The Old Camera


Mar 30, 2019

My grandma gave me this camera four or five years ago. I have used it as a decoration in my house ever since. Sometimes in the guest room, sometimes in the kitchen. I love it.
I’ve been looking at medium format film cameras, in perticular one that was made in the late ’90s. It has auto focus and creates really lovely images. I’ve been stalking this camera on the internet for a few weeks now. But it is SPENDY! Lets be honest, winter is the slow season for outdoor family photographers! And the end of winter is not an ideal time to be drooling over an expensive film camera.
So this old Kodak Brownie that has been sitting on my shelf started whispering to me. I’ve popped it open a few times. First with the help of experts at our local photography store, Sharp Photo. Then once they confirmed there was no film in it, I opened it a few more times to clean it up, or try to figure out if the parts all still moved.
And still, I drooled over the 90’s medium format camera.
I posted in a Facebook group, asking for film camera recommendations that would be comparable to the fancy one I had my eye on. Somebody mentioned that if I just wanted to play around, old box cameras could be fun.  I had really never thought of trying to make Grandma’s camera work. They are also a medium format film camera but they don’t make film for it anymore. I did a little googling. People are working their way around film limitations left and right! Between YouTube videos on how to use the old Brownie, and another trip to Sharp Photo, I learned that there are a couple of ways to make the Brownie work! The first thing I need though is a second spool. The SUPER helpful staff at Sharp mentioned some places online that they did 3D printing of old Brownie parts, including a spool that I need replicated with a few minor adjustments. Well, I just happen to know a few people that do 3D printing! My cousin in Iowa is one of them. I contacted him and he promptly agreed to help. I have to get the part to him and the film that will need to fit onto the spool.
Guys, I LOVE my grandma! I love all of my grandparents so very much. And if I can get ONE picture of my grandma with her grandparents out of this camera it will mean the world to me! It will mean so much more than the any photo I could produce by the fancy camera I’ve had my eye on! It will simply be priceless.
I am really trying not to count my chickens before they hatch! I mean- I have no idea if it will work once we get the pieces right. I cleaned up what I could and it looks like it’s in really good condition but I can’t see inside some areas and I don’t know what to expect! Nor do I exactly know how to shoot with it! Wish me (and my cousin) luck guys!