New Kodak Medalist II Owner has questions

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by bsharpe411, May 4, 2009.

  1. I've been mostly a Canon FD poster here on p-net for the past few years, but just recently I was given a Medalist II camera. A guy I was doing some work for dug an old camera bag out of his closet and presented me with not one, but two Medalist II cameras. It also included the optional accessory back and film pack adapter, along with several 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 sheet film holders and a portrait lens adapter. Added to that were several filters and an old Honeywell fan-type flash gun.
    I've searched p-net for postings on the Medalist, but most are rather dated. I also downloaded the owner's manual. Each camera has a few minor (I hope) issues, but are basically sound. I'm hoping to get at least one of them up and running soon. The better of the two is suffering from flash sync problems. Setting the shutter to M, my electronic flash fires at random. I'm guessing a short circuit somewhere. The aperture adjustment is a bit stiff, but working. The shutter seems to work well, but again, I haven't run film through it yet. The name Ken Ruth came up in the searches several times as being "Mr. Medalist Repairman". Is this still a good source?
    I also read about the 620 vs 120 film issue, and I don't anticipate any problem respooling onto 620 reels, but is there a source for extra 620 reels? (I have 2) I also read about having the camera converted to 120 film use, but that will be for a future time. Any suggestions and/or ideas will be greatly appreciated. I'm looki ng forward to using a camera as old as I am !
  2. Ken has done over 300 Medalist to 120 conversions. He is very good.
    SK Grimes should be able to do it as well.
  3. Bob what a great gift. I've got a Medallist 1 - so no flash issues for me.
    One piece of advice would be, don't remove the top section of the camera which covers the viewfinder and rangefinder system (as I did to clean the glass). It's easy to get off via 4 screws BUT the linkage between the rangefinder disc and rangefinder mechanism (hard to explain unless you've seen it) becomes disconnected and it's not trivial to put it back in the correct position. An expensive mistake.
    Also when respooling and loading the film pay special attention to making sure it's tightly wound and bedded in properly, and sits comfortably between the film guides. I've had a couple of films chewed up because of them not being pulled through straight, actually I've yet to get a film through it unscathed.
    For 620 spools check out old box cameras and similar in thrift / charity shops etc, most Kodak roll film cameras of the era between say 1930 and 1960, and some other makes used this type of film.
    Good luck & hope this helps.
  4. Your flash setting on "M" will not work properly, it is for flash bulbs and it trips 17 miliseconds before the shutter opens. However, these are great cameras with superb lenses.
  5. The Medalist II here has strobe/X sync if one does NOT use the M setting.
  6. I find respooling onto 620 reels easiest when done with two 620 reels. Spool from the 120 tightly onto a 620 and then from that intermediate 620 onto another 620 reel. That way, in the second step, the film is in the correct position relative to the backing paper and you avoid buckling where the film is taped to the backing paper. The best source of 620 reels are old Kodak cameras. Just start a collection of brownies and when you decide to sell the reels, you'll probably make your money back ;-)
    Also, study the manual wrt. loading film. It took me a little while with a sacrificial roll of film before I really got it. Once you figure it out it is pretty easy. You load the film with the counter on 0, then when the 1 shows in the window in the back, you turn the counter knob to 1 and wind just a bit further to lock the mechanism.
  7. I'll admit my ignorance, I don't know the camera at all, only by sight. From the various comments made I'm confused.
    Kerry mentions he has X on his Medalist, and another poster says he has Medalist 1 so no issues with flash.
    So if your camera has X, then this is the proper setting for elec. flash. If only M. then I think it will often be interrmittent.

    I have always used the two two-spool method mentioned in a previous post, for proper registration and alignment. In fact the first stage was 120-120, then 120-620. Another thing I've done out of laziness, is after un-spooling completely, is to begin the rewind from the "right" end.

    Albeit an expensive solution, but B&H sells respooled 120 on 620 spools. I've recently bought 4 rolls to give me some spare 620 spools. I've been doing my own B&W and this is good way to build up a supply for rotation.
  8. The Medalist I did not have any provision for flash of any kind. That is what John meant by "no issues". I had both, and the Medalist II had F and M settings on the shutter. I left it at F and used the flash terminal on the body for my PC cord. I changed the ASA type connector to a standard PC as the ASA was not always making a good connection. I had no issues with using my Nikon SB-28 with this method.
  9. I sent my Medalist II to Ken Ruth last fall, which I received back in January. Ken is expensive, and a little crazy in a loveable sort of way. He does good work and is easy to deal with. He bored out the film chambers on both sides of the camera for 120 spools. This is a worthwhile conversion, as it is pretty hard to have to respool ALL your film. Especially when a roll has 8 pictures only.
    He also rebuilt the shutter and lens mechanism, much to my delight. The camera mechanically works like it was new. It still looks a bit old, but that may just be "character." All his work is described on his website.
    He did a flash mod so I can use M sync on electronic flash, I haven't tried that due to lack of an adapter for the flash connection, which I recently received from an ebay seller.
    The weirdest part was shooting 5000 pictures on digital at a curling championship, and then going out and taking 8 pictures on the Medalist. I must mention my dad, he used a Medalist in the 1950's and is the reason I bought the one I have.
    Regards, Carol
  10. Thank you all for your responses. I've been doing some experimetation on the Medalist with the working flash sync. The camera has an adapter for standard flash pc.
    I cock the shutter down just 1 or 2 clicks, then looking thru the back of the chamber, with the electronic flash right in front of the lens and the lens wide open, I get a solid bright blast of light when I fire the shutter. If I move the cocking lever down any further and repeat the sequence, just a faint bit of light comes thru.
    This is a quote from the Medalist manual (last page):
    Flash - adjustable for Class F and M lamps (used with Kodak Flasholder and Kodatron Speedlamp
    I've never heard of a "Kodatron Speedlamp",but just Googled it and found that it was, in fact, and early electronic flash from Kodak. It was based on a design by flash pioneer Harold Edgerton.
  11. It may be clear, but the M-synch lever on the Medalist is ONLY for use with bulbs. M-synch means it delays the firing of the shutter slightly so the bulb, which is ignited first, can reach full power. It was a good system for bulbs because it gave full synch at all shutter speeds with bulbs. Most better cameras of the era -- Rollei TLRs are good examples -- had M and X synch. Woe betide the news photographer who shoots bulbs with his camera accidentally set at X. One or two even soldered the lever in place to avoid such incidents.
    X synch fires the flash at the peak of the shutter being open. If you are using a strobe flash, just use it, don't push down on the M-lever at all, you should get flash synch at all shutter speeds, but I'd recommend using slower ones to allow for any quirks. But it's easy to test with the back off the camera. If you pushed down a click or two, you probably gave it so little delay that it didn't make any difference at a slower speed, but at a higher one you might.
    The Medalist is an amazing performer -- Ektar lens was one of the best made, ever. It is a bear of a camera to haul around, though, and with 8 shots to the roll, one tends to find oneself husbanding film more than I care to. It is built like a brick outhouse, too, because it was designed for combat use during WWII -- it was the "compact" alternative to the Speed Graphic.
  12. I have several Medalist I's and a couple had been modified at some point for flash capability. One has the flash connection in the boss for focus adjusting in the lower left corner. Another has a similar boss fitted to the top right corner. I've never used the flash but the lens is exceptionally good. I remounted one lens on a Mamiya 23 focus mount and mounted another in a later Supermatic shutter and installed it on a miniature Speed Graphic lens board. [​IMG]
  13. R.C., how do you cock the shutter when mounted on another camera body? Isn't the mechanism concealed on the Medalist? Lance
  14. Lance, I mounted the Medalist Ektar in a standard Supermatic shutter intended for a 127mm Ektar. This shutter has a "normal" release. But I could have used a Medalist shutter if I chose to because I am using a grip with cable release that screws into either shutter. I've also mounted this lens/shutter combination on a Mamiya 23 100mm lens focus mount. Its a great lens.

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