Brownie Box cameras GALORE!!!

Yesterday I was browsing Facebook Market place and noticed and advert for what looked like 6 box brownies. They were £30, unfortunately I didn’t take a screenshot, but the cameras in the photo were the basic box brownie type. I thought, well that is a bit much for 6 cheapo brownies. But out of interest I decided to read the description instead of just skimming passed it. Holy Moly, this wasn’t for 6 cameras, that photo was a taster. This listing was for over 60 cameras!

I couldn’t resist that so I sent a message and arranged to pick them up the next day, and not a minute too soon. Once I got to the location I found the cameras in a number of boxes in a garage. Later, looking through them I found a few were a bit damp, the bags were on the cusp of starting to get moldy.

I brought them into my house and started going through them. In all there totaled 67 cameras, nearly all different. Of those 3 didn’t seem to be working, but might be fixable and 5 were beyond help and were not worth fixing. Lots of them took 620 film which I have never tried and is not really available, but luckily many had an empty spool inside. So for the spools alone, it was worth the drive.

Once I had made a list and sorted them, I picked out 4 to give a quick clean and to retrieve the spools. One of those had a 120 spool jammed inside which proved to me it wouldn’t really work. Now I have a 620 spool in my hand I can see the diameter is a little smaller than 120 so they turn smoothly. I have previously opened a brownie and cleaned it so I had a tiny bit of experience on that front.

I had no experience respooling 120 film onto 620 spools so I watched this video.

I didn’t roll it onto a 620 then roll it onto another 620. I just unrolled it loose then respooled it onto the 620, it worked fine.

Then I loaded it into one of the cameras I had cleaned.

Not the sexiest choice, but it was now clean and it worked smoothly. I will try it out sometime in the next couple of weeks.

And here is a list of all the cameras in the lot.

Kodak Brownies (I just don’t want to write this loads of times)
Six-20 Model C
No.2 – 116
Cresta
Six-20 Popular
Six-20 Junior
Portrait No.2
Popular
Flash B
Flash 20
C (four examples)
127 (three examples)
Cresta 3 (Three examples)
Six-20 Target
Brownies with no other information (Six examples, one with a built in filter, one blue)
Six-20 Model D (4 examples)
Flash II (Two examples each with a flash attachment, one 4 version, one 5 version)
Duaflex
Modern No.2
44A
Reflex 20
Bullet
Starmite
Flashmite

Kodak Hawkeyes
Cartridge Model B (two examples)
No.2 Model C
Mod B B
Portrait Star

Extra – Kodak Flash holder Model II in box

Coronet
Popular twelve (two examples)
Twelve 20
Every
D-20
Conway
Conway Popular
Cadet

Other Makes
Balda Frontbox
Ensign E-29 (two examples, one blue – takes 129 film which is unavailable)
Ensign Ful-Vue
Ernemann 6×9 Box Brownie Type Camera **this could be the star piece, rarer**

Folding cameras – not working, might be fixable
Kershaw Penguin Eight 20
Kodak Folding Brownie Six 20
Balda Baldanette

I definitely will not be film testing all of these. I will choose a few examples to compare and might think about an exhibition in the future. Otherwise they are going to be stuck in boxes and bags for a long time.

And if you got all the way to the end of this list and post…One camera, an unsalvageable Kodak had a 127 film roll inside. It looked in fairly good condition so I tried to develop it. In the end….there was no film, it was just the backing paper. I could use it to respool some 35mm onto it as there are a number of those kind of cameras in the lot.

Found Magazine – Camera Buyer

Every now and then I have an urge to sort things out. Sort out stuff that is clogging up space, make room for new stuff, get rid of things I will probably never use again. This is especially true to books. I rarely keep novels, I keep most photography books. I get invested in books and take my time reading them, savouring all the emotions they evoke. But that means I rarely read something twice. There just isn’t time for that. I can think of two books I have read twice, Hot Zone and Bid Time Return. Nothing to brag about.

My father is different. He can read the same book, complete the same jigsaw many times. Weirdo. Anyway, that means we have piles of books all over the house. Yesterday was the day I decided to sort mine out and suggested he did the same with my help.

While rummaging through some Wilber Smith books, I found this…

How did this end up there? It wasn’t something I would have bought at that age, my dad couldn’t remember it, but there it was. I was tempted to put it on eBay, I was clearing clutter after all. Then I remembered who I was and had a word with myself.

It is an interesting little magazine. Some of the advice it gives holds true today.

Plus the advertisements are really interesting, oh the prices of film, £1.20 including postage for a roll.

And of course it is full of reviews, with technical details and original prices.

Looking at all the cameras and reviews has given me a bit of gas so for now I will keep it nicely on my shelf with my other photography books and magazines.

Then at some point I will scan it and make it available for others, but that would destroy the spine and your resolve to avoid gas.

Back to the Mamiya C2

I haven’t completed any reviews for a while, busy life and such. So this is a photo post.

I decided to try out my Mamiyaflex C2 again. It has been stuck in a cupboard for a while, which is a real shame. It started when I took it to Blackpool and the exhibition I am feature in. I had taken a few cameras to show and , it garnered a fair bit of attention. Someone even offered to buy it, but as is the usual case, that made me love it more and decide not to part with it and make better use of it. So the weather being of the typical crap kind and time short I decided to pick a subject that was handy and compliant. Hello Daddy. Stay still, watch TV, don’t look directly at me…I am Medusa 🙂

Once developed, the film had the usual few white hairs which I removed post processing. BUT they had lots and lots of tiny black fibers, what is the deal with that?

White hairs is a blocking of light, an actual hair. A black thing is light getting through, it is within the film base?? yes??

Hmm the only thing i did differently with this film processing was during the agitation stage. I used the little stick instead of inverting the tank. So is that it? All help and thoughts appreciated.

All that being said, I still love the photo of my dad. He can be quite patient at times.

Prinz Mastermatic III

I have a feeling this camera was part of a job lot otherwise I have no idea where I got it. It is certainly not something I would have chosen. The skin of the camera dropped off the moment I picked it up. I decided to recover it even before I tested it with film. Looking it over everything seemed to work so I though why not and why not use a completely new-to-me type of skin.

Animals of Farthing Wood. I got a book from a charity shop and used the old skin as a template. The paper was a little stiff on the curves but once the varnish made the paper a little wetter it was easier to manipulate.

This camera from 1967 was cheap and cheerful at the time and still is. The selenium cell means you don’t even have to buy batteries. Even though it is partly metal, I thought it felt quite cheap. Before the new skin, I thought it looked it too but now it looks awesome. The photos of the cameras are enhanced by the lovely Nidderdale countryside where I took it to try it out. It seemed appropriate.

The meter’s needle indicator on this example was a bit hit and miss, I have a feeling there might be a loose wire inside, but I don’t feel like taking it apart to see. The meter gives a reading in EV mode. The camera can be set to operate in regular or EV mode. It is much easier to change the settings than on some other EV cameras I have tried. There is no rangefinder so you have to guess the distance or use zone focusing.

I have already promised the camera to someone who liked the look of it, so I wanted to try it very quickly. That meant I tried a new developing company. They offered a download link of the scans. Literally the next day from posting the films I received an email with the link, amazingly quick. I paid for the cheapest version of scans and that is what I got. Though it looks like the films I sent were developed very well, I am unimpressed with the scans. I am not going to name names, but I will stick to my regular C41 developer as they are cheaper when choosing a decent set of scans. Unless I am in a hurry again, but then I will try the more expensive scans to check the difference.

Ok that said, I put in a half used roll of XP2 that I was given. Here are the test shots.

Well, the light meter was accurate when it worked. But the focus and lens is “funky”, that is the only word I can think of. I kind of like it, but it is funky with a definite drop off. Focusing at close range was tricky and I would recommend sticking with infinity-ish.

I tried processing some of these shots with the Snapseed App on my phone. I love the results.

Today I sold three cameras including this one, I sort of regret it but I always do and I can’t use all the cameras I have so in the end it is a good thing…keep saying it out loud, selling your cameras is a good thing.

Pentax Zoom 70 R

For a compact camera, this Pentax is massive! Plus it takes two CR123 batteries…TWO!

For that reason alone I initially did not like this camera from 1991.

There was a found film inside and I blasted through it, just trying to lighten my load. I took it to Huddersfield quickly finished it off with the industrial landscape.

Nothing special and that film was poor too. My feeling for this camera just took a bigger plummet. I started writing this blog almost immediately and while doing so I found the manual.

In the manual I saw these two pages…

Look at all those settings! Bulb, bulb with synchro flash, Multi Exposure, Dual Frame Self Timer, backlight compensation…no wonder this camera needs two batteries. I think I better give this camera another chance.

Of course I did play with all the buttons on the camera and did see the symbols, but it is easy to forget them when you have already formed an opinion about something. Changing your mind after a bad first impression is very hard to do, hence all the advice against it during interviews etc.

I loaded a fresher Kodak 200 and decided to focus on the colour red meaning I would carry the camera with me, despite the size, and have something of red in each photo.

That was until I got bored and the rain came down and I just wanted to get rid of the damn thing. The first impression stuck. Here are some shots from the next roll.

As you can see I went to the UCI finishing line in Harrogate, in fact I was a volunteer up two of the main climbs during terrible weather. Today, I am coughing from a cold as a result of a very rainy weekend in a tent. Worth it? Maybe, but I would prefer to be working. The whole week wasn’t the best advertisement for the Yorkshire area in terms of weather, which was a shame as it really is gorgeous. For the UCI I volunteered for the location of Lofthouse, little did I know there were two places with that name in Yorkshire. The one I volunteered for was a couple of hours from my house. So this roll has both Lofthouses on it, I bet that doesn’t happen often.

I also took the camera to Blackpool, hence the deckchairs and that is it, experiment over. I do not like this camera 😦

Travelling with a film camera

I have started to put ideas for posts in my draft box, this was one of them. But then I read this super post by Kosmofoto and realised it said everything and more that I was going to write, so why write it when that post is so much better than anything I could put together.

The main issue I have when traveling is choosing which camera/cameras to take. I want to take something I trust, maybe something that doesn’t have to rely on batteries, something different, and something waterproof…and I want to fit them in a comfy bag.

Recently I went to Cambridge and decided to try out the Kowa H, on my way around I knocked the back door latch and it came undone and fogged the film. I think from now when I try a new camera in a location I might not visit again I will add some tape to the back door to avoid this. That means remembering to keep some tape in my bag along with all the other bits and pieces.

On that trip I also went to my first airshow. One of the stalls there was selling film, at the time I was surprised but pleased. But I didn’t buy it, I had film in my bag. I now feel regret about that as I felt I should have supported the stall holder in his choice. It might mean he stocks it again in the future. I hope he sold it in the end.

And that’s it for this post. I have a cold. I am waiting for some films to be returned for the latest camera reviews. I am going back to bed.

Ricoh FF-9

There is something about this camera from 1988 that I absolutely love. I think it is the way the flash pops up from the side when it is needed. Or it might be the lovely selection of modes that are not easily found on other point and shoots, including multi exposure. It is a nice size for a bag, but not a pocket. AND it has a slot for a cable release, that is quite rare indeed. Quite smart looking all round.

I took mine on a trip to Blackpool when the weather was quite miserable. This camera coped beautifully as you can see by my results below.

What a cracking little camera 🙂 Cheap, cheerful..does what it says on the tin with a little extra class.

Oh and it looks like WordPress are updating their gallery settings, so things might be a bit iffy until they sort that out. Sorry about that, but if it stabilises I think it has lots more options for the creators.

Upcoming Events

This week has been quite busy photographically for me. Firstly I went to Blackpool to visit the exhibition which has moved there from London. While there I was invited to give a talk about film cameras on the 4th October. I haven’t planned yet what I will talk about as I was just asked. But I will explain the process I used to produce the photos in the exhibition. I will also take along some cameras to show how I have reskinned some in various designs.

Here are some examples.

The other announcement is that I will be at the vintage fair in Wakefield on the 12th October. I will have a few cameras to sell, plus other odds and ends. Last time it was there I spent most of the time chatting and convincing people that film is still alive.

Please come along and say hello, there will be a few bargain point and shoots to buy. Anything I sell me allow me to buy more film and enjoy my hobby a little longer.