Kodak 3-A Pocket C Premo (Huh????)
Well, I was browsing a local antique shop, not really expecting to find anything interesting, but it turns out that I did. One item was a severely beaten Rollei TLR, not a Rolleiflex but still Rollei-somethingorother. The other was this wonderful folding Kodak that looked similar to some brownie's I have seen, but larger. There is a door in the back revealing a ground glass, and as far as I can tell there is no spot for anything like a modern film holder. The back pulls backwards on some spring like feeling thing revealing the inside, presumably where the film goes. Does anyone know anything about this camera? The markings on it are as follows:
Bausch & Lomb Optical Co.
3 1/4 X 5 1/2
Planatograph f8 E.F. 6 3/4"
Inside the door for the groundglass:
Pat. Oct 20, 1903
July 21, 1896
July 5 (I think) 1902
Oct 19, 1909
Feb 4, 1908
Mar 21, 1911
July 8, 1913
Manufactured by Eastman Kodak Co.
Rochester Optical Co.
Rochester, NY, USA
The camera is covered in leather, and embossed on the carry strap is the word "Premo", spelled just like that. There is a small dot on top of the main body of the camera that says, "The Premo Camera Made In Canada"
It folds up, and could work in wide orientation, but the tripod mount is placed so it is mainly vertical for tripod use. At first glance it seems to be light tight, the aperture and shutter controls work, how well I don't know. The shutter seems quite fast at 1, 2, and 5. When it sits for a few minutes the first click it will seem appropriately slow, and then speed up again. There is also a sort of mirror viewfinder on the top. The dealer was asking $175 CDN$, would you suggest going for it and taking it in for a shutter and aperture adjustment? I haven't been able to find much info on the camera, but it seems to be a plate type. Is there a film holder, or just shoot then process like it seems? Would 4x5 film work, or would I need to somehow scrounge up the proper size plate? Thanks for the help everyone! I appreciate the great welcome I've been given!
- Justin Silber
This might be your camera:
If so, contact Bill Strong who posted the picture:
Even if it isn't the same camera, he'll probably be able to help.
I have a 3A with a ground glass back, separate from the regular back with a red window used for roll film. I have two plate holders for it as well, though the size different from any film I can buy today (I'm at work, without any of my references or the camera, so I can't give particulars.) My understanding is that certain models of the 3A were capable of ground glass / plate photography or roll film use. Mine has a Tessar in a Koilos shutter and takes a pretty decent picture on 120 film, after refitting it for that film.
I've not seen a 3A used with glass plates (although my experience is limited), but when I was given my great-uncles 3A, I read up on them and I gather that while a few people bought the ground glass/film holder option, most opted for the 122 roll film version as it was simply easier to send the film away and get prints back. I've been searching for an affordable ground glass/film holders setup for a long time now. They rarely show up on eBay and I don't think I've ever seen a glass plates model. While I can't swear to it, I seem to recall that the image size is 3-1/2" x 5-1/2" and was known as "postcard" size? Cutting down 5"x7" would be feasible and cutting down a roll of 5" Aero film would be even cheaper I would think.
I think we're talking about two different cameras here. Your Pocket Premo was most likely used with 3-1/2 x 5-1/2 film or plate holders. They do show up occasionally on e_bay. 3A refers to the format size, and normally a 3A camera would use 122 rollfilm.
I do have the ground glass back for a 122 film 3A camera. They were sold as an optional add on, and not many seem to have been sold. I think the holders are a little ricketty, but mine may have been beaten up over the years.
Either way, they're fun cameras. I just wish I could get that size film for them still.
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Is this the camera you are talking about?
I paid $15 for mine last year and later sold it for $30 on Ebay. They are not rare.
A Canadian version might be more collectible but $175 seems very steep.
Pretty much Frank, the only difference is instead of "Pocket C" on the "The Premo Camera" spot, it said Made in Canada, and the lens had an extra pneumatic metal thingy on the left that didnt seem to do anything. And no holder, that seems like it would match... I wonder how I could get the dealer to knock it down a bunch... He's a nice guy, but he IS charging $35 for a non-functional Rollei TLR without a focus screen... Have you taken any shots with the Premo?
No, I could not get 4x5 to work with it so I dumped it.
Originally Posted by cafeharrar
There are better cameras out there; I would keep looking.