Kodak Bantam 4.5

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Hatchetman, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    I recently obtained a well preserved Kodak Bantam 4.5. It was made some time in the 1940s I think. It requires 828 film, but I thought "How hard could it be to respool some film?" The shutter stuck when fired, so I took the damn thing apart. First time I've tried that. It worked OK, but I think I may have messed up reassembling the lens, as the focus now seems very odd. Some things, especially close-up things appear in focus. Further away things not so much. I dunno. I shot two rolls. One was actual 828 film, Verichrome Pan from 1971. That seemed to work OK, but it wasn't a real test for what this 47mm Anastigmat Special could do.

    So cut up some 120 Acros and taped over the film counter window. Cutting the film was a pain. Loading it was an even bigger pain. Loading the developing reel was an even BIGGER pain. Then it turned out most of the frames were overlapping because the film was not advancing properly (not surprising given no paper or film perforations). And there's some sort of light leak or something, though the bellows look good. Wide open (4.5!), the lens was extremely soft. Stopped down to f8, it seemed reasonable. Like I said, I may have messed the thing up when putting it back together. Anyway I must have spent a good 10-12 hours messing with this thing. Overall a frustrating experience. Previously I had fantasized about buying a Bantam Special, but now after dealing with the trouble of 828 film, to hell with that idea! Here are a couple of shots. The second is 1971 Verichrome Pan, the first, respooled Acros.
     

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  2. momus

    momus Member

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    As they say, it was a learning experience. I'd say the message is to pull out the old digi P&S and take lots of photos as you go along w/ the repairs. Learned that one the hard way.

    I'm with you on the 828 film. There's just too many excellent, excellent 120 folders that are available for peanuts. Most are capable of taking wonderful photos.
     
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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  4. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Check the bellows by shining a light inside, look for pinholes at the corners; also look for leaks at the seam and where the bellows' attach to the camera body and the lens mounting.
    As for the focus issue, the front element (which focusses the lens by changing it's focal length) is likely threaded on wrong, and/ or the focussing scale is not properly oriented. If the threads have only one start, it's the scale. If the threads have two or more starts, it could be either or both.
    Check this by placing a focussing screen on the film rails and focussing the lens on an object a mile or so away use a high power loupe to view the screen, set the scale and stop at infinity and it should focus correctly at other distances.

    A learning experience; working on something you have no experience with is a bit like going into strange woods - be sure to look behind you on the way in, so you will recognise the territory on the way out. Make drawings, take notes, take pictures, whatever it takes.

    Edit - If this lens performs anything like the lenses they put on the Kodak 35s, you'll be very pleasantly surprised ai it's quality. I had a '35 made in 1941, with a coated "Anastigmat Special" the lens was excellent; I wish my 14 year old self had appreciated it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2013
  5. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    Thanks for the responses. The film issue is the real obstacle. IF it took 35mm film, I would fix it. But honestly, it was such a pain, I'm not going to bother. The beauty of this thing is its size. It fits right in your breast pocket. About the size of an iPhone, but about twice as thick.
     

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  6. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    That's too bad. It wouldn't be too difficult to trim backing paper (and put frame numbers on it) as well as film - the backing paper could be reused several times at least. Spend an hour in the darkroom and come out with a few rolls to have fun with... these are neat little cameras.:smile::smile:
     
  7. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    I have a deal for you. I'll send it to you free if you want to play with it. Only condition is you make me a print from it.
     
  8. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    PM sent.
     
  9. bdilgard

    bdilgard Subscriber

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    I started playing with bantam when I picked up a carton full of unperforated 35mm microfilm for next to nothing. Of course I then had to find something to shoot it in. Used 120 backing paper cut down so the 4.5cm marking line up with the window. Regular 35mm can be used too but you have to hold the little catch lever while winding, Have yet to figure out why every bantam camera I have come across have both the window and the lever. Crazy to bother with but can't be as bad as reloading 110 and 126 cartridges and people do that too.
     
  10. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    When using the original 828 film, the film advance mechanism works like a charm. That little lever catches the single perforation. The window is only used to tell you what frame you are on. A lot of things about this camera are really cool actually. The 828 roll is tiny so you could make a smaller camera, yet because no sprocket holes, the negative is bigger by maybe 20%!
     

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  11. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    828, 28x40 frame size - 1120 mm2

    35mm, 24x36 frame size - 920mm2

    IIRC, eliminating the waste area of the sprocket holes was one of the selling points of 828. Also IIRC, the film and backing from 126 cartridges could be spooled onto 828 rolls. I last saw 828 for sale in the mid 1970s. The art-decoish Bantam 35 RF was one of the all-time coolest cameras ever made IMO.
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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  13. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I always thought the bantam and bullet cameras looked great. Awesome designs that still hold on even today. I wish i could offer advice or tips but i am unfamiliar with the film format, Good luck with your project!
     
  14. GregW

    GregW Member

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    I've used this exact camera a lot over the past year or so. Reuse old paper and spools with BW traffic film and sliced color film. Color takes more work. I set up a work flow like this. For color, I have a cheap plastic box camera that takes 120, I've inserted an Exacto #11 blade imbedded in a small balsa wood bridge in the film plane. The tip of the blade slightly depresses the backing plate. Load film getting it started in the slice. Close camera and wind. From here it's the same as BW. I have a yardstick with markers for the film length, so I can cut it to length. A piece of tape serves. a corresponding marker on the backing paper. Measure film, cut, Tape to paper-It's been unrolled and clipped to the edge of the table so I can quickly apply the new film, pick it up and re-roll. The whole process for BW takes only a minute or two. To process color, I remove the film and put it in a reload cartridge for 35mm. Let them know what it is and no problem getting it developed at the drug store. There is a online tutorial on cleaning and assembling that shutter and setting infinity. I went through it a few months ago. it s was fairly easy. The lens on these is very sharp. I need to replace the leatherette on the front of mine. It's a nice small camera, looks great and takes good pictures.
     
  15. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    I also have a Bantam, but i need spools and the bellows needs attention. Still trying to source a new bellows.