Ken Smith  fine art photography  

Birdseye Flash


   Produced: 1954 by Birdseye Camera Company, 
  Film:  type 620 rollfilm
  Negative Size: 6X6cm
   Lens: Single-element meniscus
   Aperture: about f11
  Focal Range: about 6 feet to infinity
  Shutter: Simple spring shutter - 1/30 sec
  Viewfinder: Eye-level finder

When I was first looking at old cameras, one of the places I would do research was at the Junk Store Cameras website. That's where I first saw the Birdseye, and just the name made me want to get one. Making pictures thru a bird's eye...imagine. Well, before too long this shiny black box of a camera found itself in my hands, and indeed I was making pictures with it. They all have a sort of vignette-edge affect, which to be truthful, I like. This plastic camera is strictly point and shoot, but to do that one needs to learn to reroll 120 film onto 620 spools. It's the same size, but the spool is a bit different. I was warned about that at Junk Store, and also she told the story about how the Imperial Mark VII camera, though highly-styled turquoise, could exchange front and back with the Birdseye. Made by two separate companies, I still haven't found out how these two designs became so synchronous. It's one of the small mysteries that makes finding, and using these old cameras so interesting. I had to get one of the Imperial's too, just to learn for myself. Indeed, fronts and backs on the two cameras are interchangeable.

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