Lake Calhoun – Kodak Duo Six-20

Here are a couple shots from my 1930’s Kodak Duo Six-20. Not bad for a nearly 80-year-old camera (do you think your new digital camera will be taking pictures in 80 years?). This beautiful 620 folder was made in Stuttgart, Germany at the Nagel factory where the famed Retinas were made. My particular Duo Six-20 is one of the early ‘art deco’ models (distinguishable by it’s black enamel top and bottom panels). This model was made from 1934 to 1937, and sold in the US for $57.50 (somewhere around $1,000 in today’s dollars adjusted for inflation). An interesting historic tidbit is that Amelia Earhart had a 1936 Duo Six-20 and it was onboard her plane when she tragically died in 1937.

There’s a later rare rangefinder model, but this version is simply a zone-focus model with a simple flip-up viewfinder on top. Mine is not in perfect condition – most notably it’s nice octagonal film winding key has unfortunately been replaced by a cheaper aluminum knob – but it’s in pretty good shape, and has a nice high-quality feel to it.  I’ve made a few repairs that I’ll detail later when I get to writing a camera page for this one.

It’s a bit difficult to use — focus by guesswork can be challenging, and the viewfinder is so small that it’s difficult for me to see the framed area while wearing glasses.  The focus knob is tiny, and the shutter cocking lever and shutter button are even smaller (don’t try using this while wearing gloves).  But it’s a beautiful little camera, and I’m determined to use it more and perhaps get more comfortable with it.

One Comment on “Lake Calhoun – Kodak Duo Six-20”

  1. Jim says:

    It’s the story of so many old folders: great glass, terrible usability. It takes determination to put in the time with these to get the hang of them and get good photos from them!

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