Kodak 3a Archives - Photo Jottings

Kodak 3a

The Tavern in Mansfield MA, c1910

Here's a sample image from a roll of 122 film, taken in front of 'The Tavern' in Mansfield Massachusetts sometime around 1910 according to literature that came with the negative.  'The Tavern' was a Hotel and Restaurant built by Walter Lowney, who years earlier built a chocolate factory down the street, so in this scene the photographer may have been smelling baking brownies while taking the picture!  There isn't much online information of 'The Tavern' in Mansfield, MA, so it's probably not there anymore; and likely followed a lot of other wood framed buildings from the era and burned to the ground 'suddenly during the night.'

This picture is a good example of the kind of quality you could get with a simple folding pocket camera over a century ago...

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Fifty year old film, and a century old camera…

equals a typical digital camera in 2018.  At least in resolution, but ok, maybe not in ease of use.

I took this shot while testing a folding pocket Kodak 3A camera out a couple of years ago.  I used Kodak (Verichrome Pan ASA 80) 122 Roll film that expired in 1971, but probably made in 1969, almost 50 years ago!  You get six 3¼" x 5½" pictures on a roll, (the same area as a 4x5!!), and I bracketed the shots so I'd be sure and get a good one, however, that wasn't really necessary as all the images turned out pretty good.  The shot above was made at F/32, with a one second exposure time.  The sunny 16 rule puts my exposure about four stops longer than normal, and 'normal' being about 1/15s at F/32 with ASA 80 film.

I think I used Ilfosol 3 developer around 4-5 minutes in a tank.  It's expensive to do just one roll at a time, with the film about $25 a roll (a few years ago, now it's around $50-100 a roll depending on age), and developer, stop bath and fixer about half that, so about $5 a picture; save money and get the kodak combination back and use fresh 8x10 sheet film.  After cutting you'll get three shots, (which allows small try developing), that's what I'm doing now, and costs about $3 per shot.

I'll be doing a review of the Kodak 3A in the near future; it's quite a camera, especially when you get one with a good lens like the (Zeiss) Kodak Anastigmat, or Tessar types.

The image above was scanned on a Epson V700, which does a pretty good job, but there is more detail in the original.  Unfortunately, I don't have a good scanner that will accommodate the large 3¼" x 5½" negative.  I could cut it in half, or take a partial using a digital camera and macro lens, but I think I'll wait and show that in the review.

The resolution in the long expired film negative is about what you'd get with a good 24mp digital camera and top quality prime lens today, not bad for a camera from the silent film era.

Anyhow...

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