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Lomopedia: Kodak Signet 80

For this installment of Lomopedia, let's take a look at the last and most sophisticated model of Kodak's Signet rangefinder camera line, introduced in 1958.

The last model in Kodak’s interchangeable lens 35mm rangefinder line called Signet, the Kodak Signet 80 was also the most sophisticated. The camera body was constructed using mostly Bakelite plastic and die-cast metal. It has a coincident coupled rangefinder with a life-sized projected frame viewfinder, a synchronized behind-the-lens leaf shutter, and a unique scissors lock lens mount. The Signet 80 comes with three lenses: 35mm f/2.8, 50mm f/2.8, and 90mm f/4.0. Interestingly, the 50mm and 90mm lenses contain thorium oxide (added to the glass for enhanced optical properties) and exhibit low-level radioactivity.

The Signet line was the next attempt of Kodak after the Ektra line to introduce an American-made camera system to the market. Marketed for photography enthusiasts, the Signet 80 was noted for its capability to take photos of impressive quality. However, the Signet reportedly had low quality materials and construction as well as reliability issues, which was most likely why it wasn’t a commercial success. Production of the Signet 80 stopped four years later.

Photo via Photo.net

Technical Specifications:

FILM

  • Film Load: Kodak 135, 20 or 36-exposure magazines
  • Negative Size: 24mm x 36mm

LENSES

Removable as a complete unit to substitute wide-angle or telephoto lens.

  • 50mm, f/2.8 Kodak Ektanar, Lumenized. Standard Lens. LENS OPENINGS-Marked in EVS – 5 to 17, as well as f/numbers – 2.8 to 22. Uses Series 5 filters.
  • 35mm, f/2.8 Kodak Ektanar, Lumenized. Wide Angle Lens LENS OPENINGS-Marked in EVS – 5 to 17, as well as f/numbers – 2.8 to 22. Uses Series 5 filters.
  • 90mm, f/4.0 Kodak Ektanar, Lumenized. Telephoto Lens LENS OPENINGS-Marked in EVS – 6 to 17, as well as f/numbers – 4.0 to 22. Uses Series 5 filters.

SHUTTER

  • Special Shutter: Set as film is advanced
  • Speeds: 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250 and “B”
  • Release: Plunger-type-with cable release socket located on right top of camera.
  • Flash: Built-in synchronization for class F, M, and electronic flash. Flash receptacles on camera body accept Kodalite Super-M 40 Flasholder, Kodak Rotary Flasholder, Type 1, and Kodak Generator Flasholder, Type 1. Accessory shoe and PC socket for electronic and other flashes.

EXPOSURE METER

Uncoupled Selenium Cell, built-in. Reads reflected and incident light in EV numbers. Film speeds from 10 to 1600 ASA.

VIEWING AND FOCUSING

  • Viewfinder: Optical, projected viewframe-type, unit-power
  • Coupled Rangefinder: Superimposed image type, couples with all lenses- combined with viewfinder }
  • Focusing Range: Infinity to 2 1/2 feet

FILM OPERATION

Unique “injection” film-loading-with leader windoff. Rapid 2-stroke film advance right side of camera. Rewind crank on right bottom of camera.

CONSTRUCTION

  • Body: Die-cast metal and tough molded material (Bakelite) with abrasion-resisting Kododur covering
  • Tripod Socket: In base of camera

ACCESSORIES

  • Kodak Signet Multi-Frame Finder
  • Kodak Signet 80 Field Case
  • Kodak Signet Microscope Adapter
  • Various Kodak Kodalite flash holders

All information for this article were sourced from Camerapedia.

written by plasticpopsicle

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