Cameras of the 1880s
Cameras of the 1890s
Kodak (original)1888
2 Kodak
3 Kodak
4 Kodak
3 Kodak Junior
4 Kodak Junior
4 Folding Kodak
5 Folding Kodak
5 Folding Kodak *
5 Folding Kdk stereo
6 Folding Kodak Impr
A Ordinary
B Ordinary
C Ordinary
B Daylight
C Daylight
3 Kodet
4 Kodet
3 Folding Kodet
4 Folding Kodet hor.
4 Folding Kodet ver.
4 Folding Kodet Jr.
4 Folding Kodet Spec
5 Folding Kodet
5 Folding Kodet Spec
Flat Folding Kodak
Boston Bulls-Eye
4x5 Boston Bulls-Eye
Pocket Kodak
2 Falcon
2 Bull's-Eye
2 Bull's Eye Special
2 Folding Bull's-Eye
3 Bull's-Eye
4 Bull's-Eye
4 Bull's-Eye Special
2 Bullet of 1895
2 Bullet Improved
2 Bullet Special
4 Bullet
4 Bullet Special '98
4 Bullet Special C
3 Cartridge Kodak
4 Cartridge Kodak
5 Cartridge Kodak
2 Plico / Flexo
2 Eureka
2 Eureka Junior
4 Eureka
3 Zenith
9x12 Zenith
4 Zenith
Cameras of the 1900s
Cameras of the 1910s
Anniversary Kodak
Elements in motion
Identify your Kodak
Users & cameras
Scheimpflug file
My articles
My photographs
Viewfinder photos

No. 4 Folding Kodet Special (1895)

This camera from the period 1895-1897 took 4x5 inch (10x12,5 cm) pictures on plates or darkroom loaded rollfilm. It was the poor man's alternative for the more expensive No. 4 Folding Kodak Improved (1893-1897). The former had a price tag of $15 or $20, depending on the lens, and the latter of $ 60.

You can categorize Kodaks in a matrix, with price on one axis and the kind of photographer on the other axis. The four possible combinations are:

  1. cheap and easy to use (for the snapshooter)
  2. cheap with all kind of possibilities (for the serious amateur)
  3. expensive and easy to use (for the well to do snapshooter)
  4. expensive with all kind of possibilities (for the well to do serious amateur).

The No. 4 Folding Kodet Special is clearly a camera in category 2: an instrument for the serious amateur who couldn't afford a better camera. It has a rising front and double swing back. This allowed the photographer to correct the perspective of the image and change the plane of focus, things the snapshooter wouldn't know what to do with.
Through the back door the photographer could judge the image on the ground glass and through the side door she could change the plates, draw the dark slide out of the plateholder or manipulate the plate holding mechanism for the horizontal or vertical swing. Through the side door the plates and ground glass could be changed for a Kodet rollholder with darkroom loaded film for 48 exposures.

The lens has four stops and the shutter has only instantaneous and time setting. The instantaneous setting can be manipulated slightly by changing the tension of the spring.

Only 1950 cameras of this model were made, making them not so easy to find nowadays.


 Page from Kodak 1895 catalog.