Christopher J Osborne

Kodak 255x Instamatic Camera

Kodak 255x Instamatic Camera, frontKodak 255x Instamatic Camera camera closed and ready for storage or transportation

Kodak 255x Instamatic Camera with back open to show drop in film loading.This is the Kodak 255x Instamatic Camera introduced in 1971 and made until 1977. It was made in both Germany and England, and the place of manufacture is proudly declared right on the fron of the camera. It uses Kodak 126 drop in film cartridges. These cartridges were designed to make cameras easy enough for any child to load. Just as well, since I was given this camera by my mum when I was maybe around 8 years old.

I still remember my very first film. It was shot on a school trip to Chester Zoo. A few years ago I found the photographs from that first roll of film on a trip home to see my parents. It was just a bunch of vaguely giraffe and ostrich shaped fuzzy blobs, but from that very first film I was hooked! I will always be grateful to my mum (who was an enthusiastic photographer herself) for giving me that first camera.

Kodak 255x Instamatic Camera case.This was the 1970s, so this inexpensive snap-shooters camera came with a case made out of pure hard plastic… a stippled texture was as far as Kodak got in imitating leather! But this didn't stop the case declaring England as the place of manufacture just as proudly as on the camera itself!

It is a very simple camera with weather symbols to set the exposure. Even at an early age I had worked out that the weather symbols were a rather childish way to set the aperture just like the the f-stops on the big fancy lenses my mum had on her camera. So instead of asking if I should use the cloudy symbol or the hazy sunshine symbol (let's face it, in Manchester I rarely had the need for the sunny symbol LOL) I would ask if I should use f/8 or f/11! My mum perfectly understood a child's need to feel grown up, so she would carefully take a meter reading and then say "I think you should use f/8, sweetheart". It was a long time before I had saved up enough pocket money to buy a camera that actually had real f-stops marked on the lens (which I seem to remember was a Boots Beirette camera).

The lens was a fixed focus design of unspecified focal length. Don't let the distance scale on the lens fool you into thinking the lens could be focussed. The distance scale was intended to set the exposure during flash photography.

Flash was taken care of using "Magicubes", little disposable plastic cubes with four bulbs that rotated automatically so a fresh bulb was facing the front for the next shot. Again, this was the 1970s, so the environment wasn't much of a concern! Though I seem to remember they were quite expensive, so flash photography was not a common occurrence for me.

Well… I think that's enough for this little trip down memory lane... unless of course you want to see some photographs taken with this camera! These photos were all taken by me back in the 1970's. Well, all except one. The boy with the rabbit is me, so I know that one must've been taken by somebody else!

Kodak 255x Instamatic Camera gallery - Image 1
Kodak 255x Instamatic Camera gallery - Image 2
Kodak 255x Instamatic Camera gallery - Image 3
Kodak 255x Instamatic Camera gallery - Image 4