Rainbow No 2 Hawk-Eye Model C

Posted 2011.09.06 20.07 in Hobbies, Photography

It’s quite a mouthful – that’s the name of my newest oldest camera! The Kodak No. 2 Hawk-Eye Model C was a “box” camera made in or around 1930. It was actually a re-issue of a camera design that was introduced in 1913, but Kodak re-released them to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary.

In fact, to celebrate its 50th birthday, Kodak gave away a half-million cameras like this one, to 12-year-old children. Mine is not one of the 50th anniversary specials – just a standard rainbow No 2 Model C. Mind you, it’s better than your average box camera – mine is Red!

My Red Camera!

Kodak No.2 Hawk-Eye Model C

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to see how it worked. I loaded it up and shot through a roll of film in a few minutes, outside around the house.

One of the things I needed to figure out, was exposures. Box cameras tend not to have any settings. Well ok some do, but this one sure doesn’t. One shutter speed. No aperture settings. Certainly no focusing. Without knowing the technical info, it’s very hard to know what to expect from the camera. And I know they weren’t running ISO 800 colour film through these things, back in the 1930’s.

I’ve read that the shutter speed is probably about 1/30th. I measured the focal length (about 105mm) and estimated the aperture at f/6.3. So using ISO 100 film, I calculated that would work at EV+10 — say, indoors under bright light, or outdoors under heavy overcast.

In actuality it looks like the aperture is probably more like f/8 or even f/11 which means it’s better off at EV+11 or EV+12 – I’d guesstimate that the Church image was a 12 and that came out properly exposed. So now I know what sort of conditions to look for next time!

Incidentally, if you’re wondering where one might find a camera like this… I actually scored this beautiful example from an Etsy store. If you’re looking for an antique or classic camera, follow the link and have a look – I found Rebecca a real pleasure to deal with.

p.s. Technical details – film was Shanghai GP-3, ISO 100 B&W processed 7 1/2 minutes in Kodak T-Max developer, 1:4 mix.

Leave a Comment