A couple years ago, I was given someone’s old box camera, a Kodak Duaflex III. This is the kind of camera that you look through the top which provides a mirrored reflection approximating what the lens “sees”. Surprisingly, film can still be found for this “gem” of a camera. Not one to pass up a challenge, I wanted to see if the camera still worked and if so, what kind of results I would get.
There are scant few settings for this camera–three aperture settings and a focus ring which is marked between 3 1/2 feet and infinity. Unfortunately, unlike an SLR, you do not have the luxury of seeing if you are “in focus” or not. So if you’re horrible at estimating distances, as I am, the best bet is to set it for infinity and shoot landscapes.
Over the course of the previous winter, I lugged the old box camera around with me as I shot primarily with my Nikon DSLR. At times the Duaflex was more of an after-thought, but my intent was mainly to see if it worked. It was interesting trying to frame the shots as you need to move opposite what you normally do! Fast forward another year and I remembered the film was still in the old Kodak Duaflex III — it was time to see how, or even IF, the images turned out.
In the end, I was reasonably surprised by the resulting images, although a few of the images exhibited some tell-tale light-leak degradation and some dust and other spot artifacting. I corrected some of the more egregious issues in the images you see below, but you will still see some remnant flaws. Not sure if it’s possible to clean the interior of the camera assembly or the lens, but will try next time around, as I’ve already loaded some color 620 film in the camera. In the meantime, I will use gaffers tape to seal the sides of the rear opening to prevent unwanted light from sneaking in to the images.
What do you think of my shots with a 50+ year old box camera? What’s the oldest camera you’ve used?