Kodak Folding Brownie — You Can Still Use this 100-Year-Old Camera in 2023

Dmitrii Eliuseev
9 min readNov 27, 2022

In the previous article, I did a review of a 110-year-old Kodak Brownie camera. And I absolutely could not resist testing the “newer” model, a Kodak Folding Brownie:

Kodak Folding Brownie © Image By Author

This camera not only looks great, but it also provides much more features for photographers. I will also figure out how I can use this camera today and will show the results.

As usual, a small note. Many specs of different hardware can be easily found online, but I’m convinced that it’s impossible to get a true impression about using any device by only reading online articles. To genuinely know if the camera was good or not, I should test it myself. So, I bought this camera on my own on eBay, I have no sponsors, and Kodak also did not pay me for this review ;)

And now, let’s get started.

History

More than 100 years ago Kodak introduced a series of “Kodak Brownie” cameras:

Kodak Brownie ads, Source © George Eastman Museum

This was a big marketing success. Cameras were cheap, and they were fully automatic. A Kodak Brownie camera had only one button, and using it did not require any special skills (more details can be found in my Kodak Brownie review, and I actually recommend reading that part first). To be more precise, “fully automatic” is not the right word, 110-year-old technology did not allow making any automation at all. There was no light-metering or any kind of “logic” implemented inside, and the shutter speed and aperture were just “hardcoded” to a single value. It was not terribly bad — the photographic film had a pretty wide dynamic range, and the image contrast and brightness could be adjusted later during the printing, but the chance of getting under-exposure or over-exposure images was still high. The next logical step for Kodak was to make a better camera, which could provide better control of the process. And Kodak engineers did it. In a modern naming notation, we could title the new camera a “Pro” version — it has a better lens, focusing mechanism, and manual controls for the aperture and shutter speed. Last but not least, as the name suggests, the new Kodak’s “folding”…

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Dmitrii Eliuseev

Python/IoT developer and data engineer, data science and electronics enthusiast