James's Camera Collection: Kodak Brownie Hawkeye

Kodak Brownie Hawkeye USA Other Canon Cameras Company History Owner's Manual Box cameras Matt's Classic Cameras
Kodak Brownie Hawkeye
Film type: Roll film size 620
Approx. dates of manufacture: 1950 - 1961
Approx. original price: $7
Approx. street value: $2

When I was a kid I could only afford cheap cameras, so I ended up with a lot of old junk box cameras. This is one of the first ones I bought (the first three I bought were the Brownie Target 616 and 620 and a Kodak Instamatic, so this one was maybe fourth or fifth). I probably paid around $1 for it, which is what it's worth today. But I remember, even as a kid, being disgusted with the quality of the images I got out of this thing (back when I could still get 620 film at the camera shop). It was just awful. It's a good looking camera—these things sold in quantity and because they're heavy bakelite plastic, they're usually found in really good condition. That big bright waist-level finder doesn't hurt, either.

There's a later version of this called the Hawkeye Flash, which is identical except that it has a receptical on the left side (right-side on this photo) for a flash attachment. Mine is the older version w/o flash capability.

If you want box cameras like this, always try camera swap-meets, yard sales, etc, first, where they're usually sold by the pound. I've seen this camera for sale at "antique" shops for $25, but I don't believe they actually sell for that price.

The name is the merging between two of Kodak's venerable tradenames. Brownie was Kodak's line of very inexpensive cameras aimed at children and the extremely budget-conscious. Hawk-Eye came from Blair Camera which Kodak had acquired around the turn of the century, when Hawk-Eyes, Bulls-Eyes, Targets and others all battled it out for the bottom of the market. Kodak ended up with all of them and mixed-and-matched the names to various cameras as they saw fit.

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