Kodak Brownie Flash Six-20 (1946)

 Kodak Brownie Flash Six-20

    The Brownie Flash Six-20 is an American box camera produced from 1946 to 1955 in Rochester, NY. It takes 8, 2 1/4 x 3 1/4in. pictures on one roll of No. 620 film. It is identical to (save for the name) the Six-20 Flash Brownie produced from 1940 to 1946.

    A clumsy person's dream, the entire Brownie Flash Six-20 is made of metal. It is wholly indestructible, as only the optics, ruby window, and leatherette covering of the camera are not made of metal.

    The lens on the Brownie Flash Six-20 is a simple one-element meniscus lens. It has a fixed aperture of f/16 and a close-up diopter that can be swung into place using a lever on the front of the camera to take pictures from 6-10 feet rather than the usual 10+ feet. To eliminate film plane distortion caused by the cheap lens, the film plane is curved. The shutter is a rotary/sector shutter with speeds of Instant (1/50s) and Bulb. The modes are selected by using a lever on the front of the camera. To prevent accidental exposures, a shutter lock is present near the shutter button that can be engaged to freeze the position of the mechanism.

    To open the camera, the silver catch on the bottom of the camera is rotated and the top lifted out. Film is loaded in the normal way thus far. Winding is accomplished with the large ratcheting silver knob on the top of the camera and spacing is determined with a ruby window on the back.

    There is a tubular direct vision finder located on the top plate of the camera which is reasonably clear, if a bit small. In all, it is more than sufficient for a Brownie model. Also, since the shape of the camera is trapezoidal and therefor cannot stand up sideways properly, there is a little pop-out lever on the side of the camera to stabilise it. As an accessory a titular flasholder was available to use the woefully overpowered press-size flashbulbs that are complete overkill for a Brownie.

    For what it is, the Brownie Flash Six-20 isn't the worst camera I've used. It has some radial distortion, but how much can you expect from a meniscus lens this cheaply made?  Perhaps the camera's most redeeming quality is its integrity and robustness.

Pop-Out Tab Deployed.

Camera Disassembled.

Detail of Ruby Window and Film Label.

Flasholder Attached

Top of Flasholder (Battery compartments open and showing the two adapters for different flashbulbs or test bulbs.)

Back of Flasholder Showing Flash Table.

Sample Images (Full Resolution)


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