Webcam in a Hawkeye Brownie Camera




Introduction: Webcam in a Hawkeye Brownie Camera

A few moths ago I run into a diy on Make magazine about putting a webcam inside of a old folding camera, and It was something closer to what I've been trying to do with a point and shot digicam but I haven't found the perfect case for it. I like the idea so much that this is my rendition of the conversion of a Hawkeye Brownie Camera into a USB webcam. Hawkeye Brownie Camera
Make Magazine Blog: How-to Tuesday: 1934 USB web camMake Magazine Blog: How-to Tuesday: 1934 USB web cam

By the way, I pick the Brownie out of nostalgia for the one that my grandpa use to have long time ago.

Step 1: Open Up the Brownie

Basically all you need is two cameras, I have an old webcam that I got for free in Craigslist, a logitech quickcam, (mine does not work in Vista). The other camera is a cute Hawkeye Brownie by Kodak circa 1950's (millions of this cameras were sold back in the days in the US), I got mine at the flea market for 5 bucks.

Open up the Brownie which is quite easy since the camera is just little box with a small latch on the top that let us see what inside, after it is quite easy to a remove all the mechanics and the front lens as shown in the pics.

Step 2: Open the Webcam and Into the Brownie

Open the webcam is quite easy, there's only one screw, take the electronics board out and lets see if the lens of the webcam fits the hole of the Brownie.
See the pics for the details.

Step 3: Final Product and Adjustments

After connecting back the USB to the webcam's board, connect the cam to the PC and check that the lens is focus and put the webcam in place, Put the faceplate back in place (and the top and front viewfinders and mirror if you like to keep it in place), close back the Brownie and plugged into the computer and the Brownie Hawkeye USB webcam is ready.



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    26 Discussions

    Awesome hack. I have a baby brownie (obsolete due to the fact that they don't make film for it anymore) and I've been thinking of making it into a webcam. Thanks for the inspiration and the ible.

    1 reply

    You can get film for them if you like. I use this company.

    You inspired me to do a Brownie camera project. I bought a Brownie with the flash unit on ebay. It was in PERFECT condition and it only cost $20 with shipping. Then I took a power adapter from a digital camera of mine, set it for 6 volts output and then I connected it to a 6 volt, 10 watt halogen bulb from an old Vistalite bike lamp. The light is great for reading up to 6 feet away and it looks really cool. The camera still works, the only thing I had to desecrate were the innards of the detachable flash unit. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1 reply

    THAT'S VERY COOL TOO! Now, one could do both with that setup. Put a light on your Hawkeye webcam, for low light conditions~~

    I removed the back of an old brownie and mounted a polaroid back to it. Images have soft-focus and vignetting effects. Very cool. I use it to shoot vintage cars at car shows. Of course, now polaroid is going the way of the Brownie!

    profile photo 1.jpg
    2 replies

    Poloroid is actually making sort of a comeback as you can buy Film by new manufacturer and I believe they are working on another cammera  . This was on the web last month.

     Yes, it's called The impossible project,

    I believe Fuji still makes instant films that are compatible with medium and large format polaroid film backs.

    However, I'm afraid I'm a digital convert, using a variety of apps to create polaroid-like effects to digital images (lo-Mob, CAmera bag, etc).

    very nice indeed! Thank you, I feel inspired!

    You inspierd me to by a vintage Kodak Vigilant Jr. Six-20.

    Thank you.

    oooh i have a brownie wind up video camera and a model 3 brownie not the 500 model 2 and a holiday brownie and have a case and filf for the turret 3/8 brownie camera. i want to get my hands on a brownie progector

    Cool instructable, but I hate seeing antiques destroyed or devalued. My father used to collect antique cameras and depending on the year and model of Brownie, they can sell from $15 each for the more common ones to $740 each for the more rare ones (depending on condition).

    6 replies

    I dont like to kill antiques either, but they made almost 4 million of these, the ebay price is very low even with the box and flash. I guess everyone should check to see if the camera is worth anything before converting it. I bought a Yashica D at a yard sale for 10.00 its worth about 100 online so it pays to check.

    All I'm saying is to be sure of what you have before you go gutting it. If you have a $10 brownie and know it's a $10 brownie, then you won't be upset in gutting it. But if you think you have a $10 brownie and actually have a $700 extremely rare shadowbox camera, then you might be upset after you've gutted it and rendered it worthless. I'm just making people aware that there are some out there that look like the cheapo $10 brownies that are extraordinarily rare and worth several hundred dollars.

    I understand what your saying, but I don't think the camera was in a good condition after all and it was only $5, I believe that I'm given a better use, and now it's sitting in my bookshelf as an antique ornament rather than having the silly looking "bubble" webcam. thanks for stoping by.

    Doing this to a broken or worthless is pretty much risk-free. All I'm saying is to be sure of the value of your particular model. I was thinking of how upset someone would feel if they did this and found out they just made a Brownie shadow-box manual exposure camera that they could have gotten over $800 for absolutely worthless.

    I agree. These are generally worthless to collectors, so most people just toss 'em in the trash. Better to recycle and make something fun and useful...

    Neet! I have a collection of old camera's some I still use for timed photography. I may do this to revamp my Hawkeye or my Argus. BTW, you can buy 120 type film and roll it on 620 type film spools and still use this camera, you just have to roll the film in a dark room.

    Great idea. Fun concept. Warm Bakelite vintage feel...and I knew I was keeping that brownie camera in my bottom drawer for something. Cannot wait to give this a go. Thanks for posting.