Dec 30, 2010

Photosynth of the Eastman Interchangeable View camera

See the synth below. If you are viewing a synth for the first time you may have to download a programm from Photosynth. You can also see it on my site where there is some text also.

Dec 28, 2010

A. Laverne & Eastman Interchangeable View camera

Part of the Xmas holliday I have spent on writing an article about the Eastman Interchangeable View camera. Theme is that Eastman's left his 'blue ocean strategy' temporary and switched to a 'red ocean strategy'. His attempt to introduce film photography during the mid 1880s was not succesful. His conclusion was that he needed to aim at a new public: the snapshooter and family photographer. To put this strategy into practice would take several years, but during this time the company had to earn money. Eastman decided to fill the gap with a traditional product for a traditional market: field cameras for the serious photographer. And that is the Eastman Interchangeable View.
I have to take the photos to go with the article and select other illustrations and then I it ready to go to the editor of Photohistorisch Tijdschrift.

When researching my new camera I found some interesting information about A. Laverne & Co., who made the shutter on my Eastman Interchangeable View camera. It doesn't fit into my article, so I share it here.
Arthur Léon Laverne was a French lantern manufacturer who took over around 1877 the business of two optical instument makers, Albert Gasc and Alphonse Charconnet. In 1887 he formed a partnership with the optical and photographic dealers Eugène Gaston Clément and Georges Arthur Gilmer. In 1890 Laverne retired and sold his business to Clément and Gilmer in april. (Source, source)
The shutter on my camera was patented Februari 24, 1887 (181.782). See the patent text and illustrations here. The illustrations are in the last part of the book. 
The shutter works between the lens element, through the slit for waterhouse stops. It has times for 1, ½, ¼, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64 en 1/100 second. The fitting lens is made by “A. Laverne & Co. Clément & Gilmer Sucrs”. It has an irisdiafragma and slit for the shutter. De diafragmrange goes from 8 to 64.

Dec 19, 2010

Eastman Interchangeable View camera

Yesterdays experiment with the Venetian Cream worked out well. At least the bellows didn't fall apart during the night. So this morning I continued to treat the rest of the bellows. See the before and after pictures.
After that I touched up the wood where it was scratched with a furniture touch up pen. If you are going to do this on your camera, don't forget to wipe off the ink immediately after you applied it. Don't let it dry on the lacquer around the scratch. Just wet a tip of a finger with some spit and wipe the ink off.
Next I put the parts together again. This is the result. (Photo taken with smartphone. I hope to take some better ones during the Xmas holiday.)

In the picture above you can see the A. Laverne & Co shutter. It has a blade that moves up and down between the lens elements. The brass 'chimney' controls the shutter speed. The top of the 'chimney' rotates to set the speed. Range is: 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64 and 1/100 seconds. With the knob above the lens you can open the shutter manually if you want to see the image on the ground glass. On the right side there is a piston for the pneumatic release. See the bulb and tube in the background.

It would be a great adventure to use the camera, with all its shifts and swings. But the bellows is too far gone for this. Maybe I can try next summer to photograph the image on the ground glass. I have done that before. It is not the same as taking real photos with the camera, but at least I can experience a bit how it works.

Dec 18, 2010

Eastman Interchangeable View Camera

Last Thursday the early Eastman camera that I had bought early this month arrived. Shipment was super fast, taking only 10 days from the USA to the Netherlands, including customs. After unpacking, admiring it and trying how everything worked, I started cleaning it. Fortunately the camera could be taken apart easily, so wiping it with a moist cloth was not difficult. All the woodwork seemed to be in good condition, with only a few minor scratches. After all the dust was gone the wood was as pretty as 120 years ago.
The bellows was in a bad conditions and I am affraid this camera will never take a photo again. It is not pinholed but bulletholed. One fold was torn from side to side. The thing was falling apart rapidly. First I thought the bellows was made of a rubber coated textile, but it appears to be a thick black paper outer layer on a textile inner layer. To stop the tearing I started to reinforce the inner lining with narrow black strips of thin linen. After that I could start cleaning the outside carefully with a moist cloth, wiping off the dust and dirt. (I would not have used a moist cloth on a leather bellows!) On the sharp edges of the folds the surface was quite worn and the whole thing looked quite shabby. To improve the color I tried a coating of Venetian Cream on a part. The first result looks promising, but I'm going to wait until tomorrow to see how the paper, glue and textile of the bellows reacts.

Dec 12, 2010


I discovered an interesting 'thing' on the web: a wordle. It figures out the prominence of words in a text and visualizes this in a word-cloud. Meaning what? I don't know. Here is a wordle of this blog. Make your own here.

Dec 11, 2010

Wood finished Kodaks

Once in a while a wood finished Kodak is offered for sale on eBay. Again one appeared, this time it's a No. 1 Panoram Kodak with the leather stripped off. There is no such thing as a wood finished Panoram, just as there are no wood finished Bull's-Eyes, Bullets, Cartridge Kodaks etc. The only wood finished Kodaks are the Ordinary Kodaks (see them on my site). The rest is historical nonsense. Don't buy any of them if you are a collector.
At least the seller of the No. 1 Panoram is honest and mentions all the things that have been altered. Not all selllers are so honest.

Dec 4, 2010

Eureka View camera

Last night I added a new old camera to my collection. At 3 in the night a fine Eastman Dry Plate & Film Camera Co Eureka ended on eBay and I happened to be the highest bidder at US $ 524.
The camera is an Eastman but not a Kodak. It was made during the period 1887 - 1891 in small numbers. The picture size of this camera is 5 x 8 inch, and of these 310 cameras were produced. This example can be dated to the period before 24 December 1889, when the company name changed.

The camera above comes with fitting lens and shutter, plate holders, ground glass, black cloth, bulb and original case. It still has its original cloth bellows. The completeness of the set is one of the reasons why I went for this one.
When it arrives I will show some more pics.

Dec 2, 2010

eBay watch

Again there are some nice antique Kodaks for sale on eBay. If you want a 3B Quick Focus Kodak you can choose between 3 models. One the left is the first model. Starting price US$ 85. On the right a very nice example of a later version of the first model, starting at $ 150. The one with the open front door is a later model, starting at $ 225.

A hard to find camera in complete condition is the No. 4 Bullet Specail model of 1898. It has its ground glass and two plate holders. Starting price is C $ 99. Not to much for this camera I would say.

Last but not least there is a Mickey Mouse Brownie. The seller knows what he has and a number of bidders also know it. 7 bids at the moment, $ 405 and reserve not met. Still 3 day to go.
I still wonder if these Mickey Mouse cameras are a fake or not. They always look like new.