Kodak Hawkeye: A Magic Little Box


A tiny little 127 film box camera from the 30s, Kodak Hawkeye can still take nice photographs today with its glass lens. Using one is like stepping back in time, a great experience.

As I usually do, I will start by saying how I acquired the camera. Whilst visiting my grandmother, I had my FED 4 with me. She took interest in it and in my film photography. Then, she remembered that she still had the camera she used as a child! We spent about 20 minutes looking for it until we found the box it came with!

She got the camera for free back when she was 12 (1938) by collecting tokens and sending them off, which explains the small postage box it was in. It still had her address on! The camera itself was in amazing condition and worked like new.

The four Hawkeye box cameras are all virtually identical — being so primitive as to lack even a viewfinder. Framing is attempted by the use of the pull out wire loop. They can however be differentiated in two ways. The ace models have texturing on their front face, while the “deluxe” models have lugs for a strap. Clearly, we’re operating at the low end of the market here.

Obviously, just seeing this camera was amazing, but I then promised my grandma I would use it. When I told her I could get some film, she was very happy.

So I hit the Internet looking for 127 film. I came across expired color films, but I was looking for black and white. To my surprise, there’s a company still producing rolls of 127 film, EFKE, so I picked up one roll. The film came and I loaded the camera, which is just like loading a 120 camera.

I went on a walk with my girlfriend and took the tiny Kodak Hawkeye with me. Shooting was very, very simple as you can’t adjust a thing. Simply slide the small metal thing across and the shutter fires, and then wind the film on whilst looking through the rear window, and stop when the next number appears through the window.

Here are photos from the entire roll:

When I scanned in my film, I was surprised, as I was expecting light leaks and very blurry images. But they are actually quite nice. You may have noticed that two didn’t come out but they were very overexposed.

Though there are no controls, I have a few tips. I found out how to keep the shutter open for as long as you want, you slowly slide it open and wait for the click, and then leave it and then slide again to close. Also, if you do two exposures of exactly the same thing then the exposure will increase.

Overall, it’s a great little camera and one that gives images with a unique feel. Plus, I really love the aspect ratio of 127 film. Using the camera is a joy and I will definitely be buying more film and shooting with it again hopefully.

Thanks for reading! Keep shooting!

written by brandkow93 on 2012-06-06 in #reviews #hawkeye #127-film #efke #monochrome #iso-100 #camera-review #kodak #lomography #user-review


  1. jawatembak
    jawatembak ·

    that was cool!

  2. alex34
    alex34 ·

    So nice to use these old things rather than just have them gather dust. Did your grandmother proud I would say.

  3. brandkow93
    brandkow93 ·

    @alex34 yeah im gonna get some more film and shoot with it again very soon.

  4. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    Such a fantastic find! I like your results.

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