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Amelia, the Kodak Duo Six-20, & Me
Old 06-11-2018   #1
Timmyjoe
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Amelia, the Kodak Duo Six-20, & Me

Always been a fan of Amelia Earhart, her courage, her spirit of adventure, and her skills as a pilot at a time when aviation was a lot more "seat of the pants" than it is today. And have always been fascinated by the circumstances of her disappearance in 1937 somewhere over the Pacific on her way to Howland Island.

About a year ago I came across this picture of her with a little camera.



Found out she was holding a Kodak Duo Six-20, which she actually took with her when she attempted to fly around the world. The camera was lost with her, her navigator, and everything else on her plane.

I set out to learn more about the camera, and try to find one that I might actually be able to take pictures with. The camera was made for Kodak at the Nagel-Werk camera company in Stuttgart, Germany, a company that Kodak ended up buying. The one she had was made in 1936. Found one from an estate sale with a serial number just prior to hers for $7, and one from someone's grandparents with a serial number just after hers for $67. Neither was working, but I was able to take both cameras apart and make one that actually works.

Turns out I'm not as good at scale focusing as I thought I was, and all the early pics came out kinda blurred. Found a Saymont rangefinder from 1930, and that solved the focus problems.



Here's some shots, now that I figured out how to focus the camera.









Has anyone else had experience with one of these cameras, they're a lot of fun?

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-Tim
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Old 06-11-2018   #2
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Very nice pictures from an interesting camera Tim. I like how your combined interest in photography & Earhart has worked out.
What is the latest news on evidence of her crashing place? Wasn't something recently discovered?
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Old 06-11-2018   #3
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Seems about every year there's another "discovery" or theory. Haven't seen anything that is really convincing yet. Fascinating mystery though.

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-Tim
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Old 06-11-2018   #4
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Ah, the Duo-620! Very nice - what lens does yours have? I notice a top-of-the range shutter so I guess something a bit better than the Kodak Anastigmat which, in my limited experience, is almost contrast-free.

Here's one...
Art-deco Kodak Duo-620 by gray1720, on Flickr

And here's two:
Kodak projects by gray1720, on Flickr

I'm not sure that I have any scanned photos from the younger one, but here's a couple from the other - contrast hugely ramped up in PP!

Cows Twatt by gray1720, on Flickr

Access to Twatt by gray1720, on Flickr

What's really freaky is that I've only ever seen two of these - both of which I now own - and when I found the second what should I have, loaded with film, in my pocket but the first!

Adrian
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Old 06-11-2018   #5
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Very cool Adrian,

I see you have an early Art-Deco Kodak Duo Six-20, looks like one of the first production cameras. The early cameras had that Kodak branded shutter, but I had not seen one with the 7.5cm lens. Most I've seen (just in pictures, only two I've ever seen in person are the two I bought) of the Art-Deco Duo Six-20's have the 7cm lens. I thought the 7.5cm lens was introduced when they came out with the Kodak Duo Six-20 Series II. Rumor had it when they went from the shutter on your Art-Deco to the Compur-Rapid shutter like on mine, they took Zeiss 7cm f3.5 lenses and branded them Kodak Anastigmat. Don't know if that's true.

Also heard that they sold a different version of the Kodak Duo Six-20 in Europe, compared to the one they sold here in the States. Maybe the European Art-Deco came with the 7.5cm lens.

The glass elements on the Art-Deco 7cm lenses are really soft. One of the two I got was scratched beyond repair, and the other has a pretty nasty scratch that thankfully doesn't really show up too bad.

They're fun cameras. Thanks for sharing yours.

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-Tim
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Old 06-11-2018   #6
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my Duo Six-20 has a Compur shutter, 75/3.5 lens and the distance scale is in meters.
Therefore, most likely for the European market. Just hate dealing with 320 film.
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Old 06-11-2018   #7
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Those are wonderful images from your Kodak six-20 duo. I'd be interested in knowing the film and processing you used. I have the same model and it is certainly one of my favorite Kodaks. I also have a couple of the later ones including one with a Tessar. I don't see any significant difference in the images between the Tessar and the Kodak Anastigmat. Here's one from the Anastigmat:


Ford Tri-Motor by Mike Connealy, on Flickr

The little screw-in release is cute, but I always remove it to use the camera as it gets in the way of focusing. Not a bad idea to use a lens shade on any of these uncoated lenses.
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Old 06-11-2018   #8
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The 620 film is still available, and costly.

I buy rolls of Tri-X 120 and at first I used to re-roll it onto 620 spools, but now I shave down the 120 spools with the film still taped shut, and use a couple of inserts I made for the feed side, and an empty 620 spool on the take up side. And process in HC-110.

The biggest issue I have with the camera is reading the frame numbers thru the little red windows as I advance the film. I swear they print the numbers on the backing paper much lighter than in the old days. I find it really hard to read and occasionally miss a frame or two on the roll.

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Old 06-11-2018   #9
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If I recall correctly, the Duo 620 was the first camera to produce a 6x4.5 image, the “Duo” in the name meant that the camera would make twice as many images per roll than the 6x9 standard of the day.

Anyway, here is mine.

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Old 06-11-2018   #10
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The tips on adapting 120 film are encouraging.

The glass on mine is almost perfect. As soon as I can find a hood I am going to try mine out.
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Old 06-12-2018   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mconnealy View Post
Those are wonderful images from your Kodak six-20 duo.
Thank you, I love that image of the plane.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mconnealy View Post
The little screw-in release is cute, but I always remove it to use the camera as it gets in the way of focusing. Not a bad idea to use a lens shade on any of these uncoated lenses.
The little screw-in release was from the shutter on the later version camera, and the focus lever on that shutter was designed slightly differently, to give more clearance with the release. Unfortunately that shutter was badly broken.

I need to make a lens shade for mine, as flair is a pretty big issue.

The other issue on mine is light leaks from the bellows. Spend quite a bit of time sealing all those shut.

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-Tim
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Old 06-18-2018   #12
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Had the chance to shoot some color in the little "Amelia Camera" and discovered I'm getting a light leak through the back pressure plate, getting red streaks from the viewing window on the back. Only open them when advancing the film, but still somehow getting around the backing paper and onto the film. Only on some images though.

Here's one that came out okay.


Kodak Ektar, processed at Dwayne's

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-Tim
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