A Winter Morning, just after sunrise, seemed like a good time to try more film photos. The Kodak Signet 30, a 35mm film camera with a 44mm f2.8 lens and FujiColor Pro 400H film makes a very nice image even after converting the color to black & white in post. This digital image was produced at the time the film was developed. Since this image was delivered as a JPG, it did not need much post processing.
These older cameras like the Kodak Signet 30 really make the photographer think about what he is about to do as he prepares to make a photograph. It does not have a light meter or rangefinder. So, the photographer must use his best guess of the distance while making the depth of field large enough and the shutter speed fast enough to keep the subject sharp. And, the photog must determine aperture and shutter speed for the best exposure.
The Kodak Signet 30 Camera with 44mm f2.8 lens is a completely manual 35mm film camera. Although it will mechanically fire an optional flash bulb attachment, it has no battery; no electronics at all! Exposure estimation can be either manual using the provided exposure cards or by using an external light meter, like the Skan light meter. Distance is also estimated manually. The distance, aperture, and shutter speed are all set manually on the lens barrel. Of course, the film used determines the ASA/ISO value.
The Kodak Signet 30 was the third model in the Kodak Signet line, introduced, along with the Signet 50, in August of 1957. The Signet 30 is a viewfinder camera; it does not have a built in rangefinder. No control over the right distance selection is given through the viewfinder; otherwise, it would be a rangefinder camera. The viewfinder has a brightline for the 44mm lens and the word “WIND” is displayed when the film needs to be advanced. The advance lever is fitted to the base of the camera; the automatic frame counter and rewind switch are located on the camera’s bottom right front. The shutter release is on the right front and a threaded cable release socket is located on the lens barrel. The shutter will not fire unless film is loaded into the camera. The body is made from bakelite with metal inserts, fittings, and attached plates. Like many of Kodak’s better lenses of this period, the Signet 30’s Ektanar lens is somewhat radioactive. In production from August 1957 to April 1959, the camera originally sold new for a list price of $55.00 (app. $467 USD in 2016 dollars). Today, a good used Kodak Signet 30 can be purchased for $20 – $30 USD.
Kodak Signet 30 Specifications
- Lens: Kodak Ektanar, 44mm f/2.8, Lumenized (a 4 element lens with front element focusing)
- Lens Openings: f/2.8 to f/22
- Shutter: Kodak Synchro 250 – Cocked when film is advanced. Double-Exposure prevention
- Speeds: 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, and B
- Film: 35mm Body Release: Right front of camera
- Flash: Built-in synchronization using No. 5 or 25 and M-2 bulbs to 1/30 second
- Electronic flash (X-synchronized) at all shutter speeds
- Exposure Value Numbers: 5 to 17 with exposure cards on rear frame
- Focusing Range: 2 1/2 feet to infinity
- Viewfinder: Optical, projected view frame type
- Dimensions: 5.0in x 3.5in x 2.75in Weight: 14.5oz
- Construction: Single stroke lever film advance, drum-type loading, and exposure counter