James's Camera Collection: Kodak Tourist

Kodak Tourist USA Other Canon Cameras Folding cameras
Kodak Tourist
Film type: Roll film size 620
Approx. dates of manufacture: 1948 — 1951
Approx. original price: $25
Approx. street value: very low

Another one of Kodak's 620 wonders from the mid-century, making it another perfectly good filmless classic. Actually I don't quite understand what this camera is about. It looks like a Packard Clipper to me, which gives it some style but it's big and very heavy, which negates a lot of the reason people wanted folding cameras to begin with: they wanted something compact. So while this camera definitely has the edge on most others in how sturdy it looks, it's also not very well suited for being parked in a coat pocket or purse.

On the other hand, it does have one tell-tale feature that, in my opinion, marks a "better" roll-film camera: it has a sliding door that covers the red window for the film counter. Anyone old enough to remember using roll-film in cameras with red windows knows what happens if the window isn't covered: you get a big exposed circle in the corner of the image. The red window helped cut down the ambient light (but not enough).

Here are a couple of interesting things about it. The first is something I never realized until I saw it mentioned on Camerapedia:

The back door is double-hinged and latched so that you can open it from either side (which is nice if you're left-handed), or take it off entirely.

The other is that this camera came with several different lens types. Roughly in order from worst to best: an 86mm ƒ/12.5 Kodet (single element), a 100mm ƒ/8.8 Anaston (which is what I have), a 100mm ƒ/6.3 Anaston, a 105mm ƒ/6.3 Anaston (these are all 3-element lenses), a 105mm ƒ/4.5 Anaston, and the 101mm ƒ/4.5 Anastar (these last two are four-element lenses). There are also various leaf shutters, largely graded by whatever their top speed was.

Camera manual: Orphan Cameras.com

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