Kodak Monitor Six-16 with 4.5 Anastigmat Special

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by jeff_applegate, May 28, 2013.

  1. For a while I have been thinking about buying a Kodak Monitor Six-16 camera with the 127mm f/4.5 Anastigmat Special lens, with the goal of converting it to 120 panoramic. Among all the 116/616 cameras I can think of, it seems like it would be the best choice for such a conversion, at least in terms of potential image quality (let's not talk about bellows problems just yet!). What I have discovered however, is that I can't seem to find one with a coated lens. In fact, I think ever single one I have seen has a lens with a pre-war date code! Does anyone know if Kodak actually made any Six-16 Monitors with a coated Anastigmat Special lens? I would like to know if that specific combination is totally non-existent, or just really rare.
  2. Some cameras converted to do panoramas.
  3. Visit this site http://www.bnphoto.org/ and spend some time poking around in it. The answer to your question is probably somewhere in it.
  4. I wouldn't sweat the costings issue Jeff. Assuming that you want it for B&W, those lenses are supposed to have excellent IQ. If you put a good hood on it, use a yellow or orange filter, and shoot something like Tri-X, you'll surely be happy w/ the results. Please report back as to how the project is proceeding. It should be a knockout in terms of image making.
    Gene, those sample photos are amazing. I purposely limited myself to a 6x6 enlarger because once you get into 6x9 (or whatever that thing is), it's just going to lead to something bigger, until you're toting around some huge 8x10 camera or something.
    I see now that it's 6x12. Really great shots. Maybe I could add a little room onto the place for a bigger enlarger, just in case.
  5. Best chance would be post-war ones with Flash Supermatic shutter.
    Not that a Tessar lens really needs coating.
    It won't be very panoramic, only slightly. It might be more interesting to make a panoramic out of an earlier 116 camera where you can move the front standard closer to the film and use a wider angle lens, but you would need one with enough coverage. Or you could use a +3 diopter close-up lens (which makes the lens wider-angle), and pull back the front standard to focus at infinity.
    This year's Ilford ULF run includes HP5+ in 70mm unperforated, if you want to make fresh rolls of 616 film using old spools and backing paper.
  6. Jeff,
    I have both a 620 and a 616 Monitor. The 616 lens is dated 1941 and as far as I can see its not coated. It does however give a good account of itself. I have attached a couple of shots from it that may help you make up your mind. The photos are just some happy snaps and are of no particular merit.
    The film is Portra 160 bulk 70mm respooled onto 616 spools. Scanned with an Epson 8800F using Vuescan, no sharpening.
  7. Second one
  8. Have you tried fitting a 120 roll into both the supply and take up cavities? Kodak started the 6XX series of film spools to reduce the size of roll film cameras and modifications may be in order for the spools to fit and the exposure numbers to be visible and meaningful.
  9. On this page http://kodak.3106.net/ there is a .pdf download that will help you with spooling and masking. Well worth a read.
    Greg Nixon
  10. Thanks for the replies so far everyone. The bnphoto.org site that was mentioned is one I am familiar with - and what a great resource it is! Unfortunately, I did not find the answer to my coating question there. The references I have seen indicate Monitor production dates between 1939 and 1948, but I haven't seen it parsed out any finer than that, to distinguish between the two format versions (620 and 616) or indicate which lenses were available, etc. One comment which may be relavent however, is the statement that "KA/KAS lenses made in 1944/45/46 may have hard coatings even though they are not identified as such." In any event, I am not overly concerned about the relatively small differences there may be between the coated and uncoated lenses - the Monitor Six-16 with anastigmat special lens (coated or not) is still my default starting point for the project. I am just curious as to whether a coated version is even an option!
    I should probably also clarify that I realize there are a lot of different ways to go panoramic (or "wider than 6x9" if you prefer). If anything, my ideal format is actually 6x17; and one day I hope to buy one or build my own. But that is a project (and a topic) for another day! To me, the whole concept of converting an old 116/616 camera to 120 semi-panoramic is in a somewhat different league. Mostly it is the DIY aspect of this "poor man's panoramic" that is appealing, especially considering the relatively low cost and relative ease with which most of these cameras can be converted. But with that frame of mind, the potential for higher image quality via the anastigmat special lens makes it an even sweet deal, and the prospect of the coated lens would just be icing on the cake!
  11. Good luck with the bellows! Without a source of a NOS replacement bellows, or the ability to make your own, it's hard to recommend the Kodak Vigilants and Monitors since their bellows age so horribly. A much older No. 1A Folding Pocket Kodak or No. 1A Autographic Pocket Kodak is much more likely to have a good (leather) bellows.
    While there are still sources for a NOS bellows that will work on the Monitor Six-20, that's not the case for the Monitor Six-16.
    A shame, since the Supermatic shutters are tanks, and the lenses (Anastigmat and Anastigmat Special) are so good, and the Galilean finders are nice.
  12. Greg, it's unfortunate that your uploads aren't working. That one small image that you managed to get posted shows a lot of potential.
    If the bellows reality is as John stated, that's a problem. I like swapping lenses on folders, so maybe you could hunt down some other model/type camera w/ a known better bellows and put your lens on it?
    You might want to give these a look too.
  13. Here's a link to a few 616 photos from a Monitor. These are sharpened just a tad, but they dont really need to be.
    The photos are just happy snaps but you can see how good the lens is. Mine doesn't show the L marking so I guess its uncoated.
    Greg Nixon
  14. Bellows, you say? "La la la, I can't hear you!" [puts fingers in ears]. Haha, well I did say let's NOT talk about that! :)
    But yes, unfortunately I have become keenly aware of the bellows issues with Monitors, having discovered the situation only AFTER buying my Monitor 620 (naturally). For what it is worth, my tentative plan is to learn to build my own. That is a project which has been on the back burner for some time, but I have researched bellows making techniques and have even purchased some of the materials. One idea which occured to me is that if I got good at making them, I might even try to market them! But I am definitely putting the cart before the horse with that idea - we'll just have to see how it goes...
    Anyway, thanks for the sample images and other links. The 6x12 (ish) format is interesting, and I am looking forward to seeing what I can do with it.
    Getting back to the original question... has anyone ever seen a coated version of the anastigmat special lens on the Monitor Six-16? Or can anyone confirm whether they ever actually were or were not produced?

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