Enter the Kodak Brownie Reflex Synchro

This Kodak Brownie Reflex Synchro came to me in a basket full of Brownies, courtesy of a generous coworker. Actually, this Brownie Reflex Synchro came in two parts, or, rather, it took two Brownie Reflex Synchros from that basket to make one functional one, but it was easy to work on. In fact, I did all the repairs/exchanges with a small Swiss Army knife with the slot screwdriver bit on it…

 

One of the Reflex Synchros looked beat up, and had a broken shutter; the other looked slightly cleaner, but was missing the mirror. So I took them apart and moved the mirror from the ugly, broken one into this one, and *boom* I had a working Reflex Synchro.

The finder isn’t quite as brilliantly bright as the one on the Starflex, but it’s perfectly serviceable, miles better than a 35mm SLR or Digital finder, somehow much brighter than the finder on my Yashica 124, and way easier to view than the ground glass on the 4×5… If it took 120 film, we might have a real keeper here…

Like most Brownies, the Reflex Synchro is very simple. The Brownie Starflex I reviewed a few weeks back had two apertures (Color EI 13 and B/W EI 14) and a fixed shutter speed. The Reflex Synchro has a fixed aperture, but offers a Bulb mode. Fun!

A small lever to the bottom right of the lens (when you’re looking from the front) toggles between I and B. I is something like 1/100th, I think, and B is, you guessed it, and I was interested to see how it rendered long exposures out the window at work.

Yuck! What is that banding? Do you see that? It showed up obviously in all of the long exposures.

These two are even worse, and show the frame numbers, in addition to the weird banding.

I think it must be something in the handrolling, like maybe it got wet, or maybe it got hit with some bright lights or X-Rays, or maybe the backing paper isn’t truly opaque? I don’t know, but the problem exists in every Bulb-exposed frame, but only appears in one exposed on the I setting, and then only in half a frame.

 

It’s either gone or mostly invisible in the rest of the roll. Shot first randomly around Irving, and then focused, trying to capture American Flags on the 4th of July.

And except for the problems with the first half of the roll, which may be down to the film itself and not necessarily the camera, I’m impressed with how sharp the Reflex Synchro is, and just how juicy the Ektar came out, especially in that rusted trailer.

MashaAllah.

Unrated.

You can find loads of these cameras, in various conditions, for anything from $4 to $40 on the ‘bay. I wouldn’t pay more than $20 for one, and probably wouldn’t even then. I do have one more roll of 127 from jrdnmrk, and I’ll either shoot it in this camera or wait until I stumble across another 127 camera. It would be good to maybe tape this Reflex up and see if the strange patterns were due to a light leak or the film itself, but at $15/roll, I really don’t want to waste the film.

Decisions, decisions, and life’s rough all over, ain’t it.

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