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The Colorsnap 35 in Autumn


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<p>The Colorsnap was the product of the London division of Kodak and appeared in 1959. Despite superficial similarities (and the often-quoted misinformation), the camera is quite different from the Bantam Colorsnap, which used the long-defunct 828 film, as opposed to 35mm stock. This is the Mark Two version, circa 1964, with superficial changes from the original, the important advances being an alteration to the front of the lens with a groove to accept the Kodak push-fit filters, a recessed pop-up rewind knob and a re-alignment of the shutter release from a push-down-from-the-top button to a push-in-from-the -front. The triplet lens is a 43.9mm Kodak Anaston f/6.3, the Anastons being coated versions of the trusty Kodak Anastigmats, and it's set in a barrel that houses a single-speed shutter, aperture adjustment and front cell focusing. The shutter speed appears to be somewhere around 1/40th, though the camera's tendency to provide camera shake suggests it could be even slower. Apertures as such are not marked, but the user has a choice of an Exposure Value scale in association with a hand-held light-meter, or of following the graphics indicating light conditions, conveniently placed along the top of the lens panel. I chose to use a meter, and the resulting exposures were very consistent.</p><div>00dwxp-563151784.jpg.bd48a3d459a49ebc57c08bd42a5e87d4.jpg</div>
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<p>The camera has a single-sweep lever to advance the film and cock the shutter, and double exposures are enabled by a little lever set into the back of the camera, conveniently placed in just the right position to poke the user in the eye. The viewfinder is vague, to say the least, being a little dim with a tiny peephole of an eyepiece and a lack of frame lines. Inside, the Colorsnap 35 is basic but tidy, though there's a lack of decent film tensioning, and the film advance consequently feel a little sloppy and worryingly imprecise. However, in general terms the construction is neat and tidy though lightweight, far away from the world of Retinettes.</p>

<p>The images the camera produced proved that it's no toy, thanks mainly to the excellent Anaston lens, and I quit muttering darkly about it's more awkward features . Contrast was excellent, and the images are pretty sharp from corner to corner. I toted it around during a couple of Autumn weeks, and was pleased with the results. I'll post a selection of images, the colour ones being from a roll of Fuji Superia 200 scanned by a Fuji frontier, while the sole color one is from a test load of Arista EDU 100 processed in PMK Pyro.</p>

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<p>Damn, your little town looks even better in Autumn, or should we say Fall :) You have a real knack of producing lovely pics with basic cameras, and I must admit that I'm surprised that the Anaston makes such good images.<br>

The camera may be cheap, but it still looks nice, a bit reminiscent of the Zeiss Contina, a camera that I must get out and use. I wonder how well the Pantar lens will fare.<br>

I have been shooting with my Retina 11C and also a Minolta AL, and I can get my scanner going I will share some images....hopefully soon!</p>

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<p>Yes, it's been a calm and colorful Autumn/Fall, <strong>Tony</strong>, a photographer's delight. I look forward to your forthcoming pics; the Minolta AL is one of my favourites.</p>

<p>Incidentally, please read "the sole B&W one" in place of "the sole colour one" in the last paragraph before the pics. One of these days I'll get through a post without making a dumb typo...</p>

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<p>Interesting. Just wondering why you compared it to the Bantam. The Bantam was a much more sophisticated camera from the git go than what you describe here. It seems more like a brownie in Signet's clothing. Please do not misunderstand me, I get the sense that the lens is quite nice and the results are great. This speaks more to the photographer and shows what can be done with simple equiptment.</p>
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<p>Pleased you liked the post, <strong>Mike</strong> and <strong>Greg</strong>; it's actually been a mild Autumn with only a couple of frosts, but the lack of wind has allowed the leaves to hang on longer than usual. <strong>Donald</strong>, there were several Kodak cameras bearing the "Bantam" name, and the one I referred to was a simple plastic camera from the mid '50's. Google "bantam colorsnap" and you'll find lots of information and pictures.</p>
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<p>There's more than one model of <a href="http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Kodak_Bantam_Colorsnap">Bantam Colorsnap</a> (the link is to Camera-wiki). The first one is quite a bit like the first <a href="http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Kodak_Colorsnap_35">Colorsnap 35</a> (albeit with a grey plastic top housing). I have that Bantam Colorsnap. It has quite an interesting exposure system. You set it using 'exposure numbers' 1-11, but these aren't EV, just an arbitrary set of numbers (perhaps the Spinal Tap system). I understand the later model has real EV numbers. Anyhow, exposure settings 1-10 only adjust the aperture; setting 11 makes the shutter slower.</p>

<p>Nice pictures anyhow. Looking forward to (our own, northern) autumn ought to be depressing,but you showed its beautiful side! I think the lens on these cameras is similar. I must confess I don't think I've put film through mine, though I have cut film down to 828 size once (to use my Coronet Cub while it was still usable - its body is made of an unstable resin plastic, and now you can't get the two parts to fit together). Maybe I should give the Colorsnap a try. Cheers!</p>

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<p>Thanks, <strong>JDM</strong>. I'd assumed the Colorsnap was quite common in the US, but perhaps it had a more UK/European market. Yes, this era of Kodak amateur cameras is quite interesting, <strong>Pete</strong>, and one doesn't often see them featuring on the various forums or picture sites.</p>
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<p>wow - that is a superb looking little camera. I have a few of these old 35mm cameras but have never thought to use them (they're in a box in the attic somewhere), but seeing the delightful images you're produced makes me want to go and dig some out.<br>

An interesting read and some great shots - Thanks!</p>

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