Afghan Box Camera

3 12 2012

Well, I’ve got a week off work at the moment, due to having a pile of holiday to take. So there’s a week now, and a fortnight in February during which J and I will be visiting Berlin. Pretty excited about that, just got to decide which camera/s to take along!

This week, however, is largely dedicated to Creative Things. It’s got off to a great start, with some wall space for my Floriography work at my favourite local coffee shop, a 5×4 pinhole nearly completed, and a joint effort (although it’s J’s baby, really) construction of an Afghan box camera.

The main bulk is constructed from 9mm MDF, with some thick cardboard as a (maybe temporary solution) to make the moving parts. We hijacked the lens from an old, cheaper model Kodak Brownie Junior (a 620 camera I could never be bothered respooling 120 for – although now it’s lensless, I’m considering making a pinhole plate for it; I find I have much more motivation to do fiddly things, like respool film, where pinholes are concerned).

This has been a couple of days worth of cutting, drilling and sanding in a freezing cold workshop (although the gluing time wasn’t so bad – we just clamped the lot together and buggered off back into the warm house for a few hours).

Making the focussing system:

Gluing the parts together:

Pretty much finished!

Now all that’s really left is to find some trays for the chemicals, and test her out. Hopefully tomorrow.

The 5×4 is pretty much in one piece now, all that’s left is to cover it in vinyl leatherette (entirely for aesthetic purposes – the wood is cheap pine, so got a bit tatty whilst planing and sanding, then I managed to cover half of it in paint whilst spraying the interior flat black) and add a hinge, lock and shutter. Maybe a tripod mount. I’m determined to finish it by the end of the week, so I’ll write more about it then.

Lastly, a small picture of my work up on display 🙂



Kodak Brownie No.2

14 10 2011

A little while ago, I bought a Kodak Brownie No.2 from an antiques shop in Richmond, close to where I live. It was only £3, and I had originally assumed it took an obsolete film format. That in mind, I planned to either have it as a display piece, or use it as a small handbag – the inside area is large enough to hold a small purse, mobile phone and cigarettes, and the catch is tight enough to make it secure enough.

Upon closer inspection, it turns out that the No.2 models accept 120 film, so of course, I had to run at least one roll of film through it. This was intended to be black and white, so I could develop it at home quickly. However, after shooting, I realised I’d used C41 process black and white, like an idiot, so it’s taken a while to get around to processing it.

From what I can find out, my Brownie appears to be a 1931 UK model F, making it the oldest camera in my collection. This in mind, I’m pretty impressed with what I got out of a camera nearly a century old. A lot weren’t in focus, but that’s more my fault than the camera. Every frame contained something, and of reasonably close exposure. I’m going to have to wait for bright days to use it in future (all these were shot on sunny days through the summer), but I’m inspired enough to experiment further with it, and hopefully shoot some more interesting subjects next time round.

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