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Kodak (original)1888
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No. 4 Bull's-Eye Special (1898)

Boxcameras often are associated with humble and cheap instruments. Sometimes they are, but not always. The Special models of the Kodak Bull's-Eye and Bullet cameras of the period around 1900 belong to the top of the Eastman boxes.

The No. 4 Bull's-Eye Special in this video has a Rapid Rectilinear lens and Triple Action shutter and is beautifully finished. So the Special has better specifications than the normal No. 4 Bull's-Eye, with its Achromatic lens and simple rotating disc shutter.

In my categorization of cameras I discern between four groups of instruments:

  1. cheap and easy to use
  2. expensive and easy to use
  3. cheap and with lots of technical possibilities
  4. expensive with lots of technical possibilities

Each is aimed at its own kind of photographer, like the snapshooters or serious amateurs, or people with more or people with less money. The No. 4 Bull's-eye Special belongs to group 2 and was intended for the snapshooting amateur who could afford an instrument of higher quality. This kind of photographist wanted to take snaps of family and friends in the garden or during a vacation, of the dog on the veranda and an interesting building in a place he or she was visiting.
Snapshooters did not care to make artistic photographs and had no use for all kinds of settings.

The price of the instrument was quite high for a box camera: $ 20. The not so luxurious No. 4 Bull's-Eye cost $ 12.
The camera was made from 1898 until 1904. Numbers produced: 10,000.



Page from Kodak 1900 catalog