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No. 4 Cartridge Kodak (1897)

The No. 4 Cartridge Kodak is a camera well suited for the advanced amateur photographist. It has some settings that are of no use for the snapshooter, like horizontal and vertical shift of the lensboard. But the camera can also be very well used for taking snapshots.

Several lens and shutter combinations were offered for this camera, ranging from the simple Rapid Rectilinear lens and Triple Action Shutter ($ 25) to a high quality Bausch&Lomb Zeiss Tessar with Volute shutter ($ 83).

Cartridge Kodaks were primarily daylight loading rollfilm cameras, the No. 4 taking pics of 4 x5 inch (10x12.5 cm), but they all could be transformed into plate cameras by exchanging the rollfilm back panel with a plate back. The specimen in the video has its plate back attached, with the ground glass inserted. The plate back option made it easier to persuade photographers who had their doubts about rollfilm.

Despite its advanced functions and plate back option the Cartridge Kodak is also a suitable camera for amateurs and tourists who did not want to bother about technical stuff. If you wanted to, you could take a quick snap with it:

  • the proper distance can be set on a scale on the base board
  • the camera can be aimed with the help of the small reflex finders
  • it can be hand held while taking the picture

The No. 4 Cartridge Kodak was the most succesful of the range of Cartridge Kodaks. More than 90.000 were produced during the period from 1897 to 1907. From 1897 until November 1900 the lens panel was made of wood. After that it was made of metal.

Sample of 4x5 inch photo from the period of the
No. 4 Cartridge Kodak.

French manual for the No. 4 Cartridge Kodak.

The Cartridge Kodaks were sturdy instruments and well suited as bicycle cameras.
Here is a page from the French manual showing two styles of special bicycle cases.