All posts by Peggy

Kodak Brownie Six-20 Model D

This Brownie is one of the few I have decided to keep from the box of 60+ I gained recently. My decision was based on the fact I could take the front off and clean the lens, mirrors, and viewfinders. That made it very easy to use. Also, this version has a close-up lens built-in. Although, close up, means between 3-7 feet so not really close. The only thing I didn’t like was the lack of a tripod socket. With the long exposures of Brownies, there is always chance of camera shake. I find this especially true in regards to the button press versions. On the plus, there was a flash attachments and I do have the flash, but alas no bulbs.

The model D was introduced in 1946 and was in production for just over 10 years. Mine is a later version from after 1953, identified by the stripes on the front. It takes 620 film, has an f11 aperture, and a speed of 1/40th.

I put in a roll of respooled Fomapan 100 and went on a short walk to use the 8 shots of 6×9.

I loved using this camera, it was simple and just worked. There is surprisingly very little camera shake and it is sharper than any toy camera I have tried. I like the look of the resulting photos. If you are looking for a brownie, then this one is a reliable choice. As mentioned it is easy to clean and very well built. Of course being about 75 years old makes that all depend on previous owners….oh what it might have seen.

Pentax P30 (P3)

This is the first camera in the P30 series or P3 series elsewhere. I have already tried the P30T and loved it. So when a friend cheekily asked for my ME Super in exchange for a few other cameras including this one, I decided to say yes. Though I did think long and hard about it. In the end I realised, yet again, I have far too many cameras and I didn’t NEED the ME so why not let a friend, who really wanted it, have it??

Hello Pentax P30 from 1985…I kept the lens though.

The difference from the ‘T’ is simple, no aperture priority mode. Apparently there is a program mode, as stated in the manual, but mine doesn’t show the ‘P’ with the lens I have attached.

The ISO/ASA is set by the DX coding on the canister and there is no way to override it. Though you could use the method I have written about before or adjust with the manual exposure you choose.

I tried my P30 with an expired film, that I had already half used in another camera, and took it for a walk in the woods on a very dull, windy day. Due to the movement of the branches and leaves I chose a speed of 1/125th which meant I was sometimes choosing f1.7 at some points. That meant a very shallow depth of field.

This camera is fine, in the passive aggressive sense of the word. I don’t like it as much as the P30t or the ME Super, but it does the job. If I was going to use a K-fit camera I would still choose Spiderman. I found it a porridge kind of camera, not bad, not good, sort of ok if that is all you can choose. You can tell I was enthused by the camera by the length of the post.

Kodak Brownie Six-20 Model C

Welcome to Brownie blog post. I have a feeling there might be a few of these in the future. This one is for the gorgeously striped Model C produced from 1953. There is an earlier version which has a black front with no stripes.

This one was in good condition, but I was able to clean the mirrors, viewfinders, and lens to make it even better. As you can see it takes 620 film of which there are none. Luckily it is the same size as 120 with a slightly thinner spool. Each one of the cameras I obtained had an empty spool inside so I used the technique I have previously written about to transfer the film. I chose a Fomapan 100 as I thought a faster film would be over exposed at the camera’s f11 aperture and 1/50th speed. There is also a bulb mode and, as with most Brownies, you can take multiple exposures.

I took my example to the Yorkshire Marathon where I was a volunteer spotter for the relay race. That meant I had to “spot” the relay runners in the pack and walkie-talkie the number to the changeover point to make sure their team member was at the front of the queue. It was fun, but tricky when a whole heap of runners went passed. While waiting in the changing area for the bus to take me to the allocated location I tried the bulb mode. I set the camera on a table and pressed the shutter for a count of 45 elephants. It was a guess.

The movement of the volunteers and runners is a little muted, but the exposure was a good guess.

Once at the location, I had time to test the camera while waiting for the next runner. The relay racers set off after the individual runners so I had a little free time, just a little. Anyway, there were only 7 shots left, so it didn’t take long to finish the film.

I did buy some eggs 🙂

For a 65 year old camera, I think it did very well. I enjoyed using it, the clean viewfinder added to the experience. Some Brownies have very dark and dirty viewfinders, but they are easy to clean. These cameras are so cheap that I would recommend waiting to get one that has either been cleaned or is possible to clean, like this one. I sometimes find Brownies hard to align and compose, so a dirty viewfinder would be very frustrating.

The crap that is Pronea!

I have tried, I have persevered. But this camera is truly crap. This is now the third one I have tried and no more. I don’t care how lovely your body has been designed, your insides are the devil. I see comparisons galore to all the greatest love stories, but no more. From now my head will rule my heart.

The third to die before the end of the roll.

This camera is so bad can’t even be bothered to write post on my computer and am using my phone app. Is there a camera you keep trying and it keeps disappointing you?

Kodak High Speed Infrared Film

A while ago I was given some infrared film. It had expired, but had been kept in a freezer or a fridge since it was produced.

I read up on using it and checkout out some sample photos. Mainly I saw landscapes so decided that was my focus too. This website gives even more details on what to expect and how to use it. It also mentions that the felt on the opening of the cassette is not infrared tight so the warnings on the box and tub are important to follow.

DO NOT OPEN THE TUB OUT OF A DARK BAG. That means you have to load the camera inside the bag. The article also mentions a filter. So before I did anything I ordered an infrared filter on eBay. I got a cheap one as I only had one roll of film. You can use the film without a filter but what is the point of that, it would end up looking like a regular black and white film. I won’t go into lots of technical details, you can do the research too or read the blogs I have already linked to.

I decided to use my Minolta XG2 for the test for these reasons:
1. I knew it worked
2. The lens had an IR diamond on it.
3. The light meter was through the lens.

I set the camera to 100asa and attached the filter. Even though I could not see through the filter, the camera often chose a surprisingly shorter exposure than I expected. It was not short enough that I felt I could do without a tripod, so I took a mini tripod on a walk around Dewsbury Country Park. I only took a few shots as I decided to use some of the roll as a development test as I didn’t really know if it would work or if I could develop it.

Here are a few shots from that first test. I developed it in Ilfosol 3 for 10 minutes at 20 degrees.

To focus I removed the filter and reattached it carefully after. You have to turn the lens a little to the right as IR needs a different focus point than regular light. The other blogs will explain that more clearly. Anyway, the results were interesting. So I took the rest of the roll to another park, where the camera jammed due to a long exposure issue. I only managed a few more shots there before returning home to deal with the camera.

I fixed the camera with the method mentioned in this post. At this point I almost gave up on the film as it was a little awkward to use. The whole “keep in the dark” issue meant I could not just take out the film to look at the camera closely. But with only having one roll I persevered, but was looking forward to finishing it.

Once sorted I decided to finish the roll with a different filter to see what would happen. I chose a regular red one. Here are some results.

As you can see, especially with the path photo, you lose some of the IR effects with a red filter. The image is slightly sharper, but where is the fun in that.

I don’t think I will try it again though it was interesting. Afterwards, the giver of this roll gave me 11 more rolls which I will be selling on eBay if you are interested. Or you can send me a message if you would like to buy a roll.

Taking a chance on a broken camera

After my last post about the Chinon CE-4 I wondered if I could fix another with the same process. So I search eBay for listings that stated “for parts” and “mirror locked”. I found a few and sent offer requests, I didn’t want to pay a lot on a gamble. One was accepted, this one…

The listing said the shutter was jammed. I offered £5 and it was accepted. So a few days later it arrived and looked a state. When I put some batteries in it, nothing lit up. This was more than just a shutter jam as the light meter should still have worked and the battery check light should have activated. The mirror was also in the correct place.

I took the bottom off and checked it with my working version. They both looked the same. So then I pondered a bit, always my mind goes back to Occam’s Razor, the simplest answer is usually the best. So maybe the batteries? I checked those and they were fine. The battery holder? I swapped the ones I had from camera to camera and yatta…the original working camera no longer worked, and the new broken camera now did.

So it was the battery holder. But then, why didn’t it? It is just a holder, no electronics. Something must be stopping the connection, how to fix that? First I tried some tinfoil in it. That didn’t work, but I noticed a slight green tint on the outside. That must be residue from a leaking battery. There was no damage in the compartment, just a slight, very slight green tint on the holder. Nothing to lose really, so I tried soaking the cap end in vinegar for a few minutes. Once I thoroughly dried it, I reinserted it into the broken camera, yatta, it worked. To be honest I think that is very weird, but don’t knock a gift horse in the mouth. I now have a working CE-4 that only cost a fiver. A camera that looks like crap, but I can fix that. Lo and behold another Spiderman camera.

I don’t need two Spidies so will be selling this one to recoup my high outlay 🙂

Chinon CE-4

I love this camera. Though it isn’t my best camera or my most sophisticated…it has Spiderman all over it!!! What’s not to love?

I had seen a few of these cameras online with the skin either off or falling off. That made them cheap, so I bought one. I was looking for a replacement body for some Pentax lenses anyway. As soon as it arrived I set to recovering it and just happened to be reading a comic. I wonder??? Could my comic be a new cover? Yes it could. I cut it to the right size and glued it on. Gosh, I hoped the camera worked as I was already enamoured with it.

It was produced around 1980 and this excellent blog post compares it to the Pentax ME Super, which is great as I bought mine as a replacement for that camera. A friend had cheekily asked if I would swap that camera and I was reluctant as the prices are rising for the ME. But at the end of the day I don’t use it and I have lots of others. I still wanted a Pentax K mount, because I am me 🙂 So I decided to get this one. That blog post has all the information you might need for this camera.

I had recently been gifted an Ilford FP4 plus film so loaded that up and then took my camera everywhere with me. I just couldn’t stop looking at it and playing with it. That being said, it took me longer than usual to get through the film…and there were ghosts, trials, and tribulations.

Firstly, I took it to Harrogate and took a few shots before feeling like I was getting a massive migraine. So I headed home very quickly…I was right.

Then I took it to the exhibition in Blackpool, but it was raining so I didn’t take many shots there either. I just took a few inside, making good use of the 1.7 aperture.

Then I thought, well, I bought it to replace the ME Super so why not try out the Pentax lens. So for the next trip to Manchester I swapped the lenses. I was going there to hunt for ghosts as it was almost halloween. I managed to capture one before the mirror locked up and the camera became unresponsive 😦

Just before it died, it acted a little weird, the wind on acted oddly. As you can see the first two frames overlapped. I tried some new batteries, as they were LR44 they were easy to replace. But it had no effect, the camera was dead. I carried on the monster hunt using a Brownie and a very old film which didn’t turn out well either. It was supposed to be an experimental combination not my only camera.

Anyway, when I got home I decided to see if I could reset the mirror somehow. There was very little on the net, no fix that I could find. So I took off the bottom plate and had a look. I found a piece that moved and then tried to turn the electronic winder mechanism manually. Basically I was looking for anything that would move. Low and behold my experimenting worked and the mirror came down.

Here is a diagram of what I did.

A coin fits in the winder mechanism quite well making it easier to turn.

With the batteries back in and the lens back on I tried it a few times before putting the plate back on. All seemed well, but what had happened and would it happen again. I suspected the Pentax lens and with some more experimenting I found the issue. Though it is the same mount, the “A” setting totally confused the camera and caused the error.

I could repeat the error and fix it. In the end I decided to play safe and put the Chinon lens back on for the remainder of the film, which I took on a walk around my house. I also added a red filter just for fun.

And here is where another ghost appeared…I took another camera out on the walk to finish some infrared film I have, a Minolta XG2. That camera also suffered a mirror lock up. When I got home I took off the bottom plate and had a look. It seemed to work in exactly the same way as the Chinon.

Yatta, I have learned something new. So I then went on eBay and bought another Chinon CE-4 with a stuck winder and crappy skin for very, very small fee as it is listed as broken. I will see if this works on that one too, though now after posting this I might not be able to get them quite so cheaply.

Kodak Brownie Bullet (Holiday, Chiquita)

As you may know I recently purchased a whole heap of box cameras. I am slowly going through them, cleaning and sorting them. I picked out two to try first, I wanted to chose something slightly different to the two brownies I have tried before.

This little camera looked markedly different from all the others in the box so it was first on my list to try. I think I should have used a banana for scale.

First produced in 1957 it was not on sale in the general market and was obtained by collecting coupons from various promotional deals. I found this out through this amazing Brownie resource. This website is the fountain of all Brownie related knowledge, though it does not give the aperture or speed on the camera page, both are set as there is no scope to change anything. Looking further into the website I found this explanation of all technical details. Using that information I could estimate f11 and 1/50th which was confirmed on this blog. That blog also tells you how to clean this camera. Luckily for me, my example was one of the few in the box that was in great condition. Oh and you can take multiple exposures as the shutter is not connected to the wind on mechanism.

Due to the number of cameras I received and the price of film, I wanted to try a few of the cameras in the cheapest way possible. Sometimes that makes the act of trying them more interesting for me. For this one it meant making a 127 film from a 35mm film with an adapted 120 backing paper. I have tried 35mm in a 127 camera before, but I have not adapted or created a new backing paper before. For the last try, I had already used a new 127 film and reused that roll. I left that backing paper in Japan, but luckily there were many 127 spools and a used 127 roll in one of the boxes. As it was my only one I wanted to preserve it for as long as possible. That was the main reason for trying to make a new backing paper from one of the many, cheaper 120 rolls papers in my possession.

As you can see a 127 spool is smaller than 120 spool. That meant trimming the paper.

So here is how to do that. As you can see in the photo below, an easy way to line things up is by using paper clips. The 120 roll is much longer than 127 so you can easily make the new end sections. Then cut, it doesn’t have to be precise. Test it by rolling it onto the spool without the film. This way you will see if it fits without damaging the film. On mine I found some sections slightly too big by millimetres but that didn’t affect the final results, a roll on a spool.

Next, before adding the film, I wrote the numbers on the new paper.

There were two sets of numbers so I wrote both as I wasn’t sure which I needed. I crossed out the other numbers just to be sure I wouldn’t get confused.

And then, tape the end of the 35mm film to the new paper so you can line it up as straight as possible, put two small pieces of sellotape on the back of your hand. You will need these pieces of tape once you put everything in the dark bag. One for the roll, one for the paper.

Make sure it is at the end of the paper not the beginning as you will be rolling it straight onto the spool.

Before putting everything in a dark bag attach the end of the new 127 paper to the 127 spool and start to roll it as tight as possible until you get passed the end of the exposed film. Now with everything inside the dark bag, keep rolling the paper and releasing the 35mm film, keeping it as tight as possible without touching the film. Once you are close, but not at the end of the paper, cut and tape the end of the film to the paper with the tape you put on your hand. The other piece of tape is to keep the roll paper nice and tight when you removed it from the dark bag.

And finally load it in the camera of your choice, for me the Bullet, at your leisure.

I used my camera on a rainy walk to the bus station. There are just 8 shots so it didn’t take long. I developed it in Ilfosol 3 when I got home.

This time I managed to scan the sprockets by using a 120 mask and some tape. The long sides did curl up a little, but I sacrificed a little sharpness for the sake of saving my scanner plate from sticky residue.

I love the results and really liked the camera. It is the only one from the box that would actually fit into my pocket. Making the 127 roll was easy and cheaper than buying 127 film. I just had to remember to align the image in the center of the viewfinder as the results would not be square. There are other 127 cameras in the box so I will use this system again, unless I get some 127 film for Xmas 🙂