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Art Deco Cameras

Kershaw Soho Eight-20 King Penguin


Kershaw Soho Eight-20 King Penguin
Kershaw Soho Eight-20 King Penguin
Manufacturer: Kershaw Soho (Sales) Ltd
Produced: 1951
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Folding Bed
Bellows Deployment:Self Erecting
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):105 x 175 x 128 mm
Size Closed (w x h x d):85 x 175 x 40 mm
* Measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

Limited: Minor and insubstantial


This is a well made camera having a metal body covered with black leatherette. The body of the lens/shutter combination is plastic. Many parts are chromed including the struts, table stand, viewfinder bezel, winding knob and red window bezel. The camera takes eight 6cm x 9cm frames on 120 film. The 'eight-20' in the name refers to eight frames on 120 film.

A plunger on the lens plate controls the shutter. It has a fixed instant shutter speed but it can also be used in 'Bulb' mode. A tab on the lens body allows the choice of I or B. There is flash synchronisation via an ASA bayonet terminal.

A lever on the side of the lens selects one of two aperture values - f/11 or f/16. There is a flip up frame type viewfinder on the side of the camera where the film winder knob also resides. It has a fixed focus doublet lens that allows focussing between 6ft and infinity.

The handle is on the end of the camera and underneath there is a sliding knob which allows access to the film compartment. There is no cover on the red window. It has a table stand and a tripod mount for portraits.

How to Use

Find the manual for the Penguin camera, which is similar, here:- Kershaw Penguin Manual

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

If you don't want to bother with an exposure meter, follow the guide shown. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

Remember that the exposure guide in the camera user manual may not be helpful as it is based on the use of old film with a low ISO value.

The tables assume that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summer's day (May-August) in the UK.

If you are not sure about the light level, err on the side of overexposure - i.e. assume the smaller f number.

Using ISO 100/125 film - shutter speed 1/50s

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/16+2 Stop
SunnyDistinctf/16+1 Stop
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/16Good
OvercastBarely visiblef/11Good
Heavy OvercastNonef/11-1 Stop
Open Shade
Nonef/11-2 Stops