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Kodak EastmanBantam f8

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1938-1942. 828 film camera. Telescoping front (not bellows).

Kodak Eastman: Bantam f8 camera

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by bill339 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:16 pm

This is the "Kodak Bantam F.8"; it is from the series of "Bantam" folding pocket sized cameras produced by Kodak from 1935 to 1953. This particular model the "F.8" was produced in 1938, and was one of many cameras designed by the industrial engineer Walter Dorwin Teaque. An interesting thing to note is that although it would be classified as a "folding camera", unlike typical folding cameras it does not feature collapsible bellows. While a majority of Kodak's Bantam cameras were "strut" folders; the "F.8" model instead has a rectangular retractable lens board. This camera would have originally used the 828 roll film format, which is essentially 35mm film on a paper-backed roll; as opposed to being housed in a canister and only having one perforation per frame. The smaller size of 828 allowed Kodak to produce a much more compact camera design. However, the 828 itself would never become one of the mainstream film formats, this was due primarily to the fact that 828 cameras themselves were marketed towards the ultra-low-end of the consumer market and the Bantam F8 was sold for $3.95. 828 was discontinued by Kodak in 1985. The Bantam F.8 is a fairly simple folding pocket "point-and-shoot" camera from that era, with the chassis made out of molded black Bakelite. There is no focus, aperture, or shutter speed control; the only user controls are the shutter leaver and the advance wheel. This camera would have been designed to have been very discrete (roughly the size of a pack of cigarettes when folded). The shutter leaver is located on the very front of the camera; the shutter will not fire when the lens board is retracted. The "F.8" in the cameras model name refers to the fixed "f/8" aperture setting. The camera had no flash capability but Kodak sold Super XX panchromatic high speed film at that time and suggest two Photoflood Lamps with a pair of Kodak handy reflectors. This information came in a pamphlet labeled “Snapshots at Night” and came in the box with the camera along with the instruction book.

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