Kodak Automatic 35 at the Pittsburgh Zoo


I came into ownership of an old "Kodak Automatic 35" about a week ago and thought it was cool. So what better way to test it out than with an impromptu visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Credits: 110isnotdead

Most people today think you need to spend a lot of money on a camera to get a great picture, or even, dare I say it, go digital. That is what I thought when I found my little Kodak Automatic 35 at a garage sale. I expected a fifty-plus year old camera that would probably give me some cool shots with some light leaks and stuff like that. I knew that Kodak had pretty good (Ektanar) lenses but I wasn’t getting my hopes up.

Credits: 110isnotdead

I decided to take a test roll. And what better place to take a test roll than the zoo. First problem though, the ISO (or ASA at the time) only goes up to 160. I didn’t want to wait for film to get shipped to me so I decided to get some Kodak Gold 200 and try it out (and believe me, it was hard to even find that in stores). In essence, I was pulling the film a little bit. I didn’t think it would be too noticeable; it was a test roll, right? The worst that could happen is I get junky pictures of animals.

Credits: 110isnotdead

My next challenge was loading the film. I had worked with older cameras before but that was my Canonet that was from the 70’s so this was a little different (The Kodak Automatic 35 was made in the late 50’s). Needless to say, thanks to whoever put a .PDF of the owner’s manual online. Once the film was in, I wound it just like I would any other camera, and that’s when I hit my next goof up. I didn’t know that cameras before a certain time did not have a lock on the winder once you advanced to the next frame so needless to say, I wound through about four exposures before I realized this important tidbit.

Now I was ready. The camera could be set to manual mode or automatic, as the name would suggest, and rely on the fancy light meter and nifty exposure dial. My problem with this was that you had to take your eye out of the viewfinder to look at the meter. But that was a small price to pay for such a nifty camera. It also has two shutter speeds, 40 and 80. Since it was rainy all day at the zoo, I decided to keep it on 40 and hope that my hands weren’t shaky and the animals weren’t too active.

Credits: 110isnotdead

The next cool thing was the focus. There was nothing in the viewfinder that told me if I was in or out of focus. I just had to use my best judgment in the matter. There were three settings that helped when you didn’t want to take your face from the viewfinder. Call it early zone focusing.

It was annoying at first but I ended up really liking it. It helps out that the shots I were taking are mostly on the long side of the focusing spectrum. That was the one good thing about it being rainy that day at the zoo. Almost everyone had left so I had time to set up each shot.

Well, my steady hands and fairly decent depth perception paid off and I got through the roll without any major screw-ups. It was really rainy that day at the zoo so I wasn’t able to do as much with the camera as I wanted to. That being said, I was able to capture the rain coming off some of the rooftops at the zoo, which speaks about the lens and the focusing (if not the operator. Lol).

Credits: 110isnotdead

I took it down to the friendly neighborhood Rite-Aid (local drug-store that’s the cheapest to develop for me) and had them develop the roll. I wasn’t holding my breath for the results. To my utter surprise, the film came out way better than I would have imagined. There was a sharpness that I had never seen in my other film cameras and from a garage sale special to boot.

So in conclusion, get your hands on one of these cameras. They are simple to use yet still allow a fair amount of creativity. And they can be found pretty cheap. Then take it down to your nearest zoo and have at it. Keep on snappin!

written by 110isnotdead on 2012-08-02 in #world #locations #rain #animals #zoo #pittsburgh #kodak-automatic-35 #escape-from-the-city #35mm


  1. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    Nice pictures from the 50yr old camera

  2. slobill
    slobill ·

    Amazing how nice a picture vintage equipment can create. And fun to learn about too.

  3. 110isnotdead
    110isnotdead ·

    @slobill yeah, I couldn't believe how they turned out :) if you want to see more shots from the old AUtomatic 35, head over and check outmy new article about my trip to the Steeltown Shakedown carshow in Pittsburgh, PA- www.lomography.com/magazine/locations/2012/12/14/travel-bac…

More Interesting Articles

  • December 16th Advent Offer: Stock Up On Film With Our Festive 3 For 2 Deal! (Online Code: THREE4TWO)

    written by Lomography on 2015-12-16 in #gear #news
    December 16th Advent Offer: Stock Up On Film With Our Festive 3 For 2 Deal! (Online Code: THREE4TWO)

    What better way to spread holiday cheer than by capturing it with your trusty camera? We're making it a little bit easier today, because today you can load up on all your favorite Lomography films for less! So stock up and get ready to snap the winter away!

  • A Collection Of Awesome Konstruktor Snapshots

    written by shhquiet on 2015-04-10 in #gear #lifestyle
    A Collection Of Awesome Konstruktor Snapshots

    There's nothing more satisfying than taking fantastic photos with a camera that you built yourself. If you've always wanted to impress your friends with your mad DIY skills, pick up a Konstruktor Camera Kit and show them what you've got! It's also a cool way to get them into Lomography, because as you build the camera you'll discover how analogue photography works. Oh, and the Konstruktor takes gorgeous photos, too - check out the gallery and see what we mean!

  • Splash Into A Pool Of Piggies - 10 Piggy Point Giveaway!

    written by shhquiet on 2015-07-17 in #world #news
    Splash Into A Pool Of Piggies - 10 Piggy Point Giveaway!

    Something happened on our way to the beach. We were about to hit the surf when we came across a parade of Piggies, all waiting to be spent promptly in the Lomography Online Shop! And now, 10 of these Piggy Points are frolicking in the sand, all yours for the taking! So what are you waiting for? Dive into the Online Shop and pick the item that you’d like to spend your Piggies on.

  • Shop News

    the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

     the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

    Let your loved one pick the gift of their dreams. Lomography Online Shop Gift Certificates are the perfect present for every analogue devotee on your gift list

  • The Lomo’Instant Splitzer: the Must-Have Slice and Dice Accessory!

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-03-06 in #gear #lifestyle
    The Lomo’Instant Splitzer: the Must-Have Slice and Dice Accessory!

    What exactly do I feel while waiting for my Lomo'Instant photos to be developed? I have to say I get a mix of "Surprise me, dear Lomo!" but also some "Did I capture it as I wanted?" kind of thought. No matter the school of thought, with the Splitzer you can add so many cool effects to your photos you'll definitely embrace it!

  • 'Aniki-Bòbò': A Tribute to Manoel De Oliveira

    written by sirio174 on 2015-04-08 in #world #lifestyle
    'Aniki-Bòbò': A Tribute to Manoel De Oliveira

    This article is a tribute to the great Portuguese film director Manoel de Oliveira, who died last April 2. With an old Praktica loaded with a roll of black and white film, I captured so enthusiastically his city Oporto (Porto) with its famous Ribeira district, the most characteristic of the Lusitanian town. It was here that more than 70 years ago, Manoel De Oliveira created a timeless masterpiece: "Aniki-Bòbò"!

  • Pixelstick + Lomo'Instant: Take Light Painting to the Next Level

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-04-20 in #gear #lifestyle
    Pixelstick + Lomo'Instant: Take Light Painting to the Next Level

    Ever since the Pixelstick came out, I've been dying to try it out. This past week, I finally got my chance! With one goal in mind — getting some super cool light-painting shots — I grabbed some friends for an amazing session with my Lomo'Instant and the Pixelstick. Take a moment and have a look at these priceless pics!

  • Shop News

    Additional Member of Diana F+ Family is Here!

    Additional Member of Diana F+ Family is Here!

    Snap your happy memories with the medium format Diana F+ Cortina! This special edition camera is a nod to fun winter holidays: snow-capped mountains, skiing and good times with friends and family!

  • Jack Lowe and the Lifeboat Station Project

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-05-29 in #people #news #lifestyle
    Jack Lowe and the Lifeboat Station Project

    Jack Lowe has set himself a challenge to document every RNLI post around the UK coastline using a Victorian method of photography called Wet Plate Collodion Photography. He has been driving around in an old ambulance converted into a mobile darkroom. Jack talked to us about this fascinating project and the challenges he faces along the way.

  • Blazing Trails: An Interview with iblazr COO Oleg Malenkov

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-07-13 in #people #lifestyle
    Blazing Trails: An Interview with iblazr COO Oleg Malenkov

    Get acquainted with iblazr, a team of visionaries and pragmatists who transform bright ideas into great products. Nothing better illustrates this than iblazr, their one-of-a-kind multi functional flash with 4 LEDs. Read on to find out more about this amazing product and the story behind it.

  • Painting Delights: Going Wild with the Pixelstick

    written by jennifer_pos on 2015-03-17 in #gear #news #lifestyle #tipster
    Painting Delights: Going Wild with the Pixelstick

    Ever since light painting was invented, it inspired artists from all around the globe to magical creations that capture hidden movements and reinvent the world we live in. "Life is a fairy tale, stay wild little child!" is what they want to tell us. Bringing light to life became the next challenge for anyone rigged with a film camera and a creative mind. Now, how can you take your analogue light paintings from the ordinary to the outstanding? After the carriage came the car, so we definitely need some spacy inventions to follow the old school light pen. So here it is, our new best friend: The Pixelstick!

  • Shop News

    Experience Sleek Medium Format Shots of Belair City Slicker!

    Experience Sleek Medium Format Shots of Belair City Slicker!

    Take high-quality medium format shots, professional grade panoramas and get tons of customizable features yet compact in size! Grab this camera at a discounted price!

  • Light is Magical: A Talk With Li Hui

    written by jennifer_pos on 2015-04-10 in #people #news #lifestyle
    Light is Magical: A Talk With Li Hui

    Photography is not only an act of documentation or communication, it is also a way of seeing the world. The camera opens our eyes and lets us see what lies behind the obvious, and we start looking at things as potential subjects of a photograph. Every leak of light unveils secrets that talented photographers turn into a piece of art. Li Hui is one of those gifted artists. We talked to her about her work and her sensitive photographs that picture a wonderful vulnerability.

  • Show Us Your Perfect Timing Winners Announcement!

    written by mindofmyra on 2015-03-06 in #world #competitions
    Show Us Your Perfect Timing Winners Announcement!

    There is nothing better than a photo shot at the perfect moment. Henri Cartier-Bresson's principle on "The Decisive Moment" is a principle that we should still follow to this day. A perfectly-timed photo creates impact, whether it's one of a friend jumping into the pool or a couple emerging from the ceremony on their wedding day. For this rumble, we want to see that breathtaking moment, shot at the perfect time. And you showed us what it's like to be on time.

  • Gommorah Girl: An Interview with Valerio Spada

    written by anamartaml on 2015-08-08 in #people
    Gommorah Girl: An Interview with Valerio Spada

    Valerio Spada went beyond his comfort zone and stepped right into the battlefield with his camera. He went to Naples, Italy, an area populated by the Camorra Mafia but also home to Annalisa Durante who, at the age of 14, was killed by a bullet aimed at a Camorra boss. What happened to her could've happened to any of the girls portrayed in the book Gommorah Girl. This work is about Annalisa. It's about all of the girls that, just like her, seem doomed to an unfair destiny - which, hopefully, may still change.