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No. 4 Eastman Plate Series D (1902-1903)

Although Eastman Kodak was well known for the roll film cameras it made, the company also produced a number of plate cameras. The Eastman Plate Series C and D cameras date from the early 1900's and are fine cameras for the serious amateur. They came in three sizes: No. 3 (3.25 x 4.25 inch), No. 4 (4 x 5 inch) and No. 5 (5 x 7 inch). The Nos. 3 and 4 were made in two versions: Series C and Series D, the latter with extra long extension of the bellows allowing use of either the front or back elements of the lens.

Here you see the No. 4 in the Series D version. The camera was introduced in 1902 (or late 1901) and discontinued in 1903. Only 2100 were made. They sold for US $ 25.00 with a Rapid Rectilinear lens or $ 62.50 for a higher grade Plastigmat lens. This was a lot of money in those days, as a factory worker had to work more than two weeks (50 hours per week) to earn $ 25.00 or six weeks for the expensive version.

Like I said, these cameras were intended for the serious amateur photographist. First because these often prefered to use glass plates instead of roll film, but also because the cameras had a number of features only a knowledgeable (amateur) photographer would appreciate. The lens panel could slide to the left and right and up and down, something that could be very handy when photographing architectural objects, like tall buildings or street fronts. The back could also be swung around a horizontal axis to tilt the plane of focus. Last but not least the bellows of the Series D allowed for double extension, making close up photography possible. All these things were of no use to the snapshooting family photographer.

 

The back of the camera has a ground glass and folding hood. The back panel can be taken off and rotated 90 degrees to allow for horizontal or vertical pictures. The ground glass panel could also be taken out and replaced by a Cartrigde Roll holder. When using the ground glass and plates the camera had to be mounted on a tripod, but it also could be used as a hand camera. On the drop bed is a distance scale to set the proper distance and a little reflecting finder to see what would be on the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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