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Art Deco Cameras

Boy Scout Kodak USA


Boy Scout Kodak USA
Boy Scout Kodak USA
Manufacturer: Kodak Co. (USA)
Produced: US 1929
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Folding Bed
Bellows Deployment:Sliding Rail
Film Type:127
Film Width:46mm
ImageSize:1⅝ x 2½ in
No. of Images:8
Lens Type:Meniscus
Focal Length:75mm
Focus Type:Fixed
Focal Range:6ft - inf.
Aperture Type:Multistop
Aperture:f/11, f/16, f/22, f/32
Shutter Type :VP Rotary
Shutter Speeds:T, I*(1/50 sec)
Size Closed (w x h x d):70 x 125 x 24 mm
Size Open (w x h x d):70 x 125 x 100 mm
* Measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

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Iconic: Famous, well-known and celebrated


Art Deco Base Plate of Boy Scout Kodak USA
Art Deco Base Plate

This iconic camera is a version of the Vest Pocket Kodak Model B and was designed by Walter Dorwin Teague. The graphical work of Walter Teague was also used on the sales box. The body is covered with olive green leatherette and the metal edging is in matching olive green. All cameras originally had olive green bellows which were soft and fragile. About 50% of the cameras offered for sale today have black bellows. These replacement bellows are generally more substantial and more serviceable. The camera in my collection has black bellows.

The folding camera is erected by drawing out the lens standard by the knurled finger grips below the shutter. It is drawn out until it clicks into place. It will take 8 1⅝ x 2½ inch images on 127 film. It has a meniscus lens. It has a VP Rotary shutter with instantaneous(I) and time(T) selector. There are 4 diaphram openings (stops) on a circular plate that rotates in front of the lens. The stops are changed by revolving a milled dial. There is no tripod mount.

The Boy Scout Kodak was also produced in the UK - UK Version. Again it is based on the Vest Pocket Kodak Model B, but the decoration is quite different. The UK version has green crackle finish green as against the olive green leatherette covering used in the USA. The UK version has black bellows while the US version has olive green. The metal edging is in black on the UK version while on the US model it is in green. The insignia on both cameras are of course different.

How to Use

This camera is basically a Vest Pocket Kodak Model B. Find the manual for the Vest Pocket Kodak Model B here:- Manual for Vest Pocket Kodak Model B.

This camera uses 127 film which is quite difficult to source except as expired films. For those photographers in the UK, try Nick & Trick photographic services. If you want to use a particular type of film which is not available commercially, then you can cut your own 127 film from any 120 film. See my page on 'How to cut 127 film from 120 film'.

This camera has four aperture settings numbered 1 to 4. These are f/11(1), f/16(2), f/22(3) and f/32(4) which are changed using a rotating wheel found below the face plate. With a shutter speed of only 1/50 sec, make sure you brace the camera against your body or something solid and press the shutter smoothly to avoid camera shake.

If you don't want to bother with an exposure meter, follow the guide below. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when over-exposed by 2 or 3 stops or under-exposed by 1 stop.

The tables below assume the shutter speed is about 1/50s. If you are not sure about the light level, err on the side of overexposure - i.e. assume the lower light level.

The tables also assume that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summers day (May - August) in the UK.

I recommend ISO 400 film in this camera.

Using ISO 100/125 Film

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/16(2)Good
OvercastBarely visiblef/11(1)Good
Heavy OvercastNonef/11(1)-1 Stops
Open Shade
Nonef/11(1)-2 Stops
Not Acceptable

Using ISO 400 Film

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/32(4)+2 Stops
SunnyDistinctf/32(4)+1 Stops
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/32(4)Good
OvercastBarely visiblef/22(3)Good
Heavy OvercastNonef/16(2)Good
Open Shade