Kodak Brownie Bull's-Eye

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The Brownie Bull's-Eye was a Bakelite Box camera taking 8 6x9 exposures on 620 film, made by Kodak between 1954 & 1960. It was designed by Arthur H Crapsey, who also designed the highly successful Kodak Brownie Hawkeye and Kodak Brownie Star series, among many others. Crapsey was a designer whose aesthetic is recognizable to many who use Kodaks from this period.

The Bull's-Eye was available in black (with light-grey winding knob, focus & shutter-release)- from 1954-1958, or a beige colour (called "gold", with black controls) from 1957-1960[1]. A Kodalite-mount "Midget" flashgun was provided in a kit with the camera, identical to the one sold with the Hawkeye Flash. This unit took two AA's and an M-sized flash-bulb. The camera could accept other Kodalite-mount flashes, including the Kodalite itself, the "Generator Flasholder" that does not require batteries, and a few others from Kodak.

The Bull's-Eye was a robust piece for an amateur-level box camera. The casing is made from thicker bakelite than many contemporary Kodaks, and together with a fairly complicated mechanism and the metal faceplate, this causes the camera to feel very substantial in the hand. The eye-level viewfinder, shutter release and winding knob are all on the photographer's right, while the exposure switch (with settings for "Long" (bulb) and "Instant" is to the upper left of the lens, and the flash contacts are on the left side of the body. The latch on the back rotates a quarter-turn to release from the front of the camera.

In many ways, it represents an upmarket counterpart to the Hawkeye, with which it shares design features such as molded fluting on the sides, Kodalite flash terminals, and a similar "Eye"-based name. Aside from the larger 6x9 format, compared to the 6x6 format of the Hawkeye, it has a number of other features that differentiate it. Where the Hawkeye has a fixed lens, giving soft focus from five feet to around ten feet and sharp focus from a little past ten to infinity, the Bull's-Eye has a "Twindar" two-element periscopic lens with zone-focusing, ostensibly allowing sharp focus at anywhere from four feet to infinity. A spring-loaded detent catches the focusing stud at the ten foot mark, so that the photographer can set it to this range by feel while looking through the viewfinder. This two-element lens is unlikely to be among the sharpest or most achromatic Kodak lenses, but it had already stood the test of time, being ostensibly the same type fitted to earlier cameras like the 1933 Jiffy Kodak Six-20, already branded "Twindar" at that time.

Where the Hawkeye's shutter fires every time the release is pressed, the Bull's-Eye's shutter locks after firing and unlocks when the photographer turns the winder. This has the effect of partially preventing double exposures, as the shutter can not be triggered again without advancing the film at least part of the way towards the next frame. Overlapping exposures and skipped frames are still possible. As part of the locking mechanism, a lightning-bolt-shaped piece of metal appears in the viewfinder when a frame is exposed. This allows a photographer to pick up the camera and immediately know whether to wind it. This indicator is painted red on the front so that it could also be clearly seen from the front of the viewfinder. The camera also features metal strap lugs on the sides and a tripod socket.

This camera can easily accept a trimmed 120 spool in either the feed position or the take-up position, making it somewhat easier to use with 120 film than many 620 cameras. Unlike the Hawkeye, however, it cannot accept an untrimmed spool in either position.

images by Eduardo Urdangaray (Image rights)


  • Country of orign: USA
  • In production: 1954 - 1960
  • Lens: Kodak Twindar, zone-focusing
  • Shutter: rotary, with flash synch; Speeds "Long" (bulb) or "Instant"
  • Film: 620 film, 8 6x9cm exposures


  1. Dates from Kodak.com's list of products (archived)