Speed Kodak 1A

Cameras of Ansel Adams

In the Introduction to his the 1980 book “The Camera”, Ansel wrote, “I … received my first “serious camera” (a Kodak Speed Graphic 2 ¼ x 4 ¼ roll-film camera) about 60 years ago, a gift from an affluent cousin”

That would be circa 1920, in the era when Kodak owned Folmer Schwing, and they were producing Speed Graphics. After some research I’ve come to the conclusion that he likely meant “1A Speed Kodak” a 2 1/2 x 4 ¼ roll-film camera.

There doesn’t seem to be a Kodak camera creating a 2 ¼ x 4 ¼ frame. Nor was there a Speed Graphic for roll film.

Another possible alternative would be the Graflex 1A, which is essentially the same camera with the single lens reflex viewer and chimney hood.

In 1909 Kodak introduced this camera, in collaboration with the Folmer Schwing Division. It is a simplified version of the Graflex 1A, a single lens reflex camera. The focal plane shutter produced speeds up to 1/1000th of a second. This model was produced until 1913.

A drawing of the two position viewfinder allowing eye-level and waist-level viewing.