Tag Archives: camera

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?

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.

Selling at a Vintage Fair

Last weekend I was invited to sell some of my cameras at a local vintage fair. I say invited, but I had to rent the table of course. What I mean is, I had forgotten all about it and received and email reminding me and hoping that I would be there.

At first I declined. Last time, I only sold 3 cameras, but gained 4 or something like that. I just about covered the cost of the stall. My wares were a bit of a curiosity, different from the other vintage stalls, a topic of conversation…not real antiques or vintage apparently. But then I remembered HOW many people I spoke to and the man who gave me the Contax RTS III. I still have that, maybe he would come to the fair again and I could hand it back?

So I changed my mind and said yes. I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t have enough cameras to sell…ha ha ha what was I thinking and this was before I got a heap of brownies.

I packed the night before and while doing so made a list of prices. Last time I put the price on the camera which seemed to stop people looking altogether. This way the customers had to ask, and seeing as they were talking to me anyway it seemed the way to go.

Last time I was a newby and felt out of place. This time, I was in the club and the other store holders remembered me, it felt much friendlier. Some of the other stall holders asked me about cameras and what to charge. One offered to sell me his father’s old camera, but the price I could offer was way less than it was worth sentimentally to him.

I set my table up in price order, that way I knew where to keep my eyes it if got busy or I left the table for a drink or bathroom break. The person on the next stall happened to be wearing the same jumper as me, so we were immediately friends. We covered for each other.

I sold a point and shoot almost immediately, then later another and finally the Olympus O-Product. It was a camera I had searched for and would have been happy to keep, but ultimately I wasn’t using. The prices for that camera have gone up recently and will probably continue to rise. I got a fair price for it and it happened to be the buyers birthday, lucky for us both. That was another reason for not putting prices on things, prices are going up. The last time I was there the o-product would probably have been half the price I eventually got for it.

Money in my pocket time for cake! They are smaller than they look.

The day went very quickly for me. I was posting photos online and I got a couple of nibbles on one of the camera forums I am in for other cameras.

And of course I chatted with lots of people. I gave demonstrations and answered questions, especially to children. I am a teacher after all. Some of the children had never seen a film camera let alone held one. Seeing a child hold a hundred year old camera was charming to say the least.

One couple said they had a camera at home they would like to sell, they described it to be and I knew exactly what it was. They went home and brought it in to show me, a polaroid land camera. I really wanted to buy it, but at that time I had not sold the o-product so didn’t have any spare cash. I am too honest so I showed them what they were fetching online and gave them a very low price I would offer. I explained I would have to test it and film was expensive. I even suggested they didn’t sell it to me but post it online as they would get more.

And finally it happened a woman came to the store and told me she had a Leica in the cupboard that her father had brought back from Germany after the war. She doesn’t know what to do with it or anything about it, but it is definitely a Leica.

I KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT!!!!!!!! Please let me see it, please let me try it. I could at least let you know if it is working and what it might be worth????? PLEEEEEASE. But she laughed, took a card and walked away 😦

Bugger.

Anyway it was a nice day and I will do it again as I now have a world of Brownies. Roll on March.

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.