View Full Version : No.2 Brownie

Allan Swindles
02-16-2008, 05:26 PM
I have just become the owner of the actual camera which first got me interested it photography, my mum's No.2 Brownie, still in full working order nearly a century since it was manufactured. Sis. said 'it might be worth something', I said, 15-20 if your desperate, priceless if you're a real photographer....... it even takes the same film as my Hass.

P.S. No, mum's still alive and fightin', just had to leave her flat and go into nursing care, hence the clearout. Practical, my Mum, or what? God bless her.

02-16-2008, 07:41 PM
Cool. They take 120 film? You should take your mother's portrait with it. Digital cameras can only dream of such a long life.

02-17-2008, 02:51 AM
I've looked into Kodak's box cameras due to idle curiousity and my increasing obsession with old cameras - the frustrating thing with them is the film sizes they take - some of them do take 120 natively, others were designed for 620 (120 with a modified, incompatible spool, so you were forced to buy film from Kodak, or respool 120 onto 620 spools yourself), but some of the 620 ones will take a 120 spool without modification, whereas some of them will only fit 120 on the feeding end, and you need a 620 take-up spool.

And some, like the Brownie Hawkeye Flash, were designed to take 620, but Kodak discovered a design "flaw" after the first run that allowed unmodified use of plain 120 film, so the camera was further modified to limit film use to only 620 (or at least make it more difficult) - but otherwise the cameras look the same and there's no indication of what they'll take until you actually try it.

So, I'm still interested in trying a box camera, but not if it means pulling teeth to get the film to load. After some more reading, I'm tempted to get a Zeiss "Box Tengor", but we'll see...

02-17-2008, 03:43 AM
Brownie No.2 can be had for 5 for a standard black one usually and they do definitely take normal 120 film. I use mine all the time. 15-20 is probably a reasonable price for one of the fancy colours (blue/red/brown/green/gray). My oldest is a Brownie No.2 Model B which is from around 1903 and still works happily, they never seem to have much problems with their shutters (or else I've been very lucky for 4 cameras). They produce nice fairly big negatives which I was previously using for cyanotypes exclusively.

"Portrait" would be a full body shot as you have to be about 10ft or so away from a subject for it to be in focus.

Allan Swindles
02-23-2008, 05:03 PM
It was more than 50 years ago since I used this camera, with Kodak Verichome Pan, I think. How will it fair with modern emulsions, eg. colour neg.? Back then emulsions were based on average exposure as opposed to minimum, hence the x2 hike in ASA/ISO. I suppose I've answered my own question here, thinking about it, do as I've always done, shoot and be dammed, AND LEARN from the results!

02-23-2008, 05:56 PM
It's fine. It works perfectly fine with slide film and print film and black&white film. I've used all three in my Brownie. Beautiful big negatives. Just use a handheld light meter, meter for about 1/100th or 1/50th of a second, the apertures are all listed on http://www.brownie-camera.com/tech.shtml I've always used 1/100th for my Brownie No.2 cameras, even though that page says they're slower than that.

Jim Noel
02-23-2008, 06:12 PM
Just stick with a 100 speed film and exposures should be OK. Verichrome Pan was rated at ASA 100 once that system began. Prior to that the Weston speed was 50 in Daylight, if I remember correctly. The Verichrome ortho which preceded the Pan version, and continued to be manufactured simultaneously for a few years, I believe was rated at Weston 50 daylight, 32 Tungsten. Ah - the good old days of wide film availability.

02-23-2008, 06:27 PM
I guess I should note that the first picture (on the left) is RSXII ISO200 slide film and the one on the right is Portra 160NC (the old formula I think). So, yeah I lean towards ISO100ish on sunny days with the aperture tab pulled up one click for f/16.

02-26-2008, 11:33 AM
The Brownies work very well when converted for wet plate also. A very inexpensive way to get started in wet plate. I'm converting a model 3 that will shoot a quarter plate ( 3 1/4 x 4 1/4) or 124 film and a 2-C that will shoot a 2 7/8 x 4 7/8 plate. I think the 2-C shot 130 film. They will come in handy as teaching aids. Robert

Doug Smith
02-29-2008, 03:27 PM
I have a Brownie No. 2 that I use regularly with either efke 50 or plus-x. My submission for Postcard Exchange Round 11 was taken with it. Worth it just for the looks you get when doing street photography.

03-10-2008, 05:48 AM
I have a brownie No. 2 Model B, last patent date 1909. By the end of this year, I'll have it fully restored and next year will be shooting with a 100-year-old camera. Restoration actually hasn't been a chore, since it was in fine shape when I bought it. Just a sticky shutter left to clean.

I won't actually use the wooden take up reel when I use film in it.

03-10-2008, 07:25 AM
Be gentle to the Model Bs... that carrier inside is only thin cardboard and a few bits of wood and metal. The velvet edges give a cute and interesting frame to your images :)

03-10-2008, 05:49 PM
Well, after someone pointed it out on another forum, I went and bought this (http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=190200890718) (Kodak Pocket 3a partial bellows/lens/shutter attached to a 2a).

Not quite a box camera any more, but it sure looks interesting :) It's in my possession at the moment - in very good shape for a camera of that age. Film loading is awkward - you have to unclip the shutter/lens mechanism (where it would normally unclip to collapse on a folder) and remove it from the front of the camera to get the back off.

I haven't tested it yet to see if the focus scale is anywhere near accurate.

In any event, shooting with this should be fun :) The shutter sounds great (Kodak Ball Bearing) and the glass is crystal clear (Kodak Anistigmat 170mm f/6.3).