One of the great things about lo-fi photography is the freedom to tinker with the cameras that we purchase. Being relatively inexpensive compared to the latest digital snappers, toy cameras and vintage thrift shop finds lend themselves to modification without much thought to cost. Reasons vary why you’d want to jury-rig a new lens or deliberately force a crack on a body. Some modifications are brought on to achieve an artistic effect, such as replacing your plastic lens with a pinhole (un)lens to get dreamier, creamier shots. Other modifications are performed for matters of practicality, like modifying your camera to accept a more common, or cheaper, film format.
My friend and fellow electronic music performer Marcushiro (of the band Bagetsafonik and the art duo Electrolychee) recently found a dusty Kodak Duaflex II on a thrift store shelf. He bought it, took it home, and discovered that it uses a film format that was discontinued in 1995. Says Camerapedia.org, “the Kodak Duaflex is a 620 roll film pseudo TLR made [by] Kodak in the US and UK. The original versions were available from December 1947 – September 1950 in the US, and 1949-1955 in the UK; the Duaflex IV was finally discontinued in the US in March 1960.”
620 roll film? Turns out, this format was introduced by Kodak in 1931 as an alternative to 120 film, essentially the same film stock on a thinner metal spool. Cameras that use 620 film do not typically support 120 film. Marcushiro had two DIY options. One was to respool 120 film onto a 620 spool, a tedious process. Two was to modify his camera to accept 35mm film. He chose the latter after finding a lo-fi hack online. This hack will pretty much work with other cameras, too. Here’s the link.
As things go when you’re testing out a new modification, results vary in quality due to experimentation. You can find more of Marcushiro’s results on his multiply account here.
If you’ve got any DIY stories of your own, feel free to share them in our comments section.