Check the first page out if you were linked here from another site, it’s a general overview of the Kodak Brownie Hawkeye, with specifications, product shots, original accessories, film issues, loading film, shooting tips and sample shots, with two full sized scans so you can check out the real capabilities of this camera.
The Kodak Brownie Hawkeye is capable of taking good pictures viewed at smaller sizes, however, there are a couple of reasons why you may not be satisfied after coming home with the developed pictures; one, a dirty lens, and two, an improperly working shutter. We’ll discuss both of these problems, and I’ll offer corrective action.
Let’s start off by opening up the camera back. Clean up the inside of the back, then set it aside, we won’t be needing to do anything more to it.
Now you’ll need to get out a small phillips-head type screwdriver, and remove the two screws that hold the film chamber to the front of the camera.
Once you have the film chamber removed, the image above should match what you see, the lens and spring washer are loose, so make sure you don’t let them fall and scatter about.
The next step is to remove the shutter assemble cover, or spool carrier, which ever you prefer. It should just lift out without any problems, there are no other screws holding it in.
If the shutter doesn’t work, the most likely problem is the shutter spring has come loose, usually from the top marked location in the picture above. Just re-attach it. For added security, you can bend the metal tab on the shutter assembly cover/spool carrier so it presses hard against the front of the mounting pin where the spring is attached.
This image shows the actuation with the shutter button pushed, and the aperture visible. I measured it for reference, though it means nothing to the average user. If you want to remove the shutter and long exposure buttons, you simply pull on the levers that are attached to them, and lift out the buttons.
At this point, you should carefully clean everything, especially if trying to correct a sticky shutter. I would try and wipe off all dirt and oil, and test for proper operation. I’d avoid putting oil on the mechanism, and prefer things clean and dry. When cleaning the lens, use a soft cloth or lens cleaning tissue and make sure you clean both sides!! The above image shows the proper order for re-assembly.
Here are two variations of the meniscus lens Kodak used for the Hawkeye. The one on the left with the black ring is the most used lens, and is composed of glass, with the outer part made of plastic. On the right is an all plastic lens which Kodak used in the last variation of the Hawkeye. Notice the “nib” on the outer ring, that part keeps you from installing the lens backwards, which causes really bad shots (some people do this on purpose). The “nib” goes towards the outside, so if someone filed it off, look for a trace of it, and install in with the “nib” pointing at the aperture. You can also look through the lens both ways, and determine which side looks best.
This part faces down, but you can’t put it on any other way. Notice Kodak says it will not take 120 film, oh but it will!
Here’s a view of the parts you took off, and the proper assembly order. It’s easiest to leave the screws in the chamber, and carefully lower it over the spring washer and lens, while the front of the camera is resting flat against a table, (making sure the lens’ nib is to the front, as stated above) then slowly turn the screws, making sure everything is centered and seated before tightening all the way down.
Some advice if you can’t get the back cover on easily, based on experience. If you don’t seat the film chamber properly, you’ll have trouble slipping the camera back cover on easily. Look at the right side of the upper spool carrier, where it meets the stud on the film chamber. It should not be in this position. If it is, you don’t have it seated properly.
This image shows the correct position of the film chamber.
Next, let’s clean the viewfinder and shutter cover glass.
Start by taking out the four phillips head screws. These are fine threaded machine type screws, and probably designed to only go in once. Helpful hint; when starting to turn the screws, use something to pry up on the fascia as you’re turning the screw heads out. Be careful not to bend the fascia in the process. If you mess up the thread holes, and can’t get everything back down tightly, (very likely) go to your local hardware store and buy some small sheet metal or wood screws that are just a bit larger in diameter as the screws you took out.
After you remove the Aluminum front fascia, this is what you’ll see. The square uncoated glass in front is used to protect the aperture and shutter, and is not the lens. The round piece of glass collects light for the viewfinder. Both will fall out when you tilt the camera down, make sure they don’t fall on the ground and break. On the last version of this Hawkeye, both these parts are made of plastic.
The front facing parts of the viewfinder, hood, fascia, viewfinder lens and shutter glass. Clean both sides of glass surfaces.
The parts that go in the viewfinder chamber are labeled above, and are what you’ll need to clean, and re-assemble in the general order you see here.
The plastic mirror retainer and spring should go together as seen above. The viewfinder glass when assembled correctly should be sticking out above the fascia some, as seen in the product shots, except for the last version, (used here by the way) which is recessed, such as the first shot of the viewfinder cleaning image.
That should do it. Make sure you test out the viewfinder to see if you left anything out, or put something in backwards. You camera is as good as new, load some modified 120 film, and start shooting!!
Here’s the entire owner’s manual, starting off with the front and back cover, then all the pages in order to the back inside cover. Not all manuals were exactly the same, there are slight variations according to year, etc. This manual is from 1956.