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Art Deco Cameras

Kodak Brownie Reflex 20


Kodak Brownie Reflex 20
Kodak Brownie Reflex 20
Manufacturer: Kodak
Produced: 1959
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Pseudo Twin Lens Reflex
Film Type:620
Film Width:62mm
ImageSize:2¼ x 2¼ in
No. of Images:12
Lens Type:uncoated meniscus
Focal Length:70mm
Focus Type:variable
Focal Range:4ft - inf.
Aperture Type:Multi hole
Aperture:f/11, f/16, f/22
Shutter Type :Rotary
Shutter Speed:I*(1/30sec)
Size (w x h x d):115 x 105 x 85 mm
* measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

Limited: Minor and insubstantial


The Brownie Reflex 20 is a twin-lens reflex style box camera from the 1950s. It can be described as a pseudo twin lens reflex camera. It isn't a true TLR because the top lens is just part of the viewfinder and does not aid focussing. It has a moulded plastic body with a large brilliant waist level viewfinder with a hood. The viewfinder has a dotted square guide for use with slide film. A tripod mount is not provided.

The aperture control is labelled with the numbers 13,14 and 15. These are not F values but EV values. It offers a choice of EV13(f/11), EV14(f/16) and EV15(f/22). The shutter speed is 1/60s. The camera has front focussing and is labelled as Scenes (12ft-INF), Groups(6ft-12ft) and close-ups(4ft-6ft).

The film is loaded by moving a lever on the base so that the whole of the film transport system can be removed by lifting the top off the camera. It has an shutter interlocking system that avoids double exposure. When the film is loaded, the red window is used to locate the first frame. There is no need to use the red window again. The camera will move to the next frame and lock when the film is advanced by the wheel. The red window can't really be used to check how many frames have been taken because the auto advance and the annotation on the film get out of step. Not sure how you are supposed to know when 12 frames have been taken. The red window has a spring loaded sliding cover.

Many different Kodak flash holders can be used with this camera as a screw and pin flash connection is provided.

How to Use

See the User Manual here:- Kodak Brownie Reflex 20 manual

This camera takes 620 film which is still available from selected photographic outlets. Although the actual film is the same as 120 film, the spools are different. The 620 spools are slightly shorter and have a smaller diameter. Do not use 120 film in this camera because it will jam and may snap. It is possible to cut down a spool of 120 film to fit or to re-spool some 120 film onto 620 spools in a darkroom or changing bag.

If you don't want to bother with an exposure meter, follow the guide shown. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

Remember that the exposure guide in the camera user manual may not be helpful as it is based on the use of old film with a low ISO value.

The table assumes that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summer's day in the UK.

This camera has 3 aperture settings of EV13(f/11), EV14(f/16) and EV15(f/22) and a shutter speed is 1/30s.

As the shutter speed is only 1/30s, it is advisable to try to hold the camera against a wall or other solid object. For quick snapshots, hold it firmly against your body.

Using ISO 100/125 film - shutter speed 1/30s

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
EV15+2 Stops
SunnyDistinctEV15+1 Stops
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesEV15Good
OvercastBarely visibleEV14Good
Heavy OvercastNoneEV13Good
Open Shade
NoneEV13-1 Stop