Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Kodak Brownie Reflex

I have divested myself of most of my 127 film cameras, but the Kodak Brownie Reflex I have recently shot with is one that sat on a shelf for a number of years before I finally put some film in it. I had a roll of 40+ year old Kodak Verichrome Pan in 127 size,(the best film ever for box cameras), so I figured that I may as well finally try out the Brownie. While it looks much like a TLR, it's really just a box camera with a reflex (mirror) viewfinder. My camera is a bit grungy on the viewfinder part, but the taking lens (a simple meniscus lens) is clear. Note that the camera has I and B settings - for "Instant" and "Bulb". The frames are square 4x4 cm, with 12 exposures on a roll. The model I have is the "synchro" version, made from 1941-1952, meaning that it accepts a clip-on flash unit. The body is mostly made of black bakelite, and it really is a stylish box camera, complete with neck strap. I started the roll of VP127 back in June, when my daughter Jorie and I went on a photo safari to Indiana, and finally finished the roll yesterday by taking some shots in Ann Arbor. I developed the film in Kodak DK-50 1:1 for 6 minutes. That particular developer seems to work really well with old Verichrome Pan. I like the square format, and considering the age of the film AND the age of the camera, the results are pretty decent.

The theater in Angola, Indiana. June 2011.

Decatur, IN., June 2011.

The railroad trestle near Argo dam, Ann Arbor. 12/26/2011. Note that this, the last image on the roll, is quite free from the markings found on the beginning of the roll.

I might shoot 127 more often if it were not for the fact that the only b&w film is Efke, and that 127 film is a pain to scan, as there are no film holders for it. However, I certainly have enough 120 and 35mm cameras to use, and 127 remains a rarely-used format. At one time, it was quite popular, and pretty much died out as a consumer film once Kodak brought out the Instamatic cartridge in 1963. There are still some beautifully-made 127 cameras that are worth trying -- the Sawyers 127 TLR, the mini Rollei, and the Ricoh Super-44. Such compact TLR cameras are fun to use, and produce excellent results.

7 comments:

Cat Daddy said...

Nice shots from very old film! The grain on the Indiana is very cool!

Cat Daddy said...

Also, have you tried the Bluefire Murano 127 film? I have a couple of rolls in my fridge for my Baby Rollei...

http://www.bluefire.ca/BluefireMurano.htm

Jim said...

Nice results from your Brownie! I have one of those lying around here someplace, and I have a roll of 127 in the fridge ... hmm!

Mike said...

Very nice results from the old film/camera combo. I have the non-synchro model and really like it; just wish 127 was more affordable. I do have 100' of Portra, so I should really get busy and roll some so I can shoot the Brownie, as well as my Foth Derby which is also a great little shooter.

Cat Daddy said...

Also, I have one of these for 110 film and it works very well.I think it would work great fro 127 film if you have a flatbed backlit scanner...

http://filmscanusa.com/cs-cart/index.php?target=products&product_id=29800

Mark said...

Thanks for the comments, Scott, Jim, and Mike. Regarding the 127 scanner insert -- at that price, it's cheaper for me to print in the darkroom and scan a print!

ascu75 aka Don said...

Nice images I love the last one.