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Kodak Automatic 35 - 1959
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• Kodak's first 35mm auto-exposure still camera

• $84.50 in 1959 ($633 in 2010 dollars)

Kodak introduced two auto-exposure cameras in the US in 1959: The 127 Brownie Starmatic (also in this app), and a much more expensive 35mm, the Automatic 35. (They also introduced the Retinette IIa in Europe, also in this app.)

The Automatic 35 was based on the Signet series, first introduced in 1951. But the Signets had rangefinders, while the Automatics had only zone focusing. The distance scale was marked in feet starting at 2.5, divided into groups: close-ups, groups, and scenes.

The large, flat ring around the lens (see photo 3 below) set the shutter speeds. The ring was big, but there were only two speeds: 1/40 and 1/80.

$633 in 2010 dollars was a lot to pay for a camera with only two shutter speeds and no rangefinder.

The same camera with a spring-wound motorized film advance was called the Motormatic.

The Automatic 35 had a 44mm lens, which seemed a bit wide, since Kodak and most everyone else had been calling a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera "normal", probably because the Leica called 50mm normal from the beginning. But the actual diagonal for a 24mm x 36mm image is 43.3mm, so 44mm is really closer to being correct. There was another reason for 44mm: Without a rangefinder, the more depth-of-field the better.

Kodak Automatic 35Kodak Automatic 35Kodak Automatic 35Kodak Automatic 35
Kodak Automatic 35, showing bottom winding lever and tripod socketKodak Automatic 35, showing flash exposure cards to be inserted into frame on backKodak Automatic 35 Field CaseKodak Automatic 35 Field Case
Article from Popular Photography, May 1959Article from Popular Photography, May 1959Review from Popular Photography, Nov. 1959Kodak Automatic 35 instruction booklet
Kodak Automatic 35 instruction bookletKodak Automatic 35 instruction bookletKodak Automatic 35 instruction bookletKodak Automatic 35 instruction booklet
Kodak Automatic 35 instruction bookletKodak Automatic 35 instruction bookletKodak Automatic 35 instruction bookletKodak Automatic 35 instruction booklet
Kodak Automatic 35 instruction bookletKodak Automatic 35 instruction bookletKodak Automatic 35 instruction bookletKodak Automatic 35 instruction booklet
Kodak Automatic 35 instruction bookletKodak Automatic 35 instruction bookletKodak Automatic 35 instruction bookletKodak Automatic 35 instruction booklet
Ad from Popular Photography, May 1960Ad from Popular Photography, May 1960

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