Kodak Duaflex IV


I’m writing another post today, since my internet connection has been a little flaky of late, but right now, it appears to be working properly (for the most part). As such, I’m making the best use of it that I can. Also, I had intended to write about this particular camera prior to writing about the Brownie about which I wrote in today’s previous post, so I’m a bit behind with this one.


As with the Argoflex 40 (which I wrote about in a previous post approximately a week ago), this camera is styled after more sophisticated Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) cameras, but it is essentially a stylized box camera – more similar, in many respects, to the Brownie camera in today’s previous post. As with the Argoflex 40, the upper lens is actually a large, fixed viewfinder; it is reasonably close to being optically matched with the taking lens, but I am not certain of how exact this matching is. The upper lens also does not focus at all (though in earlier Duaflex models, this was not an issue, as the taking lens did not focus, either), and is merely there to provide an approximate idea of what will be captured by the taking lens. Said taking lens (in this case, as seen in the photo, a 72mm Kodar f/8 lens) does actually focus on this model, rather than being a fixed-focus lens as in previous Duaflex models (and the box cameras before them). There are only two shutter speeds available with this camera, Instant and Bulb (similar to earlier box cameras); the plunger on the right-hand side is the shutter release, while a switch on the left-hand side (hidden in the above view) changes the speed from Instant to Bulb. There are also three aperture settings for this camera, adjusted by the lever below the taking lens; the settings are f/8, f/11, and f/16. These settings are also correlated with lighting conditions and film types: f/8 = open shade (B&W) or hazy sun (color); f/11 = cloudy bright (B&W) or bright sun (color); and f/16 = hazy & bright sun (B&W) or bright sun, sand, & snow (color). The modest lens focus range is also similarly correlated with everyday situations: the three labels are “Close-ups,” corresponding to the range from 3.5 ft to 5 ft; “Groups,” corresponding to approximately 8 ft; and “Scenes,” corresponding to the range from 15 ft to Infinity. There is a flip-up cover over the viewfinder screen at the top of the camera body, [1] and the film winding knob is located on the upper rear left-hand side of the camera. As with many of Kodak’s medium format cameras, the exposure count is handled by a red window on the back of the camera.

The camera itself uses the now-obsolete type 620 film, as opposed to the commonly available type 120 film. Since the camera takes 6cm x 6cm (2 ¼” x 2 ¼”) exposures, it can produce 12 frames on a single roll. As with other 620 cameras, one may still use this camera by transferring 120 film onto empty 620 spools. [2]

Below is another example of the results I got while shooting with this camera.


Note that I shot this photo on an exposed roll of Kodak Portra 160VC film; as such, I cannot guarantee that the colors in this photo are indicative of the film’s normal performance. That said, it appears to have performed well enough, given the circumstances. The subject of this photo is the LaSalle Flowers shop on, appropriately enough, LaSalle Street in Chicago. Typically, I will wait until the sidewalks are clear before shooting a photo – not to mention trying to capture the entire sign in said photo – but given the nature of the camera, [3] I decided not to worry about either, and just shoot the snapshot as I saw it. Sure, it’s not the best composition, either, but on the other hand, that wasn’t really my goal when I was shooting with this camera, either.

In any case, enjoy.


[1]: Since the camera takes square-format exposures, one does not need to rotate the camera for different compositions. As such, the camera does not need to accommodate different viewing formats, and has only the single, fixed viewfinder.

[2]: See here for a Flickr set that illustrates how to transfer 120 film onto empty 620 spools.

[3]: As previously mentioned, Kodak’s SOP was to manufacture cameras that were intended for use with a wide range of consumers, many (or most) of whom would not be well-versed in photographic techniques. Given that they anticipated this sort of behavior on the part of their consumers, Kodak’s cameras were, more often than not, designed accordingly for this sort of impromptu shooting.


3 Responses to “Kodak Duaflex IV”

  1. […] I also forgot to mention that I previously wrote a post about this camera, but it was over a year ago, which is (probably) why I don’t remember doing it. […]

  2. […] the Kodak Duaflex IV camera (about which I’ve written before), this camera is a true twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera. While some TLRs use two slightly different […]

  3. […] somewhat similar. I have, however, posted about this camera before, a couple years back; like the Kodak Duaflex IV, it is a TLR-styled box camera. I have noticed that this camera tends to produce slightly better […]

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