What is a Hawkencam? It is a Frankenstein creation of old Brownie Kodak Hawkeye cameras put together in new ways. Broken parts have been patched with auto body putty, all the bad parts have been patched and put together, the front from one camera mated to the back of another camera. The camera(s) have been taken apart and put back together; lenses, view finders, cover glass, even the mirror have been cleaned and at least dusted off. The lens has been flipped over and reinstalled backwards. Another lens is added to the outside. The winder is broken so it turns backwards to no good purpose; it was broken by someone who thought it should turn clockwise, but that was not me. I go by the old saying, Never force anything photographic.

My old Hawkencam has reawakened to new life. A test roll of film has proven that IT LIVES!

300 dpi spot cleaned in the computer. 24 inches away with a 1+ close-up lens attachment on the flipped lens.
300 dpi spot cleaned in the computer. 24 inches away with a 1+ close-up lens attachment on the flipped lens.

Ilford 3200 ISO film was used in the studio under one flood light. An incident light reading was 80+1 on the low scale. Spinning the dials on the Sekonic light meter told me that I’d need 3200 ISO. So I loaded the camera.

This camera takes 620 film. 120 almost fits, it goes in, but it is so tight that it sticks and jumps. That is not good for the film and would surely scratch it. The film had to be rewound onto a 620 spool. There was a bump where the film is taped to the backing paper and I had to take the tape off and put it back on in the changing bag. Not easy. There are now some small light leaks along the edges of the film because it wasn’t wound tightly enough.

300 dpi spot cleaned in the computer. 18 inches away with a 1+ close-up lens attachment over the flipped lens.
300 dpi spot cleaned in the computer. 18 inches away with a 1+ close-up lens attachment over the flipped lens.

When the ISO is 3200, when the shutter speed is 1/40 and when the aperture is 1/16, exposure is spot on. I had only to move the lamp back. This camera is preset to 1/40 and f16.

You can change the light to adjust exposure, but you cannot change the camera. Do that by adding or subtracting colored filters or by pushing or pulling films. Choose your ISO wisely.

The camera was placed on a hard box and slid back and forth. The statue was on the floor. A tape measure was used between the nose and the camera lens. Usually. The last shot it was used between the eye and the lens. That worked, too.

Framing the shot requires a slight tilt to the camera. A CD case was put under the front of the camera. Instruction say to line up the lens by sight when close, not by using the viewfinder. Nevertheless, I used the finder. Leave about 1/4 space above the head to get it all to fit into the picture.

Film was processed in a Patterson tank with 600ML of D-76 1:0 at 10:30 and at 68 degrees F   exactly.  In fact, all of the chemicals were kept at that temperature.

The film was not wiped and there are some streaks. It can be cleaned more. Wiping causes scratches and they cannot be easily fixed.

The next picture is at 600 dpi. If you click on it or even the ones above another version that is larger than what is on the web page shows individually and is at a better resolution. I didn’t like the quality of the 300 ones above so loaded this 600 version. I’d scanned at 1200 but that doesn’t even fit on my iMac screen in actual pixels so there was no point in putting it up here.

600 dpi  Full Size 1316 x 1358. 36 inches away with a flipped lens and no close-up attachment was needed.
600 dpi Full Size 1316 x 1358. 36 inches away with a flipped lens and no close-up attachment was needed.

Brownie Hawkeye Lenses

Two filters were made for this camera. One is the Cloud No. 13 Filter which came in a little box and the other is a Close-Up Attachment.  I made a video about alternatives to use.

Cloud No. 13 Filter

The other addition came in a little yellow and black container and it is a close up lens called, Kodak No. 13 Close-up Attachment. Tabs on them need to be bent a little bit to get them to fit tightly. Not all of the tabs, just a few are enough.

Here are some more photographs taken with the Brownie Kodak Hawkeye Camera using a Yellow filter. A Yellow 2 filter, or K2 as it is labeled on the filter edge, takes away one stop of light. The film I used, Arista 100, added sensitivity over the design of the camera of one stop. The camera shoots at 1/40 and f16.

The light level was 40+1 block on my Sekonic incident light meter, not very bright, but still on the high scale.  Using 100 ISO, exposure was calculated to be f11 at 1/40th of a second. The camera, being at 1/40th of a second & f16,  would shoot that light as one stop underexposed. The addition of the Y2 or K2 filter blocked light one stop more light, making exposure 1/40 @ f22, or two stops underexposed.

However, the scanner sees all and made absolutely great renderings. Have a look. Click on a picture and it will load a bigger version of it.





The film was developed in Dektol 1:1 moments after taking them. Time was the minimum recommended (8-10) at 8 minuets. A prewash was necessary because that water comes out very green. 8 minuets of negative development makes the lights print very well. Less development made the dark thick parts on the negative less so and the lights on the prints came out with tone in them. Nice.

Something else may be going on here. I saw a video on YouTube about shooting developing paper as film on a snowy day. The author of the video used a (yellow?) filter to lower contrast, but he was shooting on paper negatives.  It seems to have worked for me as well.

Anyway, the pictures certainly look like an overcast day.

Now I bought another of these cameras and made a video

Brownie Hawkeye 2

Brownie Kodak Hawkeye Camera


This is my first of this type. No serial number is in it so it may become difficult to tell them apart. Another was ordered. This one had to have repair done to the Bakelite inside the back portion, on the top left of the front. Following the instructions on the web, I totally fixed this thing. The outside was cleaned best using Windex. It got rid of all the brown stains. Do not use Barkeeper’s Friend until after the metal has been removed. White dust gets all in and around things. It came out easily enough when I opened it all up. Rusty metal inside was rubbed with Flat Black Enamel paint using my finger for indented parts around wheels and a pallet knife for flat parts. Sanding was not needed. The patch was made using Quick Steel, a product had in a auto parts store. A video was made:
Hawkeye Bakelite Repair
The two screws inside by the lens were removed. There was something inside the shutter part that was rattling around or I would not have attempted it. As it turned out, the Bakelite had broken on the support rail for the left screw. It must have been put in too tightly and broke the plastic into two parts. Liquid Plastic cement in a bottle was used with two coats. First the two parts were joined on the table. Then both inside the camera and the two parts were painted and put together using needle nose pliers. The screws in front were next. The metal did have to be pried up top and bottom but it worked and I got it all back together. There is white hard putty around the lens. I only dusted off the front surface mirror. Windex cleaned everything else nicely. It LIVES!