Treasure Trove #3: Kodak Brownie Folding Camera
I may have had this camera before I had my Kodak Brownie 127 (Treasure Trove #2), but it was not in working order. I think we ran a roll of 120 film through it, but it had a bad light leak and the results were not kept. It was handed down from my grandfather to my father. The camera is a Kodak No. 2 Folding Autographic Brownie, and was probably made in 1926, one year after my father was born. When new it would have cost $10.13, plus an extra $1.25 for the carrying case. There were about half a million of these folding "vest" cameras made in all its different variations of this model.
The Autographic feature involved scratching writing on to the backing paper using a supplied stylus clipped to the rear of the camera on a flap, which revealed a window to the paper. It showed up white on the finished print - the EXIF data of its day!
I'm all in favour of these modern point and shoot cameras with auto-focus, auto-exposure and modes for different kinds of shooting, but they do have the disadvantage that when they don't give the desired result the user has no idea what to do to improve matters. The camera has not given any clue as to how it achieved its result or what needs to be done to give a different effect.
The construction of this old camera makes it easy to see what the different components are doing. To focus you move the lens backwards and forwards and lock a lever into a slot. You look down into the inverted image in the viewfinder, which you can rotate from side to side. It has four shutter settings (T, B, 25, 50) and 6 f-stops ranging from f7.9 to a pinhole f45. With nothing faster than 1/50th at f7.9 it was clear that this would not be much cop at a sporting event on a dull day.
It was more suited to those stilted portraits you got in a photographic studio, or landscapes on a bright, sunny day, especially since the roll film available at the time would have been 50 or 25 ASA (equivalent to ISO).
I must have spent hours playing with the controls and learning the basic principles of photography as a boy. In a way, the existence of this camera in my childhood explains my presence on Blipfoto today.
Treasure Trove series
Sample images taken by the same model of camera
Lens: Pentax 18-55mm (+1 close-up lens)
Consecutive Blip #439
One Year Ago: Mallard