Camera Speed Dating – Kodak Medalist II

Those that know Meghan and I know that we have what appears to be an on going camera acquisition “problem”. Really all it is, is a desire to try all of the cameras!!!

We have started collecting many vintage cameras now over the past few years, but in an effort to not let our collection get out of hand we decided to only collect cameras that work and can actually be used.

However, not all are winners and some are just easier or more fun to use but you have to shoot with them first to find out! Thus, we decided if we run a roll through every camera we are interested in, not unlike going on a 5 minute date with a bunch of strangers at a singles night, we can quickly see which are worthy of being added to our collection. Camera speed dating!

Here is most recent camera I had the pleasure of a quick date with….The Kodak Medalist II, 620 format camera.


A few quick facts about the Kodak Medalist II is the second generation of the original Medalist camera, manufactured between 1946 and 1953, it’s upgraded was a flash-sync. The Medalist has rangefinder focus and a viewfinder located just above for framing.

So I totally botched my first 620 roll in the Meadalist II.  This was partly due to the fact that the long awaited new Kodak TMAX 100 backing paper is slippy as hell so of course the roll sprung from my hands un-spooling and fogging right before my eyes as I grabbed for it like a cat going for a ball of yarn. I did get some exposure, as you can see below. Tthank goodness it’s a 6×9 negative so there is room enough for fogging and an image! Luckily I had another roll of 620 with me which I loaded and unloaded without any problem at all. My second roll was pretty successful (properly exposed using my mobile phone ‘my light meter’ app). I had only one dud, annoying too because it had a nice light in it, it is completely unfocused.

The Medalist’s split screen rangefinder is small but very easy to use once your eyeball finds it, then composing through the viewfinder is easy. I did not like the feel of depressing the shutter button however. I found once I started to depress the shutter button there was a long lead up time to the shutter actually snapping,  this caused me to often miss the exact shot I had wanted. I also found the Medalists’s click unsatisfying, that’s not particularly important though.

Here are a few from my first roll, I’ll pretend its fogging is actually a lovely white vignette effect…


Here are some of the photos from the second roll…


And here is the dud, where I clearly mis-focused.





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Beau Photo Supplies Inc.
Beau Photo Supplies Inc.