Kodak 35

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The Kodak 35 was introduced in 1938 as the first 35mm still camera of Kodak. It has an antique look from the lens/shutter unit that it inherited from earlier Kodak folding cameras. The camera's black body with rounded sides plus that lens/shutter unit and the top with two film advance wheels and the collapsible optical viewfinder give it a characteristic look.

The camera solidly crafted out of Bakelite with numerous metallic panels, inserts, and fittings. The back removes completely for film loading. The small button next to the film advance unlocks the advance for the next frame and the shutter is cocked via film moving over the sprocket wheels giving a primitive double exposure prevention mechanism.

When first introduced, the Kodak 35 was offered in three different versions, varying in the lens/shutter offered:

  • Kodak Anastigmat 50mm f/5.6 (3 element triplet) in a three speed Kodex shutter (1/25 to 1/100 plus T and B) with black knobs and finder
  • Kodak Anastigmat 51mm f/4.5 (3 element triplet) in a four speed Diomatic shutter (1/25 to 1/150 plus T and B) with chrome knobs/finder and accessory shoe
  • Kodak Anastigmat Special 51mm f/3.5 (4 element Tessar design) in a five speed Kodamatic shutter (1/10 to 1/200 plus T and B) with chrome knobs/finder and accessory shoe

During the war, the Kodak 35 was produced in an olive drab version for military use.

The black knobbed f/5.6 version was not produced after the war. Instead the Kodak 35, now with flash synchronization, was re-introduced in two new versions:

  • Kodak Anastigmat 51mm f/4.5 (3 element triplet, redesignated Anaston in 1947) in a four speed Flash Diomatic Shutter with speeds from 1/25 to 1/150 sec plus B and T
  • Kodak Anastigmat Special 51mm f/3.5 (4 element Tessar design) in a five speed Flash Kodamatic shutter 1/10 to 1/200 plus T and B)

The Kodak 35 originally sold in 1938 for a list price of $33.50 USD with the f/3.5 lens, $24.50 with the f/4.5 lens, and $14.50 with the f/5.6.)[1]. The Kodak 35 was consistently outsold in the marketplace by the Argus C series, which sold for substantially less and featured a coupled rangefinder and a much more "high-tech" appearance. To counter the Argus, in 1940 Kodak introduced the Kodak 35 RF, which featured an awkward appearing but extremely functional coupled rangefinder. Despite these improvements, and the optical superiority of the Kodak cameras, they were never to challenge Argus' market domination.




  • Brian Coe, Kodak Cameras - The First Hundred Years, Hove Foto Books, 1988
  • Kalton Lahue and Joesph Bailey, Glass, Brass, & Chrome - The American 35mm Miniature Camera, University of Oklahoma Press, 1972