Monday, November 18, 2013

museum pieces

I liked my Kodak Flash Bantam so much that I decided to get the earlier model Bantam without the flash capability so I could compare the two closely related cameras.

Aside from the flash capability the differences between the two cameras are mostly cosmetic.  Production of the f4.5 Bantam started up in 1938, but the post-war f4.5 Bantam overlapped the production of the Flash model for a year in 1947, and it had essentially the same coated four-element lens.

My Bantam came with an intriguingly inked inscription on the inside of the back: CUBA -- 1940.  Cuba could be the Caribbean island, or the little town of that name in northern New Mexico.  The 1940 date seems too early given the camera's coated Anastigmat Special lens.  A mystery.

The front lens of the viewfinder had a crack in it.  The shutter was very sluggish.  I swapped the finder with that from my Flash Bantam.  The shutter took quite a lot of work to get it going.  I was unable to screw out the inner lens group, and ended up just squirting some electrical parts cleaner into the openings of the shutter.  I was able to remove the rear lens, which let me clean the rear of the shutter blades, and that got it working at all speeds including T and B.

The images I got from my first two roll through this Bantam were lacking in contrast and had some hot spots.  Not what I was expecting from one of Kodak's fine Special lenses.  At first I was ready to blame my developer, but the more logical explanation was a light leak.  Sure enough, holding the camera up to the sun with the back open revealed one small pinhole that was likely the source of the problem.  A little black fabric paint took care of that, so I'm ready to roll again.


Jim said...

I'm not sure how I've not noticed before that the Bantam 4.5 has an Anastigmat Special lens. I checked that auction site just now and see these going for reasonable cash, <= $30 in most cases. Nice.

Mike said...

I think I got both of my Bantams for ten bucks. May be the best bargain on ebay at the moment. There were a lot made and sold by Kodak, and not much of a demand now because of the unavailability of 828 film. Of course, you can still easily find old 828 film, but it is also pretty easy to roll 35mm onto the 828 reels.

Julio F said...

You seem to get on very well with that Bantam. I wish I'd get these keepers from any roll in any camera.