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No. 3A Folding Pocket Kodak (1903 - 1915)

On the left a plain € 20 version, on the right the top of the line € 77 version of 1904.

This is a camera for the popular postcard size photos of 3 1/4 x 5 1/2 inch (8.5 x 14 cm).

It is a typical camera for the family photographer, who is mainly interested in taking snaps of the children, wife / husband and dog in the backyard during the summer.
The instrument is simple to operate, having in its simplest configuration:

  • only one instantaneous speed
  • a focusing scale and pointer to set the proper distance with
  • a simple little reflex finder that gives some impression of what will be on the pic.

However there is more to this machine than meets the eye on the first glance. Although the negative size of 3 1/4 x 5 1/2 inch was considered small in those days, and not suitable for a serious photographer, the camera could be made into an excellent instrument.

 Sample picture made with the 3A FPK


  • First of all there are the better lens and shutter combinations that could be had. The standard version was a Rapid Rectilinear lens and F.P.K. Automatic (1903-1908) shutter or Kodak Ball Bearing (1909-1914) shutter for $ 20.
  • The 1904 camera in the top right video sports a Goerz Anastigmat No. 1 Series III f6.8 and a Volute shutter. In its day it was the top line No. 3A FPK, costing € 77.
  • Also you could replace the plain back with a plate back, so that you could take photos on glass plates. It had the important advantage that you could compose the image and focus it on a large ground glass. This was far more accurate than the focusing scale and tiny finder.
  • To use the horizontal and vertical shift of the lenspanel you had to insert the ground glass. Without this it was hard to judge the effect of the shifting. With this it was possible to photograph tall buildings without tilting the camera. This way you avoided pics with building that seemed to fall back. Read more about this on my lenspanel page.


1904 Kodak catalog