Kodak's Brownie Hawkeye Camera

Another family treasure I found while cleaning out the attic at the family home was a Brownie Hawkeye camera.

Brownie Hawkeye Camera

The Brownie Hawkeye with Flash Attachment

SOURCE: The Brownie Hawkeye with Flash Attachment. Photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 30 Dec 2007.

The Brownie Hawkeye was introduced by the Kodak Company in September 1950 and was discontinued in July 1961. My family used this camera from about 1953-1965 and I still have most of the square negatives taken with this camera.

The camera has a molded Bakelite body and uses 620 film in rolls of 12 exposures. The scene to be photographed is centered in its “Brilliant Viewfinder”. The original price of the camera was about $7.00. Current prices for this camera on e-bay are about $5.00 to $15.00.

A copy of the original owner’s manual is available as a PDF file.

Rolls of 620 film are still available, although the price of a 12-exposure roll of 620 film is currently about $15-20. This camera is still in excellent condition and could certainly be used after the optics are cleaned. I might buy and shoot a roll of film in this camera for sentimental reasons but, for now, I’ll just keep the camera as a family heirloom.

Copyright © 2007 by Stephen J. Danko

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12 Responses to Kodak's Brownie Hawkeye Camera

  1. Apple says:

    My mother had a brownie. Most of the pictures from my early childhood were taken with it. I have no idea what happened to the camera.

    I have three of my father’s old cameras. It hadn’t occurred to me to see if they still make film for them. The 35mm still has film in it that had probably been exposed, but I may have it developed just to see. The oldest camera takes glass plates. The Rolliflex I found film for at ebay but I don’t think I’m going to part with more than $200 to see if it still works.

  2. Cindy says:

    Oh my Gosh! My mother’s now sits on my living room bookshelf. I found it and the negatives just two months ago. Thanks for the user manual. Now that I know that film is available it may be put back into use!

  3. Lee says:

    That’s so cool! Now I’m green with envy. ;-)

  4. Chris says:

    Seeing this camera reminded me of a story in my family. When my aunt Cassie who was born in 1918 retired, she took a class on writing down memories from her childhood. She wrote:

    1930
    I was the first one in our family to own a camera. In fact at that time we didn’t know anyone who had a camera. It was the 25th anniversary of the Eastman Kodak Company and in celebration they were giving free cameras to 12 year olds. If I remember correctly, the reason for 12 year olds was because the inventor was 12 when he invented it.

    I got to thinking that this would have applied to other children born the same year. So I did a search and found this link. It seems her facts were a little off, but the free cameras were given to children born in 1918.

  5. Thanks, Chris!

    Like you, I’ve found that information I’ve obtained from my aunts and uncles is not always 100% accurate. Usually, though, enough of what they’ve told me is correct that, with a little detective work, I can correct errors and fill in details.

    I remember seeing a Hawkeye camera in the attic of my parents’ house, but I don’t know whose camera it was, or when we obtained it. I don’t think it was one that was given away to 12-year-olds, but it sure looked similar.

    Steve

  6. Chris says:

    After re-reading what I wrote and reading the link page I found, I followed the link at the bottom of the link page and ended up at:

    http://www.brownie-camera.com/bud.shtml

    The photos that Bud took with his Brownie camera jumped out at me because of the unusual border (at least unusual to me). I have other photos like this but don’t know who the people are in them. I was assuming there were relatives in Lithuania since they were stored with other photos of Lithuanian relatives. Now I think I better re-think my assumptions and start over. Thanks to Bud for posting some photos, though.

  7. gil whitehurst says:

    Got a Brownie Hawkeye in 1956-went to williamsburg va. as a cub scout.
    Took a roll of pictures during the day, put it back in the box and never used it again. Still has original flash bulbs.
    Sure hope its worth millions or something.

  8. Mike Cash says:

    You can shoot the commonly available (and much, much cheaper) 120 size film in these cameras, only needing a 620 spool for the take-up side. You probably still have one inside the camera.

    Do a little googling on this camera model and you can easily learn how.

  9. Thank you for this information. I didn’t know we even had a camera like this until last night. It appears to be in working condition, the only problem I see is that you can’t see anything when you look in the view finder. Thanks again!

  10. Janet says:

    I received my first camera as a Christmas present in 1950 when I had just turned 12. At first the camera didn’t flash, but my dad took the small bulb and moistened it with his tongue. The camera flashed, and I took pictures of my family in front of the Christmas tree. Still have the pictures and wish I had the camera! It may be the one that you have pictured. Not sure.

  11. dean kenyon says:

    hey cool find. i found the exact same model in a junk pile and it is in perfect shape!

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