Kodak Folding Pocket Brownie

Kodak FPB
Specifically, this is a No.2 Folding Pocket Brownie, Model A, which is unusual for not appearing on the Kodak historical website nor the Brownie Page, both of which start with the Model B that appeared in 1907. I suspect the Model A was a short-run precursor from 1906 or early 1907. Whatever, it is the oldest item in my camera collection and one of the oldest objects in my house.

Apparently, it is about 20% smaller than the earlier No.2 Folding Brownie and suggests that people had really big pockets in the early 20th century.

The ‘No.2’ designation tells us that it  uses 120-size roll-film, which remains available. Negative size is a nominal 6x9cm, giving 8 images per roll. The camera has a simple meniscus lens and a shutter with ‘I’, ‘B’ and ‘T’ settings. ‘I’ stands for ‘instantaneous’ and has a speed of about 1/30 second. There are three aperture settings, roughly corresponding to f/11, f/16 and f/22. There is no separate aperture diaphragm; the ‘aperture’ control works by limiting the amount that the shutter opens, which probably has an effect on shutter speed as well.

The focusing control is ingenious. A bar with a peg is moved to one of three set positions; the lensboard has three holes in the bottom and you pull it out until it clicks.

The object on the left of the baseboard is a simple reflecting viewfinder, which can be flipped over for using the camera in vertical format. The viewfinder image is really dim, and there is more than a little element of chance in the final framing.

I used this camera for March in my 12 months, 12 cameras project. The image below was shot on HP5+. I had thought I would have to make some excuses for a 110 year old camera but the result is actually quite pleasing.

FPBrownie HP5 324-005