Kodak XL 55
Kodak XL 55
Lens: Ektar 1,2 / 9 - 21 mm
Non-reflex viewfinder coupled to zoom
Focussing by coincident image rangefinder
Power Zoom only
Frame rates: 9, 18
Shutter degree: 230
Auto Exposure (Not TTL)
Made in USA
Manufacturer: Eastman Kodak
Instruction manual: Kodak XL55 manual at www.mondofoto.com
Original price in England (in the year of introduction): £121
Recently paid in eBay net auction: $15 eBay 7/1999, $21 eBay 8/1999
In 1971 Kodak introduced the XL (eXisting Light) concept to Super 8 by marketing two new cine cameras to use their new High Speed Ektachrome Super 8 colour film. The cameras were the non-zoom fixed focus XL33 and the zoom and focussing XL55. Both cameras were designed to be able to film in as low light conditions as possible. The lens aperture was F1.2 compared to the super 8 normal of F1.8 and the film intermittent mechanism film pulldown speed was increased to allow a shutter open angle of 230 degrees compared to a typical 160 degrees previously. No light was diverted away from the film for a reflex viewfinder or TTL metering. From this point most new Super 8 cameras were described as XL even though some did not justify the label. For example the Nizo compact XL models had an increased shutter angle but only a normal aperture. Conversely the Eumig Mini 5 had a 210 degree shutter but a normal aperture and was not called an XL camera. The Kodak XL cameras had a unique "binocular" shape allowing easy two handed shooting. This was not followed by other manufacturers.
These cameras are possibly the best Super 8 models made by Kodak but sadly often suffer the same gear failures as the earlier M series Instamatics when reactivated after a long period of storage.
These cameras where only designed to accept ASA 40 and ASA 160 super 8 film cartirdges.