Tag Archives: Kodak

vigilant : alertly watchful especially to avoid danger

Well, there is not need for alarm … it’s just a Kodak Vigilant Six-20 and it’s junior counterpart … Batman and Robin ?

They are just another line of folders that Kodak put out back in the 40’s, so I won’t say much about them … they resemble many of the others that Kodak pumped out during that time … these are older versions of the Tourists that I previously posted about.

The Vigilant was made with various shutters and lenses … typical of many folders, and also formats (616 and 620). The one I have are Six- 20 and has a Kodak Anastigmat 105mm f/4.5 with a No. 1 Kodamatic shutter.

The Vigilant Jr. was made with a fixed focus Kodet lens with a Dakon shutter or a 3 element (guesstamit) Bimat lens and Dakon shutter.





Tourist, clean up.

Well, there really is not much to do about nothing … both of these camera’s needed a cleanup as they appear to have been sitting in an open display for a while (based on how the dust settled).

Both are so similar in design that I will just describe the one … ah, and by the way, isopropyl alcohol does not seem to agree with this plastic, best to clean it with Naphtha.

So on with the Tourist II.

Removing the Kodet shutter … two screws … and that’s all I have to say about that.

Note that the other shutter types are not simply held on by these two screws, so you will have to find your own way of getting it removed.


Ok, so just pull off the shutter.

Note that the top metal plate is not held on anymore, so it may come off first. The two screws also hold on the front plate including the protection filter … yeah, that is not a lens.

You can just pull of the metal cover plate with a wiggle or two.

Front protection lens and the cone baffle can be remove by bending the three metal tabs.


Well now we can see the lens underneath. I noticed that the ring seal is not glued to anything.

Here it is in all it’s glory … the single  Kodet meniscus!



Back to the Kodon shutter …

There is not much to this spring loaded mechanism … since I didn’t have to do anything here I ain’t going to show you a disassembly.

Ok, so lets take a look at the top. The viewfinder port was really cloudy, so I had to get in there to clean them.


Ok, so logically both knobs are held on by a screw.

You will find springs and pins underneath. I kinda mixed up the image process so you have to just take both images and mentally work it out.

On the left there is the large film advance winding knob. To remove the coupled pin you have to turn it clockwise while pulling it out from the bottom.

On the right you have film spool centering pin. It should just fall out.



To finally get the top plastic cover off you will need to unscrew the right side securing nut that the spool centering pin sits in. The winder side has a single screw.


Then pull off the top cover. You might need to push in the metal strap tabs.


DSC00739Ok, so you flipped the top plastic cover over and see … a metal plate that seems to be secured on line end by some riveted circular thing … well, we don’t actually have to remove the metal plate … just move it.

Revolve the metal plate, centered around that large riveted thing on the left, to reveal the viewfinder ports. This will let you get at the viewfinder glass that will just slide our and can now be cleaned.

As I mentioned at the beginning, the original Tourist is so similar that I will just point out the differences:

  • larger felt seal between shutter and lens
  • screw securing the metal plate to top plastic
  • larger exit pupil for viewfinder


… just a couple of Tourists

Everybody dreams of a Universal Camera … well that’s what Kodak said in an advertisement for their new camera, the Kodak Tourist. The Tourist line (ok, a line to two models) were the last of the folders that they produced. The first model was in production between 1948 – 51.


In my opinion, they were big and ugly … but many Kodak cameras were no designed to be awesomely attractive … after all, they are primarily a film company. Both were designed with an aluminum body, a plastic top cover, and covered on the outside with Kodadur leather (yeah, they had their own special brand of synthetic leatherette).

Both were medium format folders that used 620 film and produced eight 6×9 exposures. FYI, 620 is the same stock size as 120 except that it wound on  a thinner spool. Different variations different shutter and lens combinations … Kodon+Kodet, Diomatic+Anaston, Synchro-Rapid+Anastar. The ones I happen to have came with the Kodon shutter that had a three settings, I, B, and T.  the I was about 1/60s. The aperture ranged from f/12.5 to 32. The Kodet lens is a fixed focus single element 86mm focal length.

The models that I have received came with a fixed focus single element Kodet 86mm f/12.5 lens in Flash Kodon shutter app. 1/50 sec plus bulb and time


The “universal” thing about the camera was the adapter kit … “4 picture sizes with 1 camera”. It allowed the camera to shoot in different formats and even use different film … Bantam 828 film, half 620, square 620, full 620.

As you can notice in the image (that one to the left), the film back can be removed because it is double hinged.

The second model, which happens to be called the Tourist II had some slight modifications … made between 1951 – 58, and was the last of the Kodak folders.

Looking back at the Retina …

There was one thing that continued to cause issues with my Kodak Retina II type 142 … the focus action was sticking around the infinity mark. Squirting some lighter fluid in between the parts was not enough to free it up. This means I need to get access to the focus helix.

DSC00667Open the back up, and you can see the rear cell.

Do not unscrew the outer metal ring … just use a rubber tool to unscrew the cell so you have access to the retaining ring.

Note that you may just unscrew the rear element in that group first … just take it out and remove the rest of it.


Once the rear lens cell is out of the way you can now see the retaining ring that secures the shutter.

Use your spanning tool to unscrew this.
DSC00665 The shutter should now fall out.

Looking at the back of the shutter … you can clean the blades.






Now that looks better.

The focus helix is now partially exposed.

I decided not to take this completely apart … it was enough to clean off the old grease and apply new stuff.

Now it is a smooth ride.

Retina … I can see clearly now.

Tools … eh, I skip this since you will probably figure it out.

OK, so I got this Retina from one of those Antique Markets. It was on an open table with a lot of other junk stuff. In a small pile of really beat up folders, this was the only one with intact bellows so I grabbed it.

Note that is camera has mechanisms to keep users from goofing up. The film winder will turn freely if there is no film traveling across the sprocket. Once the sprocket is turned it will lock the winder and also allow the shutter button to be depressed.

The viewfinder and rangefinder windows needed a cleaning, and the lens had fog/haze … so first thing is to get into the top.


Note: if you just want to adjust the rangefinder alignment, skip to the next section.

The top looks cleaner than when I got it … I cleaned out the groves with a dental pick and scrubbed with a toothbrush.

Two long screws hold the top plate on. To access them you wll need to remove those knobs. First lift rewind knob, and remove two side screws – when pulling off the knob be aware of the J shaped metal spring that is located on one side. Note its positioning.

Unscrew the winding knob unscrews clockwise. The shutter button unscrews normally, anti-clock wise.

Two screws on ether end take the top plate off.


The four smaller screws take off the name plate to expose the rangefinder mechanism.


To adjust the rangefinder alignment I made a guess by adjusting some things … this might not be the correct way but it did work. First make sure the rewind knob is pushed down so you can see through the rangefinder window.

Horizontal -> Circular thing on the right – loosen the large screw on the left, then turn the screw on the bottom. This moves the arm that turns the prism.

Vertical -> Triangular arm on the left –  there are small two tapered screws. Loosen one, then tighten the other, as this will pivot the arm to adjust the angle of the prism.

Ok, so lets get into the cleaning. Pull off the top plate and clean the viewfinder and rangefinder ports.


Beam spitter is on left and the prism is in the middle. Here is a view from the front.


The beam splitter plate has silver material on the inside … DO NOT TOUCH !!! I mean it … I did it and ended up with a clear piece of glass, though it was very clean piece of glass.

Ok, you can clean the front facing side … but do not touch the inside.

If you happen to be a dumb as I am, or the previous owner of the camera was as dumb as I am, or just that the mirroring material has faded over time, there is a solution. The solution is Nobby … ?!

eBay merchant Nobbysparrow sells beam splitter plates for camera, and he also will custom cut to size. I ordered one from him and replaced the clear glass. His plate is thinner than the original one so you will have to bend the spring clips that secure the plate … and note that the silvered side is on the inside.

You can clean the prism in the middle.


As I noticed haze/fog on the front elements I needed to clean the front and back. The front cell just unscrews.

You can now access the shutter blades if you need to clean them up.

In my case there was also haze/fog between the elements, so I needed to open the front cell up further.


The front cell is made up of two sections. Grasp the outter chrome ring and unscrew

DSC00554_DxO This is where rubber gripping devices come in really  handly.

I did not need to work on the shutter so I did not open up the Compur any further.

I did squirt a bit of lighter fluid to soften up the grease in the focus helix … I did not feel like taking it all apart to put in new grease.

One thing you may notice on older cameras is that the leather covering has the mumps.


I had these on the Rolleicord that I recently got.

I’ve heard that they are called Zeiss Bumps … though I really don’t think Carl invented it.

What actually occured is that over time lumps of copper corrosion material have built up enough to push the leather.


To “fix” this you just need a sharp knife and make a cut through the bump, then clean out the blue corrosion material.