Yoshizen's Blog

Kodak Red Bellows Lens


(Photo left / Kodak folding No.1A — image from CameraWiki)

Well, even if you were a keen photographer and have an interest to the old cameras, you may not know the Cameras with red bellows. — They were 100 (110) years old Kodak Pocket Folding Cameras. (I got two of them though they are in a box, bottom of the pile of 50 boxes = I’ll show you a photo one day.)

— I bought just a lens in a junk box of George’s Camerafare shop in the Portobello Market.


When the camera mean big wooden camera, Kodak started to sell “Pocketable” folding cameras for the consumers.    (Be prepared, the size of a pocket then could take even today’s laptop.   😀  )


We may guess, it was a situation like teaching the people to have a selfy and send it through Net phone.   

The Kodak preloaded the teaching App on the camera body = all the instruction were written there. =Such as : Use 1/100 for Moving Objects or Gray day, Use Tripod and with B setting for 1/2 second !  ETC. ETC.  (Shutter was triggered either by pressing a lever  or using an Air pump ! )  In fact I was rather impressed to see the quality of the manufacturing standard = after 100 years, they are still working ! )

The camera was made by Eastman Kodak Rochester USA though, the Lens was made by Bausch & Romb Optical Co. Rochester, USA (once before, Sunglass, Ray-Ban was a part of this company) of which they call, Rapid Rectilinear lens. ( though, it only meant, no distortion)


The second photo above center shows the lenses = front and rear element seems to be identical (both showed the same focusing length = symmetrical design)     And each lens seems to be a single lens.  

Mounting the lens on a bellows to have a test shot = the image seems not bad ! 


Thanks to the bellows extension — have look a close-up.


Then to see the So-called Softness on the same test bench.   It seems this lens showed no Zeiss kind of softness.  (The photo left was taken by Sony A7R —– to be fair, I did the same shot on the Canon 5D Mk3 as before (right) —– in comparison, Sony showed much higher crispness and Canon seems softer) —– Still, this matter needs more critical test to find the reason.

Much more serious question over this old Lens IS, = No focal length was found still, the extension of the bellows showed it is 175mm.   Even though the front plate was saying F4, the diameter of the lens IS 24mm = F-aperture should be F7.3 but from a measuring of the exposure indicates that this lens got a brightness of only F10. —– It is quite puzzling.

= To see the old lens is fun in deed, still it is not necessary a gold mine to find any nostalgic image !  (Unless, use a homemade emulsion on a glass plate together)  😀

Such as a photo of dried Rose by A7R above — this sharpness might be created by the digital process in the camera, not an original optical image.)


8 Responses

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  1. Lemony (Gr)Egghead said, on October 4, 2016 at 02:08

    So interesting!

    • yoshizen said, on October 4, 2016 at 02:35

      Thank you Lemony. It was really the case, somebody’s junk is other’s tresure. I bought this lens for £5 !

  2. […] On the 100 years old lens, […]

  3. drawandshoot said, on October 8, 2016 at 03:37

    That’s a beautiful piece of equipment, Yoshi!

    • yoshizen said, on October 8, 2016 at 06:18

      Absolutely. Since the equipment was crafted as an individual piece ! And after 100 years, it is still functioning as it was designed !

  4. Squirrel | Yoshizen's Blog said, on February 8, 2018 at 00:27

    […] lens, originally for a Kodak red bellows Folding Camera, was mounted on an extension of a helicoid and working as a 175mm F10 telephoto lens. (Pretty […]

  5. Lens Comparison (2) | Yoshizen's Blog said, on February 19, 2018 at 21:29

    […] 100 years old Kodak lens (equivalent of 175mm F10 / ISO 400, 500th —– as a 175mm telephoto lens, the image was quite good, especially considering that the lens consists only symmetric 2 glasses, that’s all ! ) […]

  6. […] whether the camera’s original format was much larger 6×9 or even larger (such as Kodak Folding No.1 which takes post-card size picture) than DSLR’s 35mm format. Theoretically, by cutting a […]

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