This vintage Brownie camera was produced by Eastman Kodak Company during 1940s. It’s a simple yet amazing camera uses film 620, which is now almost nowhere to find. I managed to kick start this antique by modifying the more common film 120 to fit it, read down and see how I did it :)
Got this cute little Brownie last year from an antique trader in Salamanca Market during my holiday trip to Tasmania, Australia. Initially I thought it just good for collection and display, after I brought it back to Malaysia and tested it, it’s still in fully working condition! I believed it is due to its very simple mechanism and quiet tough cardboard casing that enabled it to endure her past 70 years.
Unfortunately I can’t find film 620 in Malaysia! I found that its 620 spool is at the same length as 120 film, which is much easier to get, the only difference is the spool, 620 has smaller roller compare to 120. I trim the plastic roller with scissor and make it smaller, and it’s now fitted nicely into my Brownie.
It is very simple and easy to use, all you can tune are just big or small aperture, normal or bulb shutter, just like the Lomography Diana. But unlike the Diana, it has a fixed focus lens that is only able to focus sharply from 8 feet onward. Shoot from the hip! This Lomo rule can be easily applied here with this camera, thanks to its 2 brilliant reflex finders, for both Portrait and Landscape picture. It actually ‘forced’ me to shoot from the hip, because the finders work only if look through from certain distance.
I wish I can provide more technical information here, but written on its original manual, there is no shutter speed and what actually is the big and small aperture value stated. By the look at it, I think the shutter is around 1/100 sec, big and small aperture should be f/11 and f/16 respectively.
I exposed 2 rolls of Ilford FP4 ISO 125 B&W 120 film, each roll only for 8 exposure. The pictures come out very nice with little vignette on four corners, no trace of any light leak. I love the big developed negative! Feels like if I get it to scan with a high resolution film scanner, its picture size and resolution might put most of the modern DSLR to shame ;)
It is also difficult to find a photo lab that can digitise my 120 negative, so I discovered a less efficient way to digitise it myself at home, all i need is just a laptop, a digital camera, and some tapes. Open a white background blank page, a simple notepad will do. Then, tune the LCD to brightest, stick the negative on the screen, and capture it with my Canon EOS 50D, I need a tripod to stabilise too. Next, download the picture to PC and invert it in Photoshop.Tadaa… that’s my pictures! The only cons with the output is that when u see clearly, each picture had ‘pixels’ quite obvious, that’s because when I capture the negative on screen, I also captured the background LCD pixels together into the picture. Distracting pixels or another unique ‘feels’? Whatever it is, I like it!