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Kodak Pony 828/135

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The Kodak Pony cameras are a series of Bakelite bodied small format cameras designed by Arthur H Crapsey for Kodak. They were slotted into the Kodak lineup between the roll film Brownie and the 35mm Signet series. Like the Brownie series cameras, the Pony cameras lack rangefinders and have simple viewfinders. Like the Signet series, they feature Kodak's better glass lenses, the 3 element Anastons and the four element Anastars (all with front element focusing). Also like the Signets, they have variable speed (except for the Pony II), manually cocked Kodak synchronized shutters. A shutter release/film advance interlock (with bypass switch) prevents double exposures. They all use 35mm film (again, like the Signets), though, technically, the Pony 828 uses roll film, albeit in 35mm width. Knobs are used for film advance and rewind. Similar Pony cameras, with Angenieux lenses, were made by Kodak France.

Pony 828Edit

  • Production: 1949-1959
  • Film format: 828, 28x40mm frames
  • Shutter: Kodak Flash 200 1/8 - 1/200
  • Lens: Kodak Anaston 51mm f/4.5 - f/22


The Kodak Pony 828 was the first Kodak Pony. Its 3 element front element focusing lens is mounted in a collapsible lens mount. It has a film reminder dial on the top cover.

The Kodak Pony 828 originally sold for $30 USD[1] (app. $256 USD in 2007).

Pony 135Edit

  • Production: 1950-1954
  • Film format: 135, 24x35mm frames
  • Shutter: Kodak Flash 200 1/25 - 1/200 (M sync only)
  • Lens: Kodak Anaston 51mm f/4.5 - f/22

The Pony 135 is similar to the Pony 828. It uses the same lens/shutter combination mounted on a tube that can be collapsed into the camera body when not in use.

The Kodak Pony 135 originally sold for $34.75 USD[1] (app. $268 USD in 2007).

Pony 135 - first model, 1950-54

Pony 135 Model BEdit

  • Production: 1953-1955
  • Film format: 135
  • Shutter: Kodak Flash 200 1/25 - 1/200 (M sync only)
  • Lens: Kodak Anaston 51mm f/4.5 - f/22

The camera's front panel is embossed with the words "Model B" in script. Other differences from the first model are apparently minimal.

The Kodak Pony Model B originally sold for $36.75 USD[1] (app. $284 USD in 2007).


dsEdit

135 Model CEdit

  • Production: 1955-1958
  • Film format: 135
  • Shutter: Kodak Flash 300 1/25 - 1/300 (M sync only)
  • Lens: Kodak Anaston 44mm f/3.5 - f/22

The Pony 135 Model C features a faster shutter and a shorter focal length lens in a rigid mount, carried on a body made of red/brown Bakelite. The aperture scale is marked both with f-numbers and weather conditions for Kodachrome and Ektachrome.

The Kodak Pony Model C originally sold for $33.75 USD[1] (app. $260 USD in 2007).


Pony IIEdit

  • Production: 1957-1962
  • Film format: 135
  • Shutter: Single Speed (M sync only)
  • Lens: Kodak Anastar 44mm f3.9 EV 9.5 - 15

A very enigmatic camera, the Pony II utilizes Kodak's higher quality Anastar lens (4 elements in 3 groups, similar to a Tessar but with the rear element group reversed) in a rigid mount, but has only a single shutter speed. The lens lacks traditional f/stops, but instead is marked with EV or exposure values. The aperture diaphragm has only four blades. The top mounted film reminder dial of the Pony 135 models is replaced by a holder on the camera's back providing a place for Kodak film EV cards. The camera's redesigned top has a very different "late 1950s" look.

The Kodak Pony II originally sold for $26.75 USD[1] (app. $300 USD in 2007).


Pony IVEdit

  • Production: 1957-1961
  • Film format: 135
  • Shutter: Kodak Flash 250 B, 1.30 - 1/250 (M and X sync)
  • Lens: Kodak Anastar 44mm f/3.5 - f/22

This camera was the zenith of Kodak's Pony line. The rigidly mounted lens is similar to the Pony II, but is nearly one-half stop faster. The four speed (plus bulb) shutter is calibrated in the more modern scale (1/30, 1/60, 1/125, and 1/250th second). It is the only Pony model to feature an accessory shoe. The camera back mounted film card holder is similar to the Pony II. Flash synchronization is both X and M. M sync is provide through the normal Kodalite connectors on the camera's left side. X sync requires an obscure Kodalite adapter.

In a well intentioned but probably unsuccessful attempt by Kodak to avoid scaring the customer with technical details, the top of the lens mount is marked with somewhat unique lens numbers (3.5 to 9 in half steps) and shutter numbers (5 to 8 in whole steps). These numbers are related to EV (exposure values) numbers in that summing the lens and shutter values in use provides the EV number of that particular setting. That EV number can then be referenced to the (now rare) EV cards for each Kodak film type or to an appropriately marked exposure meter. Fortunately for all concerned, conventional shutter speeds and f/stops are somewhat inconveniently displayed on the underside of the lens mount. Engraved upside down, they can be read by rotating the lens towards one's self while holding the camera at chest level. Their use while the camera is mounted on a tripod is problematical, to say the least.

The Anastar lens on the Pony IV utilizes components containing Thorium oxide, which results in a very high refractive index of the glass. Thorium is radioactive, and these lenses easily register on a Geiger counter (at app. 1 mr/hr). It is suspected that the lenses on the other Pony cameras share this trait, as do the lenses on the Signet 40, 80, the high end Instamatics, certain Ektars, and doubtlessly other Kodak lenses from this era.

The Kodak Pony IV originally sold for $40 USD[1] (app. $300 USD in 2007).



References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 History of Kodak Cameras at www.kodak.com
Some Pony 135 Model C's have a similar lens as the Model B, 51mm f4.5-22 but with 1/300.

Links Edit

Bibliography Edit

Original documents Edit

  • Brian Coe, Kodak Cameras - The First Hundred Years, Hove Foto Books, 1988
  • Original Kodak user manuals for the Pony 135 Model B, Pony II, and Pony IV
  • Manuals on Mike Butkus' site:

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