Introduced in 1957, the Starflex was all Brownie. As the 'star-' prefix implies, it uses 127 roll film. The “-flex” suffix denotes a TLR. The Starflex features a pair of simple fixed-focus lenses. The taking lens has two apertures selected by a lever; these are marked Color and B&W, corresponding to EV 13 and 14.
The viewing screen produces a large, bright image.
I've loaded mine with my last roll of Efke R100 and taken it on a family camping trip. Stay tuned.
Manufactured between 1947 and 1960, the Duaflex series was a pseudo-TLR from Kodak. Multiple lenses and shutters were offered.
Mine has the simpler, fixed-focus Kodet lens. The shutter has one speed plus bulb, and there is only one aperture. Although the camera uses a red window to monitor film position, it is equipped with a mechanism to prevent double exposures.
My Duaflex is a good example of what happens when friends learn you collect old cameras. My partner at work found it in a shop for me. I’ve loaded it with a roll of FP4 for the week.
The Ektralite 10 is a nice snapshot camera. Kodak really hit the mark with this one. It’s not very special, but for quick and easy photos of the family, it just works. The 110 format produces a smaller, grainier image than I prefer, but this camera did a decent job with the conditions it was given. In the past I have achieved images good enough for my family’s annual photo calendar with this little gem.
There is a bit of technical confusion I must mention. I have seen a copy of a manual page stating the shutter is fixed at 1/170, yet others quote a pair of shutter speeds depending on which film was used. I don’t know if the specs changed during its long production run.
The Ektralite 10’s biggest strength is also its major weakness in my opinion: that big flash. It is always available to really light things up:
Yet it is also big and clunky and ruins the slim lines of the camera. Other 110 cameras fit in a pocket, but this one is only pocketable if you are wearing a flasher’s raincoat.
Overall, I’m not a huge fan of the 110 format, but I think this one does a decent job with it. If you find one for $5 or less, pick it up.
I find myself returning to the Tourist on a regular basis. Despite its fixed focus and limited settings, it is a joy to shoot. The shutter release is located on the side of the folding bed. When depressed, the mechanism can be seen through the viewfinder, removing any doubt as to whether the shutter has tripped. It’s just cool in a camera-geek-y kind of way..
The Tourist can be a bit fiddly to load, however. It requires 620 spools in both the feed and takeup positions; the tolerances are too tight to fudge a modified 120 spool in there. I’ve learned from past experience that with faster films it is vital to keep the cover over the red window closed when not winding to prevent light leaks. That did not seem to be an issue with 100ASA Ektar.
In my opnion, the results are worth the effort of dealing with the quirks. It creates beautiful 6x9cm negatives which are 6 1/4 times as large as a 35mm frame. With the large exposure latitude of modern film, it’s virtually a point and shoot camera.
Introduced in 1951, the Tourist was the last of Kodak's folding models. It uses medium format 620 film to produce 8 big 6×9 cm exposures. Tourists were available with a number of different lens/shutter combinations; mine is a lower end model with a fixed-focus Kodet lens in a single speed shutter. Shutter modes include (I)nstant, (B)ulb, and (T)ime with apertures from f=12.5 to 32.
The Tourist line has a neat engineering feature. The back is held in place with a pair of latch/hinge units which enable it to be released from either side or removed completely.
I've loaded mine with a roll of respooled Ektar and carried it for most of the week.
Produced between 1940 and 1948, the Vigilant Junior Six-20 is a folding camera for 620 roll film. It takes 8 6x9cm exposures per roll. The lens is a fixed focus Kodet with apertures from f12.5 to f32. The simple shutter has three ‘speeds’: Time, Bulb, and Instant.
Framing is via a folding sport finder or a small waist level finder. The waist level unit pivots to allow portrait or landscape use. Like the Kodak Tourist, this camera requires dual 620 spools. The dimensions are too tight to make a modified 120 spool work. I loaded it with a respooled roll of Portra 160 and took it out on a sunny afternoon.
In my eBay travels I stumbled upon the Kodak Signet 50 recently. After a half day of shooting it, I was disappointed. It’s oddly put together, with the film advance lever on the bottom and an odd feel. The ASA setting is jammed, and I had begun to suspect that the selenium meter may be dead. I gave up on it, rewinding a partial roll of Ektar and transferring it to my Uniomat.
I set the Signet aside on the ‘to sell’ pile and forgot it, until I got the roll developed.
I am stunned. I knew Ektar was a great film, and I’m sure that has a lot to do with the results. I’m very happy with all of the Signet results. I think it has earned a second (and possibly third) chance.