I wrote this just as Boris announced the UK lockdown. The photos were taken just beforehand and the last one in my draft that was started before the current situation.
Anyway, It is very tricky to find out much about this camera due to the fact there are so many different Brownie versions out there with the same name. I eventually found this website with some information and photos of a brownie like mine.
I put mine in one of the cooler cases from the collection I have. Not the original one for the camera, but it has a name and address inside so I like it. I tried to imagine the person that might have carried the bag around, or the original camera. I am sure it was a brownie, just not this one.
The linked website says the camera is from 1938, but I am not sure as I haven’t found another source to corroborate it. It works like most other Brownies with one spring shutter speed of about 1/50th and a bulb setting pull out on the side. There is an aperture pull out on the top. That is it.
I have to say loading this 620 camera is an absolute pain in the butt and the reason I tried it at all. It was on my table to sell at the last antique fair I went to. Someone asked about it and I picked it up to explain how it worked and could not get the damn thing open. Due to that I decided not to sell it at that point and instead try to figure it out.
I sat there waiting for customers and not getting any and turning this camera over and over…how did it open?? It felt like a mystery box. Finally I found it, yatta!!!
It turns out there is a pull up button on the top, on the strap, at the front. It looks like the button at the other end of the strap so it is easy to miss. You also have to pull out the film winder to remove the inside or outside depending on how you think about things. My version was incredibly stiff and took a fair bit of yanking to remove it. I even resorted to using a screwdriver as a lever which bent the edge of the inside part. That didn’t help the situation.
Once you have respooled a 120 film onto a 620 spool…and I recommend that as you don’t want to risk the insides getting even more stuck/stucker…it will take eight 6×8 shots. I happened to have one film already respooled as I was showing it to people asking about the cameras. In it went.
I took three shots at the fair then left the camera for a while, waiting for an opportunity to go somewhere. Then the virus situation worsened. You could tell a lockdown was coming. So just before it happened I took the camera on a walk around my local area. Making sure I stay away from other people of course. This area is getting a few visits from me when I need some well being walks.
Then home to develop and scan the film, which I did today. Looking at the photos is making me feel a bit sad, when will the lockdown end.
So here are the 8 test shots.
The first shot was placed on my stall and set to bulb. The blurs are people moving around. The last two shots are my favourite. I like the quality of photos, but not so much that I will ever use this camera again, it is far too annoying to load and unload. If you can find one that is not so stiff then great, otherwise get a the later version which you can read about on this great website.