The Kodak 35 was introduced in 1938 as the first 35mm still camera of Kodak. It has its antique look from the lens/shutter unit that it inherited from earlier Kodak folding cameras.
The camera’s black body with rounded sides plus that lens/shutter unit and the top with two film advance wheels and the collapsible optical viewfinder give it a characteristic look.
The camera solidly crafted out of Bakelite with numerous metallic panels, inserts, and fittings. The back removes completely for film loading.
When first introduced, the Kodak 35 was offered in two different versions, varying in the lens/shutter offered:
- Kodak Anastigmat 50mm f/5.6 (3 element triplet) in a three speed Kodex shutter (1/25 to 1/100 plus T and B)
- Kodak Anastigmat Special 51mm f/3.5 (4 element Tessar design) in a five speed Kodamatic shutter (1/10 to 1/200 plus T and B)
During the war, the Kodak 35 was produced in an olive drab version for military use.
The black knobbed f/5.6 version was not produced after the war. Instead, the Kodak 35, now with flash synchronization, was re-introduced in two new versions:
- Kodak Anastigmat 51mm f/4.5 (3 element triplet, redesignated Anaston in 1947) in a four speed Flash Diomatic Shutter with speeds from 1/25 to 1/150 sec plus B and T
- Kodak Anastigmat Special 51mm f/3.5 (4 element Tessar design) in a five speed Flash Kodamatic shutter 1/10 to 1/200 plus T and B)
The Kodak 35 was consistently outsold in the marketplace by the Argus C series, which sold for substantially less and featured a coupled rangefinder and a much more “high-tech” appearance.
To counter the Argus, in 1940 Kodak introduced the Kodak 35 RF, which featured an awkward appearing but extremely functional coupled rangefinder.
Despite these improvements, and the optical superiority of the Kodak cameras, they were never to challenge Argus’ market domination.
The Kodak 35 originally sold in 1938 for a list price of $40 USD.