Over the years, the Eastman Kodak Co. has produced some wonderful cameras. On the balance, they have also designed hundreds of somewhat crappy cameras, intended as cheap and reliable, if quite ordinary picture-takers. So, for every few dozen Brownies, Starflashes, Instamatics, and Disk Cameras, there is one meaningful camera. You can count on fingers, the number of remarkable US-made Kodak cameras that were produced.
I recently acquired one of them from the estate of my departed friend, George O'Neal. This camera, the Kodak Medalist II, is a metal-bodied medium format rangefinder camera that makes 6x9cm negatives on 620 film.
The Medalist II was produced by Kodak from 1946 to 1953, and was intended as a "pro" camera. There are a additional backs that can be used with the camera, allowing one to do close-ups using the backs and sheet film. The shutter ranges from B to 1/400 sec., plenty fast enough for most uses. The Medalist II also has a flash-synch using the Kodak post and not a PC connector (which is unfortunate). The lens turns out with a large helical that when fully retracted, locks the shutter release. The film automatically stops and the shutter cocked when the film is advanced via the winder (but you need to use the read window to start at 1). The rangefinder window is somewhat puny, but it does work, and there is also a dial readout on the top deck of the camera to show the distance and depth of field. The 100mm f 3.5 Ektar lens is highly-regarded and the out-of focus areas are smooth.
I took the camera out yesterday to give it a try in the conservatory at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. As it was my first time with this camera, I didn't expect every image to stand out, and for the most part, I am very happy with the camera. I look forward to giving it more of a workout soon.
A later image made on Kodak Gold 200 (620) from the UK: