View Full Version : No. 31 Kodak Anastigmat F-4.5 5 1/2 In.

11-Nov-2006, 09:50
I recently picked up an Anniversary Graphic with the lens listed in the thread title, mounted in a dial-set Compur shutter. It is uncoated and appears to be in fairly decent shape (except, maybe, for the fingerprint that is etched into the rear element glass). Also on the lens is what appears to be a serial number: No. 31-2802.

Does anyone know:

... what the design of this lens is? (Kingslake doesn't specfically mention it in his book -- only the Ektar).
... what the age of this lens is? (I thought Kodak lens serial number all included a letter-based date code).

Thanks to anyone who can help. Thanks also to anyone who can't answer my questions but takes the time ot read this post!


Oren Grad
11-Nov-2006, 10:13
These "numbered" Kodak Anastigmats are pretty common in barrel mount on Graflexes from at least as far back as the 1920s.

11-Nov-2006, 10:33
Thaks, Oren... While further researching on WWW, I found this:


Answer to first question I had: Tessar.

Oren Grad
11-Nov-2006, 10:36
Nice find, Brian. Good to know that they're "remarkably fine lenses"... ;)

I have one of the series on a quarter-plate Series B Graflex, but haven't had a chance to try it yet.

Paul Fitzgerald
11-Nov-2006, 11:10

There were 2 versions of the #31, a 4 element dialyte type and the newer tessar type. They both say "No. 31 Kodak Anastigmat F-4.5 5 1/2 In.". The easiest way to tell is count reflections. Kodak started using the 'CAMEROSITY' date coding in 1940 so your's is older.

Have fun with it.

11-Nov-2006, 13:41
Thanks Paul. Counting reflections confirms two things: no coating, and Tessar design. I shot 2 sheets yesterday and will pick them up from the lab in about 1 hour. I can't wait to see how "remarkably fine" the lens performs! What I do know is that the prior owner of this equipment was a pro... and by the number of old film datasheets in the case he used the camera a lot.

Jim Jones
11-Nov-2006, 17:12
To add to the confusion, the 1943 Kodak Reference Handbook lists the only dialite as No. 70 Kodak Anastigmat f/7.7, 8". The No. 31 f/4.5 5 1/2" was recommended for 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 negatives, although press photographers often used such lenses on 4x5. This focal length was supplied only in barrel mount. Others in the series, available in either barrel or shutter, were:
No. 32 6 3/8" for 4x5
No. 33 7 1/2" for 5x7
No. 34 8 1/2" for 5x8
No. 35 10" for 6 1/2 x 8 1/2
No. 36 12" for 8x10

Similar Ektar lenses in some of these, and other, focal lengths were concurrently offered.

11-Nov-2006, 17:57
Interesting information, Jim.

I retrieved the two test shots from the lab. I didn't know what to expect since the camera is new to me. Since the Compur shutter sounds okay and the rangefinder seems about right, I took two snaps of my favorite subject. Light was good, so I used 200 ASA B&W film exposed f/5.6 @ 1/200 - handheld. The Graflite was used to electrically trip the shutter.

All turned out well... in fact, much better than I thought. The pic was quite crisp on the plane of focus and the OOF background was reasonably attractive (good bokeh?) I wish I had a scanner available so I could show you -- maybe Monday when I return to work??? My initial impression is that this lens might be better than the 135 Optar that I use with my SuperGraphic. I can't wait for the opportunity to try color film!

Ernest Purdum
11-Nov-2006, 21:08
One clue as to age is the shutter. Dial-set shutters were replaced by rim-sets in the 1930 area.

12-Nov-2006, 12:03
I think, with help from all of you, I'm starting to get an impression: lens and shutter older than the camera; camera probably contemporary with the rangefinder, flash unit, and some filmholders; camera, etc. older than other filmholders; everything older than the Royal Pan film = a system that has evolved over the years.

All-in-all, I'm liking this equipment and can see why it stayed in service for such a long time.

Glenn Thoreson
12-Nov-2006, 16:29
I have two number 33 Kodak Anastigmats, one of which is definitely a 4/4 dialyte. I haven't really checked the other one, which is on my 5X7 Speed Graphic. There are many gurus who claim all Kodak Anastigmats are Tessar design. Not so. I have a number of them. They range from triplets to dialytes. All very good lenses, each with it's own unique characteristics. Enjoy!

12-Nov-2006, 20:17
One clue as to age is the shutter. Dial-set shutters were replaced by rim-sets in the 1930 area.

I knew the dial-set started production in 1912 but didn't know when they stopped.

... and another clue that is equally surprising to me.

The serial number of my shutter is 723806. A person on http://www.cameracollector.proboards30.com/ has a list of Compur serial numbers and dates (which unfortunately he cannot remember where he got them so there is little way to verify their accuracy) indicating:

1925 600000
1926 750000