I tried again with the Kodak Brownie No2. I got a fat roll again. But I did get a few unfogged shots. I tried a double exposure and a shot inside on bulb this time.
I used Kosmo Foto 120 this time and I really like the look of the film. For the inside shot I set the camera on a table, closed the aperture to f32 and used a 34 second exposure on bulb. It definitely came out better than my pinhole camera.
Let’s go back in time 100 years, what kind of camera would a regular, everyday person be using? Probably this one, the Box Brownie. This camera was in use around 1901-1935. There were five different models and was the first camera EVER to use 120mm film. Mine seems to be model F which is from the very end of the production cycle.
I have found the balcony at the top of my stairs makes a perfect light box for taking photos of cameras. Well I like it anyway, and it was free 🙂
I became interested in trying this camera after reading this great review. When I saw the photos Jim obtained I wanted to try one and kept looking on eBay for a decent example. They really do vary in prices, of course I wanted a very cheap one and eventually I got this. As you can see it is pretty good condition. It was light tight and the lens was clean. The viewfinders were not and I did have trouble framing my images.
There are two pull out tabs on the top. One changes the speed between roughly 1/50th to Bulb. The other tab lets you choose between three apertures f/11, f/22, and f/32. By the way, that link is also a fantastic review. Anyway, I kept both of my tabs pushed down as it was sunny and I was outside. The other choices are for inside or cloudy, which I might experiment with another time with the aid of a tripod as there is mount on the bottom.
I tried to load mine while waiting for my car to go through its MOT. As such I was sat on an uncomfortable chair with no surface spaces. I found it a bit tricky to load as the tension of the roll kept becoming loose. I ended up fogging the first frame. Basically I had the opposite experience to Jim.
I then got bored of waiting for the retest and decided to take a bus to Leeds and get some films developed. I waited for those by watching the Wimbledon women’s final on the Millennium Square big screen. Well, that only took an hour to finish, so back to pick up the photos then back to pick up the car. It was a day of waiting and filling in time. Also during that time I managed to finish the roll of film inside the Brownie. As it takes 6×9 images, you get 8 shots to a roll. So finishing it really didn’t take long. I was worried about camera shake so for a couple of shots I placed the camera on a wall and a bench. But looking at the other images I didn’t need to be worried, they were fine. Next time I won’t bother with that.
So what do photos from a 90ish year old camera look like…
I have no idea why I didn’t turn the camera to landscape view, there is a viewfinder on both sides. Maybe because it was the cleaner of the two viewfinders. Again, I will try landscape next time.
So for next time the list goes 1. Try landscape view 2. Try a different aperture 3. Try a tripod and bulb mode
I would say try colour, but I want to keep costs down and I don’t have any C41 chemicals yet. I think it would be too unpredictable for slide film.
I don’t feel these are the best photos I have ever taken, but there is potential. I may add some more photos later when I have tried it again. BUT what a camera, what a piece of history. I would compare this camera to the Barnack for its contribution to the photographic industry. For the first time a regular person like you and me could take photos out and about without too much hassle.
UPDATE: After reading Jim’s comment about cleaning it. I decided to have a look and it is indeed easy. Basically the front is just held on with two pressure points and can be prised off with a well placed screwdriver. So while watching the Tour de France highlight I did take the front off and used a standard lens cleaner to wipe the lenses and mirrors. In the end I decided to tackle it as the camera has lasted 90 years, it would surely last me giving it a quick clean.
I also gave the front and back of the actual lens a quick, gentle clean by using the bulb mode. The cleaning wipe came out very dirty after touching the mirrors, but was surprisingly clean after the lens. There was clearly 90 years of dust in the viewfinder. I just hope I didn’t scratch the actual lens. I will load it again with film and take some more shots…when the rain stops.
This was one of the 3 cameras I bought in Hong Kong. This cute little thing was sitting on a shelf, in a small shop, at the very top of Sim City. I had given up buying a camera while on holiday, they all seemed overpriced. This one was just $20HK, even if it was overpriced, it was still a good price for a holiday treat. Inside the shop, a man was taking apart an Olympus Trip. I watched him a while then I went back to the shelf. I looked at the other cameras and decided to buy two. I will talk about the other one in another post.
This one is a 127mm camera. It is my first 127 camera, but not my first bakelite. I had read how to load 35mm film onto the cassette and really wanted to try that. When I asked to buy the camera the owner said he also had some film. Perfect, I could use that and use the roll to try it with 35mm. As soon as I got the camera home I asked my friend to go for a walk…oh and pose a bit please 🙂
The camera was produced around 1954 in England. It is a rebadged Brownie 127 made for export to America. There is absolutely nothing to this camera, point, shoot, fire. It has one shutter speed, 1/50th and one aperture, f14. Which means you need to use it on a nice, sunny day which I did with the first film. Here are the result of the film I got with the camera.
Basically, stand very still and do not shoot into the sun. If you follow those rules then the Rera Pan 100 film will be fine for the eight shots you get.
Next, I taped the lead from a cassette of Fujifilm 100 to the backing paper, put both in a dark bag and rolled the film onto the paper. I made sure the new roll was tight before taking out of the bag and putting it in the Starlet. This time shooting I also tried a multi-exposure because you can with this camera.
After you shoot the 8 measly shots you have to reload it into the original cassette if you want to get it developed in a lab. Here in Japan, I made sure I loaded it back into a Fuji cassette 🙂 As you can see they come out like panoramic. I tried to scan the sprockets, but whenever I did the image became washed out.
I actually liked using the camera. It looks cool and is very light to carry. Only having 8 shots means if you use it regularly you really have to think about what you are doing. The two similar shots on the first roll was due to the fact I couldn’t remember if I had taken the shot or not…that is something to be aware of too. On the whole, the shots are quite sharp.
Keep or sell: I left it in Japan with a friend as it wasn’t worth anything monetarily. It might look cool on a shelf, though.