Some years ago while traveling from Seattle to Topanga along the Oregon Coast, we stopped at occasional thrift shops to check things out.  It is a good way to learn about the place you happen to be passing through especially in the smaller towns.  I decided to see what old cameras were for sale and if not too expensive buy a couple.  As it turned out, the early Kodak 620 film cameras were very cheap - between 10 and 20 dollars.  So I ended up buying three.  Kodak Duaflex IV, Brownie Target Six-20 and Brownie Hawkeye.  All take 620 film (similar to 120 film) but no longer manufactured.

Duaflex IV with Kodet lens | manufactured 1947-1960

The Kodak Duaflex IV with Kodet lens has a fixed average shutter speed of 1/40th of a second, a 75mm lens with a fixed aperature of F15

Ilford 100 ISO Black and White film

A roll film gives you 12 frames of pictures on this 2 1/4 by 2 1/4 inch camera

I have had two rolls of film developed and contact sheets made from two of the cameras and both work well.  There are limitations in terms of exposure since a properly exposed picture on the Duaflex has to be taken at F15 at 40th of a second.

I experimented with different lighting, except very low light conditions - as you will see from the 11 pictures I took.  The first frame was wasted when I advanced the film past the first number.  

First mistake and lesson | look carefully at the red window where you can view the film (covered with numbered paper) being advanced

Here are all the photos and contact sheet.  Some photoshop has been done on the 11 photos, but none on the contact sheet |

I will comment briefly on each one |  All pictures taken in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee River | Holton Street Bridge

This picture turned out pretty good.  The kayaker across from the pedestrians should be clearer.

Second issue | you have to shoot from waist-level because you are looking down on the camera to see through the lens.  So if there is a four-foot high wall and chain link fence to shoot through, its challenging shooting at waist level on your tippy toes.  I tried holding it over my head but it was too disorienting, particularly as it is a bit backwards when framing the photo and making sure lines are straight.  However, I believe with practice shooting over your head is workable

Downtown | maybe East Kilbourn Avenue

Keep-in-mind that these pictures are blown-up from the 8 by 10 inch contact sheet scan.

Though I like the effect, it is very over-exposed.  A scanned (or printed) negative should provide more definition, detail and less grain.

Third lesson | unless you want an overexposed negative do not shoot into the sun or very brightly lit surfaces like a reflecting body of water

Downtown | Cathedral of St John the Evangelist

Pretty much all good on this one.  Though I sort of like it, the cathedral tower is not perfectly straight in the frame.  Otherwise, blacks and whites look good, contrast is good, details good as well.

Fourth observation | shoot well lite subjects | contrast can be helpful


Backlit photo but this time, a majority of the image is blocking the sunlight.  Still not much detail.  Scanned negative might have more detail and when I have my scanner I will replace the images.

Lake shore | Veterans Park

I like the effect, but overexposed because of shooting into the sun.  I'm not so fussy about straight buildings and horizons, but if you want lines straight a tripod might help | there is a place to mount a monopod or tripod on the Duaflex (unlike with the other two cameras I have).

Fifth challenge | straight lines for buildings, horizons, trees, poles, water

Double exposure | General Douglas MacArthur statue | Veterans Park

One thing that's pretty cool "chill" about the camera is that it is very easy to do double exposures.  I like this first attempt.  The image transition/blend is too abrupt, so maybe it is best to shoot similarly lit subjects.

Sixth thing of interest | ability to take double exposures easily

Lake Michigan inlet | Veterans Park
Downtown | North Jackson Street
Downtown | reflection
Riverwalk | Bronze Fonz statue
Lower East Side | North Humboldt Avenue
Contact sheet | 

For more information on the Kodak Duaflex IV | | note: this review is primarily on the Duaflex IV with Kodar lens (not Kodet lens one that I have)

looking down through the viewfinder