Modern Brownie Camera Talks SD And WiFi

If you’re at all into nostalgic cameras, you’ve certainly seen the old Brownie from Kodak. They were everywhere, and feature an iconic look. [JGJMatt] couldn’t help but notice that you could easily find old ones at a good price, but finding and developing No. 117 film these days can be challenging. But thanks to a little 3D printing, you can install an ESP32 camera inside and wind up with a modern but retro-stylish camera. The new old camera will work with a memory card or send data over WiFi.

The Brownie dates back to 1900 and cost, initially, one dollar. Of course, a dollar back then is worth about $35 now, but still not astronomical. After cleaning up and tuning up an old specimen, it was time to fire up the 3D printer.

There are also mods to the camera to let it accept an M12 lens. There are many lenses of that size you can choose from. There are a few other gotchas, like extending the camera cable, but it looks like you could readily reproduce this project if you wanted one of your very own.

We’ve seen old cameras converted before. Or, you can just start from scratch.

4 thoughts on “Modern Brownie Camera Talks SD And WiFi

  1. I tried my hand at a similar brownie conversion. It definitely checks the “absolutely unnecessary but really cool project” box on my list. My biggest problem is this: the unique feel of these cameras is the combination of their very cheaply made lenses and the size of the image plane and by simply replacing the lensing and imaging system, you lose the trademark look. I opted to point the digital camera towards the film back, stick the most reflective movie screen material back there, and take a picture of the film back. Obviously, the issue is that it is very dark so it’s very slow to get a picture. Around 2 seconds in full sun. I’m hoping new sensors will become more light sensitive and I’ll be able to turn it into something somewhat functional.

  2. AFAIK those things were so cheap and poor that you could get shots of lurking badge guys on any grassy knoll you took a picture of.
    But what is interesting about them is that people were forced to take pictures from the belly rather than the eye.

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