Not really mine - 1926 Kodak No.2 Autographic folding brownie

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by David Mitchell, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. David Mitchell

    David Mitchell Active Member

    Hi all,

    My mate is getting into vintage film photography, probably due to seeing my small collection I have started on lol ive started him on a nice easy 35mm Fujica ST605n SLR which has a nice easy to use TTL light meter so he can learn more about exposure.

    Anyway, he saw a Zeiss Ikon Netter in the window of a shop a few days ago which triggered his need for vintage cameras lol it was - ie a compact folder. It runs a 120 film which at least he can still get, but he decided to not get it due to the price - seems to have been rather overpriced! Anyway basically as he wants to shoot older cameras in the future I have bought him the below camera for a Christmas pressie (aren't I nice lol) its a 1926 Kodak No.2 Autographic folding brownie - it uses A120 film, but takes 120 film just fine - the A is the autographic bit.

    The camera is called an 'autographic' camera due to the small flap at the back which you open when you take a shot, write on the back of the film (which removes some of the light tight material) and expose the writing to light. Then when the film is developed you have your comments exposed onto the film - rather cool! The stylus has been lost (as with most of them) but it seems that this has been covered with some light tight material as I think A120 film stopped being made in about 1940ish. Makes sense not to have a massive open to the elements hole in the back when shooting lol

    Here are some photos - my D3100 doesn't seem to like focusing at the moment, not sure wh - bring back manual lenses I say! lol


    Back (with window open)

    Platform open

    Lens and bellows extended

    Platform - the way it works is that the front of the lens pulls forward and locks into one of the notches to focus - there is no focusing lens on the camera, you simply move the lens back and forth to focus

    Here are the lens settings - T, B, 1/25 and 1/50 with the 'aperture' settings of 1,2,3 and 4

    The F stops for the numbers are F8, F16, F32 and F64, but due to this camera being a simple to use brownie the manual just states 'for this senario use shutter 1/50s and number 3' so its simple to use.

    One other things to note which is a bit different, the shutter is INFRONT of the lens, ie there is no glass in front of the shutter as it is on my Bessa, its behind the shutter - I guess it would protect it lol

    This is pretty interesting though, the film 'back' and lens assembly come apart, the lens basically sits in the box of film lol its pretty cool


    And a nice strap


    Anyway, there you go, will be interesting to see how it shoots, there are no light leaks in the bellows and the lens is clear, even the shutter fires really well so apart from a bit of wear to the case and the missing stylus - result lol
  2. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Amazing, being able to write on the film. Good write up, David.
  3. David Mitchell

    David Mitchell Active Member

    It did seem rather cool, I think I have seen issues with newer faster colour film having light leaks from the larger red film counter, my Kodak Six-20 has a fairly small shot 'counter' but this is fairly massive. It just shows how when the camera was first made the films were much slower, just had a look at the manual (downloaded pdf) and it says for a normal bright sunny day it should be set to '1' and shutter speed of 25. Looking at my sliding scale exposure calculator for it being F8 and 1/25 of a second its errrrm below ISO 25 lol

    Looking at my sliding 'sunny 16' calculator in full sun with ISO 100 film it *should* be ok at F32ish ie 'number 3' setting, when I went around my friends yesterday to let him borrow my ST605N I took round some of my other cameras, example being the Bessa, its 20 years newer and had shutter speeds up to 1/150, I think the earlier ball bearing lenses for this did go up to 1/100. I basically showed him that shooting the older cameras is fun, but also more challenging as there aren't as many options for shutter speeds and apertures - I think the Bessa is F4.5 to F22, this camera being F8 to F64 is mental lol but I guess it needs to be a very high F number if you only have 2 shutter speed settings.

    I have no clue when you would need to use the B or T settings lol I guess if you were shooting at F64 with very very slow film on a slightly cloudy day you may expose for 1 second or so. I will see what the slowest film I can find is, I think I have seen some Ilford ISO 25 film somewhere, think he might have to settle for ISO 50 or ISO 100 though. Im just amazed at the fact that its got a setting for F64 lol

    The bellows on this are in pretty good condition with no pinholes, ive put a tiny bit of grease on the runners which has helped a bit, but its in very good condition for something over 85 years old and all the settings work. The extra black out material in the flap area is also a sort of heavy woven material and is indeed old, so that 'modification' to the camera might have happened when you couldn't get A120 film anymore.

    I did find an empty 120 reel still in the camera - ie the loading spool left in the camera after you shoot the roll, its plastic, so can't be very old due to the original 120 rolls being wood, but at least I know its been shot fairly recently - by recent I mean post plastic production lol

    I just like the large volume of decent materials in the camera, its all metal with a leathertte sort of cover but its still very solid, not sure how much its been used, but its had some use at least. I think the main feature that was pretty neat - apart from the autographic flap, was the different notches for the distances. It has obviously been calibrated and then has notches for 100ft, 50ft and 8ft so depends on where you peg the lens board to on the platform depends on the focus - much like the large format cameras.

    Im tempted to get one myself at some point, I need to be careful about the model I get though as some shoot the 117 film which you can't get anywhere anymore lol hopefully he will enjoy the piece of history I bought him :)
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
  4. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    Looks like a VPC ...
    been playing with mine today, going to mount the whole thing to the front of the nex at some point ... The results I have seen from such endeavours are very pretty!
  5. David Mitchell

    David Mitchell Active Member

  6. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    Yeah... That's the sort of look...
    lovely smeary stuff
  7. David Mitchell

    David Mitchell Active Member

    Its just an interesting video as that lens would have NEVER have been used for video so its interesting to see it shoot both colour and video. Ironically a pinhole camera without any optics at all could be sharper with everything in focus lol I think I will add a pinhole camera and a vintage lens board to my experiments after the 1000 exposure count *goes and buys half frame camera* lol

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