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Art Deco Cameras

Kodak No2 Autographic Brownie


No2 Autographic Brownie
Kodak No2 Autographic Brownie
Manufacturer: Kodak
Produced: 1920
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Folding Bed
Bellows Deployment:Sliding Rail
Film Type:120
Film Width:62mm
ImageSize:2¼ x 3¼ in
No. of Images:8
Lens Type:Achromatic
Focus Type:fixed
Focal Length:90mm
Focal Range:2.5m - inf.
Aperture Type:Iris
Aperture:f/16 - f/45
Shutter Type :Kodak Ball Bearing
Shutter Speeds:T,B, I(1/50, 1/25 sec)
Size Closed (w x h x d):85 x 165 x 35 mm
Size Open (w x h x d):85 x 165 x 128 mm

Art Deco Credentials



The Kodak No2 Folding Autographic camera was introduced in 1915 and was discontinued in 1926. It is a sliding rail folding rollfilm camera. After the front is opened, the bellows are extended by sliding along a rail until they clip into place. There is a plate screwed to the base that can be moved to alter the focus. A lever at the side of the lens is used to release the sliding rail mechanism to fold the bellows into the body.

This camera uses autographic film which was produced from 1914 onward. It allowed the photographer to enter his or her own notes using a stylus through a door in the back, writing directly on to the negative. The backing becomes slightly translucent under the pressure from the stylus. With the action of daylight through the writing window, the negative is exposed by light passing through the inscription.

There are a variety of similar models. This model has 2 shutter speeds as well as T and B. The aperture is continuously variable from about f/16 to f/45. The aperture scale is annotated with numbers and description of scenarios. For the numbers, Aperture: "1", "2", "3," "4" (f/16, f/22, f/32, and f/45). For the descriptions, Aperture: "1", "2", "3," "4" (Near View/Portrait, Average View, Distant View, and Clouds Marine).

A small swivelling brilliant finder is connected to the shutter housing. There is a table mount and two tripod mounts for portrait and landscape mode. No cover for the red window is provided.

How to Use

A manual for this kind of camera is found here : No2 Autographic Brownie. It's not the exact model but it will give you some idea of how it works.

This camera takes 120 film which is available from selected photographic outlets. However, using 120 film does not support autographic mode.

It is advisable to cover the red window except when winding film in low light.

As the shutter speed is low, it is advisable to use a tripod or hold it against a wall or other solid object to get shake-free images. For quick snapshots, hold it firmly against your body.

I suggest you use ISO 100/125 film

The table shows how this camera will perform using ISO 100/125 film. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Modern film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

The tables assume that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summers day (May-August) in the UK.

Remember that the exposure guide in the manual may not be helpful as it is based on the use of old film with a low ISO value.

Using ISO 100/125 film

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailShutter Speed (s)
with sharp edges
Slight OvercastSoft around edges(2)f/22(1)f/16
OvercastBarely visible(1)f/16-
Heavy OvercastNone--
Open Shade