Thursday, March 20, 2014

Vintage Camera Love!

by Linda





Eastman Kodak introduced the first Duaflex camera in 1947 for the modest price of $17.25.  It was a pseudo TLR (twin lens reflex) camera modeled after the popular Rollieflex preferred by professional photographers of the time. Created with the same shape, a pop-up hood and 2 lenses, one for seeing the image and the other for taking the image, it lacks a mirror and a focusing dial at the top of the camera so that the image on the screen will be what is captured on film.

Four different models were produced - Duaflex I through IV, with only minor modifications between I and II.  III and IV were pretty much the same.

Duaflex was an aluminum alloy body with leatherette sides. Duaflex II could be equipped with a 75mm f/15 Kodet lens or a 72mm f/8 Kodar lens. The Kodar lens included additional stops of f/11 and f/16.  Shutter speed is fixed at 1/30. There is also a bulb setting.

Duaflex cameras took 620 film which has been discontinued. 120 film can be used but must be re-spooled onto a metal spool that will fit the camera.

These popular cameras were discontinued in 1960.




This little Duaflex II camera caught my eye at an antique show last summer. She was sitting so proudly on a shelf full of tokens from another persons life, acquired through estate sale.

I picked her up and she was a little dusty. Her lenses looked clear, maybe a little dust in the viewfinder. Her plastic strap had dried a little and made a cute little curl on her left side. There was a strip of white medical tape across her back, just above the little red window with faded writing on it, her owners name perhaps. The shutter still worked. There is a place to attach a flash unit on one side and a tripod on the bottom.

The vendor said she was $24. A little much, I thought, but the vendor would take $12.

I got her home and gave her a place on a shelf with an old camera from my FIL. She sat patiently there for another couple of weeks.

When I took her out to clean up, I opened her and found a roll of film.

Oh happy day! I wonder what I will find on this! I knew this film was probably very old and chances were nothing would come out but I love a mystery! Several pictures came from that old film! People from another time and place looking back at me!

I wondered if this old camera could still take a picture. Respooling 120 film to use in the camera made me nervous at first. I purchased a roll of Ilford HP5 400 black and white film to try. Several weeks went by until I had the courage to try respooling. One sleepless night I got up and did it, under a blanket, just in case!

It is a quiet little camera. Just a simple pop when the shutter is depressed. I tried indoors and outdoors. The camera must be held at a certain angle to be able to see through the viewfinder. Wearing the camera strap around your neck so the camera hangs at about waist level works best.

Once the film was developed, sadly none of the indoor shots came out. A flash is a must for those.



This is my favorite shot, of course it is the dog! I scanned it in. The pictures are squares, 5" x 5", which I love and I do love the soft tones in the pictures.

Using this camera was fun. It was a reminder of a simpler time. A slower time. A time when you could take a picture and wait till the roll was finished, then send it off to be developed then see what you got!

I think I'll try it again!

Have you taken a vintage camera out for a spin?

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6 comments:

Carol said...

I have a few old cameras from my father - including a rolloflex. There was some old film in it that we just assumed was not developable (if that's a word) - but you have inspired me to try! Wouldn't that be fun to find some old pics for my father? Where did you get the new film when you took pictures? This is something I always mean to explore, but never seem to make the time. LOVE your old cameras, and great stylistic pictures of them - treasure them!

Barb said...

What physical character those old cameras had. Your shot of them is very antique-looking. I don't miss film at all. I like being able to take a shot and just delete if it doesn't suit me. It's a lot less expensive than developing a roll and only finding one you like!

Dotti said...

Wow, Linda! What a treasure! I love the photo of Katy, it really does harken back to a different time. Shots made with vintage camera are so moody, in a good way. Modern film cameras don't do the same by any stretch. Keep shootin'!

Leanne Barnett said...

good for you, such an old looking photo- hope you enjoy taking more!

susan said...

Looks like estate sales will be on priority list. What a great find Linda! Smiled when you shared how you respooled the film under the dark blanket one sleepless night. Precious! ~ xo's

Thelma Bowman said...

This is one thing I love about antique shows; they have rare and great pieces to keep, just like your camera. And in my opinion, you scored big time, because you found it still with its plastic strap on and in good condition. The previous owner must have been very careful with it. Enjoy!

Thelma Bowman @ Quality Strapping

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