620 camera with good lens needed

Discussion in 'Antiques and Collecting' started by verney, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. verney

    verney Member

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    I need a recommendation for a camera using 620-format film. I just bought some 620-format film from the 70s just for the heck of it. I guess normally people first buy camera and then appropriate film for it :smile: In case of 620 getting a camera is the easy part so I went the other way around. I will respool those spools later on with something more modern.

    There were millions of cheap 620-cameras made but I want a good one. It should have a good lens, shutter and aperture. I see that many cameras have only have one shutter speed and 2-3 apertures. I would like have little more sophistication. Is that too much to ask?

    What are my options?
     
  2. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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  3. rawhead

    rawhead Member

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    I got a Bower-X with a Schneider-Kreuznach Radionar 105mm f4.5, which does 6x9 with 620 film for $3 via Craig's List. It's quite nice, has 4 shutter speeds (B, 1/25, 1/75, 1/200), and aperture from f4.5 to f22. It doesn't have a rangefinder so you'd need to guesstimate or use and external distance meter. I'd recommend it, but it is the only 620 camera I have :lol:
     
  4. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    The Kodak Medalist was an outstanding professional-quality RF 6x9 camera which, for reasons known only to the geniuses at Kodak design, they designed to take 620 film.
     
  5. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Medalist, if it could be found, would be my top choice. Tourist II with the 4 element lens my 2nd choice.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Medalist II with the legendary 100/3.5 Ektar (coated Heliar-type).

    I think 620 was an application of the Gillette theory of marketing--a ploy to lock customers into purchasing Kodak film-- though unlike the safety razor, the camera wasn't cheap, at least not the Medalist.
     
  7. verney

    verney Member

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    Several good options. Thank you. Some Medalists, lots of Tourists and no Bowers at the auction site. Shipping costs to Europe however are quite high so I need investigate little more.

    Yesterday I found a 620-format Bessa from fleabay with a price tag of 250USD. According to the seller that is priced to sell. Made me wonder if stepping to 620 was a bad move and that good cameras aren't that cheap. Sure is pretty (item #220476234464) and today it's on sale 210USD.
     
  8. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    I suspect that good high spec 620 cameras are quite rare - and therefore might command a price tage above and beyond what a 120 version of something similar would get because of collector interest. Useability doesn't seem to bother collectors...

    I've just had a play with 620. In my case someone gave me a cheapo budget camera, a Kodak 620 Junior, as a present. It has a primitive but interesting 'Twindar' lens. This apparently was designed to be as cheap as possible as it doesn't use any expensive optical glass but is basically a pair of simple meniscus lenses with a stop, although the front one has an extra focussing element.

    I rewound a 120 film onto a home made 620 spool to try it out. My experience is that rewinding 620 is harder than you think. It sounds easy... but it is difficult to keep the film and backing in step - I ended up with a 'bubble' of film just before the tape, so had to remove and re-tape. Not very hard, but a bit more fiddly (in the dark) than I was led to believe. This meant my film was now slightly out of register with the numbers, so I chopped the end off one frame. I also seemed to get a lot of dust, a few stress mark and the odd finger print on the film. All stuff that could be sorted out, I suppose, after a few attempts - but it wasn't plain sailing.

    Personally I wouldn't want to be saddled with the hassle of rewinding films all the time for more serious use. One off to try out the lens was worthwhile, but I doubt I'll do it again.

    (BTW the lens seemed to perform adequately well - contrast and resolution are both a little soft but with excellent coverage to the edges of the 6 X 9, with little light fall off. The camera itself was awful because it has no proper viewfinder but relies on a tiny little 90 degree 'brilliant finder' only, so that one can go into the display cabinet!)

    The bizarre thing for me with 620 is that the reduction in size is so small as to be negligable, it really doesn't make the cameras appreciably smaller - barely a few millimetres. I'll go with Dave's theory... a marketing ploy.
     
  9. verney

    verney Member

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    Any comments on Kodak Duo 620?

    That Bessa is haunting me but I'm no collector. Maybe I get 120-format Bessa one day.
     
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I think those Kodak marketing 'geniuses' only wanted Kodak 620 film to be used in their cameras!


    Steve.
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Also, Kodak had US military contracts for the Medalist, so they could get away with building a more expensive camera that could only conveniently use Kodak rollfilm. There was also a groundglass back that could be used with sheet film, and I suppose film packs.
     
  12. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    That's what I've been using lately. Not a bad option if you are good at estimating distance. The viewfinder seems a bit challenging to use while wearing eyeglasses, but generally usable enough. Mine likes two 620 spools. It tends to jam up on modified 120 spools on the supply side and won't wind at all unless a 620 spool is on the takeup side. The vertical format makes portraits easy and gives an interesting perspective on the rest of life.
     
  13. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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  15. moose10101

    moose10101 Member

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    It's hard to find a Duo with the shutter linkage intact. FYI, they're a 6x4.5 format.

    The Medalist would be the top choice; they routinely sell for $150-250. They're also very heavy. The Kodak Monitor with the 4-element Anastigmat Special lens would be more economical, and its Supermatic shutter is reliable and fairly easy to CLA. This lens/shutter can very occasionally be found on the Kodak Vigilant too.

    The Tourist with the top-of-the-line Anastar lens has the Synchro 800 shutter, which is touchy and appararently unrepairable by the average human. Tourists equipped with the Anastar also have a serial # on the lens. They do give very good results for a 60-year old kit:

    http://www.apug.org/gallery1/showim...e&direction=DESC&imageuser=1563&cutoffdate=-1
     
  16. puderse

    puderse Member

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    good 620 camera

    I've been getting rid of my 620 collection for a while 'cause I can't seem to get past fiddling with the 120's I have. I've a $50 Monitor with an excellent lens/shutter. In the past weeks I've sold 2 tourists with good lenses and shutters and been surprised by how much they seem to be worth. Never had my hands on a Medalist but they seem to be quite expensive.
     
  17. Frank R

    Frank R Subscriber

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    Can't you just put a 620 roll into a 120 camera? The only thing that needs adjusting in the spring tension on the roll, right?

    620 rolls were narrower than 120. That is why 120 film would not fit in a 620 camera, the compartment was made smaller. All the other dimensions were the same as 120 rolls.

    But you are going the other way. Your 620 rolls should fit right into any 120 camera. You might need to reach in and bend up the spring to add a little tension.
     
  18. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I don't believe there were any 620-only Bessae; I've seen a few billed as such on eBay, but I think they're all mistakes.

    If the price isn't just a fit of wishful thinking, that Bessa had better have at least one of a Heliar and a coupled RF. They do command inflated prices compared to other folders, though---in your situation I would ignore this camera. (OK, I looked at the camera and I think the seller is, um, optimistic. It's a scale-focus camera with a triplet---a reasonably high-spec example within those limitations, and it looks like it's in beautiful condition, but still, when you compare it to other folders of similar quality...)

    -NT
     
  19. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    That is a good point. A couple of my roll film cameras actually have a label inside which says "Use 120 or 620 film". I think in most cameras the spring will cope as it is - there is only a few millimeters in it.

    There is a much better range of really good 120s about - and when you have used up your 620s you could sell the spools on eBay and buy some 120 film with the proceeds - and no re-spooling to worry about :smile:
     
  20. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    I have a lens from a Kodak Monitor (takes 620) mounted on a lensboard for my Century Graphic. The lens is a four element 100/4.5 "Special Anastigmat" (tessar formula). The lens is teriffic. Shutter goes from 1sec to 1/400. I have never used the actual Monitor Body, but I can attest to the spectacular performance of the lens. One of the previous posters mentioned that he had one for $50. If the bellows are good, and it is overall functional, buy it!
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    There is one further difference between the 620 spools and the 120 spools - the holes at the end of the spools are different sizes. This often means that you need a 620 spool on the takeup end, because otherwise the winding mechanism won't engage properly. For that reason as well, the 620 roll might also cause problems in a 120 camera, if the camera depends on the feed spool link to ensure film flatness. I expect this would work fine in one of my Mamiya TLRs, for instance, but I'd be concerned about using it in either the inserts for my Mamiya 645s or my Koni-Omega.

    While I am sure that marketing considerations played a big part in the introduction of 620 rather than using 120 instead, I think you also have to remember that when 620 was introduced, there were many more film sizes used, and the standardization we see now wasn't nearly as prevalent. In addition, the idea of people in one area of the world buying film from the other side of the globe to fit cameras that were manufactured locally would have seemed much more exotic than it does now.

    I think you probably needed to be there at the time to fully appreciate why.

    Matt
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2009
  22. Kroma

    Kroma Member

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    Maybe Yashica

    I know and have seen on ebay Yashica TLR it's a fantictic semi professional 620 I think, but look for Yashica

     
  23. outwest

    outwest Subscriber

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    The Medalist is the best, but a good Monitor with the Anastigmat Special lens is an excellent value.
     
  24. mikeinlagardette

    mikeinlagardette Member

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    If you can live with/like 6x4.5 format, the Kodak Duo-Six 20 is a very nice little camera, the series 2 being the most easily available. Made in Stuttgart in the late thirties by Dr. Nagelwerke/Kodak AG, they have either an f3.5 Kodak Anastigmat, Zeiss Tessar, or Schneider Xenon lens with focal length of 70 or 75mm, in a Compur or Compur Rapid shutter. They are strong, light, and elegant, a bit like a Retina on steroids!
     
  25. FM2N

    FM2N Subscriber

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    Argoflex. I have one and it takes really nice photo's. Abouty $10 on eBay.
     
  26. Denis K

    Denis K Member

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    My guess is that they really wanted a take-up spool with a smaller diameter center spool so as to increase the number of turns required by the photographer to advance the film. This would help rank amateurs, assisting them in not advancing the film so rapidly past the numbers in the little red window.

    Another possibility is that it would allow Kodak to easily separate amateur and professional film at the photo lab so they could direct amateur film to separate work stations with people trained to get the best out of negatives shot by each of these two categories of photographers. Given what people submitted in the days before meters and auto exposure, these labs worked wonders.

    Denis K