I am pleased to announce that I have recently acquired a vintage camera. This specific kind of ancient treasure, I will readily admit, is something that definitely sort of fits me (I positively adore all things antiquated) but not something I genuinely pondered or wished for. I happened to stumble across the opportunity and the piece, as one often does, in an antique shop in Gatlinburg. I studied the camera, admired it to the shop owner, and wandered out of the store. Thirty minutes and lots more arts & crafts community shopping later, we went back. I sauntered back through the door, and in response to the shop owner’s reasonably surprised/confusing expression, I said, “I want it. I have to have that camera!” And it’s true. I would have been thinking about it and kicking myself over passing it up for weeks afterward.
And now, I’m gladder than ever. Doing the research to figure out a) what year it was made, b) whether I can get it to work, and c) where I can buy/develop film has been a pretty adventurous process. My findings so far have revealed that this exact model – the Kodak Vigilant 620 – was produced by Kodak from 1939 to 1949 and was originally sold for $38. There were a number of shutter attachments available; I’m pretty sure the one I now own came with the Flash Dakon shutter. “The Vigilant Six-20” produced a 2¼×3¼ inch image on 620 film, which is still available for purchase, even new.
Most of the information I gleaned from Camerapedia… a very helpful site, and I discovered that a site called B&H has both B&W and color film for sale by the roll. I think this film available from Amazon is compatible as well, but I need to do a little more research to confirm that. This guy’s website was also a pretty cool place to read about my new camera.
How exciting, though! I get to take it into a camera shop and discuss repairs and clean-up and possibilities! How fascinating that a mechanical object made SEVENTY years ago is still around and still working today.
Here’s a professional close-up of the lens:
And a professional shot of the whole camera:
And here are two photos I took of the one I bought: