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10-19-2021, 11:20 AM - 8 Likes   #1
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1937 Kodak Junior six-20 Series II (Resto+Research)

Hello,

Photography had an impressive an explosive growth in the first part of the 20th century. Kodak opened it to the masses in the late 1800 - early 1900s and by the 1930's it was a common activity. Kodak was the biggest player with an impressive range of offerings from the professional to the casual amateur and of course the world's biggest supplier of film.
Thanks to advancements in shutter and lens designs, by the mid '30s there were offerings with multiple shutter speeds, faster and multi-element lenses and the proliferation of multiple film formats, etc. Bellows were a common design choice between lens and film plane as it helped tremendously in the portability of cameras.

In 1935 Kodak launched a new series of cameras called the Kodak Junior six-16 and six-20 using 616 and 620 film formats respectively. A few years earlier, Kodak launched these formats which are variations of the original 116 and 120. Let me know if you are interested as this would be a complete separate topic. Keep in mind that contact printing was still the norm, rather than enlarging, so the prints were the size of the negatives. Hence the multiple choices of negative sizes.
Anyways, this Kodak Junior series was made until 1940 but it gets interesting.

This is my own research on the topic.

The original Juniors six-16 and six-20 offered 2 lens choices: the top of the line f6.3 Anastigmat, and the lower spec Doublet lens.



The series II was launched in 1937 with 3 lens choices: The top of the line f6.3 Anastigmat, the mid tier Bimat lens (f11-f32) with both of these featuring a Kodon shutter with shutter speeds of 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, B and T. The lower spec model offered a "single" lens and only 2 shutter options: Time and Instantaneous from a Kodo shutter.

July 1937 Kodak Catalog




In 1938, the Series III was launched as an upper tier to the concurrent Series II. The Series II was only available with the Bimat or single lens. The f6.3 Anastigmat became the mid offering in the Series III between the f4.5 and f8.8 offerings.





However, in the October 1939 catalog, only the Series II is available with the lower 2 lenses. The Series III and the f6.3 lens were not offered. They were still showing in the March 1939 catalog.

My specimen:

I got this many months ago but hadn't have a chance to work on it.



Looks complete. Hard to see in the pics but it is extremely dusty inside and out. Also very stiff.
This is the less common Series II with the f6.3 lens so that puts it around 1937 or early 1938.

I have been able to find only 3 other identical units online with legible serial numbers. Another mystery as two are five digits serials: 51xxx and 55xxx while another is six digits 105xxx like mine which is 106xxx
So I can't yet establish any relationships with serial numbers, other than mine is higher.

Time permitting I'll restore this one up. Of course with the intention of using it.
Stay tuned...

Thanks,
Ismael

P.S. Still reading this? Boy this post is looooong!!!

10-19-2021, 03:50 PM - 1 Like   #2
mlt
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Cool! Have fun and good luck with the project.
10-19-2021, 04:30 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Very interesting post. A lot of history in the old Kodak cameras. Given the fact that these formats in film were discontinued long ago what are you planning to use for film when you take yours out for a test?
10-19-2021, 06:07 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
My specimen:
After that fantastic intro of the catalogs, I was hoping for photos of a camera, so I was excited to read this line

QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
P.S. Still reading this?
Of course!

10-19-2021, 09:00 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob 256 Quote
Very interesting post. A lot of history in the old Kodak cameras. Given the fact that these formats in film were discontinued long ago what are you planning to use for film when you take yours out for a test?
The simplest option just re-spools 120 onto 620 spools. Another option trims excess material from 120 spools. 35mm film also can be used on 620 cameras with simple adapters - losing some negative size in the process.
10-20-2021, 05:27 AM   #6
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Original Poster
Thank you all!

Bob, like UncleVanya said, I'll be respooling 120 film into 620 spools. I tried modifying a 120 spool but in this particular camera, the fit is very tight. Similarly, I am waiting for developing results on a 120 roll I respooled into a 116 spool that I used on a 1918 Brownie No2A.

Thanks,
Ismael
10-20-2021, 10:48 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Another interesting one, Ismael. Thanks for the back-story... I'm looking forward to you working your usual magic and reporting back as it happens!

10-20-2021, 12:56 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Thank you all!

Bob, like UncleVanya said, I'll be respooling 120 film into 620 spools. I tried modifying a 120 spool but in this particular camera, the fit is very tight. Similarly, I am waiting for developing results on a 120 roll I respooled into a 116 spool that I used on a 1918 Brownie No2A.

Thanks,
Ismael
Great! I'll look forward to seeing some of your photos when you get up and shooting
10-21-2021, 09:33 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob 256 Quote
Very interesting post. A lot of history in the old Kodak cameras. Given the fact that these formats in film were discontinued long ago what are you planning to use for film when you take yours out for a test?
An organization known as the "Film Photography Project"
https://filmphotographyproject.com
seems to be promoting "discontinued" film formats;
I would have explored their projects if I hadn't accidentally left my Kodak 'Duaflex' behind when we moved 20 years ago
{that camera was originally used by my Dad to take pictures when I was an infant}

Last edited by reh321; 10-21-2021 at 10:06 AM.
10-21-2021, 03:38 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
An organization known as the "Film Photography Project"
https://filmphotographyproject.com
seems to be promoting "discontinued" film formats;
I would have explored their projects if I hadn't accidentally left my Kodak 'Duaflex' behind when we moved 20 years ago
{that camera was originally used by my Dad to take pictures when I was an infant}
Thatís sad. Sorry to hear that.
10-27-2021, 06:55 PM - 2 Likes   #11
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Hello,

These 2 spots in the bellows are suspicious. I'm sure those are light leaks I need to address.


The best way to check is in dim light with a flashlight inside:


WOW! That's not a leak. That's incontinence!!!!

I'll dive into it as soon as I get a chance.
Don't rush me! I still have like 16 more years before this camera reaches a century!

Thanks,
Ismael
11-05-2021, 04:06 PM   #12
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Hello,

If you have doubts about liquid rubber been messy to work with, I'm here to tell you IT IS!


But it eventually cooperates. Now I know why it is so hard to find anybody to service old bellows. It has taken me over 2 weeks of a few minutes here and there every day and I'm not done yet. I think I've put a few hours into this bellows already and it was in rather good shape to start with!

But it is going the right direction. What you see on the ridges is actually reflections from the top, not light leaks.

That is a super / blinding strong / gazillion lumens / nuclear powered CREE camping torch light. One corner down, 3 to go.

Thanks,
Ismael
11-05-2021, 06:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
If you have doubts about liquid rubber been messy to work with, I'm here to tell you IT IS!
Curious what the process is - can you seal from the inside or is it too hard to access?
11-05-2021, 07:47 PM   #14
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Universal Bellows used to be the go-to for replacement bellows made to order. When I was at National Camera we had to make a section of bellows it was simple, yet frustrating making sure folds were square, a lost art.


Hang up and DRIVE!
11-06-2021, 05:11 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Curious what the process is - can you seal from the inside or is it too hard to access?
The inside is quite hard to access but it also seems to have a layer which is evidently not opaque. Feels like some sort of paper. I'll post a pic of it later.

Thanks,
Ismael
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