Back at the Zoo
This time with the No. 1-A Folding Pocket Kodak Special. The camera will be one hundred years old this year. Its Rapid Rectilinear lens consists of four elements in two groups, placed on either side of the aperture in a design dating back to U.S. Civil War times. The symmetrical arrangement of the lens elements does a good job of nullifying spherical aberration, but the uncoated optics are subject to flare in contrasty lighting situations.
Using 120-format film rather than the 116 that the camera was designed for, I get a negative that is 2.25 inches wide by 4.25 inches long. That size is a challenge to scan with my Epson 2450. I can lay the negative in the 4x5 scanner frame, but it is difficult to get an image without Newton rings due to contact with the glass.
Those small problems aside, it is very rewarding to coax photographic images from such an early camera. One gains respect for the excellent work that was accomplished in the past with this simple equipment, as well as an appreciation for the subsequent technical advances that steadily made photography easier and more accessible.