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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

fun in the sun

Lief Peng's fine blog about Twentieth Century illustration this week is featuring the work of Al Dorne. The first example of the artist's work is a 1946 ad which includes an accurate representation of the Kodak 35 camera.



I have acquired three examples of the Kodak 35 over the years. One is the infamous rangefinder version which was cobbled together to compete with the Argus C3. The other two, shown below, are earlier scale-focus models.
    The camera on the left with the accessory rangefinder has the Kodamatic shutter with speeds from 10 to 200 plus B and T, and the f3.5/50mm Kodak Anastigmat Special lens. The camera on the right has the No.1 Diomatic shutter with speeds from 25-150 plus B and T, and the f4.5/50mm Anastigmat lens. As can be seen in the sample photos posted on my web page about the Kodak 35, all are very capable performers.



The Anastigmat lens is a three-element design that was used on cameras made by nearly every manufacturer. As can be seen in the diagrams below, the Kodak Anastigmat Special is a four-elements-in-three-groups design very similar to the Tessar. The main difference seems to be the reversed orientation of the second and third groups. I don't know if there was any real advantage to the Kodak variation on the classic Zeiss Tessar design, but my own experience has shown it to compare very favorably with the great European classic lens.



The unusual appearance of the Kodak 35, reminiscent of the design of the company's medium-format cameras, is not immediately appealing to many classic camera enthusiasts, but it fits nicely in the hands and will produce excellent results if given the chance.

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