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Images from the past: Circular snapshots from the Kodak 1

By dpreview staff on Oct 6, 2013 at 11:00 GMT
Woman, boy and a pram (<em>circa</em> 1890)
1 6 7 8 9 10

Woman, boy and a pram (circa 1890)

Via: PSFK, Source: National Media Museum

Comments

Total comments: 89
Eurodynamica
By Eurodynamica (6 months ago)

As others have noted....photography has little to do with the equipment. Very nice photos from a camera that would be laughed at today...

1 upvote
Hasa
By Hasa (6 months ago)

The Kodak 1 has shown me that although 99,? % of photographs the last 100+ years have been rectangular. This need not be so.
Squares are not even natures piece of cake. Somebody just discovered a square on Mars in a landform and it caused a stir. Square is rare. In nature.
With 36Mpix sensors why not have a round image to start with? Then we can decide later on whether we want a triangular, square, rectangular-portrait, rectangular-landscape or round image!
Workarounds to become a "round person":
I recently stumbled upon a "round image generator" in PTGui. How do you like the result? http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/6268509557/photos/2696210/my-garden-pond-w-fisheye
In fact I could just mount APS-C lenses on the full frame Nikon D800 and get round images, sort of.

0 upvotes
jeds
By jeds (6 months ago)

The dynamic range on that first image is dreadful. Highlights completely blown. Have you seen the noise at 100% crop. Also back focussing. What the hell is Kodak playing at. Do they not read these forums. I for one will be selling up and switching to water colours.

3 upvotes
jaygeephoto
By jaygeephoto (6 months ago)

Images from a past that's hard to even imagine. Not to spoil the fun but people should know that George Eastman stole the process for coating light sensitive emulsion onto flexible film (and was eventually sued) and he positioned his office so he could monitor female employee's taking bathroom breaks. Yes there was Dickensian side of life back then that was was not recorded on these toys for the rich.

0 upvotes
scuttled monkey
By scuttled monkey (6 months ago)

I'm not say it's not true but "and he positioned his office so he could monitor female employee's taking bathroom breaks." is a statement you should backup with actual facts from at least 2 sources.

0 upvotes
darngooddesign
By darngooddesign (4 weeks ago)

Life was really hard back then? What a revelation.

0 upvotes
daMatrix
By daMatrix (6 months ago)

Geez no enlargement view?
These old images hold much more detail than shown here due to the large negative (glasplate) size.

0 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (6 months ago)

Once again DPReview covers a low-end consumer mobile camera, the type that is ruining photography. Photography should be about specs and expensive equipment and a tripod. Cameras like this put photography into the hands of anyone, and more dangerously, into the hands of the un-trained.

Oh sure, the smaller size of this camera is a convenience, but if you are serious about your photography you should be taking a Nikon DSLR everywhere you go. The lens on this thing is obviously some mass-market junk glass, and how do you focus? DPReview needs to stop covering these mobile photography trends that just demean all of the obscure technical knowledge we have toiled to acquire and memorize.

Unacceptably blown-out highlights, gimmicky circular crops (I remember when those become available in a recent Wordpress build) and cheesy sepia Instagram-style filters. This is not real photography!

/sarcasm, and I'm talking to you smartphone/P&S haters

6 upvotes
Lightime81
By Lightime81 (6 months ago)

I always though Eastman was looking in a viewfinder in this photo (first on the page). Enjoy many of the other images as well.

http://luis-viadel.blogspot.com/2013/08/kodak.html

(I hope the content down the right side does not offend anyone. Definitely some NSFW. And for the rest, I don't speak Spanish).

0 upvotes
Gene L.
By Gene L. (6 months ago)

Wonderful!

0 upvotes
Picturenaut
By Picturenaut (6 months ago)

Impressive, given the simplicity of such cameras. I really ask myself how these early users composed their images so well with not any sort of viewfinder.

1 upvote
audijam
By audijam (6 months ago)

they did their calculation before they took the shot...
in my opinion, general users had better understanding in optics than general users today. have you seen people with pro-DSLR and turn on AUTO mode? i am sure you have~~~

3 upvotes
photogeek
By photogeek (6 months ago)

You're only seeing successful pictures. The bad ones (of which there were many) are long gone.

2 upvotes
pforan
By pforan (6 months ago)

Circular Lenses and Rectangular Photos
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/34346469

Comment edited 48 seconds after posting
1 upvote
SRT3lkt
By SRT3lkt (6 months ago)

people are happier back then

2 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (6 months ago)

This always has been the excuse of the unhappy ones. Happiness is is the result of a person's hard work to become happy. It is not about a time or place.

0 upvotes
Buzz Lightyear
By Buzz Lightyear (6 months ago)

So true, Hubert.

0 upvotes
photogeek
By photogeek (6 months ago)

Happiness is a choice. You can be happy now.

0 upvotes
kimchiflower
By kimchiflower (6 months ago)

These are nicer than many shots taken by people these days with huge DSLRs.

Edit - thank god for jeans & T's

Comment edited 24 seconds after posting
1 upvote
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (6 months ago)

Accounting for inflation in USD it'd be about $600 today.

3 upvotes
misha marinsky4
By misha marinsky4 (6 months ago)

Also, it cost $10 to process the film, and reload the camera with a fresh roll.

That would be ~$237.00, in constant dollars.

4 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (6 months ago)

Thanks for these calculations. It puts the whole thing into a different perspective.

1 upvote
masticina
By masticina (6 months ago)

awesome, those cheapies give real insight in how things we re

0 upvotes
sixtiesphotographer
By sixtiesphotographer (6 months ago)

These photos nicely capture that period in time; many are wonderful.

Also, based on pg. 37 of the instruction booklet, being able to use an orange safelight for film reloading implies the film being used is orthochromatic: greatly sensitive to blue and green, less sensitive to yellow and orange, and not at all sensitive to red.

1 upvote
Stitzer23
By Stitzer23 (6 months ago)

Gold award winner!

4 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (6 months ago)

1% gold

0 upvotes
huyzer
By huyzer (6 months ago)

#6 Perfect use of the circular format. :D

3 upvotes
jkokich
By jkokich (6 months ago)

Amazing. Wonderful, and pretty damn good quality!

2 upvotes
KariIceland
By KariIceland (6 months ago)

I love seeing the times before the 50s

0 upvotes
petepictures
By petepictures (6 months ago)

I enjoyed those very much

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (6 months ago)

Fun - we are just discussing round sensor in the science forum. Methinks that DPReview crew do read that forum :-)

0 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (6 months ago)

What's easier, a person in 1880 pointing box and shooting, or one of the 95% today, using their camera and not even knowing how to turn off the flash when it isn't needed?

2 upvotes
misha marinsky4
By misha marinsky4 (6 months ago)

Buy a Kodak 1. No flash at all, nor batteries.

0 upvotes
aftab
By aftab (6 months ago)

And how is it going to be 123 years from now?

0 upvotes
kodachromeguy
By kodachromeguy (6 months ago)

I expect that only a small percentage of today's digital files will have survived. These will be in institutions or the few households where a dedicated family member backed up and re-backed files.

4 upvotes
rpm40
By rpm40 (6 months ago)

I expect many of today's images to survive. Photos now circle the globe instantly and are shared and saved in countless duplications on an endless number of computers, phones, dvds, memory cards and so on. As long as we don't completely forget the technology used to read the media, these leftovers will be around for quite a while.

I picture the story of a person finding an SD card wedged in a crack somewhere in an old attic in the year 2113, and finding an interesting surprise when they are able to access the data.

0 upvotes
Frank_BR
By Frank_BR (6 months ago)

It's easy to forget how difficult photography was in 1888. Consider, for example, these recommendations extracted from the manual of the Kodak 1:

"The Kodak cannot be used in open air (out-of-doors) unless the Sun is Very Bright."
"The Kodak cannot be used to photograph Race Horses, going at a fast gait, nor Express Trains in motion…"
"The Sun should shine directly upon the object."
"Photograph the sunny side."
"Do not attempt to Photograph the shady side."
"The Sun should be at back of Operator, or over his shoulder - never in front of him."
etc.

Excerpt from http://www.cameramanuals.org/kodak_pdf/kodak_manual_1888.pdf

6 upvotes
ThrashingMoses
By ThrashingMoses (6 months ago)

This manual is simply amazing !

Thank you for sharing,

0 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (6 months ago)

Wow. Photogs had to be disciplined. Sure not like that today, unless you don't want to be mediocre.

1 upvote
Jude McDowell
By Jude McDowell (6 months ago)

Crikey. Even developing 35mm colour negatives is a breeze compared to the process describe in that guide.

1 upvote
babalu
By babalu (6 months ago)

Kodak 1 was over a century ahead of its time. I can't see a viewfinder anywhere,
so it was a true "point and shoot", like most popular cams today.

6 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (6 months ago)

Where is the LCD screen? I must be missing it.

1 upvote
babalu
By babalu (6 months ago)

The word "screen" was used differently back in those days..

0 upvotes
dholl
By dholl (6 months ago)

this portrait is stunning even if taken today:

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3191/2780164461_d409092d86_o.jpg

8 upvotes
Lightime81
By Lightime81 (6 months ago)

I dunno, that's a really blown out hot spot on the book. (jk)

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (6 months ago)

it may be interesting to introduce some cinema cameras because we are on the way to all motion picture (still is more something transit and minor).

0 upvotes
Peter Bendheim
By Peter Bendheim (6 months ago)

Before this camera, photography was in the hands of the wealthy and the masses were excluded. This camera democratised photography, and changed everything.
100 years later, the iphone and smart phones have done much the same thing on a far larger scale in a world where the population is now many times larger and photography had, by the onset of the 21st century again become a pursuit for the middle classes.
Makes one think.

0 upvotes
dholl
By dholl (6 months ago)

not the same thing at all. An iphone costs around €500, plus the super-expensive 2-year datapacket which is another €800...hardly a camera for the paupers, is it?

My first camera was a Canon A530 which cost new about €100. It's cameras like that which helped the pauper get into digital photography.

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
8 upvotes
antares103
By antares103 (6 months ago)

But most people already have cell phones, and would have smart phones even if they did not evolve with cameras. Additionally, iPhones and many other smartphones can be had for free with a contract. While the overall monthly fee is high, the additional fee to the already existing cell phone fee is nominal. An iPod touch is the same as an iPhone that cannot make calls, but costs less than most point and shoots, and has no monthly contract.

I think, however, the smartphone did not bring photography to the reach of the common man. The smart phone brought photography to those not interested enough to photograph otherwise.
It can be argued it brought the cost of sharing images down, which can be as expensive (if not more so) when printing (and mailing)

2 upvotes
dholl
By dholl (6 months ago)

I agree with this bit:

"The smart phone brought photography to those not interested enough to photograph otherwise. "

6 upvotes
Ferling
By Ferling (6 months ago)

It was the Kodak Instamatic, introduced in the 60's that was specifically intended to bring affordable photography to the masses. Still, even with cheaper (and even free) tools today, what has not changed is skills and technique in acquiring admirable pictures. I'm sure a filter to mimica that look can be found on InstanGram, but it still comes down to the photographer.

(Funny side note. My auto correct thinks InstaGram should be spelled "Instamatic").

1 upvote
dholl
By dholl (6 months ago)

"(Funny side note. My auto correct thinks InstaGram should be spelled "Instamatic")."

ha! that's a nice moment...tells a story all on its own.

0 upvotes
Tom Goodman
By Tom Goodman (6 months ago)

Mr. Bendheim is partially correct. Most of the daguerreotypes, tintypes, etc. made during the mid to late 19th C were made by itinerant photographers and humble portrait studios not wealthy people. While not literally made by the masses, they were mostly made of the masses and were not confined to those with wealth. While the Kodak camera did place cameras in the hands of the many, photography was widespread before its introduction and was not in any way exclusive.

Comment edited 14 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
sixtiesphotographer
By sixtiesphotographer (6 months ago)

No - before this camera, there was dry plate photography. You didn't have to be "wealthy": to make and see your photos - you just had to be dedicated enough to learn and do your own chemical processing. Even at the height of film-era photography (1950's to 1980's), only a very small minority of people were interested enough to do that.

Although, it would've been cheaper (more affordable) to do it yourself, by Kodak providing the processing for the Kodak 1, that's what brought photography to the average person.

0 upvotes
TDMPQ
By TDMPQ (6 months ago)

Peter, what exactly does democratizing photography even mean? I can't for the life of me figure out how democracy has anything to do with the average person having access to photography equipment that they could afford.

Regarding the pursuit of the middle class, I don't understand what this means. A person can be interested in something even if they cannot afford it. They may save up for a long time then buy what they covet. Regardless, cheap film cameras, and later cheap point and shoots have done much more to make photography affordable.

By the way, the middle class is not a static groups that acts as an aggregate. People are in and out of it all the time and each person acts entirely as an individual.

0 upvotes
Camera.Ken
By Camera.Ken (6 months ago)

One of the pix shows a professional photog (beach photographer) staring balefully at the Kodak. Perhaps he's realizing that his business is going to be finished soon.

5 upvotes
jrevill
By jrevill (6 months ago)

Just what I was thinking. On the other hand, a beach photographer is mentioned in the novel Brighton Rock, which is set 30s, so maybe he has nothing to worry about.

0 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (6 months ago)

DPReview is now 123 years behind in reviewing this camera. Do they hate Kodak or what? I can't wait much longer.

45 upvotes
Giklab
By Giklab (6 months ago)

Flawless victory

2 upvotes
misha marinsky4
By misha marinsky4 (6 months ago)

Best comment on this thread.

Actually, it took Kodak 123 years to send DPR a camera for testing.

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (6 months ago)

will be interested how photozone.de will test the lens. they also have a fundamental flaw to use picture height for all aspect ratios but there is no PH here. it's diagonal in every direction.

btw, would rather prefer Kodak send President Obama to Bali APEC summit than Kodak No. 1 to DPReview.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
PeterAustin
By PeterAustin (6 months ago)

Kodak 1 came with 100 shots and prints all included. "You press the shutter and don't worry about the rest". Keep in mind what 100 pictures meant at a time when people had only a handful of photographs taken during an entire lifetime.
In 2013, it would be 20 pictures included, with five different pricing plans for additional prints, 2 year commitment, automatic monthly payments, early cancellation penalty, 10-page small print legal contract, and extra charges for the prints in case you want to see them (with all rights belonging to the company). No wonder US companies are struggling.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
21 upvotes
Husaberg Grok
By Husaberg Grok (6 months ago)

...and saved in the "cloud".

3 upvotes
marleni
By marleni (6 months ago)

Very inspiring!
every photo tells a story.

1 upvote
reginalddwight
By reginalddwight (6 months ago)

Ingenious design. A camera that morphs effortlessly into a shoe shine box.

0 upvotes
Frederick Lim
By Frederick Lim (6 months ago)

Looks like a Lytro camera.

2 upvotes
Greg Van Deusen
By Greg Van Deusen (6 months ago)

I've sometimes wondered why cameras aren't made with round sensors to capture the full [round] lens image. It would give you more image area to crop from.

1 upvote
sportyaccordy
By sportyaccordy (6 months ago)

Sensors are made in big sheets... circular sensors would be very wasteful

1 upvote
Tlipp
By Tlipp (6 months ago)

Good idea, could a camera have a round filter for the sensor?

0 upvotes
Karroly
By Karroly (6 months ago)

Like all silicon chips, sensors are cut from a circular wafer. And wafers are sliced from a cylindrical silicon ingot. Thus, to avoid silicon waste, just make an ingot with a diameter that equals the circular sensor diameter...
Some advantages of a circular sensor :
- total freedom to choose the image aspect ratio in post-processing.
- no need to rotate the camera when shooting in portrait orientation. Thus no need for an optional heavy/bulky vertical grip for DSLRs.
- no need for a spirit level or virtual horizon to set the camera horizontally with accuracy when required (although one may be needed to control camera tilt...). Picture can be rotated in post-processing without cutting corners/borders.
- or, advanced cameras, with a built-in electronic level sensor, can automatically rotate the picture to set it horizontally without cutting corners/borders.
- you get the maximum possible image size whatever the final image aspect ratio you choose (compared to a rectangular sensor).

3 upvotes
edu T
By edu T (6 months ago)

It's the other way around, actually!
For these are crop circles-- oops, CIRCULAR CROPS, I mean, FROM squarish sensors, err... negatives.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Rmano
By Rmano (6 months ago)

1 sensor per silicon wafer will bring incredibly high prices, I fear. I do not remember the standard wafer size, but it's quite bigger than even full frame sensors... So that you can use the same process steps for several to a lot of chips.

0 upvotes
imsabbel
By imsabbel (6 months ago)

@Karroly:

Does not work that way. The silicon ingots are MUCH larger than any sensor. This might work out if you make Hubble 2.0, but not for mass production cameras. There are just too many "per piece" costs involved in the processing. Sensors are only cheap if you can make hundreds from a wafer (which is why fullfield sensors are so much more expensive than anything smaller).

Second, the logic itself won't work out: The square pixel grid is there for a reason. Trying to make a circular sensor would be insane - you would get different amounts of pixels per line, how to organise the line and row amplifiers and readout paths? It would be cheapter to just cut the square and ignore the pixels in the corner than to make a dedicated round sensor.

0 upvotes
Superka
By Superka (6 months ago)

This is much better then DSLR.
Let's shoot film again.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
Cirrus70
By Cirrus70 (6 months ago)

I like the circular image format!

8 upvotes
Sir Corey of Deane
By Sir Corey of Deane (6 months ago)

I never stopped.

Velvia 50 with Nikon FA at present.

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
groucher
By groucher (6 months ago)

Nikon FA - brilliant design - lightweight, compact and with a perfect selection of features. Nikon, please give us a digital FA.

2 upvotes
RichardBalonglong
By RichardBalonglong (6 months ago)

Not THAT better than DSLR. But it's more exciting than a DSLR as you have to process and wait to see the results. I also love using film, but I only now use it for fun and for art. But for work, I won't use it.
By the way, I use Pentax 6x7 and Pentax K1000 until today... ;)

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
Ferling
By Ferling (6 months ago)

Mamiya M645 and Kodak Portra 160 on occasion.

2 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (6 months ago)

No Mamiya for me - just an Olympus OM-2n - but Portra 160 is the only colour film I use. Colours are just right with this film!

0 upvotes
kodachromeguy
By kodachromeguy (6 months ago)

Some of us still do! I have long-frozen Panatomic-X film in 120 size for a big Fuji 690II.

0 upvotes
dstate1
By dstate1 (6 months ago)

Just another consumer point and shoot. I would never buy a camera without an evf. Plus, the bokeh sucks.

15 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (6 months ago)

And the equivalent aperture must be something like f/128.

2 upvotes
Paul Farace
By Paul Farace (6 months ago)

Who's the tramp at the beach showing off her calves??? Absolutely disgusting! No proper female would dare to bare in such a shameless way!

11 upvotes
misha marinsky4
By misha marinsky4 (6 months ago)

Kids these days.

1 upvote
Glen Barrington
By Glen Barrington (6 months ago)

People don't change much. They are much the same sort of photos we take today

3 upvotes
WT Jones
By WT Jones (6 months ago)

I was thinking the same thing.

1 upvote
Dave Luttmann
By Dave Luttmann (6 months ago)

Where,s the selfies in the bathroom mirror and pics of their dinner?

6 upvotes
WACONimages
By WACONimages (6 months ago)

A wonderful time documentary images. Like them, surprising sharp as well.

2 upvotes
Total comments: 89