An easy to find pseudo-TLR, the Kodak Duaflex II is an nice addition to any toy camera collection for its simplicity and low cost if you’re willing to modify your 120 film for 620 spools or experiment with 35mm.
On the market from 1950 – 1954, the Kodak Duaflex II came in two different models – a Kodet fixed focus lens and a Kodar triple lens. The fixed lens model is one of the easiest to find at a flea market or antique shop as they were popular when originally produced. I was able to pick mine up for under $10 at a local antique shop and have seen others on sale between $5 – $20 around town.
While not a true TLR, the Kodak Duaflex II imitates the body shape of a TLR with two lenses and an oversized viewfinder. Made primarily of aluminum and plastic, the simple structure of the camera body feels like a toy camera. The mechanics are simple as well. The film goes in the bottom of the camera in a swing-out clip. The take-up spool is on top with a winding knob on the right upper side of the camera. Loading and unloading film, when it’s the right kind, is easy to use.
Unlike a TLR, there is no link between the viewer and the actual camera lens. Instead, the viewer on top of the camera allows for a large view of your subject based off a mirror and bubble lens. Only by looking directly at it will you be able to see your full subject, look too close and the mirror is unable to frame the full view.
The fixed-focus lens model comes with a 75mm Kodet f/15 lens with two shutter speeds: B – Bulb and I – Instant “Snapshot.”
The Instant speed is about 1/40 shutter speed, though it’s been listed as anywhere between 1/30 – 1/60 depending on the condition of the camera. The slower shutter speed can sometimes lead to overexposed shots on sunny days, but for the most part work well with slower speeds, or indoors with faster film.
Because of its simple set-up, the camera does not prevent multiple exposures.
It’s also important to remember that any subject closer than 2m (6 ft) will most likely appear out of focus.
The photos come out as 6×6 photos on and 120/620 film. With a sharp focus in the center, occasionally edges of the frames tend to have some distortion or soft edges.
Tips & Tricks with loading Film
As the Kodak Duaflex cameras were made to take 620 film, you will need to make some changes to your 120 film. Respooling 120 film onto the smaller 620 spools, it fairly easy if you have an extra 620 spool. Just make sure to ask for your spool back when you drop off your film.
If you don’t have a spare 620 spool (as I did not when I first picked up my camera), you’ll just need to put in a bit of manual labor into filing down or cutting down (I used an old exacto knife and kept some band-aids around) of the 120 spool down to the film.
You can also modify your camera to take 35mm film, if you don’t have 120 film easily available. An easy-to-follow guide on how to do so is linked to below. I found it best when I ignored the number of turns and just snapped away when using 35mm.
What’s nice with using 35mm is that you’ll get exposed sprockets and overlapping exposures.
Overall, I appreciate having this camera in my collection because it is so easy to use, once you’re used to playing with film spools.
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