Camera Speed Dating – Kodak Bantam 828

Those that know Meghan and I know that we have what appears to be an on going camera acquisition problem. To remedy this but continue to try out ALL of the cameras we have decided to start borrowing cameras from our fellow camera enthusiasts instead of trying to purchase or hoard them all to ourselves. Not all are winners though and some are just easier or more fun to use but you have to shoot with them first to find out! Thus, we decided if we run a roll through every camera we are interested in, not unlike going on a 5 minute date with a bunch of strangers at a singles night, we can quickly see which are worthy of being added to our collection (or put on our list of “must haves.”) Camera speed dating!

Here is most recent camera I had the pleasure of a quick date with…the Kodak Bantam 828.

A few quick facts about the Kodak Bantam 828…they made two different models. In my opinion the more basic black one is prettier, however, the model I have has the better lens – the ‘Anastigmat Special’ which is bettered only by the ‘Anastigmat Ektar’. The 828 film it uses was thought to be better because it had no sprocket holes which made the room for the image to be 30% larger.  The apertures range from f4.5 to f16 with a fast shutter speed of 1/200.

The only reason I was able to shoot this camera at all is I was lucky enough to get given a roll of 828 Kodak Safety film from 1971, it had been stored correctly so I was expecting it to work fairly well.

What first attracted me to the Bantam was the fact it had a green window instead of red, it also had an interesting lug where the camera straps attached. The Bantam I purchased had a broken viewfinder which I eventually fully removed, it’s not that necessary when framing a photo. I took this camera out for a quick walk around the west end. We ran into a peach coloured cat that would walk toward me as soon as I crouched down to take its portrait, so I had resigned myself to blurry kitteh photos, however I was pleasantly surprised when the pictures came back grainy but pin sharp. I had considered selling this camera, though after much discussion I think I have decided not to as it takes the best quality pictures of all my cheap little ‘miniature’ cameras. Though it’s not the cutest of all my tiny cameras and it does take 828 film, which is most difficult to find. However, it has made me want to persevere on the odd film size front. Hopefully in the future we can stock 828 and many other classic roll film sizes that haven’t been made in a while.

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