James's Camera Collection: Kodak 616 Folding Camera

Kodak 616 folder Germany Other Canon Cameras Folding cameras
Kodak 616 folding camera
Film type: Roll film size 616
Approx. dates of manufacture: 1934—1938
Approx. original price: $40
Approx. street value: low

Another one of Kodak's folders, of which they made many. This is a self-erecting type, which means that when you pull down the front bed, the lens standard flips into position and locks in place automatically—you don't have to reach in and pull it out the way you do with older or lesser models. It's a very nice feature.

It may say Kodak, but it's a Nazi. Made in the 30s while Hitler was invading Austria, Czechoslovakia, and getting ready to defend himself against the world domination plans of Poland, this thing actually looks like something that would come out of Nazi Germany for the American market. It's a really nicely made camera—my photos don't do it justice. It's got that deep glossy black enamel against beautiful chrome brightwork.

The quick and simple way to identify it is from the chrome detail on the side. Most American Kodaks had plain black leatherette, or had a pattern embossed in the leatherette or the case itself.

The shutter doesn't say it, but it's a probably a Compur S. Brian Coe, in his book, Kodak Cameras: The First Hundred Years, says there are three lens combinations: a Kodak Anastigmat, Schneider Xenar or a Zeiss Tessar, all ƒ/4.5s. Mine's a Kodak Anastigmat ƒ/6.3, which he credits only to the 620 model. Mine's definitely a 616. He also says that the model 620 with the Kodak lens has a Pronto S shutter, so mine may have that as well.

Kodak 616 folding camera - side detail

Camera manual: Orphan Cameras.com

©opyright by James Ollinger. All Rights Reserved.