|Kodak, No.3 Folding Pocket Kodak model G camera, c1912|
Kodak, No.3 Folding Pocket Kodak model G, for 118 roll film making images 3.25 x 4.25 inches, the equivalent of quarter plate. Made at Kodak's Rochester factory, New York, USA. Despite being superficially similar to earlier No.3 FPKs the camera had evolved and shares virtually no components with our E-2 version. Although the details and subtleties are different the broad composite construction remains the same. The sides of the camera are of wood, machined with slots and channels into which are pressed a stamped and folded aluminium tray, forming the film chambers, focal plane and main body. Hinged to the front, forming the hatch and lens bed is a pressed aluminium panel with a riveted rail to run the lensboard along. The back is created from aluminium sheet cleverly rolled to form the back and ends, detaching completely to gain access to the film chambers. The bellows are now black and of natural leather over card stiffeners and linen liner, as was common. The whole camera is wrapped with coarse Morocco natural leather. Fitted with an early edition Kodak ball bearing shutter with pneumatic release and exposure counter. Kodak would soon drop both the exposure counter and pneumatic piston as being superfluous. The Bausch & Lombe Rapid Rectilinear lens was good for the era and used widely across Kodak's range into the mid 1920s. This lens, originally developed by Dalmeyer (and Steinheil), is a symetrical doublet employing cemented achromatic combinations for an aperture of f/8, but requires stopping down to minimize astigmatism. The camera was fairly complex to manufacture due to the mixed materials and many processes involved and Kodak would seek to simplify all their cameras in due course, making these and earlier FPKs some of the nicest Kodaks to be found. The FPKs were made in vast quantities in all their various sizes and camera aficionados can be a bit sniffy about them, as they survive in large numbers making them far from rare. This is merely indicative of Kodak's success, they sought to create cameras of decent quality for each market segment to ensure a steady stream of film purchases, which was their primary business. This success in turn lead to the millions of photographs taken with them and with it the invaluable social documentation handed down to us. The No.3 FPK was discontinued in 1915, but in name only as fitted with an Autographic back the camera became the No.3 Autographic Kodak.
Donated by Mr. D Bremner in November 2022, this camera was in decent untampered condition, so it has been cleaned but otherwise left alone. Well over a century after it was made the Kodak Ball Bearing shutter still works beautifully, outliving the now extinct 118 film . This particular shutter is most welcome too, as it's an early example with pneumatic piston release and the strangely redundant exposure counter that starts at 1 and cycles through to 12, indicating how many times the shutter has been pressed, not how many pictures have been exposed or, more importantly, whether or not you have advanced the film. Given the confusion that would arise with the red window in the back, it's hardly surprising that this feature was soon deleted, both as it was entirely superfluous and removing it simplified manufacture and saved money.
These early Kodaks use the 1880s Universal System (U.S.) of aperture marking which differs from the now familiar f numbers. The following is the U.S system with the nearest f equivalent in brackets: 4(f/8), 8(f/11), 16 (f/16), 32(f/22), 64(f/32) and 128(f/44). See an earlier example of this camera, the No. 3 FPK model E2.
Body No.11853 (to be found on rear of lensboard leg)
© Living Image Vintage Cameras 2000-2023