Kodak Pony 135

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by mike_gammill, May 9, 2012.

  1. I have a basic Kodak Pony 135 (51mmm f4.5 lens and shutter speeds to 1/200 second.) It was in a box of cameras given to me by a church member. At first I thought it was nonfunctional, but then remembered that the collaspsible lens had to be locked into place. So over the weekend I shot a roll of Plus-X to see what the little Pony could do. Considering it was the budget model (from the early 1950's) I was pleasantly surprised.
    For my photos I stopped in a small town called Big Creek and photographed some old farm equipment that was on display.
    First, the camera.
  2. The top half of the leather case was broken, but the case still fit.
  3. The inside top of case has exposure recommendations for Kodachrome Type A, Panatomic-X, Plus-X, and Super XX. (no Tri-X yet).
    The top of the camera reveals simple wind and rewind knobs and a film type reminder.
  4. The shutter speeds all seem accurate (based on exposure). Like the many folders around, the shutter had to be cocked separately from the film advance. The more expensive cameras automatically cocked the shutter when the film was advanced. During the 1950's cameras that could do this were referred to as "automatic".
  5. Some results, now. Again Plus-X. Most shots at 1/200 second or 1/100 second. Apertures used ranged from f5.6 to f11.
  6. The film, BTW, was processed in HC110 dilution B and scanned with an Epson V600 at 2400 dpi and resized using Microsoft Office Picture Manager.
  7. Another essential piece of equipment.
  8. If farmer McGregor had owned this next piece of equipment, Peter Rabbit would never have dared to nick any of his vegetables.
  9. Downtown Big Creek. A number of years ago these buildings were restored. A barber shop and a steak house were opened for business.
  10. The old abandoned farm equipment was placed on display at this park.
  11. I burnt a roll with it. Mine looked very dirty when I got it at a garage sale, but it's very easy to clean everything (except the inside of the lens). It works fine, I like it is fully manual, including focusing
  12. They're astonishingly good quality images, Mike. I was reading about this era of Kodak lens a while ago, and it seems that great efforts were made to provide optics that competed with the equivalent European offering. The Anaston was a triplet, a re-branding of the original Kodak Anastigmat design, and went on to join the Ektanon family. I've never handled a Kodak Pony, but I'll keep a watch for one, now.
    There's a fine Flickriver gallery featuring the Pony here:
  13. Those are nice, Mike! If my memory serves me, this lens contained high index, radioactive glass elements and was renowned for it's quality/price performance.
  14. I like!
    I have been occasionally looking at these, this may spur me to actually bidding on one.
  15. Wow! I had a Pony 828, as a kid; that was my transition from a Brownie Hawkeye to a Voightlander Vitessa L, as I moved up the photography food chain. The 828 might have preceded the 135; don't remember if they were both made at the same time. Haven't thought about these cameras in a very long time.
  16. I saw some Pony 828 ads in a mid-50's photo magazine which is probably after the one I have was made. Likely they shared numerous components. Kodak touted the 828 as economical because the 828 roll film only gave 8 pictures per roll. You could get black & white, Kodachrome, and Kodacolor in 828 during the Pony 828's production. It was sometimes called bantam format. The availibilty of Kodachrome gave Kodak Chevron users a cheap way to get Kodachrome slides as Kodak offered an 828 adapter for the camera for a time.
  17. Mike,
    Interesting post and pictures. The top plate was probably the beginning of product placement like you see in the movies.
    According to McKeown's the Pony 828 came out in 1949 and Kodak stopped production in 1959.
    The Pony 135 was made from 1950-54. The Model B was made from 1953-55. The Model C was made from 1955-58. The Pony 135 had either a f/3.5 or a f/4.5 Anaston lens.
    I will see if I can find some ads.
  18. Mike -
    I also have this camera, never used it...can you tell me if you have to have film loaded in order to cock or activate the shutter? Not sure if mine has an issue or not, was not able to do a dry run. Glad you posted, gives me an idea of what it does, thanks! Great shots!
  19. Shutter operates even without film. It is cocked separately from film winding. Also, lens must be fully extended and locked
    into position to fire shutter.
  20. Very nice, Mike. I've had a couple of Pony cameras but sold both of them. Your pictures are very sharp and look surprisingly good with great image quality. Now I wish I hadn't sold both of them.
  21. Here is the first ad I could find for the Pony 135. It was in the March 1951 issue of Modern Photography.
  22. Here is the cover of the 1951 Wards Photographic catalog.
  23. Here is the first part of the catalog pages showing the Pony cameras and their competitors.
  24. Here is part 2.
  25. You picked a great subject to try out your Pony on, Mike. Great photos. I have passed up
    a couple of Pony 135's lately and I don't know why. They look like and interesting camera.
    You have inspired me to quit passing them up.
    About a year ago a friend gave me a Pony 828. Below is a photo of it.
  26. Rick- thanks for the link and the compliments.
    Louis, thanks for the info on the lens and the compliments. I knew some lenses had radioative glasses (like lanthanum, for example), but never knew the budget priced (but capable) Pony series had such glass.
    Marc- thanks for the compliments and the ad/catalog scans. Wards, like Sears, had a wide selectrion of photo equipment in its day.
    Rod- thanks for the compliments. Great shot of your Pony 828 outfit. You can slit 120 film down to reuse that 828 spool. Or if you don't mind spockets intruding a bit into the image you can just use 35mm. Be sure to save the paper backing from the orginal 828 roll.
    John, Charles, JDM, Jack, and Andy- thanks for the compliments.
    I've gained a new respect for this little camera. I must confess that I "conveniently" forgot that I had it for a while before deciding to try it out.
    Thanks again.
  27. Thanks, Louis. I haven't had access to a Geiger counter since I retired from public school teaching so I had no way to
    confirm it anyway. ;-)
    I do have a 50mm f1.4 Takumar that I'm curious about, though.
  28. Big Creek doesn't look very...big
  29. It isn't, Ian. The town doesn't have its own post office. Houses are far apart with a few farms in the area. Most either drive into Calhoun City for food, gasoline, etc. or Grenada when they want to shop at Wally World. Lots of photo ops in Calhoun City so I may have to make a trip there.
  30. Hello! Your pictures are really lovely. I am a new pony 135 owner and completely new to photography as a whole. Would
    you mind possibly explaining what the super xx and plus x means? And anything else you'd be willing to share, I'm very
    excited to get started. I generally approach every art from the same, experimentation until I get it the way I wanted but
    having some help into what these numbers mean, accompanied by some basic knowledge would be so helpful.
    Thank you so much!!
  31. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Super XX and Plus X were black and white Kodak films that are no longer made. None of the films on the reminder on the top of the camera are made any more. The reminder of what film you were using was to set your light meter to the correct ASA/ISO. For those films they would have been:

    Panatomic-X = 32 ISO

    Kodachrome Type A = 64 ISO

    Plus-X = 125 ISO

    Super XX =200 ISO
  32. Great images! I was just given a similar camera by an old friend. It also came with a Sekonic Studio Deluxe light meter. I found the manual for the Sekonic, but am still looking for the Pony instructions. I figured out the larger extension is where the flash must attach. I haven't figured out the smaller post in the slot just above it. Not sure what the focus mechanism is, if any. Now I need to track down some Plus-X and go do some shooting. Thanks for your review.

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