Eastman Kodak's Cine-Kodak camera, introduced in January, 1923, was the world's first 16mm movie camera, and the first movie camera manufactured by Kodak. Along with this camera, Kodak introduced 16mm film, intending this size to be used by the general public for home use. 35mm film continued to be the film of choice for commercial and studio work for many years. Eventually though, the 16mm size was adopted for commercial cinematography, news reportage and cinema verité.
In July, 1925 when Kodak introduced a newer Model B Cine Kodak, the Ciné-Kodak was renamed Cine-Kodak Model A. The Cine-Kodak was the only hand-crank movie camera manufactured by Kodak. The camera is operated by turning this crank . The crank needs to be revolved a steady 2 revolutions per second, producing 16 frames per second. I would love to view original home movies made with this camera. I am curious if the action tended to be "jumpy" or not. All later Cine Kodak cameras used a spring wound motor to advance the film and fire the shutter.
Ciné-Kodak Camera Front and Crank Side View
Notice the hand-crank on the side. The lens and viewfinder are protected by a hinged cover, shown in the raised position in the photographs. The lens is contained in the large circle on the front. The smaller circle above and left of the lens is the viewfinder window.
Back of Cine-Kodak Camera
The viewfinder is in the small upper circle. What I find interesting about the viewfinder is the scene is viewed upside down! The large off-center circle is the footage counter. It has a serious industrial look - like a boiler pressure gauge. 100 foot reels were the normal film load. The top lever is used to set the lens aperture. The bottom lever sets the lens focus. The camera does not have a rangefinder, so an accessory rangefinder or guesstimate is required.
Cine-Kodak Camera Film Door, Side View
This side panel fully removes for film loading. I like the graphic design molded into the door.
The camera body is made of cast aluminum. This is good news, considering the Cine-Kodak weighs 7 1/2 pounds. The camera measures 8 inches tall, 8 1/2 inches deep and 4 1/2 inches wide. It's a beast! A tripod is an absolute necessity when shooting with this camera. Originally the camera was sold as an outfit that included a tripod, splicer, projector and screen for 335.00 US dollars - in 1923. I think only the best households were making home movies that Christmas.
And that may be why Kodak started selling the camera separately in January, 1924 for 125.00 dollars with the f 3.5 lens, or 200.00 dollars with the f 1.9 lens.
Cine-Kodak Camera Interior
Interior view showing the 100 foot film reels and film threaded through the mechanism.
Cine-Kodak Front Detail
Here are a few more details about this example. The lens is a Kodak Anastigmat 25mm f 3.5, serial number 1807. The camera's serial number is 01184. This may indicate this camera was manufactured late 1923 or early 1924. This tip came from Mr. Michael Cleveland. He is compiling research soon to be published on the Cine Kodak Model A camera. If you have a Cine Kodak Model A or accessories, he would be interested in hearing from you to add to his list of serial numbers and features. Mr. Cleveland's email address is: LuvAntique@aol.com
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This page was updated July 10, 2001