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I bought a Brownie

Discussion in 'Classic Models & Marques' started by steveandthedogs, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    I finally succumbed to getting a box camera. Never tried one before.
    This one is a rather nice condition Brownie, in fact it looks almost unused - there were two old metal spools inside and the handle looks very slightly discoloured. Otherwise very pretty.

    However, I've no idea of what the shutter speed or the aperture are.
    Any ideas anyone?
    Also any ideas on films? Thinking of ISO 50 or thereabouts and fairly sunny-ish weather.


    ps I'm blaming Adrian for me buying this, and may send him the £8 bill it cost me.
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  2. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Shutter speed likely to be in the order of 1/25 to 1/50, aperture f11 or f16. Film speed? Don't worry too much, latitude will take care of it if you're shooting outdoors in reasonable light. Is it 120 or 620?

    Many of them didn't get a huge amount of use; a film a year wasn't uncommon.
  3. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

  4. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    MWAHAHAHAHA! £8? You wuz robbed!

    Benchista's advice is sound - assume circa 1/30th, and shoot in sunny weather, and you should be fine. If you hold it tight against your stomach/waistband when you peer into the viewfinder it should be a lot more stable as well.

    Pictures of it?

  5. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member

    Is the camera 120 rather than 620 ?
    Keep the metal spools safe in case you either need to re-spool one or use a 620 spool in the take up spot , some camera model's vary .

    Apertures and shutter speeds seem to vary little on box cameras , the last one I was shooting with was an Ensign Ful-View in the early summer .
    Aperture is around f/12 and the shutter speed was a single speed , varied , random one , until I cleaned it up !
    When new it was around 1/50th second , cleaned up and where the shutter runs against the body lubed with a bit of graphite from a HB pencil , it works well and consistent .
    Instantaneous and bulb setting only .

    When I used it in the Summer , May and June , it was a lot brighter than now and I had it loaded with Ilford FP-4 ( ISO 125 ).
    9 shots came out fine with varying densities , 1 shot that I did in "bulb" , guessing the exposure required in Piccadilly train station came out under-exposed ( my fault ) , and 2 shots came out blank .

    If I were using it now ,in winter , I would load it up with HP-5 and get some nice negatives out of it .
    Did they even have ISO 400 film back then ?

    I'm guessing these box cameras were only intended for Sunny day use , or else just left the film to stew in the developer for a while and hope for the best !
  6. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Right, thank you one and all!

    Very definitely 120 - I couldn't be bothered re-spooling for 620.

    Got Foma 100, HP5 and and bit of Retro 400s in the fridge.

    Just checked outside with a meter and given that it's raining and 30+ winds, it's surprisingly bright - f22 at 1/25 and ISO 400!

    Foma I think to start, though it will have to wait until I've finished the other rolls first.

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  7. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

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  8. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    If you have access to an old fashioned Turntable it is easy to measure your suffer speed. Fasten a light to the turntable (?mobile phone and blue tac??) and take an exposure from directly above the turntable at 33 rpm. The angle subtended by the light will probably be of the order of 5-10 degrees. Some elementary maths will give you the exact speed - though it might be a good idea to calibrate the set up with a known camera
    steveandthedogs likes this.
  9. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Some elementary maths... sounds more like hyper advanced to me.
    I started life as a biologist, in those days we didn’t do maths!

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  10. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    When I was in the upper sixth*, there were three lads doing biology A-level.
    They had a couple of periods of Maths for Biologists a week.
    They spent them playing bridge with the teacher...

    * early '70s!
  11. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I don't believe you should be allowed to torture your camera! :cool:
  12. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    First Brownie pictured is a No0 for 127. Fun, and very, very small. Mine had a roll of C41 - yes, C41! Kodacolour in when I got it.

    If it's 120, I suspect you have a No2 - like the second one pictured. Check the top above the viewfinders - you should have two little metal tags, a wide one in the middle and a narrow one to the left (as you look from the back). If you pull the left one up and press the shutter it will stay open. Now pull the other one up, and you should see your aperture change - it's just holes in a metal strip. Should give you roughly F10, F20, F30. Push the left hand one down again and the shutter will close. And don't forget that if you press the shutter release down for one photo, push up for the next!

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  13. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Yep, found those.
    Looks like they should move. OK, they do.
    All right nothing happens. Taken back off. Lift up tab. Nothing. Try shutter release. Ah, B setting.
    Other one, ooh look, changes the aperture. Yippee! I'm easily pleased.
    Found those out myself [smartarse] but didn't know the aperture tab came out twice, so ta.

    And ta for the aperture settings.

    So about 1/25 ish and f10, 20, 30 ish.

    Looking forward to getting out with it. And confusing the step-ish-grandchildren.

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  14. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    The model number should be on the back door or the cone, can't remember which - if it's tin, it'll be the Model F, 1928-33 I think. Card - obviously earlier. My favourite box for picture taking (others are cuter, mind). I'm pretty sure Zou is a No2 Model F user as well.

    Have fun!

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  15. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    It's an "E".

    Pics will follow. Eventually.

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  16. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member

  17. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

  18. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

  19. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member

  20. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    My favourite bit of that is the "failure will result" warning which has been negated by 'modern' fast films.

    Been a while since I ran a film through mine, may have to put that right soon. :)

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