Tag Archives: brownie

Kodak ‘Brownie’ Flash B

This is my favourite Brownie so far. It was produced from 1958-1960 so had a very small production run compared to the others. Just look at it…

This brownie has so many things going for it that distinguish it from the other Brownies I have tried.

  • It is very easy to clean the viewfinders and mirrors, just pop off the front.
  • The said viewfinders are nice and big, and once cleaned, very bright.
  • It has a choice of three speeds which are stated on the camera, no guessing. The choices are 1/40th 1/80th and B. With a set f11 aperture.
  • The 1/80th speed is quicker than most Brownies which are usually around 1/50th.
  • There is a built in close-up lens for subjects 5-10ft away.
  • There is a built in filter for brighter days or faster films.
  • Both of those filters are labeled on the pull out tabs.
  • There is a guide to settings on the camera. Though it is for Kodak film from the time. It is useful to know Tri-X is rated 200 ISO, Veri-Pan is 125 ISO and Pan X 32 ISO.
  • The skin is good quality and can be glued back in place unlike the paper-ish covered versions.
  • You can take multiple exposures.
  • There is a flash slot if you happen to have a flash and bulbs.
  • It is Brown, it really is a ‘Brownie’ hence the ’emphatic’ use of quotation marks.

It uses 620 film so I respooled a roll of Fomapan. Which I have to say is turning all my chemicals bright blue, I wonder if the dye affects the potency of the developer etc. Anyway, I took the camera to my local town when I went to find a pair of wellies. There has been a lot of rain lately, lots of places in Yorkshire are flooded. So I thought wellies might be useful. Unfortunately, there was only one shop selling them and no wide ones, I have fat calves…due to a motorbike accident honest 😦
All that is beside the point. Here is my test roll.

Dark, contrasty and moody, just as I like them.

I used the close up filter on the lettered flag stones. I am just over five foot tall, so I put the camera on my head and used the closeup filter.

I loved using this camera. I will use it again.

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.

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.

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 🙂

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.

More Box Brownie Photos

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.

Kodak Brownie No.2

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 120 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.

Kodak Brownie 127 Starlet

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.