Thinking inside the box is one thing that George Eastman did not do, that became very clear after a visit to the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY. But in the case of this entry, the box is what I was thinking in. Using box cameras is not something new to me, having used my mom’s Agfa Box 50 in the past and loved the format. This is a basic of a camera as you can get without going to a pinhole. The camera is mostly cardboard, metal on the insides, a single lens, rolling shutting, fixed aperature. Meet the Kodak Brownie Model 2, the latest, and now oldest camera in my collection. Built in 1916 in Toronto, I got it in near mint condition. The viewfinder is foggy, and the film rolls up kinda funny, but it’s light tight and the shutter still works.

The Kodak Brownie was first introduced at the turn of the 20th century, it was the first camera to use a flexable roll film, rather than a plate, and cost a dollar, it was George Eastman’s dream given form, a camera and film that would bring photography to the masses.

So despite being 96 years old, I carefully loaded up a roll of Kodak Tmax 100 and took it to work with me, and over the course of the day shot the camera around campus, often getting asked “what is that” “a camera” many didn’t believe me, but some did. The results, four out of eight images exposed when I pulled the film out of the tank that night.

The 1916 Brownie Model 2 Test

The 1916 Brownie Model 2 Test

The 1916 Brownie Model 2 Test

The 1916 Brownie Model 2 Test

I was expecting a much softer results, but the images are surprisingly sharp (but Tmax 100 in D-76 1+1 is a very sharp film), no soft dreamy look, if hte camera wasn’t such a pain to load and shoot with I’d probably use it more, but I want to keep it in good shape, so that in 2016 I can take it out and shoot, and when asked I can say “Oh, this, it’s a 100 year old camera).

Kodak Brownie Model 2 – Kodak Tmax 100
Dev: Kodak D-76 1+1 7:00 @ 23C

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *