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No. 3 Bull's-Eye Kodak (1908 - 1913)

This is a bit of a dull camera.

It is a rather big black leather box with very few settings that could make it more interesting. The shutter is a to and fro one speed thing. There is a pull strip to set the shutter on T (time) exposure and a pull strip with three apertures. On a side there's a film winding key. The lens is fixed focus, so there is no focusing lever or pointer and scale to set the distance.

It is a rather late model in the Bull's-Eye range and has not the slightest claim to historical fame. The camera came 12 years after the first No. 2 Bull's-Eye of 1896. That was a very modern and successful camera in its time.

But... despite of its humble specifications 23,000 people bought one. So there must be something to it.

  • It takes pics of 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 (8 x 11 cm). Considering that it is a fixed focus camera, this is a large picture size. There is a limit to the picture size if you want a lens that renders everything sharp from a few feet distance to infinity. And the No. 3 Bull's-Eye is very close to this limit.
  • With the one speed always set shutter, do-not-change aperture and always correct focusing, this camera comes close to a fool proof instrument. If you knew which end of the camera to point at your subject and if you had the sun over your shoulder, virtually nothing could go wrong.
  • Because of the lack of settings, this apparatus could be used very quickly. It was a point and shoot machine that could snap the tiny piece of time in which your baby sat still and looked at you with large eyes. A moment not to mis.
  • For this instrument you only had to pay $ 8. Not so very much if you considered all the fleeting moments it could capture on a nice sized piece of paper.


Garden Magazine ad, 1908

Instruction booklet

Dealer's sample photograph to show size and quality of the No. 3 Bull's Eye photos