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Kodak Vest Pocket to Rebel Lens Adapter

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I bought a Kodak Vest Pocket Series III camera off Ebay for about $35 for a class project on film. I enjoyed the vintage look of the photos this camera turned out as well as the analog aperture sizes, but hated waiting for the film to be developed and printed.

So, I came up with this simple hack to take digital pictures with the lens of my 100 year old kodak vest pocket camera. The whole procedure takes about 5 minutes and cost me under $2.00 (after purchasing the Kodak Vest Pocket and Canon Rebel). All you need is an L-bracket, two wing nuts, two head-less 1/2 inch 1/4-20 screws, and two to five washers.



Begin by taking the lens off your Canon Rebel and the rear cover off the KVP (make sure there isn't any film in there!). Next, screw in the headless screws into the tripod holes on the bottom of the cameras. They have been using the same size tripod holes since tripods were invented!



Next, place washers over the screws. I needed to put three over the screw on the KVP because it has to be a little higher than the base of the Rebel in order to cover the entire lens opening.



Now, place the L-bracket over the holes and screw it down with the wing nuts. I just happened to find this L-bracket and it fit over the holes perfectly! I was planning on cutting off the unused end of the L-bracket but it turns out to be a great stabilizer for the camera.



In order to open the lens of the KVP, turn the diomatic to the letter T and press the shutter button. This should keep the lens open until you press the lens again. When taking pictures, use the aperture slider on the VPK but the change the shutter speed on the Rebel.



Now you're ready to take some awesome pictures! I've posted some that I've taken below.

eugarps2 years ago
These types of Instructables are the ones I like the best. Not too involved, not over-engineered, and something that I can do in less than 15 minutes of my spare time. Elegantly simple.

Great Idea!

I've inherited a Kodak SIX-16 No. 1 Diodak from my grandfather, (pictured) who used it extensively in the 40's and 50's. I "dry fit" this camera to my Rebel T2i just to see what I could capture...

Unfortunately the focus ring on the Kodak is unable to focus the image sharply on the sensor, since it is calibrated is for where the emulsion film used to be. Now it projects, perhaps, two inches further in to the DSLR sensor. I was able to capture one pic, by partially collapsing the bellows, bringing the lens closer to the DSLR.

In fact, it somewhat appears in your images, that yours might be partially collapsed, too. Is this the case?

Unfortunately for the old Kodak, it is designed to be locked open rigidly. It gets "loose and sloppy" when you try to collapse it.

I'll tinker with it some more. I've always wanted to put the Kodak into use again, and I'm pretty sure that no one makes film for it any more.

But great job, and great photos! I'm astounded that an old lens took such sharp and high-contrast pics!
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johnnyman727 (author)  eugarps2 years ago
Hey eugarps,

Thanks for the comment!

I do partially collapse the bellows to focus on anything besides really close up shots because the sensor is further back than the camera is designed for. Unfortunately, this makes all the shots looks a little more zoomed in than they should (but images that are supposed to be close up look great!).

What do you mean when you say your camera gets "loose and sloppy" when you collapse it? 
Due to the armature and folding apparatus, the lens starts tilting in toward the camera as soon as you start to collapse it. (It doesn't stay perpendicular toward the camera) At least until it's almost closed...

Also, the bellows likes to "pull" everything back in as soon as you start closing it...
This is the perfect comment. You're a wonderful person.
I wish I could afford a large format camera :-(
Old 30-50s Speed Grafx and Crown Grafx etc are pretty cheap still. The film will cost you an arm and a leg, but the quality is quite good.
danzo3212 years ago
Sofiadragon, you probably can afford a large format camera. Film is not dead, it's where vinyl records went: not so common but available.
I have some Kodak 828 Bantams. 828 film is the exact width of 35mm but only one tiny sprocket hole per frame. So I used to re-roll 35mm with the yellow/black paper strips that 828 film needs.
I've made 828 film by cutting down 120; this gives a nice selection of emulsions -- there are several ways to cut the roll, but it's important to be sure you're keeping the 16 exposure frame number track. If you hold the roll horizontally, oriented so the paper would come off the top (away from you) if you were to pull it off the roll, you want to keep exactly 35 mm of the left side. Once you've cut the roll, you need to respool the wide strip (in a darkroom or changing bag) onto an 828 spool, then from that 828 to another one to get the numbers back in the correct order and the captive end of the film at the start (look for instructions for respooling 120 onto 620 spools; it's the same process on smaller spools). Even though 828 was originally 8 exposures, or 12 in the last few years it was made, sixteen just fits on an 828 spool if you cut the paper leader and tail on the 120 to about half their original length.

This doesn't put the single hole in the film, but that hole is used only by cameras with automatic film stops (other than the Bantam RF, which uses a roller system instead of a finger), and all of those that I know of will work fine with completely unperforated film.

Once you've exposed the film, if you want to have it commercially processed, you can (again in a darkroom or changing bag) load it into a 35 mm cassette (be sure to leave a little leader -- the tail end of the 120 length strip has several inches of film that doesn't get used). Ask the lab to process "negatives only", since the frames won't match up to their 35 mm scanning/printing masks; you can scan the film with a digital camera and macro lens, or with a film scanner if you have one (use manual frame sizing and positioning to get the whole 828 frame, which is a tab bigger than 35 mm). Alternately, if you process your own, 828 will fit nicely on a 35 mm film reel for any daylight tank.

There are lots of nice 828 cameras around for cheap, because the film is obsolete. Spools are a little harder to come by, but most cameras will come with one, and if you're handy with tools, you can even make your own.
You can actually buy 127 film again (how awesome is that!). Rollei makes some as well as Efke.
To develop you can ship your film to Blue Moon Camera in the US.

Of course DIY works too and who knows how long this almost obsolete film will be around this time, but enjoy it while you can....

lavothas1 year ago
I love the fact that this doesn't hurt either camera. it's always a shame when I see an old camera get torn apart for a project. I'll have to try this with my Nikon and my series 2 vest pocket.
I've seen this done before with tubes:

http://galactinus.net/vilva/retro/meniscus.html

This method may help you if the bellows doesn't work. He has a lot more detail here:
http://galactinus.net/vilva/retro/index.html
-Olaf
larrystick2 years ago
This is a great hack. Ingenious. And I even have both cameras in my attic! Thanks for the imagination!
danzo3212 years ago
Shouldn't there be a real light-seal between the 2 cameras?
johnnyman727 (author)  danzo3212 years ago
Ideally, yes, but the KVP actually makes a pretty good seal against the rebel already. I haven't noticed the pictures being infiltrated by the light at all.
This is awesome! Great work man! I'm definitely going to try this! Do you think it will work with a Polaroid Land Camera?
johnnyman727 (author)  theviewingstation2 years ago
It's definitely possible! I got lucky with the KVP and the Rebel because the lens on both of them happen to be almost the same height from the base and the KVP makes a pretty good light seal against the rebel. I haven't played around with a Land Camera before, but I would bet that it could work with minor adjustments.