Vintage Camera Test: the No. 1A Autographic Kodak Junior

No. 1A Autographic Kodak Junior

The No. 1A Autographic Junior was made in various versions between 1914 and 1927.  it’s got a beautifully detailed brass and enamel faceplate, a fold-out foot with the Kodak logo, and its name engraved on a brass plate below the shutter assembly.  They all shot 6.5 by 11 cm frames on size 116 autographic film (which allowed you to add details to the photo via a small window on the back and a slim metal “pen”) and cost between 11 and 24 bucks back in the day.

No. 1A Autographic Kodak Junior

This particular version, with its Kodak Anastigmat f/7.7-45 lens and Kodak ball bearing shutter, was made between 1915 and 1925.  As the lens name implies, it allows apertures from f/7.7 to f/45, with f/11, 16, 22 and 32 in between, and the shutter takes T, B, and 1/25, 1/50, or 1/100s exposures.  Apparently some versions had fixed focal lengths, but this one lets you slide out the bellows and click the lens into a slot anywhere between 6 and 100 feet camera to subject distance.

I’ve had this camera for a few years, but I never tried running any film through it until last year’s Let it Develop 365 project.  It’s an easy enough camera to use, and I used fresh Tri-X 400 (size 120) but disappointingly all the pictures ended up fogged.  This camera is in amazing shape, but even so, I suspect the bellows have been replaced at least once because they’re absolutely pristine without any worn corners that might hide pinholes that would ruin the exposures.  And none of this explains why my photos didn’t really turn out.

Hill ViewStreet View

Toy Truck I do like this photo of this little fellow, who wasn’t paying attention when I snapped his picture.  But the odd light band running vertically through most of the picture doesn’t really make sense.

Antananarivo Skyline

Verdict:  Should have taken much better pictures:  clean lens, smooth operating shutter with plenty of settings for any light conditions, pristine bellows.  Maybe some controlled bracketing/testing would help identify the problem?  Sharing a few other folks’ results below for comparison:


Mt Shasta

Allegheny Cemetery 2010 #1

Update (March 2019): I’ve run another roll of film through the camera, this time color (Fuji 400H) and the results are much better. I’m still getting a bit of the odd “ghosting” on a few images. I suspect there is still a small light leak somewhere. But this time the camera gave me different problems: after five (and a half) frames, I could no longer advance the film. I also discovered that if you let this one get dusty on a shelf, it’s good to clean the mirror in the viewfinder with a Q-tip. It’s open so it can fold flat when the camera is closed, and dust can build up on it, preventing you from framing your image properly.

This one is probably going to spend a fair amount of time on the shelf in the future, given the problems I’ve had with it. Still quite amazing photos for a 100-year-old camera though!

Old Car
old car in a village north of Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Students from the American School work with local kids in a vulnerable community in Antananarivo
Anjezika, Antananarivo
Motorcycle Riders
Evidence of a light leak, top left. Still nice colors otherwise.
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8 Responses to Vintage Camera Test: the No. 1A Autographic Kodak Junior

  1. Pingback: Recommended reading : Down the Road

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