The Online Darkroom Store

Friday, January 17

Kodak Specialist 2 update and instructions

Good news on the Kodak Specialist 2 front. The bellows seem to be just fine and my old Slik tripod is man enough for the job of supporting the weighty camera. All I need is a lens and a few sheets of film and I'm all set to give 5x7 or half plate a whirl.

kodak specialist ii, half plate, 5x7, 7x5, large format, analogue photography, analog photography, film photography, silver gelatin, online darkroom, printing

Bottom-feeding as ever, I've ordered an interesting lens to get me going - all of £12 it was. It's a shutterless process lens that almost covers 10x8 so it should manage half plate or 5x7 with room to spare. I'll tell you more about it when it arrives, which should be any day now.

Having an intact set of bellows is a big bonus as having a replacement made is very expensive. I tested them by going into the darkroom, extending the bellows fully and removing the back. I took the cover off a safelight, placed the bare bulb inside the bellows and stuffed a changing bag into the rear to make it light tight. When I switched the darkroom lights out there was no sign of a light leak anywhere from the bellows.

The fact that my old tripod was able to hold the Kodak quite securely was a surprise. The camera starts off weighing about 13lbs but my one also has an extending rear track for double extension photography and another auxiliary track that fits beneath the camera and allows the whole assembly to be racked backwards and forwards independently of the normal focusing track. They add another couple of pounds. That's quite a package.

I think I'll test the Kodak using 5x7 paper cut down to half plate size until I get the hang of it. I also want to try out an old 16.5 cm Goerz lens that came off a quarter plate folder. The folder had some movements so it's possible the lens might just cover half plate.

A new reader, John Scarlet, contacted me after finding my earlier post whilst doing a search for the Kodak tripod that was sometimes part of the camera kit. He has a set of instructions, from which it appears that my camera was probably a special police outfit. I've got all the relevant bits and pieces from that kit including the repeating back (for two vertical shots on one sheet of quarter plate film) which was most likely used for head on and profile mugshots.

John kindly sent me a scan of the 1950s instructions which have proved very useful. In case anyone else is interested, here they are:


Herman Sheephouse said...

Nice post Inspector Robbins

Perci said...

It remembers our traditional camera types. Today such flexible bellows are largely used in telescopic covers.

gtmatias said...

Hello there, how much does it weight over the tripod?

Richard Clayton said...

Ive had one of these cameras for many years and did a conversion to 5x4 and at the same time stripped and polished the.

I do however have a fair stack of half plate hangers to dispose of
if anyone intersested