What are the f-stop equivalents on a Kodak Brownie No.2?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by ricardo_aquino, Jul 22, 2007.

  1. Hello everyone. I just purchased an '30s kodak brownie No.2 (the Beau Brownie
    with the Art Deco design on it) with the intent of taking pictures with it. I
    have the manual for it and it tells me the exposures I should use for old kodak
    film that as far as I can tell had no ISO number so I wouldnt know what film to
    use with those exposures. What I wanted to know is, what are the f-stop
    equivalents on the camera? Is the largest opening an f/5.6, 4, 2.8? I figure
    just by looking at the 3 different sizes the next 2 are on f-stop from the
    last. Hopefully someone that has experience shooting with one of these cameras
    can shed some light on this. Thanks alot in advance for any responses.
  2. The f-stops may something like f8, f11 and f16, these were the most used f-stops in boxcamera's.
  3. At the Brownie Pages, see:


    More likely to be f/11, f/16, and f/22.

    Use ISO 100 to 160 film, and the smallest stop, in bright sunlight. These cameras were designed for what would now be ISO 25 to 50 film...
  4. I measured the diameter of the largest stop on my Model 2 as 7mm. As near as I can measure it, the lens to focal plane distance is 105mm. A stop of f/11 would mean an aperture diameter of nearly 10mm. I figure the stops are nearer f/16, f/22, and f/32.
  5. I hope we can see some photos made with one of these. They seem like very capable box cameras given the doublet lens and the adjustable aperture.

    I found a page on the No.2, Model F with some specifications.
  6. I have 3 rolls worth of negatives I shot a week ago with my No.2 box brownie at a WW1 event. I used ADOX 50 film and a number of them appear under-exposed.

    At the event I met a fellow shutterbug also shooting with a box camera. He told me he used 400 ISO film.

    I will wring the negatives through my new scanner this evening and post a link to them for you guys to pick apart.
  7. My answer might come a little late but might still be helpful. My experience is indeed that the apertures are more like f/16, f/22, and f/32, which I always found surprising, given the available film speeds at the time. <br><br>When you don't develop your black and white film yourself you could easily take a film like Ilford XP2 or Kodak 400CN (or whatever it's called nowadays). The latitude of this 400 speed standard C41 film is large enough to allow for good pictures, no matter where you point your box camera at, at least outside. If you do develop your film yourself, I would suggest using an old style higher speed film such as Kodak TXP320 or Ilford HP5. Of course you'll have to experiment a little with development times in that case. <br><br>Note that the shutter speed lays somewhere between 1/60 and 1/30. So when you do your math using the Sunny/16 rule, you would end up using the smallest aperture (f32), shutter speed of 1/60 second on a sunny day, making for an ISO 200 film. But you'll have to try or using one of the C41 black and white films (or colour film)
  8. Here is one of the scans I did of the photos, the rest can be found on the last two pages in this gallery on my website: http://www.flibweb.nl/flibweb/cpg143/thumbnails.php?album=77&page=2
  9. So I must conclude that Alex is on the money with the f-stop values as all my shots were under-exposed. So sticking to 100 or 200 ISO film is indeed a much better idea.

    I will also cover up the red window properly from now on.

    Good luck with yours,Ricardo.

  10. Nice quality in those shots, Rick. I'm going to have to find one of those cameras.
  11. The quality of these pictures from Rick's Model 2 is striking, much better than I would have expected from a box camera. I have acquired a couple of Model 2 boxes myself, one of them the 'Portrait' model, and I'm now anxious to put a roll of film through them.

    I remember reading an article recently (I forget where and by whom) which argued that photography had not improved a great deal in the last century or so, by which it was meant image quality as opposed to technical sophistication, and that images made many decades ago were still a match for those made today. Having seen what Rick got out of a Box Brownie, one can see where that argument gets its strength.
  12. I just ran a roll of Ilford 100 through my Beau Brownie, and pretty good results. I used the largest aperture setting, in mid-day California sun. 200, or maybe even 400 would give you more latitude. The results were good, but I can't figure out how these cameras were usable with 1930's film speeds.
  13. ...and another:
  14. From a Kodak Brownie No. 2 F. I just ran some 100 speed Arista.edu through it for the first time. Using an old Canon Rebel G as a light meter (the lightest film camera I have), I approximated exposure times or used the Instant setting outdoors. Pretty sharp at the center but quite soft at the edges, particularly the left side in landscape orientation.

    View attachment BrownieNo.2F.006 copy.jpg
  15. I have a Kodak No. 2 Folding Cartridge Premo circa late 19 teens. It has shutter speeds of 25 and 50, and aperture 1, 2,3, & 4. I've found it likes Ilford PAN F 50. Assuming the apertures translate to f11, f16, f22, f32, I've set the camera with my Luna Pro light meter and never yet had a bad exposure. The slow shutter speed on these cameras, and their lack of ergonomics, means they're never gonna be snapshooters. But they are completely able to do decent B&W landscapes, and posed still life and portraits. Solid basic photography with basic cameras. 34640003.jpg

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