☰ Menu
Art Deco Cameras

No 1A Gift Kodak

Specification

No 1A Gift Kodak
No 1A Gift Kodak
Manufacturer: Eastman Kodak Co. (American)
Produced: UK 1930 - 1931
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Folding Bed
Film Type:116
Film Width:70mm
ImageSize:2½ x 4¼ in
Lens Type:Meniscus - achromatic
Focal Length:120mm
Focus Type:Fixed
Focal Range:10ft - inf.
Aperture Type:Multistop
Aperture:f/16, f/22, f/32, f/45
Shutter Type :Kodo
Shutter Speeds:T, I*(1/50 sec)
Size Closed (w x h x d):95 x 210 x 40 mm
Size Open (w x h x d):95 x 210 x 160 mm
Weight:835g
* Measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

star star star star star
Iconic: Famous, well-known and celebrated

Description

Art Deco Base Plate of Kodak Gift
Art Deco Base Plate

This iconic camera is a version of the No. 1A Pocket Kodak Junior. It is a self-erecting, folding camera. For the 1930 Christmas season, Walter Dorwin Teague redesigned the No. 1A Pocket Kodak Junior faceplate and box, which were usually solid black. Teague created a pattern of interlocking geometric shapes in black, brown, silver and red in Art Deco form. He got his cues from the work of modernist painters such as Mondrian. The camera reflects a convergence of art and industry. The old snobbish distinction between artist and artisan was challenged. In 1930 Kodak believed the camera to be "One of the finest looking Kodaks ever offered". It is said that the camera was intended for women. Kodak described the cameras as distinguished, dainty, and feminine and promoted them at renowned women's colleges across the country.

It takes 116 film, and has a meniscus achromatic lens. It has a Kodo shutter with instantaneous and time selector. It has 4 stops on a circular plate that rotates in front of the lens. It has a tripod mount for landscape pictures. The brown leather-covered camera had matching brown bellows, brown enamel trim and an Art Deco patterned lens panel. The pattern is repeated on the base plate and the cedar box it came in. A similar pattern is on the outer cardboard box. A total of 10,000 units were made.

All cameras had brown 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 cedar box and cardboard outer box are missing.

How to Use

This camera is basically a Kodak 1A Pocket Junior. Find the manual for a Kodak 1A Pocket Junior here

This camera takes uses 116 film which is not available anymore except as expired films. This means that the camera needs modification to take 120 film. Modification is fairly straight forward and will easily give 5 'panoramic' exposures producing 2¼ x 4¼ inch negatives. Check out my page on 'Conversion of a 116 camera to take 120 film'. However, with this particlar camera it is not possible to use a 120 take up spool and you must use the original 116 spool and unload the camera in a darkroom directly into the developing tank. This is because the film tensioners expand as you wind on and at about frame 3 they foul the 120 spool and jam.

Once the conversion has been done, you can take it out for a spin. This camera has four aperture settings numbered 1 to 4. These are f/16(1), f/22(2), f/32(3) and f/45(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. There is a tripod socket.

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
Sunny
Snow/Sand
Dark
with sharp edges
f/32(3)Good
SunnyDistinctf/22(2)Good
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/16(1)Good
OvercastBarely visiblef/16(1)-1 Stop
Underexposed
Acceptable
Heavy OvercastNonef/16(1)-2 Stops
Underexposed
Not Acceptable
Open Shade
/Sunset
Nonef/16(1)-3 Stops
Underexposed
Not Acceptable

Using ISO 400 Film

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
Sunny
Snow/Sand
Dark
with sharp edges
f/45(4)+1 Stops
Overexposed
Acceptable
SunnyDistinctf/45(4)Good
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/32(3)Good
OvercastBarely visiblef/22(2)Good
Heavy OvercastNonef/16(1)Good
Open Shade
/Sunset
Nonef/16(1)-1 Stop
Underexposed
Acceptable

Panoramic Images using this camera

Film - Kodak Portra 160 120

Llandaff Cathedral
Llandaff CathedralInsole Court, Cardiff