Experiments: Kodak barrel lens

Written by Nasir Hamid on April 17th, 2012

I recently bought an old Kodak barrel lens (Kodak No.33 Anastigmat 4.5 7 1/2 inch) for an insanely low price and these are some of the first test shots made with it. From what I can tell the lens is from the 1920’s or 1930’s because there’s no serial number on it so it’s certainly pre-1940’s which was when Kodak started to add them on their lenses. There’s no shutter which is where my Speed Graphic 5×4 camera comes in handy because it’s got a focal plane shutter built into the back.

So far I’ve been quite rushed when doing my tests with this lens because I’ve only had time during my lunch breaks to do any testing and so far I haven’t quite found its sweet spot yet for achieving nice bokeh. These images were all made on Fuji FP100-C instant pack film (just like Polaroid) and for a change I’ve scanned the negative after removing the black backing with household bleach. The prints look very different to these.

a double exposure

This double exposure was an accident and I was a bit gutted when I peeled the print but it's grown on me.

This is Richard who works at Clements & Church on Little Clarendon Street. It's a new men's tailor that recently opened. This shot was at least 1.5 stops underexposed but the negative seems to hold a lot more detail than the print.

Radcliffe Camera

My first shot with this lens. I decided to pick a subject that wouldn't move.

Stone masons

These are stone masons working on St. Mary's tower. They were very patient and we chatted about photography as I set up the shot. In my rush to get the shot I miss-framed it.

Bird feeder

Bird feeder. Another very underexposed shot that was rescued from the recovered neg. The light level was low and I chose a fast shutter speed to freeze the moving branches.