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Eastman Interchangeable View (1886 - 1890)

This camera was made in 12 different plate sizes, ranging from 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inch to 20 x 24 inches.

In the first part of the 1880's George Eastman was trying to establish the new concept of photography on a roll of flexible film. These films could be loaded in separate roll holders which were attached to the back of ordinary glass plate cameras. Also he tried to produce a detective camera that used a roll of film. But photographers were not keen to use the new system and Eastman realised that the introduction of flexible roll film would take much more time. In the meantime he needed to earn money. To do so he introduced a more traditional camera and started to compete with other camera manufacturers. This camera was the Interchangeable View.

It is a rare instrument. The total production is only 404. The larger sizes are the rarest. The camera in the video is the 5 x8 inch model, of which only  75 were made in 1887.

The Eastman Interchangeable View was not a cheap camera. Without lens and shutter the smallest model cost $ 26. The largest one had a price tag of $ 100, without lens and shutter.

The 5 x8 model in the video would have cost:

 Camera, case and 1 holder  34.00
 Beck Autograph Rectilinear lens  35.00
 Laverne between the lens shutter  30.00
 2 extra plate holders  3.20
 Tripod  3.50
 Black cloth  1.00
 Complete outfit  106.70

Like all the similar field cameras of the day, the lens panel could move up and down. The back part had tilt and swing movements. The Eastman Interchangeable View is a plate camera, but it also could be fitted with an Eastman Roll Holder containing a roll of flexible film.

Graph of all sizes, numbers produced and date on which Eastman ordered the cameras from his camera building company. Data from the Production Order Book.

Eastman Interchangeable View with Eastman Roll Holder attached to the back.