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.
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.
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.
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.
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 😦
Anyway it was a nice day and I will do it again as I now have a world of Brownies. Roll on March.
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.
I have a feeling this camera was part of a job lot otherwise I have no idea where I got it. It is certainly not something I would have chosen. The skin of the camera dropped off the moment I picked it up. I decided to recover it even before I tested it with film. Looking it over everything seemed to work so I though why not and why not use a completely new-to-me type of skin.
Animals of Farthing Wood. I got a book from a charity shop and used the old skin as a template. The paper was a little stiff on the curves but once the varnish made the paper a little wetter it was easier to manipulate.
This camera from 1967 was cheap and cheerful at the time and still is. The selenium cell means you don’t even have to buy batteries. Even though it is partly metal, I thought it felt quite cheap. Before the new skin, I thought it looked it too but now it looks awesome. The photos of the cameras are enhanced by the lovely Nidderdale countryside where I took it to try it out. It seemed appropriate.
The meter’s needle indicator on this example was a bit hit and miss, I have a feeling there might be a loose wire inside, but I don’t feel like taking it apart to see. The meter gives a reading in EV mode. The camera can be set to operate in regular or EV mode. It is much easier to change the settings than on some other EV cameras I have tried. There is no rangefinder so you have to guess the distance or use zone focusing.
I have already promised the camera to someone who liked the look of it, so I wanted to try it very quickly. That meant I tried a new developing company. They offered a download link of the scans. Literally the next day from posting the films I received an email with the link, amazingly quick. I paid for the cheapest version of scans and that is what I got. Though it looks like the films I sent were developed very well, I am unimpressed with the scans. I am not going to name names, but I will stick to my regular C41 developer as they are cheaper when choosing a decent set of scans. Unless I am in a hurry again, but then I will try the more expensive scans to check the difference.
Ok that said, I put in a half used roll of XP2 that I was given. Here are the test shots.
Well, the light meter was accurate when it worked. But the focus and lens is “funky”, that is the only word I can think of. I kind of like it, but it is funky with a definite drop off. Focusing at close range was tricky and I would recommend sticking with infinity-ish.
I tried processing some of these shots with the Snapseed App on my phone. I love the results.
Today I sold three cameras including this one, I sort of regret it but I always do and I can’t use all the cameras I have so in the end it is a good thing…keep saying it out loud, selling your cameras is a good thing.
This week has been quite busy photographically for me. Firstly I went to Blackpool to visit the exhibition which has moved there from London. While there I was invited to give a talk about film cameras on the 4th October. I haven’t planned yet what I will talk about as I was just asked. But I will explain the process I used to produce the photos in the exhibition. I will also take along some cameras to show how I have reskinned some in various designs.
Here are some examples.
The other announcement is that I will be at the vintage fair in Wakefield on the 12th October. I will have a few cameras to sell, plus other odds and ends. Last time it was there I spent most of the time chatting and convincing people that film is still alive.
Please come along and say hello, there will be a few bargain point and shoots to buy. Anything I sell me allow me to buy more film and enjoy my hobby a little longer.
Just when I said I would scaling down the camera reviews on this site, I go and get a bulk load of point and shoots!
I saw them on Facebook Marketplace, which seems to be the place to get a few bargains these days. No selling fees, no paypal fees, bargains galore, maybe.
Anyway I saw an advert for 16 point and shoot cameras untested, but some of them were Olympus, Nikon, Canon etc. So I thought why not.
I went along to check them out and most of them had batteries inside, only one had any kind of corrosion. Six had films inside, two of those were APS.
In the end this is the list of cameras I picked up for £30. Nearly all have cases.
Tried before -seem to be working Canon Ixus M-1 – APS (film inside, I removed it) Olympus Mju Zoom 140 (tried before, but this had a film inside so will test as I liked it)
Untried with film Inside – seem to be working Canon Ixus Z50 – (APS, I put the M-1 film in this one) Canon Sureshot AF-7 Chinon 35F-EE Minolta Vectis 20 – APS Nova dx-5 (seems like a toy camera) Olympus Superzoom 140S (film inside) Pentax Espio 738 G (The S and G seem to have the same specs but look different) Pentax Espio 738 S Pentax zoom 70-R (film inside) Ricoh FF-9 Yashica Zoomate 70
Not working – tip material Canon Ixus Z70 – aps (had a film, able to retrieve) Nikon AF200 Nikon TWzoom 85 Olympus AZ-300 Superzoom
So not bad really. I get to try 13 cameras with 2 APS films. So about £2 each. The person selling them had found them by hunting the car boot sales. So in terms of time and petrol saved, that makes it even more of a bargain.
I was intrigued by this camera after I saw the top viewfinder on Instagram. A 35mm with a top viewfinder, beautiful. So I actively looked for one on eBay, a cheap one. Finally I found one that said untested so the price was cheap, a gamble.
When it first arrived the shutter button was sticking on all speeds. I added a little clock repair oil to that and just kept pressing. Eventually it didn’t stick any more. By looking through the exposure opening while firing I could see the shutter working. At the top speed the mirror seemed to cover the light entering a little and I wasn’t confident it was working at 1/150th. So when I loaded the camera with Fuji Acros, I left the speed on 1/100th for the test.
This is the second version of the Exa. I know for two reasons. Firstly, this site says the second version has a cover over the shutter button. Secondly, there was a sticker on the bottom saying ‘version 2 1953’.
Mine came with a f2.9 50mm lens, the lenses are interchangeable. This lens has an aperture stop function. You set the aperture you want by pushing the front towards the body and then move the red dot. You can then open up the aperture to aid focusing, then close it down again to take the shot. Once you fire the shutter the mirror moves up as the backside of the mirror acts as the shutter curtain. It is not a focal plane shutter. Once you wind on the film and cock the shutter the mirror returns to the original place. As you can see on the photos the shutter speed is set with the stick on the side of the viewfinder.
With the aperture wide open, the image in the viewfinder is very bright. There is a magnifier to help with focusing. But this didn’t help me, I really need a split screen or micro-prism. On my example the film counter did not work, but it would be set before hand manually, then it should count down.
I took the camera to Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall. The former can be reached easily by train, which I recommend as it can get quite busy. The latter can be reached by a local bus, which I also recommend as the walk is quite steep. I haven’t been to Heptonstall before and I thought it was fantastic. As the link says, it is a hidden treasure. I found it more photogenic than Howarth, with much fewer people. You are just missing the Brontes, but you gain a Plath.
So did my camera work?
I doubted it and felt kind of disappointed all day using it. But work it did, though I had a lot of trouble gaining a sharp focus. My scanner didn’t help in that respect.
As you can see I only took one photo in portrait mode because using the viewfinder on its side was a real pain in the butt. You can also see a light reflection on some shots.
The gentleman you see seems to be a real figure of Heptonstall. He was outside the museum and really interesting to talk to. He told us about himself, his cameras, and the history of the place.
Inside the museum was this display about Alice Longstaff. You can find out more about her here.
I think I will get this camera serviced at some point. It is too pretty to get rid of quickly. I would like to try it again to improve the focusing.