25 Sep 2015

Kodak Six-20 Brownie Box Camera 35mm

So I felt a sudden urge to shoot one of these box cameras. I can't explain it, especially given my craze for sharp photos. Sharpness is the last thing you want to expect from one of these, but heck, I wanted one, I got one, and here is how I tested it.

Before you start following any instructions, keep in mind that using 120 film spools was not a good idea here. I had to respool on original 620 spool to get this going.

Using 120 film backing paper and a Lloyds bulk loader, I taped the leader of my 35mm film right where the 120 film was. The Lloyds bulk loader allows you to use its weight and design to keep the film straight as you roll it.

With a spool at each end, the whole contraption went into the dark changing bag and I rolled an amount of film into the first spool.

Then I cut the film and rolled all the way to make sure the film and paper are nice and snug, and then I respooled the whole thing in reverse into the other spool. This way, I had the film "starting" where it should, and I could use the film counter numbers (which I didn't) to know how much film I'm actually advancing.

The backing paper was torn at the edge from the other spool which hooked into the hole and didn't want to come out in the dark bag. I had to tear it but that is fine. Now I simply rolled this in the camera making sure the emulsion side is facing front. This is where the problems began with using 120 film spools as they weren't the right size.

Advancing the thing was very tough and eventually the whole paper was torn. I had to take it all out, respool it on 620 spools (exposing a lot of both edges of the film in the process).  I'm lucky I had two of these lying around

The camera was then ready to shoot.

Knowing the aperture value (which was f14 in this case, the shutter value (which is either fixed at 1/30th or bulb), and knowing my ISO rating (which was ISO125 since I used Ilford FP4 Plus), I metered the scene outside of my window and took a bulb-timed shot of the outside (meter reading to get the time, then hand-guesstimating on the button to actually shoot), and here is the first shot which sat in Rodinal 1:300 for about an hour and a half. Tones levelled in Photoshop to make it darker. Not bad eh?

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