Today I am going to take a closer look at two of my newest vintage cameras the Metro-Flex and the Kodak Brownie Fiesta that I like to call my ‘minis’ because they are just so darn small and compact.
Brownie Fiesta Camera
The Brownie Fiesta is a 127 film camera made in the 1960s by the Eastman Kodak Company all over the world. It’s a plastic fixed focus camera of f/11 and the shutter speed of 1/40second. There are a few variations of this camera either as a later model or due from the country manufacturing it. I have the original model made between 1962 and 1965 with the plastic silver face plate, viewfinder and hand strap but without flash capability. I chose this version because of unique shape and the shiny front texture. It’s also the smallest vintage camera I have currently in my collection, fitting in the palm of my hand and made with super lightweight plastic. There are so many different Kodak Brownies but this one has a lot of charm, I haven’t had the chance to use it yet but hope to soon.
The Metro-Flex camera is a Bakelite pseudo reflex camera made in the 1940s by the Metropolitan Industries Company. This American camera uses 127 film and creates half frame exposures. There isn’t much information about this camera available nowadays except that it has a close resemblance to the Clix-O-Flex (made by the same company) and that there are only three styles of the camera available. I chose to get the version with the textured Bakelite because I just love the uniqueness of it over the other two styles which were very typical of camera during that time. This camera has absolutely no setting options except bulb mode (which they call TIME) and it is also capable of double exposures. I love that it’s a half frame camera as well however it’s hard to tell because I have only used 35 film inside mine. The 127 film is no longer being made but using 127 film spools the camera can work with 35 film or cut down 120 film. I am curious to know what the images would look like on the original film type, if you want to see my photographs taken with this camera click here!
My viewfinder is very cloudy, example photo below of what it’s like to look through it. Don’t know if it’s an issue with the inside of the glass being dirty or the normal view of the viewfinder.
I wanted to start a series with Self Portrait Sunday documenting me as a photographer as currently I have very few photos of me with my cameras which to me is so odd because I carry them around with me everywhere. It feels like there is a large part of me going undocumented so I thought the best way was to once a month or so to document myself with one of my many camera. I thought it’d be great to capture me with my cameras and do little mini-shoots with them as the subject and dress in an outfit I thought suited the camera’s style. I’m usually one of those people who scorns at shots of people with their vintage camera or toy camera because they always seem to be a prop (which I find it frustrating as a photographer because even though I understand their beautify it seems sacrilegious to deprive them their actual function as that is what intrigues and delights me about cameras and it’s what they can do not how I look with them in my hands that I love). Yet at the same time the desire to share a camera from my collection with you that I have experimented with and invested in to use at capturing moments of my life seemed worth it as I feel like I try to use them as an extension of myself. So without further ado I present the first in the series: Metro-Flex and Me.
Self-Portrait Sunday: Metro-Flex and Me
Metro-Flex is a half frame pseudo reflex camera made in the 1940’s that uses 127 roll film. I picked mine up over Etsy because I loved the art deco Bakelite metal exterior that has an almost a quilted pattern to it. Mine doesn’t have the usual string strap to make it wearable around the neck which would have been helpful because to take photos and properly view the viewfinder you have to hold it around waist level. It’s in great condition and I love how satisfying the sound of the metal shutter is when you press it down. For the shoot I thought my black jacket with coat tails and the crazy pattern of my tights would work great with the cameras art deco appearance. It was hard to find something perfect to wear with the camera because it’s hard to imagine who exactly would use a camera like the Metro-Flex (there isn’t a lot of information available about this beauty). Below you can see me lining up a shoot and getting ready to press down the shutter…if you want to view photos I’ve taken with it check out my Vintage Tuesday post: here!