Father Browne Camera


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Dave Wynn

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Is it known for sure what type of camera Father Browne used on his short excursion before he disembarked at Queenstown?
Was it a Kodak Vest Pocket camera? Model number? And why did it take so long for those photos to come to light?
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Looking at his book, I fancy the film used was about the old 120 size or a bit bigger. Browne printed many photos and put them on cardboard with captions. They look like contact prints. You can compare them with his handwriting and get some idea of their size.

We know from Father O'Donnell that Browne used nitrate film. This has now been copied to modern film and preserved properly. His camera must have been pretty basic. It had no means of preventing double exposures.

The photos were largely published in magazines in 1912. At least one was published in 1932 for the twentieth anniversary. On Browne's death, the negatives were filed away in the Jesuits' files in Dublin. In modern times hundreds of Browne photos of many subjects have been published.
 
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May 3, 2005
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Did Browne do his own processing...developing, printing, etc.? I remember reading that early Kodaks had sort of a mail in processing system.

Some of those old photos show persons with a folding type camera rather than a "box" type. Bellows type,etc. My parents had something similar that used the larger 116 size film. Those cameras used paper backed roll film and you had to manually turn the crank to advance the film or you would get double exposures .(Such as the apparent case in the picture of the Marconi Room.) I used to play around with this way back in my younger days. Took a bit of time and effort to get the end result as compared to the present digital cameras ! LOL.

Most always contact prints.

I don't think there were exposure meters in 1912, (?) but the old camera I remember did have adjustable f-stops and shutter speeds. Were settings just based on experience and trial and error or was there some sort of guide with the film ?
 
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Dave Gittins

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I think Robert's ideas are pretty right. Browne's camera may well have been a folder, with at least variable aperture. He was able to do interior shots without flash.

I'm ancient enough to have been photographed with a Box Brownie from around 1912 and the quality was nothing like Browne's work.

Film used to come with exposure guides and maybe it still does. There used to be little drawings showing dull sky, broken cloud, bright sun, etc, with suggested exposures. Sometimes cameras had similar drawings.
 
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>>He was able to do interior shots without flash.<<

From the looks of the photos, it would appear that Browne was a fairly skilled photographer and he could have "pushed" the film's exposure rating in developing to come up with those interior shots without flash.

Some films still do have exposure guides on the boxes or with instruction sheets.
 

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