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Manufacturer : Kershaw Soho (Sales) Ltd
Produced : 1950
Classification : Medium Format
Body Type : Folding Bed
Bellows Deployment : Self Erecting
Construction : Metal
Film Type : 120
Film Width : 62mm
Image Size : 2¼ x 3¼ in
No. of Images : 8
Lens Type : Doublet
Focal Length : 90mm
Focus Type : Variable
Focal Range : 6ft – inf.
Aperture Type : Multi-hole
Aperture : f/11, f/16
Shutter Type : Leaf
Shutter Speeds : B, I*(1/50 sec)
Size Open (w x h x d) : 85 x 165 x 125 mm
Size Closed (w x h x d) : 85 x 165 x 35 mm
Weight : 488g

This camera takes 120 films which is easily available. It supports Timed mode and Instant with a speed of 1/50 sec. It has an aperture setting of f/11 and f/16. With slow shutter speeds of only 1/50 sec, brace the camera against your body or use the table stand and press the shutter smoothly to avoid camera shake. Cover the red window except for winding on in subdued light.



Kershaw Eight-20 Penguin

The Kershaw Eight-20 Penguin is one of the simpler cameras by Kershaw-Soho for the 120-roll film. It is a vertical folding camera. When the bellows is unfolded, its front plate is fixed – no moves possible. But despite the camera’s simplicity, it offers a distance selector ranging from 6 feet to infinity. The distance lever moves the lens/shutter unit forward or backwards and moves a pointer on the opposite side of the lens tube. A marker is printed on the lower front side and the direction: “Set pointer here before closing camera”. The pointer is “here” when the distance lever is moved to infinity and, thus, when the lens/shutter unit is closest to the front plate and is at its most compact. The plastic ring around the lens front plate is for the shutter, allowing the choice between the single shutter speed termed ‘instant’ (I, 1/50 sec) and bulb (B).[1] The aperture choice is between f11 and f16 – and in some examples, the aperture is fixed with no choice at all, and the right-hand lever is associated with a T (timer) setting rather than aperture control. When provided, the aperture lever with the red point moves a second, smaller aperture into or out of the optics. There are two variants in terms of the shutter release on the left-hand side, one with a lever like that on the right and one with a plunger (this is found on the variable aperture version); the shutter has a long travel on which the shutter is cocked before its release. The small brilliant viewfinder can be rotated by about 90 degrees for vertical and horizontal exposures. It is present on all but the latest variants, when it was replaced with two popup metal frames (a ‘sports finder’) as found on the King Penguin variant. Further features are the easily removable camera back, the bakelite film winding knob, a stilt foldable from the camera door, and of course, a red exposure counting window in the camera back.

The robust metal body with a metal door may explain the preservation of many of these cameras, which succeeded the Soho Myna, said to have been introduced around 1929. The Kershaw-Soho Eight-20 Penguin, especially in the variant without an aperture control, was a slightly updated version of the late 1920s/1930s Soho Myna and retained much of its styling and features, including the viewfinder. While the Eight-20 Penguin is often said to have been introduced in 1951 or 1950,[3] the camera in at least some of its variants seems to have been released rather earlier than this. John Vaughan’s 2013 The Kershaw Camera Story suggests that the Penguin was first offered for sale in 1947. However, The Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail carried an advert from Barry’s of Stockton-on-Tees on 13 December 1946 that referred to the ‘Kershaw “Penguin”‘ 120 film camera is available to buy new for £2/19/11 in that store, which may well indicate that it was initially released towards the end of 1946. From 1947 onwards, there were an increasing number of references to this camera in newspapers until a peak in 1950, with a subsequent decline across the early 1950s; however, the Kershaw Penguin was still occasionally being advertised as available new as late as 1955, for example in an advert from Manchester & Salford Co-op in the Manchester Evening News (24 March 1955), when it was priced £5/19/0.

The Eight-20 Penguin is said to be the most successful camera produced by the Kershaw company in terms of total sales volumes; Vaughan believes that there were more than 20 variants produced over the lifetime of this camera for both the home and export markets — for example, cameras with Portuguese text were sold to Brazil, whilst other Penguins with Spanish, Dutch and Swedish labelling and boxes are also recorded. In addition to the Penguin itself, a version of the variant with the plunger shutter release was also sold as the Ilford Prentice from around 1950. However, Kershaw-Soho still manufactured the camera and a simpler variant — that lacked both the zone focussing control and the brilliant viewfinder but which was covered in leatherette, had a tripod bush, and was provided with two popup metal frames on the side for framing shots — was sold as the Kershaw Eight-20 King Penguin from 1951 to 1954.[9]


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