Sunday, November 8, 2009

A lovely Brownie

I was going through a lot of old boxes this past weekend and came across a lovely surprise - one of my dad's belongings.
An old Kodak Brownie No. 2.

I have yet to photograph mine, but it looks pretty close to this, with a few slight variations.

I've spent over 2 hours cleaning it, examining it and just fawning over it. It's a beautiful, and I'm quite giddy at the potential that lies within it it.

I've already bought some 120 b&w film on ebay.

- 5 rolls of Ilford Hp5 400
- 5 rolls of Kodak Tmax 400.

Can anyone suggest a great and cheap lab?

Anyway to clean the glass myself?

Any other recommendations or suggestions?

Any way to do self-portraits with it?

I've heard that Ansel Adams' first camera was a brownie.
Just... fyi randomness.

Mmm. More film goodness.

I believe it was taken with a Mamiya, but I have no idea of the film.


Lucian Schmit.


Michael said...

You can always develop the film yourself. Some Diafine, fixer, three 1 gal jugs, and a daylight tank. If you can make and pour chocolate milk and read a clock you can develop film (B&W or color negative)

You need a long cable release or a mechanical timer release for self portraits.

Cleaning the glass should be easy, the optics weren't coated. But if the lens has fungus on it, well then it gets a bit tricky and most repair places will just burn it out back. You can remove the mildew with a few minutes soak in equal parts ammonia and peroxide. Some, er lots of disassembly required.

markamorrison said...

I've got a couple of those. The oldest leaks light very slightly which creates an effect around the edges of each picture making even brand new pictures look old. It used to be that you could get that film processed most places. Now days it's a major pain. The film itself is large enough to make halfway decent contact prints if you have darkroom equipment.


e-string said...

I always went to National Camera by Rosedale mall. You can buy film and have it developed. They will probably take a look at the camera for free and maybe clean it, too. Dunno if their Golden Valley store is closer for you. The downtown Mpls branch is smaller and doesn't offer as much.

Dave Rudin said...

I'm glad you're taking to film, Brooke. It's great.

For my film, I have it developed at the cheapest lab I know of. That is to say, I do it myself! There are plenty of labs here in New York, of course. I think Duggal and Ken Lieberman are among the better known, though I'm sure there are many more across the U.S.

I also have a 120 film camera that belonged to my dad: a Rolleicord TLR. My mom actually gave it to my dad for an engagement present. (I guess when she bought it she never imagined what I would use it for...LOL)

When my dad gave it to me, it hadn't been used for about 30 years, so I had to spend about $150 to have it cleaned up and lubricated to get back into working condition.

It works very well now and makes beautiful negatives. I haven't used it for a while myself, but I probably should. A problem with it, though, is that the part where the cable release screws in broke off, so I'm not able to use the release any more.

Shadowscapestudio said...

If you have not found it already

click the arrow at the top of the manual to go through it.

As far as self portraits....Um, throw rocks at the shutter lever.

Larry Reeves Photo said...

Richard Photo Lab in California does GREAT work. Their scanning is awesome, too.

brooke lynne said...

Michael - Although I'm sure that once I got into it, and got past getting the materials and setting it up, it would be pretty fun and rewarding to develop my own film. As for now, and since I have no idea really what I'm doing, I'm going to stick to a nearby, cheap lab - since that's one less variable for me to mess up the film. After a few rolls, I'll look more into developing myself.

Thanks for the info on the cleaning too - I picked up a cleaning set and tried to polish it up to the best I could, sans disassembly.

Thanks again Michael!

brooke lynne said...

Erin - Thanks for the info hun. I went over there yesterday, and after a long wait I finally got up to the counter and they looked at the brownie with nostalgic bewilderment. They knew it was old, but they had no idea how to work it, and they didn't even want to touch it. I asked if anyone that worked there would know how to dissemble it and clean it, and they looked at me like I was speaking in a foreign language.

Finally I just asked if I could buy a couple rolls of film and so I bought a roll of tmax 400 and ilford Delta 400 to see if could use them and get them developed before my film from ebay gets here.

brooke lynne said...

Dave R - Sounds like a fun camera to take pictures with! I'd love to get into using film cameras more and experiment developing my own negatives. I'm sure I'll do more of that once I have more time and money! :)

brooke lynne said...

Dave S - Thanks Dave! Yeah, I did find that manual and used it last night when I was loading film.

As far as throwing rocks... I'll try my hand at it. I'll tell you how it goes. ;)

Dave said...

I saw some photos by Tanya Dakin in a Bronica 6x6 and got all obsessed with the format, then had to by an old Yashica TLR off ebay. Of course it's not functioning as the seller said it was. I might have F'd it up messing with it, so I sent it down Georgia to Mark Hama (Mr. Yashica) for an overhaul.
Anyways, when it comes back I've got the film ready to shoot some amazing stuff. I hope. It's going to Wal-Mart so they can ship it out and develop it for like 2 bucks a roll or something. Just takes a few weeks. Then I'll have to get it scanned. I've seen good reports for the Epson 4490 and the V500. I'll have to figure that out next!

Dave Rudin said...

I have an Epson V500 scanner.

It works well enough.