Amazing! An old Kodak Autographic 3A shows its stuff

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by summicron1, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    I volunteer at Union Station in Ogden, Utah, a collection of city museums. I work in the library/archive where recently a local man donated the negatives shot by his father in the early last century using an Autographic Folding Pocket Kodak 3A, which used 122 film, post-card sized, 4 by 6 inch negatives.

    I'll post a link to my blog about the donation here so you can see that just because a camera is old, and its lens lacks coating, computer design or any of that other fancy stuff, it can still do pretty good work.

    F8 and be there is the old axiom, and for 95 percent of what makes a good picture, that's what rules:

    http://charlestrentelman.blogspot.com/2014/02/street-car-wreck-camera-bought-99-years.html

    A sample picture: trolly wreck_00012.jpg
     
  2. momus

    momus Member

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    I wouldn't want a computer designed, coated lens. The best lens I ever shot in my life was on a 1938 Voigtlander Brillant. It had a 75 3.5 Heliar that was uncoated and clear as, well, glass. I guess it had been designed by slide rule, since there were no computers in the 30's. Everyone that sees photos from that lens goes "wow".
     
  3. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    This is for 'Maris' from the above blog, if he should happen to wander by, open, and read this thread...

    "So when someone has the original negative, that's treasure. The actual light from the actual subject came through a lens and nudged a few silver atoms on the negative. Ninety nine years later you can still see the mark that light left: The US Liberty Bell, a row of army barracks at Fort Douglas, a street car wreck in Ogden, farms in fields long gone but the mountains behind, still familiar."

    This is the single most distinguishing definition of film-based photography. It's what makes it different from all other forms of image making. And it's what makes those photographs in the blog so special.

    The negative bearing silent first generation witness to the events spontaneously recorded directly upon it. It had to have been there. There is no other undetectable way. That's where the goose bumps come from when one holds such a photographic negative up to the light a century later.

    :smile:

    Ken
     
  4. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    I agree completely, Ken. Well said.
     
  5. Maris

    Maris Member

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    I guess I'm predictable as clockwork but I do agree with Ken Nadvornick. He says it well.

    The real physical connection between a subject and a photograph of it is the stuff of goosebumps. The connection is "realer" than most folks imagine. Curious but true: at the moment of exposure film gets heavier and all the increase in weight came from the subject. Even after the film has been through the entire processing cycle it is still heavier than it would have been if it had not encountered particles from its subject matter.
     
  6. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    + another to what Ken said (and Maris).

    I've scanned a bunch of negatives my great-grandfather shot in the early 1900s and I can't agree more. And many possibly with a similar camera?
     
  7. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    The first 8 photos currently on my photostream, http://www.flickr.com/photos/thirteenthumbs , were made with a 1915 3A Graflex with a 7 1/2 inch Kodak Anastigmat that I returned to operating condition and modified to use 120 roll film.
    I had a pictorial how to dissemble/repair instructions on Graflex.org help board but the image hosting site went from free to pay service.
    I will eventually PDF the instructions and share them with those in need. You need good to very good repair skills to work on one of these beasts. http://lommen9.home.xs4all.nl/Nieuw Graflex/index.html has the original engineering drawings in low resolution posted.

    Leave me your email address in a off forum message and I will send the repair instructions when completed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2014
  8. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Great image!

    Jeff
     
  9. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    i've got one of these in vastly worse condition -- a fixer-upper if ever there was one. Has a goerz lens. may sell it here one of these days, since i lack the skills to repair it.
     
  10. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    This thread is a great reminder of how good the images could be with some of the old cameras + lenses when used by someone who knew how to be a good photographer. Some people seem to forget; others seem to have never known.
     
  11. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    Thanks for posting this!
     
  12. WayneStevenson

    WayneStevenson Member

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    I love the glass that comes off this camera. And the shutter is reliable even after 100 years. :D I have it mounted it onto my Calumet 4x5.

    4349742939_4345b35314.jpg
     
  13. WayneStevenson

    WayneStevenson Member

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    Love the link. :D Those negatives are treasure. :smile:
     
  14. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    I remember as a child -- it must have been -- discovering that the family had an old Kodak camera that used 122 film. And do you know, we could still buy 122 film to use in it. Somewhere in the depths of my parent's home those negatives must be waiting to be rediscovered.
     
  15. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Love this thread.