|Kodak No.2A Brownie|
|No.2 Brownie (front) with No.2A Brownie (rear)|
The original price for the No.2A Brownie was $3.00 (the No.2 was $2 when it was first marketed), and it seems that initially, at least, it shared a manual with the No.2 Brownie, although subsequently a manual for both the No.2A and the No.3, after the latter camera was produced. Thus, using the No.2A Brownie, apart from the film size, is the same as the No.2 Brownie: the rotary shutter has a single speed of around 1/30th and trips in both directions, while pulling a tab on the left above the lens provides a time setting for long exposures; there are three apertures punched in a metal strip that can be pulled into position using the central tab above the lens, approximately f11, f16, f22, but most likely non-standard, if the measurements I made for my No.2 Brownie's apertures were at all accurate; film advance is manual of course, using the bar winder with a red window for frame numbers; the vertical and horizontal reflecting viewfinders, although small and not very distinct, give a fair idea of composition. One difference between my No.2 Brownie, and the No. 2A is that the cardboard-bodied Brownie cameras do not have tripod fittings, unlike the later metal ones.
My version of the No.2A Brownie is the Model B, introduced in 1911, although, as I wrote in my post for this year's Take Your Box Camera To Work Day, details of the camera itself securely date its manufacture to some time between June and October 1917. On the Brownie Camera Page, the list of variations gives the following information- "June 1917: Film tension springs were moved from the center to the spool ends. Oct 1917: The case latches were improved with rounded ends and milled edges." My version of the No.2A Brownie does have what I would describe as the 'spool-end tension springs' (as can be seen in the images below), but the case latches have unmilled ends (this milling was a fine serration around the edge of the latch to improve grip).
|Kodak No.2A Brownie with back removed for loading|
|Kodak No.2A Brownie case with dates and locations|
For a first test of the No.2A, I shot some Fomapan 200 using the adaptors that I had previously made to fit 120 film into 116 format cameras. When I developed the film, there were two clear problems: numerous scratches all along the film, but also there were light leaks from the red window along one edge of the negatives. The scratches were clearly from the rollers inside the camera, which I gave a good clean, although this did not entirely eliminate this problem, as was evident in later shots. The image below also shows a slight overlap of negatives on the right hand side where I did not get the frame spacing quite right. However, the first test roll did show that the size of the negative provided fairly good results with the meniscus lens; there is a small amount of barrel distortion to the image, perhaps exaggerated by the film not being held entirely flat.
|No.2A Brownie with Fomapan 200 showing light leaks and scratches|
|Mask for 120 film|
|Red window with 120 film and card mask|
|No.2A Brownie with Kodacolor 116 film (process before July 1961)|
|No.2A Brownie with Ilford FP4 Plus|
|No.2A Brownie with Ilford HP5 Plus|
No.2A Brownie on Early Photography
No.2A Brownie on the Brownie Camera Page
No.2A Brownie on Brownie-Camera.com
Kodak No.2A and No.3 Brownie manual (pdf) - May 1912