Brownie Starflash

Film photography seems to create a bit of nostalgia for some folks. Well, and a lot of nostalgia for others, but that’s another story. Late middle age will do that, too.  As a late-middle-aged photographer, I have thought many times about the cameras I had as a boy, long before I was ever in a darkroom. And let’s not forget my February 8th post in this very blog:

It is likely all of the attention these cameras are getting that caused me to want to add these memories from childhood to my collection. There were two: The first was a lime green Savoy. I don’t know what happened to it, and I don’t think I have any surviving pictures taken with it, with one possible exception.

The second was a Brownie Starflash. Our household owned two of these. Again, I do not know what happened to them, but I do have some surviving negatives and a few prints from one of these cameras. I used it well into high school.  I also have many, many “superslides” that my Dad took.  The 127 film was the perfect format for larger, square slides that still fit a 35mm sized mount and projector.  They were very popular in the day.

Here’s a picture of my parents and me in 1960, with a Starflash around my Dad’s neck:


And, of course, the most notable picture I took with one (also in the Feb. 8 post)

tower small

I’ve always been on the lookout for good examples of these two cameras. I’ve never seen a Savoy in the flesh, in any condition. In the past, I have come across many Starflashes, but they had never met my criteria for price vs. condition, so I never purchased one. They are not rare. There were dozens on the world famous auction site last week, and I spotted one that I got at a really good price (which met my criteria) and looked to be in almost unused condition. It does look almost new, has its original neck strap, is still in its very worn box, and has its owner’s manual!


However, the shutter does not work. I went back and re-read the auction listing, and all it said was it looked good, it did not specify “working condition”. Given the price and the cosmetic condition, I am disappointed, but cannot really fault the seller. The shutter appears to work (it clicks) but is sticking.

I had not planned to use the camera, anyway, as it takes 127 film. One can still get some film in the 127 size, and I do have a developing reel for that format (go figure), but it is expensive.

The Savoy must be much more rare, going by the supply vs. price part of the supply/demand curve. There are very few of them for sale, and the ones that are selling are over twice what I paid for the Starflash; especially the lime green ones. They came in other colors, which don’t seem to command as high a price. Go figure.  And, it takes 620 film, which can be re-rolled from readily available 120 film.  It’s like a Holga without the light leaks.


I remain on the hunt.


One thought on “Brownie Starflash

  1. Pingback: It’s a Savoy | The Silver Darkroom

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