Kodak Brownie Hawkeye

A century ago, Kodak hit upon a formula. Photography could be a huge market if only it could be expanded from the professionals and placed in the hands of the masses. A cheap and easy-to-use camera was the solution, and the Brownie series was born. For more than half a century Kodak would sell its Brownie cameras extremely cheaply, even giving them away in some cases. Much like today’s cell phone companies, Kodak expected to make its money on the after-sale services and support.

The average Brownie had few if any settings. It was simply a box with a lens and a shutter, which the photographer would point at his subject and trigger. I’ve shot a manual 35mm SLR for years, so the notion of a point and shoot camera with minimal settings is foreign to me.

My first Brownie arrived yesterday courtesy of eBay and the USPS. It’s a Hawkeye flash model from 1953

My first impression is that it’s cute. Somehow it’s smaller than I had expected. It’s a little brown Bakelite box with a handle, lens, viewfinder, and a winding knob. Initially it had a problem with a sticky shutter, but a quick disassembly and cleaning seems to have solved it. (One latch, two screws.)

I loaded it with Portra 160 and have only had time to take a few shots. It’s definitely different, but I think it’s going to be fun.


4/17 – the new Brownie Hawkeye Flash


3 thoughts on “Kodak Brownie Hawkeye”

  1. Today I started to clean out my garage and found a Brownie Hawkeye Flash, with it’s flash, one bulb and two old Burgess Photo Flash batteries in the original box.  I also found a Brownie Target Six-20 in it’s original box.   Digging a little deeper a discovered a Kodak Brownie Holiday Flash, and a Kodak Instamatic X-15F.  I moved more junk and I found, under a large flower pot, a Kodamatic Instant Camera 940, and a Polaroid Colorpack II Land camera.  The first thing i did was stop cleaning the garage and go on line to research my find.  I  now have something better to do with my time. Thank you Kodak.   My next project is to find find some film and see if these things work.     I wish I knew how these camera’s got into my garage.  Maybe my discovery would make a good movie. 🙂   


    1. Keep Googling. You can still get 120 film, which can be easily modified for 620 cameras. Fuji still makes pack film for the Polaroid Colorpack. They can be a ton of fun.

      There is lots of good information available from OldSchoolPhotoLab.com, an interesting podcast at the Film Photography Podcast, and plenty of information on Flickr and YouTube. Have fun!


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