Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kodak Bullet Camera and Brownie Hawkeye Flash

Kodak Bullet Camera
Produced: From1936 to 1942.
Film: 127
Original Cost: $2.75

The Kodak Bullet Camera is one of the cameras that Walter Dorwin Teague designed for Kodak. The lens telescopes into the camera when not in use making it a fairly compact camera.  The two shutter speeds are 1/50 and bulb.  The aperture is f/11. And that is pretty much all there is to this camera.  I found this one for $2 at an antique shop this weekend.  The metal parts need some cleaning, however the shutter works so it should be able to take some pictures. And if it can't for what I paid I think I can afford to keep it for its looks. Since I haven't made a gallery yet for this camera I found a couple of people on Flickr who have pictures made with the Bullet Camera.

The Brownie Hawkeye Flash was made from 1950 to 1961.  Judging from the number I see on Ebay and in antique stores it must have been one of the best selling cameras of all time. Some may notice the the 35mm canisters are out of place.  I just added them for color and because I happened to have them in my hand. 

It took me a while to finally decide to get one of these.  Most of the ones I had seen at flea markets and antique shops were always pretty dirty and often had ridiculous prices.  And I didn't want to get one off Ebay and have to pay postage when I was pretty sure that sooner or later I would find one locally.  On Sunday I found this one which included the flash unit and was amazingly clean.  The price was $12 which I thought was just fine.

When I got the camera home I was very pleased to find that it could use 120 film. Now the Brownie Hawkeye was made to use 620 film which is no longer made.  As I bet most of you know the only difference between 620 and 120 is the size of the spool.  The film itself is almost exactly the same.  I have read that at some point that Kodak modified the Brownie Hawkeye to make sure it couldn't use 120 film.  I am glad my camera escaped that modification because after putting the first roll through it I think I will want to use the Brownie Hawkeye Flash again.  It is nice to know that I can do that with having to reload 120 film to a 620 spool.

From my first experience with using the Brownie Hawkeye Flash I can see what people are talking about with the need to hold this camera steady.  In my pictures I can see there is some real potential in this camera, however there was more motion blur than I care for.

One of my first results with the Kodak Brownie Hawkeye.  Once I do another roll or so with it I will post a gallery for this camera.

One last thing I like about the Brownie Hawkeye Flash is that the viewfinder is actually useful.  With most of the box cameras that I have used I usually end up pointing the camera toward what I want to picture and hoping that things work out. The viewfinder on this camera does allow me to get a much better idea of how to compose the picture. I'm not going to repeat the great amount of information that is already out there about the details of this camera.  A search will easily satisfy any further curiosity.


  1. Nice photos and camera. I too have a hawkeye. I got mine for $5. I found some 620 reels on EBay and rewind the film. I want to do a roll of Fuji Velvia soon.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Thanks Gregory. It would be interesting to see how slides would turn out. I know negative film is a lot more forgiving than slide film.

  2. I've got a Brownie Hawkeye, too. Mine came with a roll of exposed film in it. I had it processed and got a bunch of photos from a family's Niagara Falls vacation in the late 1960s.

    I haven't run film through it -- not sure if it was pre- or post-anti-120 modification. But I have some 120 here and ought to give it a try.

    1. Jim, I remembering enjoying your post on the Brownie Hawkeye. Those photos turned out great.

      120 film would be worth a try. I seem to remember that yours was made earlier than mine so you may have one that can still use the 120 film.