View Full Version : 3-A Folding Brownie

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09-07-2005, 03:53 PM
I've just caught up with the thread (sorry, haven't been paying attention!). I think it probably would be worth getting some of the 122 film, if only for the spools, as suggested - the problem for me personally is it's not available in the U.K. and any method of getting it here has got to be expensive. I think I might try something like Ilford Ortho Copy sheet film - I've used it before for enlarging negs - do you reckon it would work O.K.? Any reasons why it wouldn't? Just to try it out, anyway (Do you think black card might work as a mask?). Ordinary life has caught up with me recently (as it does) and already I've put the camera to one side. Don't want to, though, I'm convinced I'm going to be surprised at the good quality images it's possible to get with it!
Good wishes to all, keep the comments coming!

Donald Qualls
09-07-2005, 10:52 PM
Last I looked, Film for Classics was processing, but not selling 122, 124, and similar films wider than 70 mm. They may still be able to provide precut reloads for 116/616, since that's just unperforated 70 mm, but 122 and 124 are 90 mm wide, actually a bit larger than 9x12 cm sheet film (which is about 88 mm to allow for the film sheath and fit where a 90 mm glass plate did). Spools are easily fabricated from hobby brass sheet and dowel stock, of course; you can obtain aerographic film and cut it to width with a slitter (the 9 1/2" size won't quite produce three 90 mm strips, sadly), but backing paper is a real killer; the best method I've seen for 116/616 is to make it up from two strips of 120, but even that may not work for 122 and 124 because of the very long frame spacing -- almost 4 1/2 inches in 124 and just over 5 1/2 inches in 122.

J&C Photo seemingly has a source of usable backing, and a semi-tame coating and cutting capability for their Pro 100 in 120 -- I wonder if they might be convinced to produce a run of 116/616 and 122 or 124 reloads (film and backing to fit customer spools) or complete film (with fabricated spools) in this stock. The question might just be, how big would the order have to be to get a custom cut.

It's nice film for the price...

Kevin Roach
09-14-2005, 02:41 PM

This page will tell you how to adapt the camera for 120 film.

10-03-2005, 12:33 AM
Do you have any pictures of your 3A to show. I have a kodak folder that I can't positivly identify, but I belive it is a 3A.

I have ran a respooled 120 onto a 122 spool, I just haven't devolped it yet, so I can't tell you if it works fine or not. But you will have to cover up the red window so you don't fog the film, it's edges don't cover the window.

10-03-2005, 11:49 AM
Here's some pics of a 3a I just sent to Jeremy...

10-03-2005, 09:49 PM
Thanks, mine looks very simmiler, except for the front standard. It has no adjustments. It is labeled a premo model, maybe kodak made different models of the 3A?

10-03-2005, 10:22 PM
The camera Alan sent me is labeled the No. 3-A Kodak Special. It is one nice looking camera and I already have a 135mm Graflex Optar mounted on the camera. Next I need to adapt it to accept 120 film and the final adustment will be to add a toothed focussing rail which runs the length of the drop-down front to make focussing easier with the shorter focal lengths. I am thinking of removing entirely the one that is on there and added a new one.

David H. Bebbington
10-04-2005, 02:47 AM
-David, - I've used Ilford Ortho Copy to make enlarged negs for cyanotypes. Do you think this would work well or is there another brand you could reccommend?

Just saw this - sorry I missed it before. Yes, Ilford Ortho will work well, its sensitivity is not quite as great as other ortho films, it seems to run out roughly in the middle of the green spectrum, and also rated and processed as per Ilford recommendations it will be quite contrasty. For normal pictorial work a rating of about EI 16 or 20 will probably be good, with suitably reduced development.

10-04-2005, 08:35 AM
David, thanks for that.

[QUOTE=egdinger]Do you have any pictures of your 3A to show. I have a kodak folder that I can't positivly identify, but I belive it is a 3A.

egdinger, there's a picture here of the 3A Folding Brownie, which is what I have (the 3A Autographic is different from this). Try 'google images' for any others.

10-08-2005, 11:08 PM
I have a No. 3-A that was my great grandfathers, and I saw it sitting lonely on a shelf today, so I decided to take a few pictures with it. What I did was cut an inch off the long side of a 5x7 sheet of Kodak Polycontrast B&W paper and stuck it in. With my light meter set to about 6 ISO, I took about 5 shots. Two were with a small aperture and long exposure, and 3 were large aperture and short exposure. The two with the small apertures turned out well, but the large aperture shots were under-exposed. I'm not sure if it's because the aperture numbers aren't f-stops (http://www.brownie-camera.com/tech.shtml) or because of a kind of reciprocity failure at short exposures.

Anyway, two negatives turned out great, so I printed them by laying another sheet of photo paper face up, then the paper negative face down on top in my contact printer, and exposing them under my enlarger. They turned out pretty good. Obviously not as sharp as printing with a negative, but I can't get film for this camera anyway, and the camera's not so lonely anymore.

10-16-2005, 04:06 PM
I've been playing with the 3A Folding Poket Kodak with a B&L Zeiss Tessar lens in a Koilos shutter I recently got by finding a quick and dirty way to get it to do 120. I cut one 120 spindle in pieces (plastic variety) and reversed the end sections after drilling a hole in the cut end so that the pin from the camera body would center and hold it steady. This left just enough room in the middle for a new roll of 120. I use the 122 take up roll.

Aluminum flashing, cut to the size of the original film channel, acts as a mask for the film and holds it fairly tightly against the pressure plate. I used flashing that had been stored in a large roll, giving it an arc in the middle -cut the hole in the center to just under 6x12 and smoothed all edges before painting it all black.

I taped the red window and sacrificed a roll of film to figure out how many turns of the film advance would give me proper spacing on a 120 roll. I came to the conclusion that, once I had the first section in place (16 half-turns from having the double arrow just at the beginning of the film channel and closing the back) I had to advance 6 half turns after the first exposure, 6 after the second and 5 after the third and fourth, giving me 5 exposures on one roll. Unload in the darkroom.

Not perfect, but it seems to work. I've only shot 1 roll and those were underexposed (never tried the lens and shutter before) but I think it has promise. The film shifts a bit if it's not lined up perfectly at first, so some guides on the take-up reel are in order... hose washers? I'll keep trying.

God, the time we spend making old things work again! My students look at me funny when I get all excited about a camera near 100 years old that turns out pictures they think are inferior to the ones they snap in digital. "Why don't you just stitch digital images together in Photoshop if you want a panoramic picture, Mr. Morange?"

Ah, but that's why I get paid. If they weren't ignorant, I'd be out of a job.

Donald Qualls
10-18-2005, 05:17 PM
Whitey, if you don't mind making a reversible modification to your 122 spool, you could split a 120 spool, hollow the center to fit the 122 core, and hot glue it in place on the 122 core (carefully aligning the slots so you can still load the film). This would still need to be unloaded in the darkroom (because of the cuts in the 120 flange) but would keep everything well aligned.

If an irreversible modification will work for you, you can cut the 122 spool, drill holes in the ends of the 120 to fit them, and glue the 122 ends into the 120 to make the combination the correct length and the 120 centered. I've recently done this with a 116 and it worked pretty well. As a bonus, you don't have to unload in the darkroom (though you can only shoot one roll on an outing, unless you modify more than one 120 spool).

You could also cut the 122 spool, make keys to fit the 120 drive slot, and glue or solder them into the ends of the 122 core, and have an adapter that will allow you to reload in the field just like you would with any other 120 camera. This is the most versatile, and the one I'd choose for my own use if I'd thought of it before making the above modification (I might still do it -- I used hot glue, so I can disassemble the unit I made with a little care).

BTW, with 6x12, if you drill a 3/8" hole in the camera back and pressure plate, centered from side to side and 3 cm from the takeup end of your frame mask, you'll be able to use only the odd numbers on the 6x6 framing track and get 6 exposures per roll. Drill 3 cm from the supply end instead, if you'd rather, and then use only the even numbers. You shouldn't even need the red filter, but you can glue some Rubylith or similar material over the inside of the hole if you prefer.

10-18-2005, 08:43 PM
Thanks Donald. I had thought of most of those options but went with the "quick and dirty" fix because A: I have a limited attention span and usually do this stuff while I'm talking to kids in an art studio, B: My darkroom is literally feet from my desk, so unloading in the dark-closet is no big deal and C: I can't really see me making a full time user from this camera. I have also made some spacers out of Sculpy (spelling?) - an oven-hardened polymer clay. I cast the end slots of an old, metal 620 roller in plaster, made a mold from that negative and then fashioned some spacers that took the smaller pins and tabs of the cameras that needed the spacers (for 616, if I remember correctly.) The same could be done here. If the spacer has a female end that fits the camera and a male end to fit 120, no extra fiddling is necessary.

I have been the recipient of many great old cameras and lenses in the last two years (a few really interesting junkers as well - I just spent much of the evening taking an old Rapid Rectilinear off a Kodak Ball Bearing shutter just to see if I could get the thing cleaned up and working again. I did- sort of.) The one thing I promise myself on getting each of the cameras is that I will try my darndest to get at least one good image more out of each one. It's a fun challenge but I have more cameras than I have time. Planning for retirement?

One that still has me stymied is a Kodak #5 Cartridge camera, circa 1898. 7 in. wide roll film. I don't have the plate adapter that was available for it and I haven't had time to fabricate anything yet. A nice problem, as they say.

And while I imagine I have you here.. Your 1000 post was mentioned the other day. What has astounded me in you posting is not the quantity, but the quality. You are a wonderful source of good natured help, and I thank you for it.

Donald Qualls
10-22-2005, 06:13 PM
Wow, I hadn't even noticed I was hitting 1000. No wonder my typing fingers are stiff... ;)

Can't really help you with the #5 Cartridge -- I presume 5x7 sheet film won't help you because the film gate is too wide; perhaps seven inch wide ULF film (7x11, I think), or cut down a strip of 9 inch aerial film and make backing out of black plastic sheet or black construction paper?

I'm going ahead with the third option conversion on my 616 -- after two rolls, I decided it was more of a pain to have to leave the camera empty until I loaded the film into a tank than it would be to redo the conversion. The wonders of hot glue -- it comes off metal pretty readily and very cleanly, even though it holds pretty well until you intentionally abuse it. So I've got the 616 spool halves loose again, and am now working on a method of making a core for then that will fit and drive a 120 spool and hold up better than the folded brass strips I tried to use with cut-off 120 spool ends (without spending money I don't have). My Target Six-16, converted to pinhole, probably *will* be a regular user, because it works so well (and it's far too ugly -- converted by someone else -- to call a "collectible").