The Kodak Instamatic 804 is a rangefinder camera that uses 126 format film. It is one of the top-end models of the long Kodak Instamatic line.
To ease the process of 35mm film loading, Kodak introduced the 126 film format in 1963. Unlike the 35mm film, 126 film has feeding reel, taking reel and the film itself totally enclosed in a plastic cartridge (see photo below). Also, each 126 frame measures 28x28mm and thus it is a square format.
Kodak had long discontinued the production of 126 film, followed by other manufacturers, and as of mid-2011, all remaining 126 film stock of known retailers are sold out. However, like rolling 120 film onto a 620 reel, an online source shows that 35mm film can be “loaded” into a 126 cartridge. Due to the height of 126 film is larger than 35mm film, the “sprokets” part of the frame will also be exposed. The results will be like shooting 35mm film in Holga 120.
Like the Kodak Motormatic 35, the Instamatic 804 also has a high quality lens (Ektanar 38mm f2.8, Tessar-type design) that is radioactive due to the use of thorium oxide element. Also like the Motormatic 35, the Instamatic 804 uses a spring motor to drive the film. However, instead of using a knob at the camera bottom, the Instamatic 804 users will need pull out a plastic string (see photo below) to wind-up the motor.
Besides, Instamatic 804 provides shutter-priority automatic exposure based the meter reading of a selenium meter. Slowest shutter speed is 1/60 seconds and for dimmer subjects, the use of flash is needed. However, the Instamatic 804 uses flash cubes (see photo below) instead of the modern electronic flashes (the “speedlights” we use today). These flash cubes are not recyclable and each cube will provide four flashes.
The Instamtic 804 in the photos above was extensively damaged by water and moisture just the like the Motormatic 35. Only its spring motor and the rangefinder is functioning. The lens, however, has no visible sign of fungus. One more thing worth mentioning, the Instamatic 804 is VERY heavy for its size even given the large amount of metal parts used.