with the little 50mm Xenar f/3.5 lens; does anyone have any opinions regarding it's quality? I imagine that it's almost impossible to find lens hoods and filters for such a tiny lens in this day and age; it looks like about a 22mm internal thread, and I guess a push-on hood would be about a 24mm fit. Overall, I'm really impressed by this little camera: I've never really appreciated just how small the 1a is, and just how beautifully constructed it is. I'll clean it up tomorrow and run a film, if the Autumn showers permit.
    Should anyone like to flesh this post out with comment or information, I'd be most appreciative.
  3. Rick, Surely that little thingy on the RHS is focus, and probably operated with the chrome wheel thingy on the LHS, or am I just tired. I used to use one of these things once upon a time, only I think I had to move focus manually, but in the same place.
  4. I had a Retina I for several years before moving on to a IIa. Kodak made a very thin set of filters for the
    Retina that allowed them to be folded with out removing the filter. I met someone once who told me a sad
    story of his Retina being folded with a generic filter and the struts were badly bent, ruining the camera. If
    you scroll down this list - http://kodak.3106.net/index.php?p=210 - you will find several Retinas listed.
  5. That type of latch is more typical for a Kodak Hawkeye or Brownie, at least in the US. The overall style, where you remove the whole works of the camera from the front to load film, is typical of about 1929 to 1931, just before Kodak came out with 616 and 620 film. They're actually rather annoying to load!
    There's a little nameplate somewhere on it that will give more details.
    It obviously has a meniscus lens, f/11. Nice squishy corners on the image!
  6. Nice to see them. I know very little, really, about older Kodaks.
    In the day when they were still being made, there was a lot of bragging about the quality of the Xenar lenses when they were present, FWTW
  7. What a co-incidence I have one of each too.. My Retina is though the later 1a model with a faster 2.8 lens Although mine doesn't appear to be a nice as yours ( you always seem to have the most amazing condition and best specimen possible) Mine also works well The Nagel build quality is (expletive) amazing. I received this ( and a Ib too) as a present from a neighbor too I now have three, and I can only recommend them highly, I know you just shot your Ultron, These Xenars are also super fine glass and the shutter on these Nagels make a beautiful sschlicksh sound. My folder (pen-ultimately missing the autobiographic pen) was also, like yours a gift from a neighbor although thirty years ago. Despite the design, it was quite light tight. I shot the camera then with a very old 116 film with slightly fogged results. Mine has the ser nb 99614 I think it has a simple block letter "Kodak",nothing extra fancy on the tab. Here'S a pic I made with the Nagel Retina Probably Kentmere 100 in D76 1:1 .
  8. the Autographic
  9. The Kodak is a 1A Pocket Kodak, Series II. It has an F.7.9 lens with the Kodex No. 1 shutter. It is an autographic model as I see it has the hanger on the lens mount for the stylus. It was made from 1925-32. I have the manual scanned for this model if you are interested in trying the camera out with 120 film. You will need the Holgamods film adapters so you an use 120 film in the 116 camera. 116 was 1/8" wider.
    Every Kodak had a manual for each lens and shutter combination on each camera model. The depth of field scale information is different for each version. I posted a while back my early list of the medium format Kodaks that could use 120 film. Since then I have added most of the postwar models, such as the Vigilants, Tourist, tourist II, and the UK Kodak 66. In addition I have been buying the manuals for each version of each camera, as I can find them, and scanning them. Eventually I want I all up on a website for people to access.
    Any Kodak model that appeared before WW2, that was made after the war, were then released with flash capable shutters.
  10. That Retina Ia is a fine camera with an excellent lens - as said above, the Xenar is one of the best Tessar-type lenses. Do try it.
    I have a similar Retina but with 2.8 Xenar. It came with a hood and filters. The hood is indeed tiny.
  11. Rick,
    The Kodak 1a is not a budget camera ...Six Three is for the f/6.3 Cooke Kodak Anastigmat lens, quite fast glass for 1913-16. The shutter type will better date the camera. Other f/6.3 lenses offered were a B&L Zeiss Tessar, Zeiss Kodak Tessar and a B&L Series IIb. Would have been a good performer in it's day. Should be a focus scale and stop adjustment on the bed. The 1a retina is also a nice find.
  12. I don't know about the Retina, but as I recall the Retinette had a similar Xenar lens, and it proved to be quite nice indeed.
  13. Thank you all for the input, and all the helpful information and samples! I'll post some stuff from the Retina before too long, but it could be a while before I get the Pocket Kodak up and running; there are quite a few old folders in line for a little attention and repair, all good work for the not-too-distant Winter days.
  14. I have one No. 2A Folding Cartridge Hawkeye with that latch, and the same meniscus achromatic lens. It's a junker, I know I also have a restored one, my grandfather's camera, but can't place it at the moment. But most of the folding Hawkeye and folding Brownie cameras had equivalent "folding Kodak" models.
  15. Rick,
    I went through some old magazines and catalogs looking for info on your Pocket Kodak 1 and 1A. This is an ad for the 1A Pocket Kodak Series II in the March 1927 issue of American Photography.
  16. Oh, each model of Folding Pocket Kodak or Autographic Kodak came with a variety of lenses and shutters. The cheapest would be with a Meniscus Achromatic lens, the most expensive with an f/7.7 or f/4.5 lens with 3 or four elements, often Tessar design (but not always branded Tessar). A typical price for a 1A with the Meniscus Achromatic lens would be $11 in depression dollars.
  17. This next one is from a 1926-27 Central Camera catalog listing of the Series II.
  18. Here is an ad that was in the December 1926 issue of American Photography.
  19. Here is an ad from June 1927 of the Pocket Kodak with an anastigmat f/6.3 lens.
  20. That style of latch/foot started being used on Folding Brownie cameras about 1920. This camera is from somewhere between 1920 and 1929.
  21. I posted the list of Kodaks that could potentially take 120 film for those who might want to use one. The list is by film size, then by model name when each model appeared, then follows a list of the different lens and shutter versions for each model. It will help you sort out what camera you are looking at. Occasionally I see a model that has a lens and shutter of a later model on an earlier body. These could be models adapted in the after market. Or they could be the last of the bodies fitted at the factory with the newer lens and shutters. They are still non-catalog items. the list is still posted here.
  22. Thanks, Matthew, I actually copied that list at the time. You're rapidly becoming our resident Folding Kodak guru! Great ads, Marc; I've always liked the Kodak typography and lay-outs. They maintained the same style for many years. And thanks, John, for the additional information.
  23. VP116 is not hard to find on eBay, and usually works just fine.
    VP122 is older, a little harder to find, but might work well enough. So far, I have developed a roll of VP122 exposed over 50 years ago with not so bad results. I have another previously exposed roll to develop, and some unexposed rolls to use.
    I also have a VP118, but no camera to use it with.
  24. rdm


    Nice lookin cameras.
    I'de be itching to run a roll of film through that folder if I were you.
  25. Thanks, Glen, and dan...Yes, it's all just a matter of time, and getting organised, but it would be great, putting that old folder through it's paces...

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