☰ Menu
Art Deco Cameras

Kodak Bantam Special


Bantam Special
Kodak Bantam Special
Manufacturer: Kodak
Produced: 1936-1948
Body Type:Folding Bed
Bellows Deployment:Self Erecting
Construction:Cast Aluminium
Film Type:828
Film Width:35mm
ImageSize:4 x 2.8 cm
No. of Images:8
Lens Type:Ektar Anastigmat
Focus Type:Rangefinder
Focal Length:45mm
Focal Range:3ft - inf.
Aperture Type:5 Blades
Aperture:f/2 - f/16
Shutter Type :Compur
Shutter Speeds:T,B,1-1/500 sec
Size Closed (w x h x d):120 x 80 x 50 mm
Size Open (w x h x d):120 x 80 x 97 mm

Art Deco Credentials

star star star star star
Iconic: Famous, well-known and celebrated


Bantam Special
Bantam Special Open

The Kodak Bantam Special may be one of the most uniquely beautiful cameras of all time. It was produced by Kodak from 1936-1948, and had a stylish Art Deco design consisting of a black enamelled cast aluminium, clam-shell body. The Streamline Moderne design was by Walter Dorwin Teague, a noted industrial design pioneer going back to the 1930's. Teague was responsible for the design of the famous Sparton table radios, a revamp of the Texaco gas station and logo, TWA identity, early Polaroid cameras, to name a few. The streamlining effect was achieved by rounding the corners and by having no extraneous decoration.

How to Use

You can find the manual here:- Bantam Special User Manual. However, one thing the user manual doesn't tell you is that the film for this camera is not easily available. The Bantam Special is NOT a 35mm camera. It was made for 828 film which is a paper backed film with only one registration hole per frame. The film gate size is slightly larger than that of a 35mm camera but the overall width of the film is the same. You have a number of options:-

What I suggest is to have fun with some expired film, keep the backing paper and spools, and then load it with 35mm film.

Photographs taken with this camera

Using Expired Film

Old expired film can easily be found on the internet. However, there is usually no way of knowing how the film has been stored and so the results are variable. I found some old 828 film that had expired in September 1966. The secret is to over-expose old film. The general rule is one stop per decade for colour film and one stop per two decades for B&W.

Sohail Castle, Fuengirola, Spain.
Bantam Special
Estepona, Andalucia, Spain
fountain marbella
Marbella, Andalucia, Spain

Use 35mm film with 828 backing paper

Image beyond Sprocket Holes

If you have some 828 backing paper, it is possible to roll some 35mm film into it. You will need about 42cm of 35mm film. This can be taken from a 35mm film canister. You should be able to get 3 rolls of film from one canister. The film gate is larger than that of a 35mm camera so the image covers the sprocket holes giving a very nice effect. To do this, please refer to Use 35mm film in an 828 camera

Images using 35mm in 828 backing paper

Fujicolor C200

Nantgarw Pottery, Wales, UK
Swansea Park
Clyne Gardens, Swansea, Wales, UK
Japanese Bridge
Japanese Bridge, Clyne Gardens, Swansea, UK