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No. 4A Speed Kodak (1908 - 1913)

My categorization of cameras has four quarters, which are combinations of price (cheap versus expensive) and purpose (simple for the snapshooter versus complicated for the serious photographer). The No. 4A Speed Kodak definitely belongs to the quarter of expensive specialized cameras.

Without a lens it cost $ 50. The buyer could put on a lens of his own choice, but a good quality lens would cost another $ 60. A total of $ 110 for camera and lens was no small amount in the period it was made: 1908 - 1913.

The No. 4A Speed Kodak is a specialists camera for the professional or very serious amateur photographer. It certainly was no machine for the family snapshooter.

  • It has a focal plane shutter with a variable aperture and a variable tension of the spring. The combination of these results in shutter speeds from 1/1000 to 1/5 of a second. All possible combinations of aperture and tension can be seen on a metal plate next to the optical viewfinder.
  • The lens panel can be shifted to the left and right and can also be lowered, giving some control of perspective.
  • The camera is desgined as a roll film camera, but a glass plate adapter with ground glass was available for $ 7.50. Double plate holders cost $ 1.25. If the photographer wanted to judge the effect of shifting the lens panel, s/he would need a ground glass.

The pictue size is 4.25 x 6.5 inch (about 10 x 16 cm). 

About 1000 cameras were produced and it is rather rare today.


No. 4A Speed Kodak with plate back attached