Kodak Brownie

Photo Project – Kodak No 2 Folding Brownie

I’ve been intending to get back into film photography for a long time. After completing an A Level in photography eight years ago, I rewarded myself with a second hand Digital SLR, and never picked up a film camera again. That has all changed now though. I couldn’t warrant the cost of paying £10-odd a time to get films processed without even getting prints or a CD of them, and especially not knowing whether

I would even get any negatives that were anything other than plain black or plain white rectangles, so I duly went and bought all the equipment and chemicals to process them myself.

I decided to start out with the Kodak No 2 Folding Autographic Brownie, made in 1924, which I have previously written about here: Vintage Camera #1. I didn’t know what to expect with this, I’ve never shot with 120 film before, I had no idea what the film looked like inside the pack, or how to load it, so I had to watch a few YouTube videos to learn to do that. Loading the second roll of film was much less painful. So having repaired the shutter mechanism as described in the original post, off I went up to London and took a walk around Camden Town.

After finishing the first roll of film, I came home and processed it. The process is pretty straightforward all the information you need is printed on the bottles, in the film box, or on the bottom of the Paterson developing tank. I just needed a little reading from Google to remind me of how to make sense of it all. I considered writing a detailed instructional post, showing the entire workflow step by step from loading the film, taking pictures, to processing film and digitising the results, but there are so many resources on the internet, and so many people that have described it so much better than I would ever be able to, that I just don’t think it’s worth it.

Having processed the film, I was quite pleased to see that there was actually something on every negative (even though you only get 8 frames on a 120 film with this camera). So that’s it, I can still successfully process black and white film.

Sadly, this is more or less where the success ended. The tiny holes in the paper bellows were just too many, and as a result, each exposure had a fairly even cover of additional light, and the contrast was reduced so much that even with a lot of messing about in Lightroom, the images were difficult to recover. I did the best I could from a total of two films, and have included the results below. They’re probably not the best photos, and I should probably try photographing them again, now I’ve refined the digitising process, as this may improve them slightly. I will write about the digitising process in a separate post soon, but in the mean time, here are the best from the two films:

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