Week 6 – Brownie Hawkeye

I’ve had my eye on a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye at my parents’ house for a while, mainly out of curiosity, for 2 reasons:  it was my dad’s first camera, and I have several friends who really enjoy using them.  After my last visit, I got to take the camera with me.

Thanks to a friend in Shootapalooza (Nancy Smith) I knew that I could just trim the edges of the plastic spool on any roll of 120 film and it would fit into the camera fine.  She uses nail clippers; I just used scissors.  It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.  Incidentally, I have since learned that using an empty trimmed 120 spool in place of a 620 take-up spool is NOT a good idea; it will get stuck in the camera and require a lot of sweating and carefully applied bad language to get it out without doing any damage.

Of course I had to load the camera and start using it immediately.  I had plenty of tri-x with me, so that’s what went in.  A lot of googling and discussion with my dad had me expecting the roll to be overexposed outside and kinda perfect for indoors, since the shutter is about f11 1/30.  I expected to need to use FP4 or even PanF to approximate the film that was mainly available at the time they made the camera.  As you will see, this was NOT the case at all.  The indoor shots are way too dark, and the outdoor shots are fine.  Undoubtedly film has changed since the Brownie Hawkeye was the chicken-in-every-pot, but anyway I’m relieved to know I can just use my mainstay.

As usual, for my test roll I photographed in a variety of lighting situations.  I also tried something different, thanks to my friend Efrain in Film Shooters Collective.  He recently published an article on using multiple exposure as a way of photographing in low light / at night (published on Thursday, you should go to the FSC website and check it out, it’s excellent).  The self portrait you see here was 4 exposures in rapid succession.  In hindsight, I could easily have done 6 or even 8.  The single exposure was so dark I didn’t even bother spot cleaning it.

Finally, the photos.  Yay for a camera that’s kinda like a Holga but kinda not, and three extra cheers for the Brownie – still awesome after all of these years.

Indoors, window light

brownie test walt & Louise (1 of 1)1

Indoors, ambient light in the kitchen (clearly not enough)

brownie test waffles (1 of 1)1

Self portrait using Efrain’s technique of 4 exposures

brownie test self portrait (1 of 1)1

Indoors, ambient / window light

brownie test louise pingpong (1 of 1)1

Indoors at night, just with the light of the lamp

brownie test lamp (1 of 1)1

Indoors, window light

brownie test kitchen window (1 of 1)1

Indoors, at night

brownie test kitchen light (1 of 1)1

Indoors looking out

brownie test kids thru the window (1 of 1)1


brownie test front yard (1 of 1)1

Outdoors, bright sun

brownie test back yard (1 of 1)1


3 thoughts on “Week 6 – Brownie Hawkeye

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