Quote Originally Posted by m1tch View Post
. . . With regards to stopping the lens down, I had a Kodak autographic brownie which had the aperture iris in front of the lens rather than behind, I might look into this option as it would allow for the DIY camera to be set up slightly easier than having stops in the middle of the lens.
The main reason for having the aperture in front of a meniscus lens is for the best overall sharpness with a simple lens. The concave side of the lens faces the aperture. Some later box cameras had a simple meniscus lens in front of the aperture with the concave side of the lens facing the film. This made a more compact camera, but corner sharpness of the image suffered.