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Medalist Question
Old 03-13-2017   #1
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Medalist Question

I have just won a Medalist II on Ebay. Has anyone had the feed side converted to 120 film? Or is it better to respool?
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Old 03-13-2017   #2
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There are a few threads here that discuss this. Ken Ruth used to be the go-to guy for this conversion, but I believe he has retired. I have a Medalist II as well, but I just re-spool 120 onto a 620 spool. It's pretty simple.
Enjoy your Medalist!
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Old 03-13-2017   #3
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^ As above , the respooling is quite easy after a few tries . I tend to suggest getting a few properly trimmed rolls of film from "Blue Moon", these fit the feed side perfectly and because they have the same diameter center as the 120 roll film they are easier to reroll on to without having to remove the tape when rerolling on to the 620 spool . Plus the modification was a slow turn around and painfully expensive ! Peter
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Old 03-13-2017   #4
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120 film spools with the cut down flanges will fit in the feed side. but the cut has to be smooth or you'll have a chance of the spool jamming.
Respooling is the best option, and not really a big deal if you have a few spare 620 spools. Plenty of tutorials can be found online about it too.
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Old 03-13-2017   #5
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I am told -- though I have not tried it -- that the larger diameter of the 120 spool core means that the automatic frame counter doesn't work properly, so it is highly advisable to use a 620 spool for take-up. Can anyone confirm this?

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Old 03-14-2017   #6
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The film transport is registered by an idler shaft with spikes around it at the edges of the film. Provided that the gearing and interlocks are set up correctly, the wind-on mechanism stops at the point determined by the film transport.
I've never wound-on to a 120 spool, not having the time or facilities to tackle the severe modification that would be required , but in principle the design, to keep consistent negative spacings, should still work. Ken Ruth's professional modifications would surely take account of all the factors and interlocks necessary.
Kodak Medalist film transport interlocks by John Hancock, on Flickr
Kodak Medalist film transport interlocks by John Hancock, on Flickr
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Old 03-14-2017   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citizen99 View Post
The film transport is registered by an idler shaft with spikes around it at the edges of the film. Provided that the gearing and interlocks are set up correctly, the wind-on mechanism stops at the point determined by the film transport.
I've never wound-on to a 120 spool, not having the time or facilities to tackle the severe modification that would be required , but in principle the design, to keep consistent negative spacings, should still work. Ken Ruth's professional modifications would surely take account of all the factors and interlocks necessary.
Dear John,

Thanks very much. What you say makes sense, possibly because you appear to know what you are talking about. This is not always the case on the internet! I guess there might be a slight variation in the positioning of the first frame, if the first frame is aligned using arrows on the backing paper. Or if as seems more likely you use a red window for frame 1 (I've never used a Medalist), even that wouldn't be a problem.

Where in Bristol are you? Or have I asked you that before? I lived in Easton for 12 years, but we left in 1987 when it was still a working class area. As far as I recall I paid 5995 for my house in Barratt Street, and sold it for 13,500. On the rare occasions we get back to Bristol we always try to get to Majothi's (Bristol Sweet Mart).

Cheers,

R.
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Old 03-14-2017   #8
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I've told the story of my 1941 Medalist a few times on these boards already.
It's been conveniently neutered. The frame counter and shutter-charging mechanism have been disconnected from the winding knob (probably because the whole thing jammed, like the Medalist I are wont to do). This means I need to use the red window to wind to the next frame and use the shutter cocking lever under the viewfinder.

That Ektar lens makes it all worth it
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Camera works the same with 120 film as with 620
Old 03-14-2017   #9
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Camera works the same with 120 film as with 620

I have Medalist II which I tried 620 film with. Respooling for me was a pain, as I made the film too loose on the spool, leading to a light leak along the edge. Also, I put creases in the film due to my clumsiness.

I then had Ken Ruth modify BOTH chambers so that it takes 120 spools on each side. MUCH easier to use. He also did a full overhaul of the camera while it was apart for machining, and recemeted a separated doublet in my viewfinder. This machine is slick, and wonderful to use. I don't use it as much as I should, as I find it to be a brick to carry.

There is a rather elaborate ritual to loading the Medalist, starting with putting the frame counter in a certain position. Afterwards, due to that pin gear tracking film movement, the workings for the camera whether for 620 film or 120 film is identical. I have to refer to the instruction manual for loading, because it is very easy to foul things up.

As anyone who has used an Agfa Super Isolette knows, these pinwheels measure the lineal distance of film that has traveled. Since 120 and 620 film is identical (as film lengths) except for different spools, the performance of the Medalist (and Agfa Super Isolette) is the same with 120 or 620.
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Old 03-14-2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Dear John,

Thanks very much. What you say makes sense, possibly because you appear to know what you are talking about. This is not always the case on the internet! I guess there might be a slight variation in the positioning of the first frame, if the first frame is aligned using arrows on the backing paper. Or if as seems more likely you use a red window for frame 1 (I've never used a Medalist), even that wouldn't be a problem.

Where in Bristol are you? Or have I asked you that before? I lived in Easton for 12 years, but we left in 1987 when it was still a working class area. As far as I recall I paid 5995 for my house in Barratt Street, and sold it for 13,500. On the rare occasions we get back to Bristol we always try to get to Majothi's (Bristol Sweet Mart).

Cheers,

R.
Dear Roger,

I came to Bristol in the late '60s, residing in a bed-sitter on Ashley Hill with a splendid view over the allotments, the mostly abandoned and lifted railway lines, and St.Werburgh's and beyond. In 1974, if I remember, I bought a house in Thornbury, subsequently moving up a size with the occurrence of marriage and children. Photography as a hobby went into abeyance for nearly three decades, resuming on retirement.

When we go into town I usually take a camera for opportunity shots of anything that seems interesting. There have been plenty of changes going on; traffic congestion is still amongst the worse in the country (topography and ancient roads). They're building a 'metro-bus' route which is making things worse before they get (we hope!) better.

You might find this interesting if you haven't come across it already.

All the best,
John.
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Old 03-14-2017   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Flibble View Post
I've told the story of my 1941 Medalist a few times on these boards already.
It's been conveniently neutered. The frame counter and shutter-charging mechanism have been disconnected from the winding knob (probably because the whole thing jammed, like the Medalist I are wont to do). This means I need to use the red window to wind to the next frame and use the shutter cocking lever under the viewfinder.

That Ektar lens makes it all worth it
I sympathise with your practice of simplification where a complex mechanism has failed . I'm happy with the basics of a decent lens, adequate shutter, and the red window .
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Old 03-14-2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lai View Post
I have Medalist II which I tried 620 film with. Respooling for me was a pain, as I made the film too loose on the spool, leading to a light leak along the edge. Also, I put creases in the film due to my clumsiness.

I then had Ken Ruth modify BOTH chambers so that it takes 120 spools on each side. MUCH easier to use. He also did a full overhaul of the camera while it was apart for machining, and recemeted a separated doublet in my viewfinder. This machine is slick, and wonderful to use. I don't use it as much as I should, as I find it to be a brick to carry.

There is a rather elaborate ritual to loading the Medalist, starting with putting the frame counter in a certain position. Afterwards, due to that pin gear tracking film movement, the workings for the camera whether for 620 film or 120 film is identical. I have to refer to the instruction manual for loading, because it is very easy to foul things up.

As anyone who has used an Agfa Super Isolette knows, these pinwheels measure the lineal distance of film that has traveled. Since 120 and 620 film is identical (as film lengths) except for different spools, the performance of the Medalist (and Agfa Super Isolette) is the same with 120 or 620.
As I may have months between using the Medalist, I have to refresh my memory from the instruction manual at each loading .
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Old 03-14-2017   #13
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I set up a fixture on my lathe to shave down the ends of 120 rolls (while the film is still attached) to create 620 rolls. Have used them in a number of Kodak folder cameras and they work great. Have not tried them yet in a Medalist, but as I have one on the way, hopefully I'll get to try it next week.

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Old 03-14-2017   #14
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^ The film counter works properly on my Medalist 1 with both 120 or 620 reels . As I've tried to suggest previously , trimming rolls at home is a questionable practice at best , buy a roll or two from "Blue Moon" and you have your bases covered against the feed jamming .( contrary to many remarks it's not just the outside diameter of the roll flanges , but also their length that causes problems ) Peter

ps: not that many of us have lathes at home , but I'm sure that beats the heck out of nail clippers and such
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Old 03-14-2017   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citizen99 View Post
Dear Roger,

I came to Bristol in the late '60s, residing in a bed-sitter on Ashley Hill with a splendid view over the allotments, the mostly abandoned and lifted railway lines, and St.Werburgh's and beyond. In 1974, if I remember, I bought a house in Thornbury, subsequently moving up a size with the occurrence of marriage and children. Photography as a hobby went into abeyance for nearly three decades, resuming on retirement.

When we go into town I usually take a camera for opportunity shots of anything that seems interesting. There have been plenty of changes going on; traffic congestion is still amongst the worse in the country (topography and ancient roads). They're building a 'metro-bus' route which is making things worse before they get (we hope!) better.

You might find this interesting if you haven't come across it already.

All the best,
John.
Dear John,

Thanks. I've just contacted Amberley Books to see if there's anything in that book I can use in Final Analysis.

Virtute et industrial!

Cheers,

R.
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Further thoughts
Old 03-15-2017   #16
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Further thoughts

Thanks for the suggestions. I think I try rewinding rather than having the camera converted especially since Bald Mountain has closed. I was wondering if I could use a 120 camera to wind the film to a 120 take up spool. And then wind the 120 film from the take up spool to a 620 spool. This should work and save one step in the dark.

I have two other questions.

1) Any suggestions for CLA service other than Bald Mountain.

2) I may be going blind, but I cannot find the Serial Number on the Medalist. Where is it?

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 03-15-2017   #17
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I believe the serial number on the camera lens tells you what year the camera was made. Example: EE before the numbers means the camera was made in 1944

http://www.bnphoto.org/bnphoto/KodakID.htm

And yeah, the lathe makes cutting down the 120 spools to 620 size a lot easier.

The times I've tried to re-roll 120 film onto 620 spools, I have always run into the problem that as you roll from the end of the film to the beginning, the place the film is taped to the backing paper never aligns properly, so I always need to pull the tape from the backing paper and reposition it. Which then makes me concerned that the numbers on the backing paper (that are seen through the little red window) are not really lining up properly with the placement of the film on the backing paper. That's why I find it just simpler to take a roll of 120 out of it's packaging, grab it on the lathe, machine off both ends, then load it up as normal. And Yeah, I'm spoiled having a lathe at home.

Best,
-Tim
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Old 03-15-2017   #18
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re-spooling is not that hard with a bit of practice. Unroll it onto one spool and re-roll it onto the 620 spool. keep the spools close together and and tight in your hand. if you keep everything 100% tight at all times, the film will start where it should and no need to move the tape at the other end. I'll go do one now and time myself.
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Old 03-15-2017   #19
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As for re-spooling, I have found this site to be pretty helpful.

http://www.brownie-camera.com/respool/respool.shtml
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Old 03-15-2017   #20
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4 minutes 8 seconds. Perfectly rolled. going to take longer to figure out how to load my Medalist again.
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Old 03-15-2017   #21
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In the page Peter references, there is the picture below. This is what always happens to me when I try to re-spool 120 onto 620.



It's that bunching, and when you remove the tape and re-tape it back to the backing paper, the film is now not in the same position vis-a-vis the backing paper as it was originally, so the numbers on the backing paper are going to be slightly off. Whether that slightly off is going to make the last image on the roll actually expose off the end of the film stock, I don't know. But that has always been my concern with re-spooling any film that is taped to a backing paper.

Best,
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Old 03-16-2017   #22
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Well, I used one of the 120 rolls I cut down in the Medalist today, it worked fine, and I re-spooled a roll of 120 onto a 620 spool (it bunched, but I was able to straighten it out) and it loaded and shot thru fine as well. So I think both methods are doable.

As an aside: my first time shooting one of these Medalist cameras, man are they big and heavy to hold, ended up using a tripod or monopod for most of the 16 shots, and as the camera needs an overhaul because the shutter button is very stiff, I ended up using a cable release for more than half the shots.

First roll was expired B&W film (a long time ago and never kept cold), and it came out a bit foggy. Second roll (the one I re-spooled) is fresh film and have yet to process that. Hoping those images will be more in line with how wonderful I keep hearing these cameras render.

Best,
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Old 03-16-2017   #23
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Tim,
The weight and shape of this camera doesn't make for fun handholding. Also, the shutter has such a long travel that it's hard to fire smoothly without a cable release. I find that this is strictly a tripod camera for these reasons.

Also, the top speed booster spring in the shutter of these cameras may not provide the full shutter speed any more. My speeds were tested after overhauling the camera, by Ken Ruth. The 1/200 is correct, but 1/400 is still 1/275 or so. Thus, the shutter speed range doesn't encourage handholding sharpness either.
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Old 03-16-2017   #24
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From about 8 or 10 years ago on a Medalist 1 , single coated lens . It's worth the time to get good with it . I'm blessed with large hands and find it's size accommodating ! This was taken while out road testing a customers motorcycle ( I'm sure I had the motor turned off).
My rerolling experiences are similar to "Timmyjoe" so I use the turned down "Blue Moon"120 rolls for the feed side. Peter
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Old 03-17-2017   #26
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Taken with a Medalist 1, Kodak BW400CN if I recall correctly...



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Old 03-17-2017   #27
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It does not handle well, though that is improved with practice. If I recall, the manual shows a diagram of how to hold it properly. I use a cable release even if hand-held.

I really think you get used to any camera if you use it enough, my problem is I randomly grab one of 20 or so film cameras I have and never really master using any of them.
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Old 03-29-2017   #28
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Okay, so the Medalist 1 I got two weeks ago ended up having a lens that was full of haze, scratches, and fungus, so it went back to the seller for a refund. Was able to find another sample (Medalist II this time), which had been sitting in a cabinet for many years, and was listed as not working. Got it real cheap and was thrilled to find the lens in really good shape. The rest of the camera needs a complete overhaul, so started that today. Something interesting I noticed, the camera is covered in actual leather. It's not some kind of faux leather or leatherette. It's actually pretty nice, dyed black, leather. Which cleans up very well. Never had a camera covered in real leather before.

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Old 03-29-2017   #29
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Tim, did you remove the shutter on your Medalist? The shutter on my Medalist II needs cleaning, but so far I've had no luck improvising a tool to loosen the retaining ring that holds it on. The repair manual specifies a special wrench made just for that purpose. Kodak really did a job in designing this thing!
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Old 03-29-2017   #30
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Hi Peter,

Haven't gotten that far yet. Will have to do it though, the shutter is gummed up, just not there yet. I think it might be tough to get out, may have to make a special wrench to get in there and loosen that retaining ring.

Best,
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Old 03-29-2017   #31
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Old 03-29-2017   #32
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Old 03-29-2017   #33
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Old 03-29-2017   #34
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Hope these are of some assistance , I don't believe I used any special tools . Peter
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Old 03-29-2017   #35
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This was taken with a Medalist II, converted by Ken Ruth, on Portra 400.



1:1 crop

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Old 03-30-2017   #36
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Quote:
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This was taken with a Medalist II, converted by Ken Ruth, on Portra 400.
Spectacular!
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Old 03-30-2017   #37
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Hope these are of some assistance , I don't believe I used any special tools . Peter
pm me if I can be of any help .
Thanks for the images! I'm sure they'll be useful once I get that retaining ring loosed up
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Old 03-30-2017   #38
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Hope these are of some assistance , I don't believe I used any special tools . Peter
pm me if I can be of any help .
Thanks for the pictures. So that's the shutter from the Medalist. Is it the same shutter that is in the Medalist II? My Medalist II has a Kodak Flash Supermatic Shutter, is that the same one you've pictured here on the Medalist?

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Old 03-30-2017   #39
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Jeepers the resolution on that scan is incredible. Mine works pretty well though I think the fast speeds are probably a stop slow. I just deal with it. no way am I taking a screwdriver to it!
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Old 03-30-2017   #40
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^ The pictures are from my Medalist 1 , I believe ( but may be wrong) the flashmatic was added to this assembly, so this is still a valid pic of the internals . The top two speeds measure slow, but are consistent . I understand this is common with these aging shutters.
They really do have amazing glass and the single coating allows for some fine transparencies , just being aware not to shoot into the sun , a given with most of us , but easily forgotten .
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