Ken Smith  fine art photography  

Kewpie No. 2


   Produced: 1917-1922 by Conley Camera Company,
     Rochester, Minnesota (Marketed by Sears, Roebuck & Co.)
  Film:  type B2/120 rollfilm
  Negative Size: 6X9cm
   Lens: Single-element meniscus
   Aperture: f14, f16, f22, f32
  Focal Range: 8 feet to infinity-f14; 4 feet to infinity-f32
  Shutter: Simple spring shutter - 1/25 sec, plus Time ('B')
  Viewfinder: Portrait & Landscape finders with polished steel
      mirrors and glass screens

What luck it was to find this camera. It was one of my first purchases on eBay, and I knew little about the Kewpie. At the time I was only looking at box cameras...I loved the idea of making images using these simple cameras. The only picture on the auction site was from the back, showing the Kewpie No.2 plate...I bid on it and for $6.50 it was mine. When I got it I realized that I had fortunately bought the model that uses available 120 film, and the camera was in working condition. But I took it all apart, stripping paint from the rusty metal parts and repainting. I polished the brass and plated metal. I cleaned the leatherette-covered wood body with leather cleaner, and gave it a nice coat of black shoe polish. The only thing I didn't do (yet) was replace the foggy, flaking viewfinder mirrors with new ones. I can still see a ghosty image through them. Oh, and I need to make a new leather strap to attach to the top. What a cool camera to use. By turning a little tab in the front, a plate turns with the four aperture orifices, until the appropriate one needed lines up with the lense that hides behind. The film is loaded on the 'cartridge' by removing the side of the camera. I've noticed when using the camera in bright sunlight, I'm getting a light leak around the side joints somewhere that I need to seal, but it isn't bad. The camera makes large 6X9cm negs that are surprisingly sharp. It just amazes me that such a simple box of wood, leather, and a bit of glass and metal can make such nice images. I'm still practicing with this camera, among others, and will add images as soon as I pick a few of the worthy ones.  

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