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Art Deco Cameras

Kodak Six-20 'Brownie' E


Kodak Six-20 'Brownie' E
Kodak Six-20 'Brownie' E
Manufacturer: Kodak
Produced: 1947-1953
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Box
Film Type:620
Film Width:62mm
Image Size:2¼ x 3¼ in
No. of Images:8
Lens Type:Meniscus
Focus Type:Fixed with close-up lens
Focal Length:100mm
Focus Range: 6ft to inf, close-up 3-6ft
Aperture Type :Fixed
Aperture :f/11
Shutter Type:Rotary
Shutter Speeds:B, I*(1/60 sec)
Size (w x h x d):85 x 104 x 118 mm
* measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

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Noteworthy: Worth giving special attention

  • Produced after the main Art Deco period;
  • Vertical stripes to front panel;
  • Rounded corners from the streamline era;
  • Imitation pigskin covering;
  • Concentric circles on the winder, shutter button and strap posts;
  • Chrome embellishments on film door, viewfinders and tripod mounts;
  • Symmetrical face.

Kodak Six-20 'Brownie' E
Alternative Face 'Brownie' E


The Kodak Six-20 'Brownie' E is a box-type camera from the 1940s. The facade has vertical stripes from the early Art Deco period but the corners are rounded indicative of the Streamline Moderne period. Other features like the concentric circles and the chrome embellishments are from the main Art Deco period. The metal body is covered in imitation pigskin. Features include two brilliant finders, two pin flash contacts, a shutter safety catch, tripod sockets and a cable release socket.

The camera supports portraits by using a 'close up' lens that can be moved into position by pulling a tab on the side. Focus with the portrait lense is between 3 and 6ft. There is another tab that can be pulled to move a yellow filter into place. This filter is best used with black & white film to increase the contrast between the sky and clouds on a sunny day.

How to Use

See Instruction Manual here. 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. Don't forget to ask for your 620 spool back when getting the film developed.

As the shutter speed is only 1/60s, it is advisable to use a tripod to get clear shake free images. However, holding it against a wall or other solid object would work as well. For quick snapshots, hold it firmly against your body.

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.

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

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

Using ISO 100/125 film - shutter speed 1/60s

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/11+3 Stops
SunnyDistinctf/11+2 Stops
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/11+1 Stop
OvercastBarely visiblef/11Good
Heavy OvercastNonef/11-1 Stop
Open Shade
Nonef/11-2 Stops
Not Acceptable