What is black, grey and square all over? Why, the wonderful Brownie cameras of course! I was lucky to be gifted this one, but I promise if you keep your eyes peeled one of these vintage gems could be yours for as little as ten dollars! With a little work you will have a functioning and ever so stylish MEDIUM FORMAT CAMERA.
People who know me know that I love cameras, especially anything analogue. So, when a family friend offered me a Hawkeye Brownie camera (after hearing me rave about it) I was delighted and couldn’t say no.
The Brownie Camera was the first camera that was used by the general public. Before Kodak released the camera, photos were taken only once or twice a year by pro photographers in rigid studios. The camera was available for the price of $1-5, which, back in the day, was a fairly reasonable price to pay.
My Brownie was released in the 1940’s. It features a grey shutter button as well as a bulb setting for long exposures. The film advance is uncoupled AND this model came with a giant flash. The flash bulbs are tough to come by because they are no longer made. Each bulb can be used once. The camera takes 620 film. The modern equivalent is 120 film.
The best part of receiving this baby was the fact that I got it in the original box with everything inside including the packaging. The set came with: The instruction booklet on how to operate the camera (as well as some framing/photography tips), 2 Photoflash Size “C” Batteries, Close-Up Attachment No. 13.
When you open up the camera it is written quite clearly on the inside that the camera DOES NOT TAKE 120 FILM. This, however, is a lie. If you research what kind of film to use on this camera a lot of sources online will tell you that you have to re roll 120 film on to a 620 spool for the camera to work. This is also false. I have loaded this camera and taken 6 photo’s with it so far and have yet to hit a snag.
I am so excited to see the results!
Keep your eyes peeled for these vintage cameras they could be waiting for you at a local thrift store and garage sale!