|Two Kodak Bantam Specials are shown here with a Weston Master light meter of the same era.|
The Bantam Special was a popular camera with many high end features, such as built-in, split-image rangefinder focusing. It used 828 roll film that was 35mm film without the dual sprockets so the image was larger at 28 x 40mm. This results in a 25% increase in negative size over 35mm -- quite considerable. Obtaining the film today is another matter. At the end of this article I provide a source for re-rolled 828 film.
The Bantam Special was an expensive camera, priced at $110 (equivalent to about $1800 today) when it first came out in 1936. The price was later reduced to $87.50 as popularity increased production.
The shutter was a Compur-Rapid with speeds of 1 to 1/500 second, plus T and B. The lens was a 45mm Kodak Anastigmat Ektar with an aperture ranging from a fast f/2 down to f/16. With the advent of WWII in 1940 the German shutter was changed to an American Supermatic with coated optics.
The camera collapsed into a very portable clam-shell cased pocket model, measuring 4 3/4" x 3 1/8" x 1 3/4".
|The small foot to keep the camera level in vertical position was located inside the front case. The camera serial number, a very early 13082 for this model, was engraved on the side of the sliding foot.|
|The shutter was cocked with the top lever projecting from it and released either by cable release or with the small knob seen on the bottom left side in this photo. The larger, round knob on the upper left was for focus.|
The 828 roll film with Tri-X 400 is still produced by Film For Classics and is available through B&H here.