Film Premo

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Eastman Kodak's Film Premo folding cameras use film packs, for 12 exposures. The camera was patented in 1903 and produced in 1906. It was made in at least three sizes:

  • The Film Premo No. 1 uses 3¼×4¼ inch film packs (quarter-plate format).
  • The Film Premo 3A uses 3¼×5½ inch packs (Postcard size).
  • The Film Premo 4×5 uses 4×5 inch packs.
  • McKeown lists a 5×7 inch model. This is not mentioned in the 1908 instruction book,[1] so may be later.

The Film Premo seems to be a budget product, when compared to the Kodak Pocket Premo C, which retains more of the quality of Rochester Optical's original Premo cameras (which have wooden bed and standard, and front rise). George Eastman's idea to popularize photography may have inspired Kodak's camera engineers to make this cheaper variant after Kodak had bought Rochester Optical in 1903.

It has a Rochester Optical Co. Planatograph lens and Ball Bearing Shutter, giving speeds 1/25 - 1/100 second, plus 'T' and 'B'. This can be released manually with the lever, or with a pneumatic release (i.e. a rubber bulb and tube). The shutter is not synchronised for flash, but the manual describes the use of flash, using 'T' or 'B' shutter with a plate for burning flash powder.[1]

The aperture is calibrated in Uniform System stop numbers, from US stop 4 (f/8) to 128 (f/45). The lens standard is simply pulled forward to focus using the scale on the bed (squeezing the clips on each side of the standard to release it to slide on the bed): it focuses down to six feet. The user's manual advertises a kit of accessories, including close-up, telephoto and wide-angle supplementary lenses.[1]

There is a brilliant finder, which rotates for use in both portrait and landscape orientation.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Instructions for using the Film Premo No. 1 downloadable as a pdf from Orphan Cameras. In the manual, Kodak describes itself as 'the successor to Rochester Optical Co.' several times.