Dec 5, 2011

No. 4 Eastman Plate Series D & Anniversary set

The Eastman Plate camera arrived and it surprised me in a positve way. The camera is not only in a very nice condition, but it is also a high quality instrument with of number of special features for the advanced amateur photographer. The lens panel can move up and down and to the left and right, facilitating perspective adjustments. The back panel can rotate along a horizontal axis, making tilting of the plane of focus possible. My Series D camera has double extension of the bellows, so the camera could be used for close up photos.
There is not much information around about the camera, but I found that it cost US$ 25.00 in its day for the version with the Rapid Rectilinear lens. That was not a small amount. A factory worker had to work more than two weeks at 50 hours per week to earn that. A version with a better grade Plastigmat lens cost $ 62.50.
After a bit of cleaning, reparing the reflex finder on the drop bed and a coating of Venetian Cream the camera was ready for a portrait session. Here are two results.

Because of the winter period (and the bad light) my Black Maria film studio is closed. The video with the rotating camera will have to wait until the spring. Nevertheless I added the No. 4 Eastman Plate Series D to my website. Follow the link to see it there.

Since many years I have a Anniversary Kodak in my collection. My mother gave it to me for one of my birthdays a long time ago. That was in the pre-internet age, when lists of cameras arrived in the mail (yes, on paper!) and if you wanted something you had to call the dealer in the middle of the night (from Europe to the USA). The camera I got is not in the best condition, but as it is a birthday present I never replaced it. I won't discard it now, but I could not resist buying a very fine set, with box, booklet, special card, box of film and a very clean camera in like new condition. It did not arrive yet, but here's a pic.


  1. I believe that I have a plastigmat lens for this camera. How would I tell? Reply in blog

  2. According to Brian Coe the camera was available with a Plastigmat No. 2 f/6.8. I do not think you can really tell if a lens was for this camera, because all 4 x 5 inch lenses would fit the camera. Often you could have your own lens fitted at the factory. I guess they mounted it on a lensboard and maybe changed the distance scale on the drop bed.