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  1. #1

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    Kodak Medalist Camera Do you use one, what do you think ?

    Hi,
    Does anyone here shoot with a Kodak Medalist camera? Have you been using it long enough or often enough to say how well it holds up? I know they're heavy and solid, but they do seem to have a lot of parts, levers and such that I wonder it they break down often.
    The images I have seen from them have a nice creamy look due to the Ektar lens so the idea of using a modern Fuji rangefinder instead may not produce the same quality of picture - any thoughts on any of the above are appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Robert N.

  2. #2
    Trask's Avatar
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    I have and use my Medalist II, and have not had any breakdown problems with it. There are probably apochryphal tales of WWII soldiers bouncing these off the heads of the enemy, that's how tough they are (especially with the lens retracted). The main issue users or potential buyers have is that they're designed to take 620 film, which is now unavailable (generally speaking). I got some empty 620 spools and pull the film off of 120 rolls and put it onto the 620 spools -- takes a bit of doing in a changing bag, but once you get the hang of it...Or you can have the camera body adapted to accept 120 film and be done with the issue. I find the rangefinder very easy to focus and really enjoy using the camera -- though it is heavy. Those Ektar lenses are really sharp.

  3. #3

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    I have the opposite experience-- I got two Medalist II's off that nameless auction site, and with both the rangefinders went belly up-- stopped moving the viewer or the dial. And once that happens, the thing is a paperweight, because there is no focus scale on the lens. Too bad, I love Kodak gear generally and Ektar lenses in particular, but my Medalist experience has been all pay, no play. Anybody knows a good quick turnaround guy who can fix Medalists, drop me a line.

    --nosmok

  4. #4
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Ken Ruth is the acknowledged Medalist specialist
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by nosmok View Post
    I have the opposite experience-- I got two Medalist II's off that nameless auction site, and with both the rangefinders went belly up-- stopped moving the viewer or the dial. And once that happens, the thing is a paperweight, because there is no focus scale on the lens. Too bad, I love Kodak gear generally and Ektar lenses in particular, but my Medalist experience has been all pay, no play. Anybody knows a good quick turnaround guy who can fix Medalists, drop me a line.

    --nosmok
    Both the Medalist I and II are extremely well built, but somewhat complex for an all mechanical camera. When they work they are great photographic instruments. When they don't they are a pain in the neck. I have three at the present time and have owned several before these three. After I sold the first ones and had none I guess seller remorse set in. I also got the last three of probably the same auction site. I bought all three of them with different issues for a very fair price. I have two different repair manuals, one civilian and one Navy, and can now completely strip down and reassemble both the I and II. It's not easy, but if you take your time and study the camera you'll see how the linkage works. Some of the steps are a little trial and error, but you do it a few times it's not bad. I think the rangefinder is the hardest to adjust and I'd never, ever attempt it without the proper manual. The only problem I ever ran into was with the tiny locking screws in the front prism windows and you must not bully them. The rest of the camera is dang tough and can take a none-gentle repair person to a certain extent. I probably have over $45.00 in the manuals, but they are a Godsend not only in timed saved, but money also. I have a stash of 620 spools and don't mind respooling at all. As for the results? Well, I won't sell my Rollei's or 'Blads, but that's only because they are smaller and slightly easier to use. Image wise the Medalist is in the same league with both of them. Tip of the hat to the 100mm f3.5 Ektar. Like Will Rogers said, "I never met a Ektar I didn't like"! Whoops, I guess it was man and not Ektar. You get my point anyway. JohnW



 

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