Monthly Archives: October, 2012

Kodak Brownie From The Late 1930s

This camera used to belong to my father. I remember seeing it in his closet at my childhood home. After my father passed away, I wanted to resurrect the camera. I never thought I would use it but I wanted to keep it as a memory.


The Kodak Brownie is one of the first consumer/hobbyist point-and-shoot-cameras. I guess that 70+ years ago it would have been the equivalent of today’s mobile phone cameras.As I had recently developed an interest in film photography, I started to investigate this camera in more detail. I knew that the camera dated back to the late 1930s when my father had acquired it by winning a competition to raise money for charity.

I learned that the camera used 620 film which is no longer available. Fortunately 120 (which is available) is otherwise compatible but the spool diameter is different.

70 years ago the spools were made of metal. But nowadays they are plastic. With the help of some nail scissors you can modify a 120 spool to work in a 620 camera. I was fortunate enought to have the original 620 take-up spool but if you don’t, all you need to do is make one up from a plastic 120 spool with sciccors.

Here’s a shot of my home street. There are no controls for shutter speed or aperture. The best guess is that the speed is about 1/40th and the aperture is around f/8 or f/11.


This is the first ever color photograph taken with my father’s camera.


There is one more thing I need to do with this camera next summer when there is more light available. I will take the camera to the place where my late father lived nearly 80 years ago and take some pictures. Stay tuned.


After successfully developing some rolls of B&W film, I wanted to try something new.


It was time to get my hands on developing color film.


Google and YouTube really are your friends if you want to learn something new. I watched videos people who had successfully developed their own color film and decided to try it out myself.


It was autumn and the colors were just shouting to try out some Portra 400.


So I purchased a C41 kit and mixed the chemicals. This picture is from my first roll of self-developed color film:


With the modern C41 kits the developing really isn’t that different from B&W. The only issue is to get the temperature exactly right (100F, 37.8C). This took me a while in the first attempt but the pictures turned out great.