Kodak Brownie Hawkeye

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by silverscape, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. I've been thinking about getting one of these little cameras for a while, and I finally bought one :)
    Although I'm sure Gene got me interested in these...I know he's posted a bunch of pictures from these cameras before.
    I just bought it on eBay and it came in the mail today. It's in good condition, and the shutter works. As you can see, it even included the flash! I cleaned it up a bit, and I even managed to take it apart and cleaned the lens. One good thing is that it's such a simple camera, and it's very easy to take apart and fix. By the way, despite what the instructions say, a 120 film spool fits perfectly on the supply side. A 120 spool won't fit on the takeup side though, but luckily there was already a 620 spool in the camera.
    I have a question. I'm really anxious to get some pictures with this, and I especially want to get some indoor flash pictures. I've been wanting to try an old school flash bulb camera like this for a while. But what kind of flash bulbs can I use? There is a label on the flash reflector, with instructions for an "SM or SF lamp" and also a "No 5 or 25 lamp." I happen to have some blue Sylvania P25 bulbs...would those work? I'm planning to use black and white film, probably Plus-X. If those flash bulbs will work, all I need to do is get some C batteries and start shooting. I have plenty of film and developer.
    Also, does anyone have any tips? What should I expect from this camera? I know it's just a simple box camera. Actually, there isn't a single manual control on this thing other than the film advance...you just press the shutter button and hope. But still, it looks like a really cool old school flash bulb camera, and some of the example photos I've seen from these cameras looked surprisingly good. I can't wait to try it :)
  2. rdm


    Nice example. I have two examples of that camera , but still no flash. I did run a roll through one of them once, and only some shots that were taken in the park one afternoon came out for me. After some research i found out that the lens is about and f16 and the shutter was at 1/30th. I cant remember why but my initial assumptions were that it was that its an f8 at 1/50th which is one less EV value. I did not use color film, instead I re spooled some Tmax 800, next time i will try some 400
    Believe it or not you can adjust these for electronic flash sync. This site has an article that tells you how along with other things brownie. I have not did the taping of the un-threaded terminal socket yet; I am waiting to get a flash like yours that i can take apart and fill with a modern electronic flash , probably some cheep one i will salvage from ether a disposable or something real cheep off fleaBay. I just haven't gotten around to it
    Here is also another good resource. Please be sure you post photos from it after you run some film through it.
    And thank you for posting this, you got me thinking about my brownie again, and i think I'm definitely going to take it out shooting again soon and also try and see if i have a kodak midget I can fit a electronic flash into. I just hope i have a beat up copy, i hate hacking anything classic in great original condition, no matter how much its worth.
  3. Yes, the flashbulb would be a "25 press", so a P25 is almost certainly the right thing. The blue bulbs are required for color film, but are also fine for B&W film.
    Any ISO 100 or 125 film should work fine in bright sun. Plus-X is discontinued in all formats, so you may wind up using Ilford FP4+.
    Portra 160 would probably work nicely in color. You probably will need to apply chromatic aberration corrections in digital post-processing, but after doing that the results in color will be sharper than in B&W.
  4. Great to see you posting again Chris, we have missed you on this forum.
    Speaking of Gene M, has anyone heard from him? I sure miss his posting of found film.
  5. I still have my wife's brownie hawkeye from the 1950's
    I cleaned it and according to the brownie page, moved the tab inside to change the flash synch.
    One page reports that there wad a version like yours and another with bumps in the metal to prevet
    using 120 in the supply side. The suggestion was to take it apart and use pliers to flatten the bumps.,
    the metal and plactic parts MUST be separated or the plastic parts will surely crack.
    The article also says one hole is tapped 10-24 and the unthreaded hole can be tapped 6-32..
    this would allow some kind of adapter to be fastened to the camera.
    But the idea of putting parts inside a old flash seems a more elegant solution.
    These flashes came in may models small plastic large metal like yours.
    and one with a rotating 'six-shooter" holder that held 6 m2 bulbs.
    there was even one with a built in generator.
    it closed like a flip phone. the reflector was just curver like a cupped hand hed up with fingers extendrd.
    A knob was spun a few times providing enough power to make the flash work.
    many came with a BC adapter ( battery-capacitor) that was a piece of brass that held a 15 v battery
    and a capacitor. In many models this could be easily unclupped and regular aa or c cells could
    replace it. a few even had two reflactors 5" and 3" imnch that could be interchanged.
    remeber film then was asa 32 and 64. 100 speed was considered really fast.
    I would avoid 160 or 400 speed film.
    The results should be sharper than from a Holga/
  6. There's a karma principle involved here. There are only just so many flash bulbs left, and nobody will ever make more. I have a box of them, sufficient to load my various flashes. The bulbs are to not to be used casually. You're young, and no doubt you've never had the pleasure of firing off a flash bulb. So you're allowed and indeed encouraged! However, be mindful of the diminishing stock. Shoot a roll with flash -- not dumb test shots, but good photos you will enjoy later. If you have children, include them in on the experience. Save a few unspent bulbs for your collection. Enjoy and remember the experience! :)
    BTW, be careful not to burn your fingers removing a bulb you just set off!
    FAIW, I just read your profile, and you sound a lot like me! I was shooting a lot of Panatomic-X with a beautiful Kodak Monitor Six-20 about when you were born -- back when Instamatics were in common use by the masses.
  7. Nice find. Would love to see results from it.
    Re Gene M.
    I haven't wanted to bother him to see what's up, but I'm sure we all wish him the best and are looking forward to seeing more from him when he returns to us. In the meantime, here is the url for his page, to ease the withdrawal pains.... http://www.westfordcomp.com/
  8. The only small flashbulb that appears to be in any risk of getting rare on the secondary market is the 6B and FP26B focal-plane bulbs. The 25 press is still outrageously common. Even more common is the M3B, which can be trivially used in this flash with an adapter, and has about the same power as the 25.
    The flashbulbs that are in risk of vanishing are the big Edison (screw) base ones, which are in demand by spelunkers for photography in caves, where you need massively more power than any electronic flash can offer.
  9. Congrats on your purchase; it's pretty likely that you'll have fun with it. Concerning the flash, if you browse around enough you'll find adapters that will let you use smaller bulbs in the Hawkeye Flash unit pictured in your post; some of them include a smaller reflector as part of the adapter allowing the use of smaller bulbs (which will be newer, most likely). I like to use AG-1 bulbs, partly because I have them, but also because they pack a good punch for a small size. If the bulbs you have access to come in a package, you've probably already found the recommended distances for different bulbs correlated with film speeds-- all you need to do is to keep within the listed range. Good luck!
  10. There is a Flickr group dedicated to the BHF. Some good stuff there but a lot seems to be one with the lens flipped over. They get old fast but the group is worth checking out.
  11. The flashbulbs that are in risk of vanishing are the big Edison (screw) base ones, which are in demand by spelunkers for photography in caves, where you need massively more power than any electronic flash can offer.​
    I thought Megaflash in Ireland was still making screw-base flashbulbs.
  12. The camera will surprise you. I have been using one occasionally for years, often with long-expired 620 Verichrome Pan. You will need to respool 120 onto 620 reels or trim the supply spool (120) so that it fits. The take-up spool must be a 620 spool.
    Here is an example of what you can expect:
  13. I took this a few years back on Agfa Optima film, so I must have trimmed a 120 spool to fit:
  14. Mark, those are both beautiful photos but the color one blows me away, I would never guess it came from a Hawkeye.
    I did shoot a roll of Portra 400 through my Hawkeye but the daylight pictures were horribly over exposed. The ones taken in shade or diminished light came out good though.
  15. JDM,
    Thank you for your reply regarding Gene M. I have visited his wonderful world of found film and old camera web site a few times.
  16. Mark, those are stunning pictures! If I can get anything like that from this simple little box camera, I'd be blown away!

    And I'm lucky, because a 120 spool actually DOES fit in my camera. On the supply side, at least. It fits perfectly. Maybe because it's an earlier version? I looked up the date code (there's a website that tells you how to find the year the camera was made, based on a letter code that Kodak was using. I can't remember the address for that website is though). My camera was made in February, 1953.

    Bill, I've read about the Brownie Hawkeye, and the shutter speed is really slow...I think around 1/40. So a 400 ISO film would definitely get overexposed. I don't plan on using anything higher than 100 ISO. I have another really old box camera - a Kodak Brownie Model 2A (it's from the 1920's and still works great!), and I would never use anything higher than 100 with it either.
  17. rdm


    Chris Tobar , Jan 08, 2012; 02:34 a.m.
    ......a 120 spool actually DOES fit in my camera. On the supply side, at least. It fits perfectly. Maybe because it's an earlier version?......... the shutter speed is really slow...I think around 1/40. So a 400 ISO film would definitely get overexposed. I don't plan on using anything higher than 100 ISO. I have another really old box camera - a Kodak Brownie Model 2A (it's from the 1920's and still works great!), and I would never use anything higher than 100 with it either........a 400 ISO film would definitely get overexposed. I don't plan on using anything higher than 100 ISO.​
    WoW, [​IMG] , OK first when I read Walters post and see repeats of what was mentioned in the two links that i provided, i just figured, well maybe he didn't see my post because I wrote so much or did read it but did not see the links. Then i thought maybe he did and is just giving you the highlights. But now i read that you are wondering what shutter speed the camera is, after I not only said the camera is fixed at 1/30 th of a second shutter with an f /16 lens but its also mentioned in the link i provided along with the other stuff.
    Also you say that 400 ISO would defiantly be over exposed. It wouldn't DEFINITELY, unless you plan on exclusively shooting in bright daylight. Bill and i mentioned that we both used high ISO film (800 for me and 400 for him) in this same camera and some came out and only the bright mid daylight shots didn't...
    Ya know...,if i was a paranoid man I would think i was being ignored..lol [​IMG].
    But me thinks there is just allot of skimming going on when everyone's checking in here hahah; Busy lives, i know believe me.
    Anyway that brings me to my two Hawkeye shooters. (Yes, I have two Kodak Brownie Hawkeye cameras like Chris has pictured, incase anyone didnt see me mention that earlier). Inspired by Chris's photo of his camera and Marks Photos, I loaded one up with 400Tmax film with plans to take maybe some indoor and definitely some shots at dusk & in shade, and I have the other loaded with Portra 160 for daylight shooting. I always over develop my B&W film and like thick negatives so 400 is not too fast for me I think. This should be neat. Only problem is that I have no idea when i would be able to develop these rolls after i shoot them. But when i do If i have access to a negative scanner again, i will defiantly post some shots.... Hmm i think i wrote too much again.
  18. People are often surprised at the high image quality (relatively speaking) that can be achieved from a camera with just a simple meniscus lens like this. The key I think is the small aperture. I find that with most older fixed aperture cameras, if the apertures is about f/16 or smaller, it will tend to produce a surprisingly "normal" image - even out to the corners.
    Incidentally, if you ever find yourself wanting some additional exposure control with a camera like this, one trick I have often used is to adapt a set of 2 or 3 ND filters to the lens. The idea is to reserve the highest-valued ND value filter for the sunniest conditions, while choosing increasingly lighter (lower value) ND filters as conditions get darker. To make this work you have to start with a higher than normal film speed - I often use 400, but it depends on the shutter speed of the particular camera. If you know the approximate aperture and shutter speed of the camera, you can use the "Sunny 16" rule to figure out the value of the strongest ND filter you would need for the given film speed. As for how to mount the filters, there are push-on "series" filter adapters for different lens barrel sizes, so if you can find the right size adapter then it becomes very easy to pop on and off the ND filters. And you can experiment with other types of filters too, once you have the adapter! I don't happen to have a BHF to tell you what size the adapter would need to be or whether there is anything keeping this idea from working in this case, but from the pictures I have seen, I don't see why it wouldn't.
  19. Also: Kodak made a push-on "portrait" lens for the Hawkeye, which is something like a +.5 diopter, maybe a +1, and one can find ND gels that could be cut into small squares and hled over the lens with a piece of tape for those bright sunny shots.
  20. I have one of these sitting on a shelf right next to me, along with a c.1950 Kodak DuaFlex III. I've used the Hawkeye quite a bit. Here's what I do. I shoot ISO 400 film in it, and vary the exposure by using either colored filters (b&w film) or ND filters. I simply figure out how many stops I need to slow it down by and hold the filters over the lens. Works like a charm. I use an incident light meter to figure exposure. Using the ISO 400 film I even used the camera at night, in bulb mode, counting off seconds for exposure. THe camera I have originally belonged to my wife's mother, and we found it in a closet when cleaning out the house for the last time. Have't tried bulbs in it, but it does look cool with the flash holder. I have a small flash for it and also the large one. For those of you who've seen the Progressive Insurance Co. commercials with Flo, the one where she has a camera, this is the camera she has.
    Kent in SD
  21. A 25.5mm Series V filter holder fits the BHF and lets you use Series V filters which are often available in abundance on the big auction site. Will also let you mount a a lens shade which helps control the flare you can easily get with this camera.

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