Box Brownie: The Hi-Tech features!

If you have read any of my other posts about my Kodak Box Brownie No 2 you will already understand that one of the many things that attracted me to this camera to begin with was how easy it is too use.

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Some may say it is basic, primitive even.  I say it has a magical simplicity.

It is easy to forget with all our modern day gadgetry that at the time the Brownie was produced it was the latest thing.  This was Hi-Tech!  So with that in mind I thought I would highlight for you some of this camera’s specifications, it’s features if you will.

So this is my brownie:

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It was available in several colours including blue and red and was produced about 1920ish.

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It comes with one basis lens which doesn’t have any zoom or focusing capabilities per se.  The Brownie will find it difficult to focus on anything within about 6′ of the camera. But it will capture in sharpest detail anything in the middle ground . . .

 

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The shutter, which is ultimately how you take your picture, is this tiny little level on the side.  You flick it one way it takes a shot, flick it the other way it takes another shot.  It basically just opens the little door covering the lens.  If you find one of these cameras for sale this is the one feature, other than the condition of the lens, that you need to check . . . oh and the winder . . .

 

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After you have flicked your shutter switch in order not to have a double exposure you need to wind the film on.  This is the winder. Mine turns anti-clockwise.  Keep turning until the next number appears in the red window. . .

 

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This is the film counter window in the back of the camera it allows you to see how many of your 8 shots you have left, it also lets you know that you have loaded the film correctly in the first place as you wind it on and watch the little black arrows past behind it . . .

 

 

 

 

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There are two view finders, one portrait and one landscape to enable you to take the picture you like however be aware of your Parallax Error! For more information see: My Box Brownie camera, Adventures with Parralax Error!

 

 

 

 

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This little lever controls the aperture.  This Brownie has 3 different aperture settings. The lever pulls up out of the body of the camera in stages. When it is in a closed position, pushed right in, it is at it’s widest aperture.  This is for use on cloudy days/winter.  One click out, the middle position, is for bright evening/morning light.  The third position, with the lever pulled right out, is for very bright sunshine/summertime . . .

 

 

 

 

 

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The last feature is this tiny lever, pull this one out of the body of the camera and it allows you to take a long exposure picture.  Professionals call it the Bulb Setting I believe.  This lever basically stops the shutter from closing until you manually flick it closed by flicking it back the other way.  This is a feature I haven’t tried as yet.  Mostly because I don’t have a tripod . . .

 

 

 

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This is where your tripod (if you have one) would attach.  You see, Kodak thought of everything! What more could you want!?

Beautiful simplicity I think you will have to agree! Take a look at some more of my brownie pictures here.

For more Brownie fun try: Lady behind the lens and Box Brownie: The Perfect Reflection

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Box Brownie: The Hi-Tech features!

  1. Nigel Rainton June 8, 2016 / 8:22 am

    Old film was not very sensitive to red light, hence the little red window. Modern film is sensitive, don’t leave the camera in bright light for long or the film will fog. A bit of black electrical tape (peel on/off easily) solves the problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. BRH June 8, 2016 / 8:35 am

    I started with a later version of the Brownie with 127 film and a Bakelite body. I am not old enough to remember when it was current, honest, it was a hand me down from my Nan I think. I can’t remember it having different apertures, for different seasons or light, or a Bulb setting, so you do have a more professional model!

    Liked by 1 person

    • esdale77 June 8, 2016 / 8:44 am

      Oh really! Wow do you still have it? Can you still get that film? I have my nan’s portrait brownie which used 620 film and I am planning to try and use it by re-rolling 120 film . . . watch this space. I have been told its possible but I am a complete novice so . . . 😃

      Liked by 2 people

      • BRH June 8, 2016 / 9:00 am

        I worked in the Photo trade for over twenty five years so I am afraid my head was turned and many, many different cameras have been owned and set aside since then…probably too many to count on a set of fingers and toes. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Admin June 13, 2016 / 2:40 pm

        Another lovely article. Before going to the trouble of respooling film have you tried cutting away the lip of a normal 120 film to see if it fits your old portrait brownie? Sharp nail scissors needed to get through the plastic. Although the film case would still be a wee bit long the diameter would be fine. On very old box cameras the engineering tolerance wasn’t that good so you might find it fits and is just a bit stiff to wind. This is how I do things on an old junior brownie of the same vintage. Search ‘620 film nail scissors ‘ for more but ignore anything about sanding or filing (that’s a dusty nightmare and should only be necessary for more precise cameras from the 40s onward). Good luck and hoping to see the results from your nan’s old camera however you get there :). These latest shots are superb!

        Like

  3. Anne Guy June 9, 2016 / 2:54 am

    Fascinating post…when you are using it do you get any comments from passers by?

    Liked by 1 person

      • copperknob June 9, 2016 / 6:56 am

        I started taking pictures on a Brownie Box, have not gone digital, stick to my Olympus Trip and love it. Well done for enjoying this simple camera. Interesting post.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. galaxys3now July 2, 2016 / 9:42 am

    Nice. I had a No. 2 Folding Autographic Brownie. My grandmother gave it to me in the mid-seventies. I made a lot of pictures with it. It used 6×9 negatives which I developed myself. I have no idea what happened to the camera. Until your post I had forgotten about it. Now I can even feel the Brownie in my hands again. The slight resistance just before the shutter triggered.
    I have a DSLR which I only use on special occasions these days. A compact which I use on holidays. And my smartphone which I use all the time. They are all direct ready which is great. But the expectation that builds up when you are developing the film cannot be surpassed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • esdale77 July 2, 2016 / 9:48 am

      Thank you for your comment, I like you use a Samsung phone for most of my photography but I have to say there is a certain kind of feeling that I get using the Brownie which makes it and the pictures it creates extra special, it may seem cliché but it is true! 🙂

      Like

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