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Historic Japanese SLR (1)

- Chapter I – 1919 – 1958 -

Part One

Pre-War Phase 

We begin with the commercial formation of camera industry in Japan and go up to the II World War days.

-1919-

 

 

First and second versions of Kuribayashi Speed Reflex

Characteristics:

Name:

Speed Reflex

Maker:

Kuribayashi Seisakusho

Mfg Year:

1919

Lens:

Cooke Anastigmat 3.9/5”; second version Congo 4.5/135

Shutter:

Focal Plane  T- 1/15 - 1/1000

Film type and format:

6.5x9 plates

Comments:

The first Kuribayashi camera and the first Japanese SLR Close copy of the British “Ruby” of Thornton Pickard.  The second version used Japanese elements throughout

 

 

 

 

Advertisement published in the September 1929 issue of Asahi Camera, and advertisement detail.

 

 

-1920-

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Guaranteed Reflex

Maker:

Unknown

Mfg Year:

C. 1920

Lens:

Doublet Lens f8 diaphragms up to f32

Shutter:

Swinging Mirror  I & B

Film type and format:

12x16.5cm plates (5x7 inches)

Comments:

Wooden body

 

 

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Hogo Reflex

Maker:

Unknown

Mfg Year:

C. 1920

Lens:

ICA Dominar Anastigmat  4.5/120

Shutter:

Focal Plane T- B – 1/10 – 1/1000

Film type and format:

6.5x9 plates

Comments:

Very similar to Graflex series cameras

 

-1929-

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Neat Reflex

Maker:

R.Konishi Hoten

Mfg Year:

1929

Lens:

Dallmeyer Serrac 4.5/130

Shutter:

Focal Plane  T- B – 1/5 – 1/1000

Film type and format:

6.5x9 plates

Comments:

Patterned after the Thornton Pickard “Ruby”

 

 

-1935-

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Auto Reflex

Maker:

Art Camera Co.

Mfg Year:

1935

Lens:

Fixed Focus –No diaphragm

Shutter:

Mirror Shutter  I & B

Film type and format:

30x40mm on special plates

Comments:

No, this is not the known Konica Auto Reflex unveiled several years later.  Daylight loading special plates.

 

 

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Speed-go Reflex

Maker:

Tougo-do Co.

Mfg Year:

1935

Lens:

Fixed Focus lens

Shutter:

Mirror shutter I & B with instant return

Film type and format:

28x40mm on special plates

Comments:

Like the Auto Reflex, daylight loading special plates. First  Japanese camera with Instant Mirror Return

 

-1938-

 

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Baby Superflex

Maker:

Kiko-do Co.

Mfg Year:

1938

Lens:

Super Anastigmat 4.5/75 interchangeable

Shutter:

B 1/25-1/100

Film type and format:

4x4 on 127 film

Comments:

First Japanese 4x4 SLR patterned after the Karma-flex

1938 advertisement of Baby Superflex

 

-1940-

Characteristics:

Name:

Flex Six

Maker:

Kioto Seiki Co.

Mfg Year:

1940

Lens:

U.L.L. Anastigmat 3.5/80 front element focusing

Shutter:

Focal Plane -B - 1/10 – 1/500

Film type and format:

6x6 on 120 film

Comments:

“Made in Nippon” stamped on body. This was considered  the top of Japanese medium format at 1940. Gave several descendants.

 

 

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Flex Six (Military Version)

Maker:

Kansai Optical Institute

Mfg Year:

1940

Lens:

Kanko 2600 Mirror Reflex lens  5.6/450mm

Shutter:

Focal Plane -B - 1/10 – 1/500

Film type and format:

12 Round images 4.5 cm diameter on 120 film

Comments:

Military observation photo camera

 

 

 

 

Advertisement in 1942 in Hōdō Shashin magazine

 

 

Optical schematics of Kanko 2600.

 

 

 

In the Museum of Old Telecope -Tokyo

 

 

Here pictures taken from instructions of Kansai lens. “2600” stands for the mythological year corresponding to 1940

 

 

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Shinkoflex

Maker:

Yamashita Trading Co.

Mfg Year:

1940

Lens:

Schneider Radionar 3.5/75  or Kansai Kōgaku U.L.L. Anastigmat 3.5/80 both with front element focusing

Shutter:

Focal plane B- 1/10 – 1/500

Film type and format:

6x6 on 120 film

Comments:

This camera was a continuation of the Flex Six but included a lever film advance being the first Japanese camera to adopt lever advance being a more close copy of the German Reflex Korelle.

 

 

 

 

Artistic draft of Motoram

Characteristics:

Name:

Seitō Ref

Maker:

Toko

Mfg Year:

1940/1943

Lens:

Seitō Kogaku Triplet 75/3.5 front element focusing interchangeable.

Shutter:

Focal plane B 10, 25, 50, 100, 200, 300

Film type and format:

6x6 on 120 film – removable/interchangeable magazine

Comments:

Prototype only never sold - Unknown surviving units. First 6x6 camera with changeable backs

 

 

 

XXXX

 

 

 

 

Historic Japanese SLR

Part Two

 

Post-War Phase 

This phase goes up to 1958, when the Japanese industry obtained its maturity. The inventiveness of unique cameras was shown in various models. The last camera of this phase can be considered the Fujita 66 and the similar Amano 66 better and more costly, did not sell well. A new phase was born in 1959 when it was unveiled the advanced Bronica camera.

 

-1947-

Artistic view from description

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Orchid

Maker:

Nihon Shashin Kōgyō

Mfg Year:

1947

Lens:

Tōhō Kōgaku  four-element unit-focusing 2.7/85

Shutter:

1/25 to 1/500

Film type and format:

6x6 on 120 film

Comments:

Prototype camera No surviving examples

 

-1948-

Artistic view from description

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Carlflex

Maker:

Kurashikku Kamera Senka

Mfg Year:

1948

Lens:

Kārufurekkusu ??

Shutter:

??

Film type and format:

6x6 on 120 film

Comments:

Prototype camera No surviving examples Forerunner of the  Atomflex

 

 

-1950-

 

 

 

 

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Tanyflex

Maker:

Taniyama Camera Works

Mfg Year:

1950

Lens:

Hexar 4.5/105  or Hexar 3.5/105 (Konishiroku)

Shutter:

Focal plane T B 1/10 to 1/300

Film type and format:

6x6 on 120 film

Comments:

Wooden body Flash synchronizer inn the top of the case

The front accepted lenses of 4x5 Graflex cameras.

 

-1951-

 

Artistic draft of Motoram

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Zuman Flex

Maker:

Zuman Kōki Kenkyūjo

Mfg Year:

1951 - 1952

Lens:

Zuiko 3.5/75mm, (Olympus) Automatic diaphragm mounted in square plate

Shutter:

Metal focal plane  1 2 5 10 25 50 100 200 300 450 600

Film type and format:

14 pictures 5x5.5 on 120 film

Comments:

Prototype Movable pressure plate releases film during advance Single button sets speed and focus the lens

 

. -1953-

 

 

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Atomflex

Maker:

Sugiyama Co.

Mfg Year:

1953

Lens:

Atomar Anastigmat 3.5/75

Shutter:

Central B, 25, 50, 100

Film type and format:

6x6 on 120 film

Comments:

This camera originated from the German pre-war Karmaflex 6x6 , is a grown-up Super Flex Baby, and was the prototype of smaller First Flex 35 of 1954

 

 

 

-1954-

 

 

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Hasemiflex

Maker:

Hasemi Optical Co,

Mfg Year:

1954

Lens:

ICA Dominar Anastigmat  4.5/120 mounted in Compur

Shutter:

Focal Plane T- B – 1/10 -1/1000

Film type and format:

9x9 for 6x9 or 6,5x9 formats on 120 film or plates

Comments:

Removable back. This camera was an improvement of the previous Tanyflex camera 

 

 

 

  

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Reflex Beauty

Maker:

Taiyo-do Optical Works

Mfg Year:

1954

Lens:

Canter Anastigmat 3.5/75mm

Shutter:

Focal plane B -1/25 – 1/500

Film type and format:

6x6 on 120 film also 24x40 on 828 film

Comments:

First version had Korelle threaded lens mount and independent knob film advance and shutter cocking. Second version with Exakta 66 (Pre-war) bayonet mount and coupled shutter cocking with film advance lever.

Sold as Reflex 66 by Sterling -Howard

 

 

 

 

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Escaflex

Maker:

Esca Optical Works

Mfg Year:

1954

Lens:

Tri Lausar (Yashica) 3.5/80 mm

Shutter:

NKS central B 1 to 1/200

Film type and format:

6x6 on 120 film

Comments:

Very interesting shutter system, was the first Japanese SLR camera to use between the lens shutter, inherited from the Reflex Mentor of 1935, and one year after the german Contaflex I  which reborn the formula in 35mm.

 

 

 

-1956-

 

 

 

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Rolly flex

Maker:

Rolly Optical Co.

Mfg Year:

1956

Lens:

Tri Lausar (Yashica) 3.5/80 mm

Shutter:

NKS II central B 1 to 1/300 new design shutter

Film type and format:

6x6 on 120 film

Comments:

This camera was re-edition of the Escaflex with a new shutter.

 

 

 

 

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Rittreck

Maker:

Musashino Optical Works

Mfg Year:

1956

Lens:

Luminant 3.5 105mm

Shutter:

Focal plane  T B 1/20 to 1/500

Film type and format:

9x9 for 6.5x9, 6x9, 6x6, 5x5, 4,5x6 on 120 film and plates or 24x82, 24x56 or 24x36 on 35mm film

Comments:

A system camera with various accessories for telephoto and macrophoto.

A development of Hasemiflex.

 

  

Two versions of the first model. The right one has slow speed gears.

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Fujita 66

Maker:

Fujita Optical Co.

Mfg Year:

1956

Lens:

Fujita 3.5/80mm

Shutter:

Focal plane B 1/25 to 1/500 and later 1/5 to 1/500

Film type and format:

6x6 on 120 film

Comments:

This camera was sold under various names Kalimar 66. Fodor 66, Soligor 66 to name few. There were also two versions also made with Kilfitt name for using Kilfitt lenses.

This camera offered a 150mm Telephoto and a 52mm wide angle, in the era, the widest available for the format. Also Hasselblad 1000 adapter for their lenses.

 

 

 

-1957-

 

 

 

 

 

 

Characteristics:

Name:

Amano 66

Maker:

Amano Special Instruments Co.

Mfg Year:

1957

Lens:

Amon 3.5/80

Shutter:

Mirror shutter  B – 1/2  - 1/300

Film type and format:

6x6 on 120 film

Comments:

Instant return mirror

 

 

XXXXXX                          continued

 

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