Film: 127/medium format
Format/Frame: 4 x 4 cm
…there is nothing much that can go wrong when using the camera. The only thing to remember is to wind the camera on after the shot so you don’t get multiple exposures and then compose the picture and press the shutter. The focus is fixed from five feet to infinity and there is a single aperture stop of probably about f/8 to f/11.—Simon Hawkett
Read the full account of the Brownie Reflex on Simon Hawkett’s Photo Blog HERE.
I feel with a great amount of certainty that the Kodak Brownie Reflex was the first camera I set my little hands on sometime after July of 1960. Other than a professional’s studio camera and set-up, the Brownie Reflex was also the first camera to photograph me as well—stumbling around our backyard on Stevenson Avenue in Akron, Ohio.
And of all the things from my childhood that are long gone, for some unexplained reason, the family Brownie Reflex camera remains. I’m unsure why or how my parents held on to this camera, but when I queried them about it years ago, they relinquished it to me—surely with my passion for photography in mind.
Although I’m thankful to still have this camera around as a reminder of those first years of my life, I’m even more thankful that 127 film is still available, albeit harder to find and thus a little pricey. I think a part of me feels the same about all film in general too.
Just within a week of this writing, I sent for four fresh, new rolls of 127 black and white film at a cost of twelve dollars per roll. I’m pretty sure around ten years ago, I scored the same film for about five dollars a roll. Nonetheless, I’m still grateful to have this camera from my youth around for display, but also to know I can pick it up, drop a roll of film in it, and still get images that look the same as when I was a toddler.
Although it is a simple camera, sometimes I look at it in wonder; knowing that is was built sometime between 1941 and 1952, and that it still works as well as it did when I picked it up as a child and clicked the shutter button (with film or no film loaded). Today, I try to use it in the same way it was used back when it was the family camera—straight up images of people in their places.
A couple years ago, I won a bid on some old 127 Kodak Verichrome film that was well over 50-years-old. I had my doubts on whether that was a smart thing to do, but the other day, I processed the first roll after exposing it via the Brownie Reflex, and to my surprise, it was a complete success (see image of “Andy & Jan”)
Take the accumulated age of the Brownie Reflex camera and the Verichrome film, and we are looking at 100-plus-years.