KING PENGUIN – RISE UP AND TAKE YOUR CAMERA CROWN
Here in my small den that I call an office, there is a shelf and on that shelf, sits a small museum of old Photographic equipment. A jazzy gold Box Brownie, a massive and ancient lens, scraps salvaged from broken digital cameras and such like. The items on the shelf were content but always felt there was something missing.
Then, one day m’colleague walked in clutching the King Penguin to his breast.
JONATHAN SMITH – FINE PAINTER
Let us introduce m’colleague, Jonathan Smith. He is a fine fine painter from the land of the Scottish who paints beautiful seascapes. Have a look at his work here www.jonathansmithart.co.uk and marvel.
KING PENGUIN – FINE CAMERA
Now let us introduce King Penguin. King Penguin, or to give him his full title, Eight-20 King Penguin, is a camera from the early 1950’s. Manufactured by Kershaw-Soho it is a beauty of a folding camera taking 120 roll film and shooting images in 6×9. To say it is a simple affair would be an understatement, but there in lies its beauty. It features two speed settings – 1 second and Bulb. Two aperture settings – f11 or f16 and it boasts a non focus-able fixed lens. Imagine a pop out Lomo with less features – lovely stuff.
THE KINGS EYE VIEW
Jonathan kindly felt that I might appreciate the camera in my museum and perhaps felt the King would be more happy there too – amongst friends. After all, the paintbrush is to the camera what the laser cutter is to the chisel (that is a terrible analogy – but you get my drift). So the King took pride of place and has looked out over the work den for about a year and I have looked back appreciatively at his simple, yet hansom features. But my story does not end there – oh no. Yesterday, there were rumblings from the museum and the King decided he wanted to come down from on high and survey his kingdom. Being a humble servant to camera kind, I obliged and took the him around with me for the day.
So without further delay, we want to share with you the Kings view.
USING THE KING PENGUIN
So is this camera more than just a funny name? I think the results are not bad for such a basic bit of kit, focus is hard to get sharp due to the not-so-good lens and the complete lack of ability to adjust it! So there is a lot of guess work on the focal length. The other problem is exposure and with such limited options it is quite hard to get an image exposed to any form of satisfaction. But, all that aside – the King is quite a fine beast. The pop out mechanism never fails to please and there is an immense satisfaction with capturing images on something so simple – the random element is something that interests me anyway, so the King’s appeal is that you never quite know what you will get. the Cone picture is rather fetching I think and I like the double exposure too.
Whilst I doubt it will feature regularly in my photographic arsenal – the King Penguin has its place and no doubt we will enjoy a stolen afternoon together some other time.
Thank you to John Nuttall for letting me use his image of the Penguin, please check out his Flikr gallery here.