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Brownie and similar cameras

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  1. B&Jdude
    Tony, I, too, have several Brownies and didn't know who else, if anyone, was taking pictures with them. Then, I recently stumbled into this Brownie forum and found a bunch of fellow travellers.

    Now, I see from looking at the right side of my screen, that I am the only one there whose picture is a question mark. Inasmuch as I don't know anything about computers, and even less about digital pictures, I haven't a clue as to how to put a picture on there in place of the question mark.

    Probably in this day and age, a Luddite such as I is probably represented more accurately by that symbol than anything else . . . a most fitting avatar!

    Smiff
  2. B&Jdude
    B&Jdude
    Sorry if I keep sending messages, but this group has been rather quiet, and I would like to learn all I can about Brownies from folks who have more experience with them than I, a fairly new user.

    I have 6 No. 2 Brownies and would like to know:

    1. The focal length and aperture of the lens.

    2. The value of the three f stops available on the pull-out thing.

    3. What the approximate shutter speed should be if it is working correctly.

    4. Any other hints, tricks, & techniques about using and maintaining them that are not covered in the Brownie manual.
  3. B&Jdude
    B&Jdude
    P.S. Toney Lockerbie: Let us know when you put the No. 2 Brownie "test/user's report" on your web site.

    EuGene
  4. 2F/2F
    2F/2F
    Hi, Eugene.

    Best to just experiment with a few rolls.

    I would start by shooting a 25-50 ISO film in good weather, and going from there. If you live somewhere where the sun doesn't shine clearly that often, maybe start with a 100 film instead.

    In the sun, a 400 film can get printable shots, though they will be quite thick.

    The lens seems slightly wider than normal to me. Perhaps 90-100mm equivalent or so, which is slightly wide for the format, although I really have no clue what the FL actually is.

    BTW, if you want to thin the herd, let me know.
  5. B&Jdude
    B&Jdude
    2F/2F: I have all the brownies loaded with 100, 200, & 400 ISO film (didn't have any 25 or 50 stuff) so plan to go out and shoot some test shots. I do expect that I will need to keep some tape over the red/orange window to hold down flare . . . opening it only briefly to advance the film.

    I mentioned over on the APUG Camera Building & Modification Forum about putting a foam or velvet "donut" around the window on the inside of my Kodak Panorams to keep the flare from filling the body and coming around the edge of the film. I will probably try the same thing with my Brownies, too.

    Too early to thin the No 2 herd, but I do have a red No. 2A model B Rainbow Hawkeye that I have no use for whatsoever as it uses that expensive 116 film. It is basically the same camera as a 2A Brownie except that it has only the B setting pull tab . . . no selectable apertures . . . and the guts come out the with the camera front rather than via a rear door.

    It would make a nice shelf queen for a collector, as the 120 film No. 2 models at about $10 - $20 each are the only practical users . . . unless one just loves paying $25 - $30 per roll for type 116 film!

    Smiff
  6. SteveinAlaska
    SteveinAlaska
    Just checking in, nothing else to do, it's -35F outside. You know the old No.2 Brownie might be the only camera that might work in this weather. I ran Ilford Delta 100 thru it and the shots came out great! But than I tried ilford Pan F 50 - not so good, very light negatives. Don't know what I should try, maybe longer exposure times? I might have to mount it on a tripod `cause I know I can't hold my breath that long! B&Jdude, check your messages to see if mine went thru ( just some info on finding manuals & other info on Brownies.)
  7. B&Jdude
    B&Jdude
    SteveinAlaska:

    I checked my messages in the MY APUG section and didn't find any messages from you there, nor did I find any on my Yahoo.com e-mail place.

    Now, I have sent messages to people using the CONTACT SELLER button in the classifieds area, but have never been able to find where that file is to review any of those messages, so I never know what their status is . . . it seems that they often tend to get lost and are never seen by the intended recipient.

    Another message thing I havent quite understood is the "VISITORS MESSAGE" area that I get when I click on an APUG member's name and go to his profile. It is labeled "Permalink" and is, I suppose, a 3rd message system within APUG.

    Oh how I wish all messages on APUG were shown in a single place, preferably MY APUG.

    Now, about that -35F temperature . . . I put my cameras away anytime the temperature gets to 32F or below as I have no intention of going outside when I have the option of remaining indoors where it is warm. Santa gave me enough coal to keep me toasty all winter, so I won't be taking any pictures unless a warm day come along.

    The Brownies might work fine out there, but I don't. Anyhoo, I have mine loaded with ASA 200 & 400 film, so maybe I can take shots in all the overcast skies we have been having (if it gets warm!).

    EuGene
  8. B&Jdude
    B&Jdude
    Hey 2F/2F! A couple days ago I said I owned 6 No. 2 Brownies, well actually it should have been 8 of them . . . but that was then . . . I bought 2 more yesterday, so now the number is 10. Oooooh, it's a G.A.S. attack!!!

    Smiff
  9. Rolleiflexible
    Rolleiflexible
    Eugene, you can shoot most of the 620
    Brownies so long as you have a 620-size
    take-up spool. I shoot a Brownie Six-20
    and a Brownie Hawkeye, both designed
    to take 620 film. But both will accept
    (barely) a 120 roll of film, so you don't
    need to respool 120 before shooting.

    Sanders
  10. B&Jdude
    B&Jdude
    Sanders:

    I don't have a 620 Brownie . . . all of mine are the No. 2 Brownies, which take 120 film. In fact, 120 film was introduced simultaneously with the No. Brownie, the camera for which that size film was developed. I also have some Kodak Panorams that were made for 105 film, but they work well with 120, if you can live with upside down numbers in the red window and the need to shoot the numbers 2, 6, 10, & 14 to get 4 negatives (6 x 18) from a film roll.

    EuGene
  11. B&Jdude
    B&Jdude
    OK, I loaded 6 No. 2 Brownies with various films - TMax, Fortepan, Arista, Ilford, & TriX (ASA 100 thru 400) and went out and shot it all using the 3 different aperture settings. I'll send it off to the lab and get contact sheets back so I can check all the negs & prints against the detailed notes I took with each shot. I also metered each shot and recorded the EV reading.

    Since I know the approx shutter speed and the approx f stop value of the 3 apertures, I should be able to come up with some EV data for each individual camera which will help me to take better shots in the future.

    Maybe thats being a bit overzealous in trying to cubbyhole the cameras, after all, grandpa took nice pix with those little boxes without a meter and all the EV jazz . . . then maybe he was smarter than me, eh??
  12. mhcfires
    mhcfires
    Sanders:

    I have a Brownie Target Six-20, There is on way i can fit a roll of 120 into that camera. I have to respool onto 620 spools. It is a PITA, but I get great results from that old camera, people have a hard time believing that some of my photos came out of such a simple camera.
  13. B&Jdude
    B&Jdude
    MHCfires:

    You might check with Ken Ruth at www.baldmtn.com . . . he modifies many 620 cameras to accept 120 film rolls and can tell you if such a modification can be made to a Target Six-20.

    Smiff
  14. Rolleiflexible
    Rolleiflexible
    M, I have a Brownie Six-20 and I am just
    able to squeeze in a roll of 120 into the
    film chamber -- it's tight but it goes in.
    If yours won't go, it's easy enough to
    widen the box to give you extra room:

    http://www.geocities.com/brandonshahan/620.html

    You can also remove the metal leaf spring
    that holds the spool tight, if need be, to
    load 120. Bottom line: These are primitive
    cameras, easily modified. You shouldn't
    have to go to the expense of sending it to
    a camera tech to load 120 film into it.

    Sanders
  15. B&Jdude
    B&Jdude
    I got the negatives and contact sheets back from the lab on the test pix I took with the 6 Brownie boxes. With each camera I took 3 bright sunlit daytime shots, one at each of the f-stop slider positions. Then I took a couple of under-a-carport shadow shots at the large & middle f-stops, followed by the last 3 frames as evening dusk shots at each f-stop.

    So, now all I need to do is analyze the results and will have some good info as to the ISO rating and f-stop settings to use with each camera for shooting under various conditions.

    4 of the 6 cameras differed somewhat, but gave good results based on the available light conditions and f-stops used . . . after viewing the first 3 sunlight shots, the next five (shadow & dusk) shots followed with predictable results. The remaining 2 cameras appeared to have inconsistent shutter speeds as the shots didn't follow a logical pattern. Sometimes a picture with a larger f-stop setting would, as expected, be brighter than one with a small opening, then on the next group of pictures the small opening produced the brighter photo.

    So, I'll need to do a bit of work on those two outlyers, but overall I am quite happy with the test results. I now have a good idea on how to use them.

    I also had a couple of 2A Brownies (a Red one and a Black one) but didn't try to test them . . . I don't relish the idea of paying almost $40 for a roll of 116 film. I just donated them, and an unneeded box for a No. 2 Brownie, to our local museum.

    Smiff
  16. SteveinAlaska
    SteveinAlaska
    I got up at 7:00AM last week when it was -42F, opened my curtains, set up the Brownie and Voightlander Bessa with Ilford Delta 100 & Pan F 50. Then after the morning coffee, I proceeded to make time exposures of 2 to 10 minutes thru the windows using only the street lights as available light(house lights off). Very good results with the Brownie & Pan F 50.
  17. B&Jdude
    B&Jdude
    Damn! -42F! I get symptoms of hypothermia just thinking about it. Smiff
  18. Barry Dale Currence
    Barry Dale Currence
    mhcfires
    I just acquired a Brownie Target Six-20 from collectiblecameras.com. I am fascinated by this old and unassuming device. I need another 620 spool before I respool 120 and shoot it. Sounds tedious. Where do all of you find your treasures? I didn't know there was a portrait model until I came here. I'd like to get one.
    2F/2F
    Do you get good results with 25 or 50 speed film? What do you (or anyone) suggest for my first roll of B&W?
    Barry
  19. 2F/2F
    2F/2F
    Hi, Barry.

    Pan F seems to work well using the middle aperture when there is plenty of sun.

    Check this out: http://www.brownie-camera.com/tech.shtml (and, of course, the homepage as well: http://www.brownie-camera.com/).

    According to that Webpage, if Pan F is rated at 50, that exposure works out perfectly. Remember that Pan F is a very contrasty film, however, so at 50 does not excel in shadow detail. (All of this is a large part of why I love the stuff so much). If you want it to look more "normal", use the largest aperture and underdevelop your film about 20 or 25 percent.

    I can perfectly fit the shank of a 9/32 in. drill bit into my No. 2's largest aperture. If the chart at the Brownie Website is correct, that means the FL of the lens is 9/32 x 11 = approx. 3.1 in. (78.58mm to be precise). The camera takes 120 film and has an exactly 2-1/4 by 3-1/4 in. film gate (57.15 by 82.55 mm). That would give the frame a horizontal AOV of 55.42 degrees and a vertical AOV of 39.97 degrees; almost exactly equivalent to a 35mm FL lens on a 35mm camera. I always thought the lens seemed a bit wider than normal. This makes sense for a point and shoot camera, as it adds not only to depth of field, but to hand holdability.

    So, I can now brag that my camera sports an 80mm f/11 lens. Sweet!

    My next experiment will involve sawing the front off of one of them and mounting it to a view camera.
  20. mhcfires
    mhcfires
    Eugene,

    If you want to use your 2A cameras, you can spool some 70mm film on the backing paper from a roll of 116 film. It is the same width. Not sure how much a roll of 70mm film would cost, but you can usually find some on fleabay at a decent price. it may or may not be perforated, but it will allow you to have some fum with another old camera. I may have an old roll of exposed 116 laying around, not sure. I seem to have everything except what I need. . The Brownie has to compete with a few newly acquired Graflex cameras, a 3x4 RB series D and a 4x5 RB Series B.
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