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No. 1A Pocket Kodak Series II with Kodex No. 1 shutter

Bill Graham , Feb 25, 2007; 09:18 p.m.

Hello, I'm a new member, and although I have a much experience with large format and 35 mm, I have just acquired a medium format Kodak Pocket camera that I could use some help with. The camera was bought on Ebay for 4.99 and it's tag label says No. 1A Pocket Kodak Series II. There is a only a shutter on the front that says Kodex No. 1 EKC, but without any front lens elements! The shutter speeds are T, B, 25 and 50, and the aperture settings are only designated as 1, 2, 3, 4. There is apparently no focusing capability using the bellows, but the lens can be tilted relative to the film plane (although I don't know if this is an intended feature). The camera is autographic and includes the metal sylus for inscribing the film. When I first received the camera I was somewhat startled at the absence of a front lens element, but checking the aperture on bulb showed that there is a rear lens element. I have already done online searches for several hours and have not found a Kodak No. 1A Series II that corresponds to this configuration, although I have found some of the features on other Kodak pocket cameras. Most models have a front lens element, adjustable front focus, or other variations. I have not yet removed the camera back since there is a roll of film loaded that is only on exposure #3, so I decided to finish the roll to see what develops. The camera takes 116 film, as confirmed by the notation on the camera back that reads "USE FILM NO. A116". Before make any exposures I need the following info if any experts here can help:

1) What is the focal length and f/ of this lens, and does this configuration really only have rear elements? 2) What are the f/ stops corresponding to 1,2,3,4. 3) How does one focus this camera? I have not found any way to change the bellows length.

I have found some references for modifying the film rollers to take 120 film when I get to that point, but if anyone also has some hints on that I would appreciate them. Thanks!

Elvis

Responses

John Shriver , Feb 25, 2007; 09:48 p.m.

Yes, this is a base-price camera with a single element meniscus lens. About the last generation before Kodak switched from 116 to 616 film.

Not surprised it has no focusing adjustment. Meniscus lens cameras had slow lenses, and depended on the depth of field of the lens to keep somewhat sharp from 10 feet to infinity. They really weren't exceptionally sharp.

The stops are 1 = f/11, 2 = f/16, 3 = f/22, and 4 = f/32.

Presuming the film is Verichrome Pan, and it's really old and needs an extra stop of exposure, in bright sun, use 1/25 at stop 2 or 1/50 at stop 1.

Then develop it according to the last Verichrome Pan data sheet, which is still online at Kodak's website. If you don't have a 116 (or 70mm) reel, get an old bakelite adjustable tank, most go out to 116/616 size. Dirt cheap on eBay.

Bill Graham , Feb 25, 2007; 10:46 p.m.

John, thanks very much, you answered all my questions. Just a couple more that you may be able to answer: do you know the date range that this model was sold (its different than the conventional 1A Series II I have seen), and where did you find the data on the f/ stops? I'll look for the adjustable tank for 116 film.

Gene M , Feb 25, 2007; 11:00 p.m.

If yours is a black camera, it was made from 1923-1931. Putting 116 film on a reel is a true test of patience !

Bill Graham , Feb 25, 2007; 11:11 p.m.

It is black, although the ebay listing said c1912, which may not be accurate. The 116 film already in the camera may no longer be good, but I'm mainly curious to see what the first two exposures are, as well as postponing the trouble of adapting 120 film to the 116 holder.

Mike Connealy , Feb 26, 2007; 07:41 a.m.

Converting a 116 camera to using 120 is not nearly as difficult as it might first appear. I reported on a 1A Special conversion recently elsewhere. I originally just used a couple little plastic drywall screw anchors to hold the 120 film roll in place. Later, I found some other very simple solutions that better centered the film roll, without doing any damage to the camera. You can find the details with pictures in the thread at Nelsonfoto.com.

Bill Graham , Feb 26, 2007; 07:28 p.m.

Today I measured the apertures to 1/64 in to determine the f/stops. I also measured the focal length to be 5.0 in. Here are the results:

Kodak 1A Pocket Series II f/stops f=5.0 in

wide open = 23/64" = f/14, f-stop #1 = 10/32" = f/16, f-stop #2 = 15/64" = f/22, f-stop #3 = 5/32" = f/32, f-stop #4 = 7/64" = f/45

If anyone has data to confirm this please let me know since my measurements show the lens to be slower than I had expected.

Mathiau B , Oct 10, 2007; 11:59 p.m.

i recently found a No 1a. model myself at my moms doing some cleaning, it appears it has the complete manual, a little falling apart, but appears to all be here, if you like i can scan and upload it ?

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