Film Friday: Kershaw Eight-20 “King Penguin”

Welcome back to Film Friday! This week I’ll be reviewing the Kershaw Eight-20 “King Penguin”. This is a guest camera which belongs to my tutor Kath Evans.

The “King Penguin” is a medium format, folding vest camera made by Kershaw-Soho in England in 1950. It shoots eight 6×9 size exposures on a roll of medium format film.

King Penguin

To test the camera I loaded a roll of FP4+ as 125 ISO is roughly the same sensitivity of film that was available at the time the camera was made. The camera has a very basic shutter with 2 speeds, I and B, and two aperture settings being f11 and f16. the camera has a fixed focus point. I think this cameras was designed mainly for landscapes.

The camera was quite bulky when the bellows were deployed. But when the lens is retracted, the camera is actually quite compact, and can be tucked into a jacket pocket or bag with relative ease when compared to professional medium format cameras which fire the same frame size.

The camera was interesting to use, and I would use it if a theme was appropriate. However the cameras lack of any control severely limited the number of situations that the camera would be useful in. All in all, an interesting camera. But not one I would use again without good reason.



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