Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

No 4 Screen Focus Kodak Camera

Eastman Kodak Company

Name: No 4 Screen Focus Kodak
Type: Folding (rollfilm) / Combination
Manufacturer: Eastman Kodak Company
Country of Origin: US
Construction: Horizontal format rollfilm camera with the film head in a separate compartment, pivoted at the top, allowing it to be swung up at the back. This permitted a ground glass screen to be fitted to allow more accurate focussing. A dark slide has to be inserted to protect the film before the back can be released.
The back can be removed entirely, allowing the camera to be used as a conventional plate camera, while a film could remain loaded in the rollfilm back.
A brilliant finder is fitted on the top left of the lens standard.
Production Period: 1904 - 1910

The No 4 Screen Focus Kodak is the only true Combination camera made by Eastman Kodak. There were plenty of cameras that were available with optional plate backs (such as the No 3 Folding Pocket Kodak) but these could not be used while a film was loaded and are therefore not true Combination cameras.

However the name of the camera and contemporary advertising pushed the fact that the camera provided the photographer with the facility to use a ground glass screen for focussing. The opportunity to use it as a plate camera was a secondary advantage; indeed the plate back was not provided as standard.

Plate / Film Size: 123 rollfilm for pictures 4" x 5"
Lens: Rapid Rectilinear
Shutter: Bausch & Lomb Automatic
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1933
Serial Number: Serial 338 stamped into right hand edge of back panel (inside) and inside edge of main body. The number 44 stamped into side support of the lens board.
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 78

<Photographs to be added>

Description

This example of the No 4 Screen Focus Kodak is in quite good condition. The leather surface has taken quite a lot of wear over the years, and many of the hidden buttons are now losing their leather covering.

The optional plate back is not present (but would not have been supplied with the camera apparently). To open the camera, the dark slide must be inserted to allow the opening mechanism to operate.

An instruction booklet for the camera was bought separately, which includes a number of additional loose sheets about lenses, filters etc. The booklet is dated April 1905 and appears to be right for this camera, given that the serial is 338 (started at 101 in January 1905 with this second model according to Coe [4]).

Notes

Examples of the No 4 Screen Focus Kodak turn up from time to time in the US market (rarely in Europe), but their condition varies widely. The leather body is often quite beaten up and the dark slide needed to release the back may be missing. In some cases the entire back is missing.

According to Coe, the first batch of 70 cameras shipped in June 1904 were recalled to be remodelled. The new model was released in January 1905. I do not know if any examples of this first batch survive - I suspect not.