PHOTOGRAPHY   © mike connealy
Kodak Duo Six-20
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My Kodak Duo Six-20, Series II probably won't win any camera beauty contests. Aside from the scuffs in the leather covering, it is also missing the leather carrying handle and the top-deck accessory shoe. However, the bellows is supple and light-tight, and it didn't take much effort to clean up the Compur-Rapid shutter and the Kodak Anastigmat lens. Mine is a Series II from the late 1930s; they also came equipped with Tessar and Xenar lenses, though it is possible the lens formula is the same in all three cases.

    A product of Kodak's factory in Stuttgart, the Duo Six-20 bears a close resemblance to a couple other camera lines from the "Dr. Nagelwerk", the Vollenda and the Retinas. The camera has the same type of unit focus as the Retinas which moves the entire lens and shutter assembly in and out by means of a helical mount actuated by the serrated knob at the side of the shutter housing. On the top deck is a circular depth of focus scale which will also be familar to users of the Retina I.

I was interested in the Six-20 for a long time because of my liking for the 6x4.5 format, as well as my respect for all the German Kodaks. Even after acquiring the Duo Six-20, however, it took me a while to get around to shooting with it because I was averse to re-rolling 120 film onto 620 spools. There's not any choice with the Duo Six-20, so I just did it, and am glad for that because it is such a fine shooter.

Kodak Duo Six-20, Series II

The older model Six-20 shown to the left was acquired recently. It lacks the top-deck shutter release of the Series II, has a folding-key advance, and the focus lever is mounted for right-hand operation. The first Six-20 models had more primitive dial-set shutters, but this one has the same sturdy rim-set Compur-Rapid as the Series II model. The earlier models are smaller and less ergonomic than the later ones, but they make up for that with their elegant black and nickel silver Deco styling, similar to that of the Nagel factory's Vollenda 620 and 127 folders of the same era.

The lens is a very nice f3.5/70mm Kodak Anastigmat, similar to that on the Series II.

The manual for the Duo Six-20 is at the Butkus site.
Images from the Kodak Duo Six-20:


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