Camera Reviews

Kodak Duaflex II

On paper, the Kodak Duaflex II is a lousy camera. It tried to capture high-end cachet by being styled as a twin-lens reflex camera, but it’s really just a glorified box camera. Its single-element meniscus lens, a 75mm f/15 Kodet, was the cheapest Kodak offered in those days. Its simple single-speed leaf shutter fires at about 1/30 second. It doesn’t get much more basic than that.

Kodak Duaflex II

The Duaflex II sold for $15 during its 1950-1954 run. That’s equivalent to more than $150 today. Yet Kodak must have sold a bajillion Duaflex IIs as eBay offers dozens of them all the time. You’ll also find examples of the Duaflex (1947-1950), Duaflex III (1954-1957), and Duaflex IV (1957-1960), which differ from each other mostly in styling. 

Kodak Duaflex II

Kodak sold the Duaflex by itself and in kits that included a leather “field case” and a flash holder that automatically synced with the shutter. Given the number of Duaflexes I’ve seen with the same carrying bag, I wonder if the bag was part of a kit or was just a commonly sold accessory. I do know that attachment lens filters were a common Duaflex accessory. Kodak also made Duaflexes with a fancier lens, the 72mm f/8 Kodar, which could be stopped at f/8, f/11, and f/16.

Kodak Duaflex II

Clearly, this simple camera caught on. I’m not surprised. I had one in my first camera collection, and it was one of my top favorites. It was pleasant to use and took respectable photographs. You hang it around your neck and look down into its big, bright viewfinder. Framing is easy, though it takes a little getting used to how the viewfinder reverses images left to right. Its aluminum and plastic body has a little heft and is easy to hold, and its shutter button slides on silk, all of which makes it easy to keep the camera steady for crisp shots. Relatively crisp, anyway; the simple lens seems a little soft, especially at the edges.

Duaflexes take square photos on size 620 film. Kodak discontinued 620 in 1995, but fortunately 620 is just 120 film (readily available since 1901!) on a narrower spool. Some people apparently have had good luck using 120 in Duaflexes by trimming the edges off both ends of the spool; others respool 120 onto a 620 spool. You can also buy 120 already spooled onto a 620 spool if you don’t mind paying a premium.

If you like box cameras like this one, also check out my review of the Argus Argoflex Forty (here), the Kodak Brownie Hawkeye (here), the Agfa Clack (here), the Kodak Six-20 Brownie (here), and the Ansco Shur Shot (here). Or check out all of my camera reviews here.

I never actually shot this particular Duaflex II. I felt considerable nostalgia when I bought it, but it died before I could put any film in it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t show you photos from one. In the summer of 1982, I bought a roll of size 620 Kodacolor II at the drugstore, loaded it into my first Duaflex II, and shot stuff around the house where I grew up. I still have the prints and negatives. I scanned the prints to share with you; here are a few that I liked best. Meet Brian. We’ve been friends since 1979.

Old friend

I turned the camera skyward and captured some clouds.


This 1968 Mustang lived down the street from me. When I photographed it, it was only 14 years old. That was pretty old for a car back then, as they didn’t last as long as modern cars. But it was still common to see Mustangs doing what they were made to do: move people from A to B.

1968 Mustang

My first Duaflex II was a garage sale find. It came in a carrying bag (the same kind shown earlier) with a flash holder, accessory filters, a manual, and a whole bunch of old #5 flash bulbs. I spent one taking this photo of my brother in my bedroom. I caught him the instant before his face showed he was not amused to be photographed.

My brother

Finally, here is my bike and my friend Brian’s bike in my family’s driveway. This was the first photograph I ever took that turned out looking like I had a half of a clue about what I was doing. It was very satisfying.


See the rest of the photos from this roll in my Kodak Duaflex II gallery.

If you find a Duaflex and are curious about it in the slightest, go ahead and buy it. They still go for very little, and they’re likely to work well enough as there’s little to go wrong. They’re not fussy to use and, as you can see, they return good results.

If you like old film cameras, check out all of my reviews here!
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35 thoughts on “Kodak Duaflex II

  1. Lone Primate says:

    Hey, Jim, if you know of a way to convert RGB images to Lab colour in PSP, you can get even better results from your old scanned photos. You slightly blur the two colour channels (L and A), which smooths out a lot of the chromatic noise, and enhance the brightness channel (B) to bring life to the shadows and tame the highlights. You can run a noise reduction filter on the brightness channel too, but at this point it’s balancing act between cleaning up noise and losing detail. It’s a call of the individual eye.

    Then, you convert back to RGB, save, and garnish with parsley. :)

    • Wow, you just opened up a whole new room for me, as I’ve never heard of any of what you’re talking about. I’m betting all of this is out of PSP’s grasp.

      That shot of my brother does suffer from some obvious noise.

      The other thing I see on all of these photos is the “nap” of the matte paper on which the original photos are printed.

      I’d love to have a negative scanner.

  2. Ewa Kuc says:


    Great article. Just a few days ago I got the Duaflex II. Have Never Heard about it before, but I’d never been interested much in collectible cameras. I’ve got 2 ZENIT E-line at home, and both of them are pretty used by me when I was a teeneger with my first camera(s). Didn’t know what to do with it, and how to take care of it. Anyway…. Now when I have this Duaflex I’m again crazy about the “oldies” :-)
    Your article answered lots of my questions. I’ve been worrying about the roll film, and wher I can get it.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

  3. Thank you for the great article!
    I bought Kodak Duaflex II a while ago and have now taken two 36mm colour films with it. I really like how the photos turned out.
    Next, I plan to load 120 film and aim for the more “original” look.
    Do you know, if it is easy to find those filters and close up lenses for Duaflex II?

    • I don’t know how easy or hard it is to find filters and close-up lenses — but I do know that if they’re available anywhere in the world, eBay will have them!

  4. Thatnks for this really useful article. I bought the Duaflex II for Through The Viewfinder shots, which I never got around to. Now I’ve just bought an old Sabre, and I’ve got the urge to learn how to use vintage cameras.

    One question I do have is about which 120 film to use? I’ve seen 100 to 400 ASL for sale on line (even some pre-wound on the 620 spool). But which to buy…..? And should I go for B&W, colour or both? I’m thinking probably both :)

    • The TTV stuff is supposed to be a lot of fun, so don’t give up on it just yet! As for what film to run through — I’m not an expert, but my gut says whatever you choose, choose a lower-speed film, something like 100 ISO. These cameras were built at a time when films were slow — 100 ISO (er, ASA) was considered fast back then. I’d also choose a film with wide latitude, because Duaflexes don’t give you any control. If I were going to load mine up, I’d choose something like Kodak Plus X. B&H Photo sells already-respooled 620 film in a few varieties. If I were buying from what they have available, I’d choose T-Max 100 and maaaaybe the Portra 160.

  5. Thanks so much for that! Looking forward to experimenting with the films you suggested. I’ve also procured some (very) expired 620 film just to see what happens. I like the random factor, which is why I love my Lomos too :)

  6. Hi there,

    I’ve just cleaned up my Duaflex II – do you have any idea whether #5 bulbs are still made? Or am I best off on eBay?

    Are they single-use only?

    Also, what kinds of batteries does the flash take? It looks like it fits AA or AAA but I can’t imagine the 1.5v batteries working with one of those bulbs….thanks!

    • You’re going to have to search for #5 bulbs on eBay, I’m afraid — I don’t believe they’ve been made in years. They are single-use bulbs. I don’t have my flashgun handy but I’m pretty sure mine takes C batteries.

  7. I was just given a Duoflex. I respooled some Fuji Acros 100 in 120 and went shooting. I loved the old school look the old lenses give! I’ll post some of the photos on my blog in the next day or two.

  8. Thank you! I just bought a Duaflex 2. It was an antique mall find. and this has filled in a lot of my blanks. But still I’m wondering, will I know when to stop winding the film if I re-spool 120? Understand this is the first antique camera I’ve restored to working order. Also, did you find the cleaning process a challenge? My lens could really use it.

  9. Hi,
    I found your blog through a web search and am wondering if I can trouble you for some advice. How do I attach my 6A yellow filter to my duaflex iv? I can’t figure it out! :(

  10. Earlier this spring, I found a complete kit with box at a garage sale for $5. After cleaning it up and playing with it, I sold it at my own garage sale for $20. I would have kept it if I had your knack for film. My last film camera is my Olympus IS3 DLX, which sits on the top shelf of the closet….

  11. Mark W says:

    The Duaflex brings back fond childhood memories. My mother has a Duaflex III with a focusing lens. She was a prolific shooter at Christmastime. I remember the smell of smoldering plastic from the No. 5 flashbulbs as she recorded the holidays. I associate that odor with Christmas to this day.

    Mom would use an entire roll of 12 pictures for this one holiday. The rest of the year usually had Easter, summer vacation and miscellaneous events on the same one roll.

    I enjoy reading your blog. I admire the research you do before posting. I also am amazed at your ability to capitalize, punctuate, spell and format in cohesive paragraphs. This blog should be required reading for all the millennial generation before they’re allowed access to blogging..

    • Thanks for plumbing the archives; they get lonely. And thanks for saying such nice words about my writing. This is my primary hobby today, but at one time I was a professional writer and so I’ve had some practice.

  12. Lily minks says:

    I have the exact camera you have! I’m sixteen and this year I went to a garage sell and found my Kodak duaflex ii it was super dirty! I’m so glad you told me about the film I really love this camera and I have this wild urge to use it for some reason. Mine came with a flash and strap as to wear it. Does anyone know what bulb it uses???

  13. Lily minks says:

    P.s. I’m also starting a camera collection, I have (not as old by) a a Kodak Instamatic x-15. Do you happen to know what film that uses?

    • It takes 126 film, which is no longer made. If you are just dying to shoot this camera, I recommend you look for some expired Kodak Verichrome Pan film in 126 size on eBay. That film is famous for being able to make usable images even 40 or 50 years expired. It won’t behave as good as new but, unless it was badly mistreated in storage, it will work. Old School Photo Lab ( can process 126 film, but it’s kind of expensive to get scans or prints.

  14. Jon says:

    Jim, you sure have dispensed a lot of helpful advice over the years. It must be satisfying to see how your blog has grown over so many years.

  15. Pingback: Camera reviews : Down the Road - Pixelnova

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