Kodak Brownie Starflex

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Kodak Brownie Starflex

by Karen Nakamura


Overview and Personal Comments

The Kodak Brownie Starflex camera was an inexpensive fixed-focus medium-format camera made by Kodak between 1957-1964.

It used 127 format film. The 35mm film canister in the photograph is to merely give a sense of scale to the camera. The styling is of a twin-lens reflex camera (like the popular Rolleis), but the camera is fixed-focus - the viewing screen is for framing purposes only.

The camera has two shutter speeds for the two types of film (Color and B&W). No focus or aperture selection. This was truly a point-and-shoot. You could attach a Kodak bulb flash unit on the left side of the camera.

According to McKeown's, there were some of these made for the Australasian market, but the one here is "Made in the U.S.A."






The little red window is to help you wind the film to the next frame.



Interesting quirks

No, the photograph below isn't upside down, but the camera is! The Starflex features a folding wire-frame "sports finder" on the bottom. How ingenious! This allowed for eye-level framing and action photography. The wind lever and locking mechanism for the rear can be seen on top. The two shutter speed selector can also be seen.


Technical Details

Camera Name
Brownie Starflex Camera
Place of Manufacture

Rochester, NY?

Date of Manufacture
Focusing System

Fixed focus
Twin-lens reflex for framing purposes only
Folding wire frame sports finder on bottom


Kodax Dakon Lens (unknown construction)


Two speeds
13 Color
14 B&W

Metering System





Kodak flashbulb attachment on left side

Film type / speeds

Type 127
4cm x 4cm frame size

Battery type
Dimensions and weight


Retail price



About Kodak

Let me get something straight: Kodak was never about high quality photography. George Eastman wanted to make photography available for the masses, to put a camera in every hand. Previously, photography was a messy, icky affair with wet chemistry glass plates that had to be coated before each exposure and processed immediately in a darkroom tent. You literally needed your own pack mule to take photos anywhere.

Kodak developed the technique of putting film emulsion onto a thin flexible backing and thus developed the first roll film. Kodak also gave us the numbering system (Type 135 for 35mm film; Type120/220 for medium format roll film, etc.). Originally, 35mm film was designed solely for motion picture usage. It was Oscar Barnack's brilliant idea to use it for still photography that led to the Leica, and the development of 35mm miniature cameras.

Despite the fact that I'm a technical snob and wouldn't use (or touch!) any Kodak camera except a Nagel-type Retina and a film snob so the only Kodak film I use is Tri-X (I'm Fuji Film all the way otherwise), I do have to credit Kodak (and Leica) with making photography available to everyone. Otherwise, we'd all still be hauling heavy glass plate cameras around on our pack mules. If you think your SUV gets bad mileage! ...


On the Net


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