Kodak Medalist II!!

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On a separate but related note, any of you Medalist fans ever use a Chevron, and how does it compare in the fiddly business department? I toy with the idea of getting one but I don't know that it would do anything for me that my Rolleiflex 2.8E doesn't do at least as well if not better. And that shutter sounds like it's far less reliable than a more traditional one.

I'm going to plug my own review, here:

 

summicron1

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Seriously? Ha, I’m in SLC. I bet I know which shop it was. On 9th?

which shop is that? Acme? I keep meaning to go down there. I'm in Ogden. I have one of these that I get out about once a year and lug around -- heavy damn things but great results.

charlie trentelman
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j-dogg

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which shop is that? Acme? I keep meaning to go down there. I'm in Ogden. I have one of these that I get out about once a year and lug around -- heavy damn things but great results.

charlie trentelman
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yup acme, they also hooked me up with a nice filter set and a bunch of little stuff for it yesterday. also 3 more spools.

here is my RF calibration rigged setup, it's only stupid if it works. I folded a piece of Gorilla Tape on both sides to get the spacing for the film plane and it was dead nuts on the nose.

299066710_431812885644307_7601246305643678461_n.jpg


299104648_530897225502835_2619472759812588813_n.jpg


299105314_1220692552083531_4492972915524116744_n.jpg
 

John Wiegerink

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On a separate but related note, any of you Medalist fans ever use a Chevron, and how does it compare in the fiddly business department? I toy with the idea of getting one but I don't know that it would do anything for me that my Rolleiflex 2.8E doesn't do at least as well if not better. And that shutter sounds like it's far less reliable than a more traditional one.

I had a Chevron for a while and while it was a well-built camera, it was no Medalist. The chevron, to me, seemed like an overgrown Signet 35, which makes some sense being they were made about the same time. The lens is very good, but I'd certainly stick with your Rollei if you like to take pictures. Your Rollei will be easier to use, and I doubt you have any complaints as to its image quality.
 

AZD

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here is my RF calibration rigged setup, it's only stupid if it works. I folded a piece of Gorilla Tape on both sides to get the spacing for the film plane and it was dead nuts on the nose.

Hey, nice work! I use cd cases cut to size on a band saw and made matte on on side with steel wool and water. Mini ground glasses on the cheap.
 

Dan Daniel

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On a separate but related note, any of you Medalist fans ever use a Chevron, and how does it compare in the fiddly business department? I toy with the idea of getting one but I don't know that it would do anything for me that my Rolleiflex 2.8E doesn't do at least as well if not better. And that shutter sounds like it's far less reliable than a more traditional one.
I worked on one for somene, converted to 620 and overhauled it. Much simpler camera than the Medalist. Lots of what you see and handle is styling, not 'form follows function' of the Medalist. The rangefinder is simpler. Larger in many ways, lots of empty space in the film spool chambers. Falls into the hand much more naturally than the Medalist. Obviously 'cheaper' than the Medalist all around.

The lens is a very nice 4-element Tessar-type as I remember. Great out of focus, etc. Nice 'classic' B&W 1940s look to the images.

I'd stick with the Rollei. More precise, will hold up better. About the only reason I would say to work with a Chevron is if the lens itself grabs you. The overall design is interesting but not stunning. And the basic feel and user experience is a bit chintzy compared to a Medalist or Rolleiflex.
 

TheFlyingCamera

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I had a Chevron for a while and while it was a well-built camera, it was no Medalist. The chevron, to me, seemed like an overgrown Signet 35, which makes some sense being they were made about the same time. The lens is very good, but I'd certainly stick with your Rollei if you like to take pictures. Your Rollei will be easier to use, and I doubt you have any complaints as to its image quality.

Oh, I have no complaints about the image quality or the user experience on a Rollei. If anything, it sets the bar by which all other cameras are judged now.
 

John Wiegerink

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Oh, I have no complaints about the image quality or the user experience on a Rollei. If anything, it sets the bar by which all other cameras are judged now.

I wasn't trying to talk you out of buying a Chevron, but it certainly won't replace your Rollei as a picture taker. Now the Medalist might be a different story, but I like big negatives and the Medalist delivers in that department. My Chevron I converted to 120 by opening up the film chambers. It now belongs to a very good friend who really likes it, and he's a Rollei 2.8F guy. 620 film is a pita, but I can take a changing bag and respool three or four rolls while watching the news. Yes, I'm a PRO at respooling now. I've tried the trimming thing and various other means, but respooling works by far best for me.
 

Alex Varas

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I have both.
Chevron is a nice camera, bulky and nice design.
The rangefinder is as Medalist, separate and split prisms for focusing and really accurate as Medalist.
Viewfinder has parallax and it’s very nice (I wear glasses).
Operating the camera is an step back from Medalist, manual cocking and you need to activate the winding separately.
Thinking deeply Chevron is equally complex in operation as Ikoflexes TLR, follow steps and all fine.
Releasing the shutter is smoother than Medalist IMO.
With Chevron I find it better to carry it without the leather case, Medalist is opposite.
Series V filters and hood, plenty of them.
Shutter is… Kodak type from 50’s best case high speeds are halved, too many friction points, my Chevron high speed 1/800 is 1/400 what is better than any other leaf shutter I have!
Loading film is easier than Medalist, still 620 type but conversion to 120 should be easier, much more “room”.
Lens, Tessar multi-coated type, really sharp from f/8 and lovely wide open.”, handles flare really really good.

I can’t recall more difference or similarities but I do lime the camera, that said I own Super Isolette and every time I choose 6x6 rangefinder Super Isolette wins (portability).

Photos taken with Chevron, I think from 3 rolls.


I hope helps, next in the bucket are Kodak 35 RF and Kodak Signet, just to put them next to the big sisters Medalist and Chevron.
 
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I have both.
Chevron is a nice camera, bulky and nice design.
The rangefinder is as Medalist, separate and split prisms for focusing and really accurate as Medalist.
Viewfinder has parallax and it’s very nice (I wear glasses).
Operating the camera is an step back from Medalist, manual cocking and you need to activate the winding separately.
Thinking deeply Chevron is equally complex in operation as Ikoflexes TLR, follow steps and all fine.
Releasing the shutter is smoother than Medalist IMO.
With Chevron I find it better to carry it without the leather case, Medalist is opposite.
Series V filters and hood, plenty of them.
Shutter is… Kodak type from 50’s best case high speeds are halved, too many friction points, my Chevron high speed 1/800 is 1/400 what is better than any other leaf shutter I have!
Loading film is easier than Medalist, still 620 type but conversion to 120 should be easier, much more “room”.
Lens, Tessar multi-coated type, really sharp from f/8 and lovely wide open.”, handles flare really really good.

I can’t recall more difference or similarities but I do lime the camera, that said I own Super Isolette and every time I choose 6x6 rangefinder Super Isolette wins (portability).

Photos taken with Chevron, I think from 3 rolls.


I hope helps, next in the bucket are Kodak 35 RF and Kodak Signet, just to put them next to the big sisters Medalist and Chevron.

I have an Isolette, well, sort of, the Russian copy of it by KMZ called "Iskra". Also a great camera, nice sharp negatives and converted to 6x4.5 as many in the Soviet Union were.

I love the Medalist, the original Texas Leica if you ask me, but the Iskra wins in portability and weight, hands down.
 

flavio81

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I have an Isolette, well, sort of, the Russian copy of it by KMZ called "Iskra". Also a great camera, nice sharp negatives and converted to 6x4.5 as many in the Soviet Union were.

I love the Medalist, the original Texas Leica if you ask me, but the Iskra wins in portability and weight, hands down.

Hi dear Mr. GOMZ,

Congratulations on your Medalist II, someday i'll own one.

I was about to buy a Texas Leica (fuji GSW690) at a good price, until I thought "i want a medalist instead".

Then I didn't buy a Medalist (at a really really good price) because I thought "well i'll have to respool a 120 roll for only 8 pictures".

Maybe someday...

If Kodak would've created a 6x6 version of the Medalist (not the Chevron) able to use 120 film and with parallax compensation, wow, that would've been a killer camera!
 

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IMO the Medalist is remarkably compact (if heavy) for its 6x9 negative size, but that's also one of the reasons that it handles sort of like a softball, a large roundish thing with little to grip. I think it would be improved with a finger grip on one side. I have futzed around with trying to use a flash grip for this, but they put your hand farther away from the controls.

A plastic grip that fit exactly to the camera like the ones made by Ethan at Buttergrip / Cameradactyl.com might be great. But I doubt he'd sell enough Medalist grips to justify the time of designing one? Maybe I will try to design one someday, but my 3d printing skills are much lesser.
 

Dan Daniel

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IMO the Medalist is remarkably compact (if heavy) for its 6x9 negative size

The Medalist is 5 ounces lighter than the Fuji GW690.

Both Cameraleather and Hugo have GripTac skins for the Medalists. Highly recommended!

A body hugging grip would be great, 3-d file maybe. You could carve one and then find someone with a 3-d scanner to make the file?
 

Kodachromeguy

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Photos taken with Chevron, I think from 3 rolls.

I hope helps, next in the bucket are Kodak 35 RF and Kodak Signet, just to put them next to the big sisters Medalist and Chevron

Alex, these are superb. You have demonstrated the capability of that lens and film flatness (and your eye). I don't know if I have ever seen a Chevron in use.
 

John Wiegerink

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The Medalist is 5 ounces lighter than the Fuji GW690.

Both Cameraleather and Hugo have GripTac skins for the Medalists. Highly recommended!

A body hugging grip would be great, 3-d file maybe. You could carve one and then find someone with a 3-d scanner to make the file?

I put one of Hugo's Grip Tac skins on my Medalist II and it makes all the difference in the world for ease of shooting. I should have done it long ago, but I love to procrastinate. I won't convert any of my medalist cameras to 120 for fear of screwing up its film flatness in feeding. I really don't mind respooling onto 620 spools at all. Do I wish the Medalist were made for 120 instead? Of course, but it's not, so I'll just use it the best way I can. 4X5 quality in a compact 2 1/4 X 3 1/4 camera.
 

Dan Daniel

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I won't convert any of my medalist cameras to 120 for fear of screwing up its film flatness in feeding.
John, can you say more about this? I've heard of this issue a few times but not as a regular result of a 120 conversion. I have some thoughts on what goes on but I'd like to hear what the regular user has experienced.
 

campy51

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I have only used my Medalist II a few times since I bought it, but all this talk of it I think I will put a roll in. The last couple of rolls I didn't respool but to modify the 120 roll. Doesn't respooling allow dust on the film?
 

John Wiegerink

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I have only used my Medalist II a few times since I bought it, but all this talk of it I think I will put a roll in. The last couple of rolls I didn't respool but to modify the 120 roll. Doesn't respooling allow dust on the film?
I can't speak from personal experience, since I have never converted any of mine. I believe that in a full conversion, where both feed and take-up chambers are opened up, at least one film roller is removed. I can't speak to the one chamber conversions. I think Kodak made this camera to near perfect specs, and I'd just as soon not mess with any of the build/mechanics. Each to his own, I guess! I have respooled so many rolls of 620 I lost count, and it's not a problem anymore. I can respool three rolls in less than ten minutes, and that's taking my time and doing it right. I have never had a dust issue, but I use a dust-free (I wish) area to do my respooling or a clean, vacuumed changing bag.
I have converted a Kodak Chevron to 120 and had no issues with that, but the Kodak Medalist is a different beast. A friend, who has the Chevron now, says it's still working great.

This was mainly in reply to Dan Daniel above
 

choiliefan

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It's been awhile but I've successfully shot 220 film in my Medalist II.
IIRC I reset the counter to 1 after shot 8 and finished the roll.
Mine hasn't been serviced so I always manually cock it between exposures. Terrific camera with a very nice rangefinder and optics.
 

MattKing

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It probably goes without saying, but any technique that requires resetting the counter requires a counter that can easily be manually reset (I'm assuming that that is the case with a Medalist).
 

campy51

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I can't speak from personal experience, since I have never converted any of mine. I believe that in a full conversion, where both feed and take-up chambers are opened up, at least one film roller is removed. I can't speak to the one chamber conversions. I think Kodak made this camera to near perfect specs, and I'd just as soon not mess with any of the build/mechanics. Each to his own, I guess! I have respooled so many rolls of 620 I lost count, and it's not a problem anymore. I can respool three rolls in less than ten minutes, and that's taking my time and doing it right. I have never had a dust issue, but I use a dust-free (I wish) area to do my respooling or a clean, vacuumed changing bag.
I have converted a Kodak Chevron to 120 and had no issues with that, but the Kodak Medalist is a different beast. A friend, who has the Chevron now, says it's still working great.

This was mainly in reply to Dan Daniel above

I'm not looking to convert the camera, I just modify the 120 film roll ends.
 

Donald Qualls

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I'm not looking to convert the camera, I just modify the 120 film roll ends.

The problem with that is that you still have to use a 620 spool for takeup unless the drive key has also been modified -- and in very tight 620 cameras (which I understand to included the Medalist models) even a diameter-trimmed 120 spool may not fit well enough to feed without problems (and sanding the ends may make them translucent or cause tearing, because the plastic needs to be so thin). I've never handled a Medalist, but my reading suggests that one of the reasons converting the camera is so expensive is that it requires removing metal from the body casting on both supply and takeup spool wells.
 

John Wiegerink

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The problem with that is that you still have to use a 620 spool for takeup unless the drive key has also been modified -- and in very tight 620 cameras (which I understand to included the Medalist models) even a diameter-trimmed 120 spool may not fit well enough to feed without problems (and sanding the ends may make them translucent or cause tearing, because the plastic needs to be so thin). I've never handled a Medalist, but my reading suggests that one of the reasons converting the camera is so expensive is that it requires removing metal from the body casting on both supply and takeup spool wells.

Don,
You are exactly right. The tolerances of machining on the Medalist are so tight that it makes respooling the only option for me. I went the trimmed spool thing for a few rolls and found that winding on to the next frame put far too much stress on the winding mechanisms gears. I just didn't like putting undue stress where it doesn't belong. Sooner or later something has to give. I'd much rather take a little time and respool onto a 620 spools than try to repair a camera that has "NO" spare part available anymore. Yes, a complete 120 conversion requires taking the camera apart down to just the inner film chambers and film gate casting, and then machining out the chambers. This is not a job for a "tinker" guy like me and would require a small milling machine to do the job correctly. Very costly job and would the results on film be better than my respooling? Nope! I'll stick to doing it my way and use the extra cash to buy film or whatever. campy51 seems to like trimming and that's OK by me, but I think he should keep an eye on the wind pressure. The Medalist is built so well, and with top quality materials you can probably get by with a "stiff" wind knob, for a while????? Maybe????
 
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