One of a Kind, the Kodak Twin 20

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by rick_drawbridge, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. Since I recently played around with a couple of plastic Agfa cameras, the Clack and the Click, I thought I'd cross the Atlantic to see what I could achieve with a Kodak product of the same quality and era. Meet the Kodak Brownie Twin 20.
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  2. I don't see very many of these in my country, though they seem to have been popular in the UK and USA. Manufacturing began in Rochester in early 1959 and later in England, continuing until late 1964. There were several similar Kodak cameras, such as the Starmite, Starlet and Starflash , but the Twin 20 was notable for having two viewfinders, eye level and waist level. Both are brilliantly bright and clear, and are marked for the alternative framing of "Super Slides". Remember them...? The camera uses the annoying 620 film, the manual suggesting the use of Verichrome, Kodacolor or Ektachrome, all of which I used in the dim, distant past; there are three "apertures" for selecting B&W, colour or B&W exposed in exceptionally bright surroundings such as snow or sand. These are selected by the "Len Opening Lever" beneath the lens. The lens rotates to focus through three click-stopped positions indicted by a scale above the lens, the usual "Close-Ups, Groups" and "Scenes". This example is notable for having a tidy alloy bezel/rim around the lens; this detail featured on a variety of these small Kodak cameras and is almost always found dented and unsightly. Why Kodak manufactured these from such fragile metal is a mystery, the stuff being little thicker than tinfoil. The simple shutter has a single speed of about 1/30th, and the lens is a f/11 meniscus .

    The bottom of the camera unlocks and is withdrawn to enable film loading, all fairly straightforward.
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  3. A small lever disengages the film counter mechanism, so the film can be loaded and advanced to "1" in the red window on the rear, then the counter is engaged and henceforth winding the film wind knob will advance the film one frame and lock, cocking the shutter. After the exposure has been made the user is unable to make another exposure until the film is advanced and the shutter cocked, thus preventing double exposures. The system worked surprisingly well on the test film I ran, with even spacing throughout, though the user must remember to disengage the counter after the twelfth exposure so the film can be wound off to the take-up spool. The camera has flash contacts and screw mounts on the side for a suitable Kodak flash gun, the "Kodalite Midget Flasholder" being recommended.

    I quite enjoyed using the Kodak Brownie Twin 20. The shutter release is a cut above that on many similar cameras, and only one frame was spoiled by camera shake. When it comes to waist level finders and the TLR's generally, I prefer a release that slides downwards, as with the Mamiya TLRs, rather than presses inwards, such as used on the Rolleiflex, and the release on the Twin 20 slides gently down. I used the waist-level finder for all the pics I'll post; I took the camera out into the contrasty light of a late Autumn afternoon, and I feel it performed rather well. Film was Fuji Acros 120 re-rolled onto a 620 spool, developed in PMK Pyro, scanned on an Epson V700 using Silverfast software.
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  4. Or, would you believe, "Sanctuary"...!
     
  5. Your photos are always excellent, great light and composition with any cameras. No exception here. I feel ashamed i haven't done so well for months with my Rolleiflex... This Kodak is lucky to be in your hands. Thanks for sharing
     
  6. Nice results. It's easy to forget that that lens is a meniscus. Thanks for sharing.
     
  7. simply amazing.
    Thanks.
     
  8. Nice work again, Rick. The edges of the images don't seem to hold up quite as well as with the Agfa cameras. About what you would expect form a meniscus lens, I guess. Still, they're not too bad. Thanks for sharing.
     
  9. Great to see. These Kodaks from this period are quite pretty things, and yours looks mint. I have the similar but smaller Starmite which uses even more annoying 127 film....so it rarely gets used.
    Even with the somewhat compromised optics, your feeling for light and composition still come through nicely...great stuff!
     
  10. Wow! It's really nice to see what these cameras are capable of, and this one delivered nicer pictures than what I would have imagined possible. Very nice, Rick. Thanks for sharing.
     
  11. Rick,
    Another nice set of images.
    I hope you don't mind but the most intriguing shot was your photograph of the back of the camera. Just imagine the work Kodak put into the design of this camera. It reminded me of the work of several car designers. I wonder how this design work affected the average buyer to take their camera along for those special occasions? I know my family took our Kodak cameras along for trips to the beach or for picnics. We always seem to have our camera with us.
    Thank goodness for that.
     
  12. Wonderful results from a simple instrument!
    I wonder, do these take 120 in the supply position? Some Brownies did, although you needed a 620 spool in the take-up position.
     
  13. Thanks for the responses! No, I'm afraid the 120 spool won't fit, Julio. Marc, I agree with your sentiments regarding the design. I think it's a classic of sorts, with hints of art deco and shades of Raymond Loewy/Walter Dorwin Teague's work with other Kodak cameras. But then I think the Little Brownie 127 is a similar delight...
    Thanks Cory, while the Twin 20 employs the same curved film plane as the Agfas, I agree that that the Click, using the same 6x6 format, seems to have the better lens, but then the version of the Click I used had an achromatic doublet rather than the meniscus. Yes, the Starmite is a cute wee thing, Tony; I can recall one on my cousins having one when we were kids and, naturally, he always referred to it as "the Marmite"...
    And thank you Andy, Yann, Mike and JDM for your input.
     
  14. I read through it quickly so forgive me if I missed it, I assume that it was 127 film. For the sake of being redundant, nice results as usual.
     
  15. Someone may have already pointed this out, and I missed it... but: so the lens openings are chosen by that lever beneath the lens. But those numbers! Do we have EV numbers on this little beauty?
    Wonderful!
    Paul
     
  16. Very nice to see this Rick. I just scanned both the US and UK manuals and can check it for the depth of field scales when I get home.
    CHEERS...Mathew
     
  17. No, Donald, the film was 120 film re-rolled on to a 620 spool. Yes, Paul, they are indeed EV numbers, according to the manual. I'm not sure about the DOF scales, Matthew; along with the "close-up, groups, scenes" click stops around the lens a DOF indication is given in feet, "4-6, 6-12 and 12-infinity" respectively.
     
  18. Sorry to crash your thread but you made me think of something i got in a batch. It is the Kodak Brownie reflex which I have not heard much of. Uses 127 film. I would start a thread but I know very little about it.
     
  19. Sorry to crash your thread but you reminded of a camera that I got with a batch purchase. It is the Kodak Brownie Reflex and uses 127 film. I would have started my own thread but I know nothing about.
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