Kodak Pony Model C refocusing

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by Johnnya101, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. Hello,

    New member here, please let me know if I am doing something wrong.

    I recently have gotten a Kodak Pony 135 Model C, and had to take apart the front lens for cleaning as there was a lot of sticking in the mechanics. I think I should attempt to refocus the front lens again. I have read very limited information regarding this. Someone said I could tape plastic to the film plane and attempt to try and focus it that ways. I've tried that and focusing does not really make a difference at all at what I see. Surely someone else has gone through a better procedure?

  2. I'll admit here, I don'T know the camera. I suppose in order to remove the front lens you had to remove the/a infinity stop. Then you will need to align the focus. IF you simply removed the glass element to clean it, assuming it screws back in correctly etc, you may be ok. IS the front element used to focus, or does the whole assembly move in tandem to focus?
    The bit about the plastic is that in order to check the focus you will need to place a ground glass on the film plane. There are lots of ways to simulate this. Real ground glass is what SLRs use to focus. IT is also what you see those guys in the 19th century are doing under that black cloth. The basic physics is such that you will see the image on the ground glass upside down and backwards.
    I have found cold cuts at the grocer that separates the slices with a thin matte plastic piece. This can be cut to size. Another popular simulated GG is to use frosted scotch tape across the film gate or on a piece of clear glass. I've read others saying they used an opaque CD case. I've never done this on a 35mm format.
    The dark cloth helps you to see the image and a magnifying glass helps also. I'll bet there is a youtube video on this principle, if not exactly for your model.
    Back in 1986 when I broke the GG on my Speed Graphic, I used acid to etch the glass. This is found in hobby stores. You would need a thin piece of glass that can be attached to the film gate. Follow the directions on the bottle of etching fluid. You could also grind your own glass but you would need grinding compound in at least two different granular sizes.
    I did this on a 6x9 Ikonta using the matte plastic paper from the cold cuts . Size matters :)
  3. The glass lens screws in one way. I screwed it in tight and backed it out a little bit. It unscrews to focus so if it was tight I would be able to say, move it past 50ft to infinity because it would be too tight. That's what one of the sites said to do.
    I am new to this, so I am trying my best to describe! :)

    So the front element moves, not the whole thing if that's what you mean.

    Yes, I removed the infinity stop but everything screws back into place so really the only thing that is possibly out of focus is how far the lens is screwed in, since once again, the focus knob acres in the lens or loosens it.

    Right now I have some plastic, I'd guess around 1mm to 2mm thick. I turned on a lamp and it was, as you said and it should be, upside down and backwards. Focusing sort of worked, but it's just such a small difference. I have some film on the way so if no one has any ideas I'll just try to take some pictures and I'll see. It's a cheaper camera so I am not looking for it to be perfect.
  4. Thanks Charles, will check it out.


    Here's the way one guy focused it. Once again, new to these so some help making sure I am correct in understanding his would be great.

    "My method for refocusing the lens is to take a piece of clear plastic cut from a blister pack, put some tape on one side, and then secure it in the film plane with the taped side towards the back of the lens. At full aperture, I then don my magnifying hood, and head for a window to sight on something more than 100 feet away. Looking at the plastic, you can then rotate the focus ring until the lens achives infinity."

    So put some frosted tape on the clear plastic, put it on film plane with taped frosted part facing back of inner lens. Open to full applerture. Here's where I am stumped, what's a magnifying hood exactly and do I need one to do this? From what I quickly looked up it's just a dark surround pretty much?
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  5. Sounds like a good plan. It is just like you said dark surroundings.. ie a dark room with only the window as light. It's simulating the dark blanket the photographer goes under. The dark surroundings help you find the focus easier on the plastic with the frosted tape. The frosted tape simulates the ground, and the plastic, the glass.. ie simulated ground glass focusing.
  6. Thank you Chuck for the explanation, helps a ton!
  7. Ok, progress finally. The tape helps alooooott.

    My focus was way off and I'm slowly adjusting it :)

    Focused on a lamp shade in a dark room about 5 feet away, cars outside from a dark room, went in a pitch black room with one window and looked outside at some trees, kind of difficult to focus on on brown branches through a small window. Getting the hang of this.

    So pretty much adjust the lens until it is accurate, say focus in on that lamp at 5 feet so the adjustment ring says 5 feet and the lamp is clear and stuff like that at different distances and it should be good enough?

    Once again, thank you guys for helping out a newbie. Sorry if I ask any dumb questions, don't want to waste my first roll and find out it's blurry and out of focus!
  8. There are no dumb questions... be sure to post your results regardless... Film ain't cheap and 36 exposures are a lot!
  9. I'll be sure to! Thanks Chuck!
  10. Okay everyone, got some B&W film from my school (Think its Arista Edu? 400 ISO, 24). Took some photos and will have to wait until next week to get them developed and see the results. Will update.
  11. IMG_4662.JPG IMG_4663.JPG

    Hello again everyone!

    First image is of my Model T engine in my Cadet II enlarger. Used a negative app on my phone to make it a positive. It's a low quality image from my phone, looks alooot better in person.

    Second image is of my Volvo. This is a print I did at my school. It's a bit too dark, should've exposed it for less time. Once again, iPhone photo so its low quality.

    Conclusion of this thread: I was able to focus my Kodak Pony successfully! No light leaks either! Takes amazing photos for a cheap 50s camera, and they all have that retro look which is cool.

    Thank you everyone for your help! I just received my first darkroom kit (Beseler Printmaker with Cadet II) so once I get the rest of my chemicals I can start processing!

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