British only atempt in making a 35mm Single Lens Reflex camera.

Classified by the collector Peter Naylor as “WEIRD BUT WONDERFUL”, it is an oddity in itself.  A very sound and well built camera, originally designed to have an all mirror viewing system, it received a conventional pentaprism finder only in the third production series. Focal plane shutter ½ to 1/1000 plus B in coaxial dials. Mechanically speaking the body was very flat and little protuding following the previous Bolca/Alpa cameras. The mirror was designed not to interfere with the lens calculations, and allowed a much deeper lens mount designs (see further explanations). This camera was first shown at the 1950 British Industries Fair, and sold to public in 1951. Several odds included besides the all mirror finder. The 24x32mm format, the bottom advance key, albeit very effective and easy to use(but not when tripod mounted) - see camera cradle -  and the uncommom rewind key. The most interesting data to date, is that pehaps this should be the only camera in world  conceived by two women: Mrs. KATIE STUDDERT and Mrs. HELENA RUTH.


Wrayflex Ia von Dieter Brunow-Manalaki

Wrayflex II

Wray Ltd., Wrayflex II, 1954
24 x 36, Wray Unilite 2/50
Prismatic finder

 Wrayflex M41.2 ... mount 42.05mm register

Wrayflex II  face views


Model II view and key position on bottom (Ivor Matanle –Classic SLR Cameras)

Lenses & accessories:

 35/3.5 Lustrar

 50/2.8 Unilux 

 50/2 Unilite

 90/4 Lustrar

 135/4 Lustrar

 8”/4.5 Lustrar

eyepiece correction


tube set : 6mm, 7mm &

9.5mm tubes

Removable flash shoe

Tripod shoe with frame

advance gear




Publication number:


Publication date:








- international:

G03B19/12; G03B19/12;

- European:


Application number:

US19500172858 19500710

Priority number(s):

GBX2608922 19490713


Main models characteristics:

Wrayflex 1   24 x 32mm., all mirror. 45 pictures,  no shoe,  3  pin  contacts

850 units produced

Wrayflex 1a  24 x 36mm., all mirror.  36  pictures,  no shoe,  2 PC contacts

1600 units produced

Wrayflex 2   24 x 36mm., pentaprism. 36 pictures,  flash shoe,  2 PC contacts

300 units produced

Wrayflex I (Original)  face views

35/3.5 Lustrar

135/4 Lustrar


Wrayflex Ia w/ 50/2 Unilite


The Wrayflex cameraLoading the WrayflexLoading the Wrayflex


Wrayflex diagram showing partsWrayflex cutaway of optical system


Two Wrayflex lensesWrayflex - taking the picture




Optical path and parts nomenclature


Ground Glass Screen and Centre Magnifying Lens



This ingenious moving system enables the camera to use deep lenses:

1-     Normal focusing position.

2-     The mirror goes back after firing the camera.

3-     The mirror continues its travel towards the screen.

4-    The mirror finally blacks all finder lights and the shutter exposes the film.



In this cut view schematics , one can feel the ingeniousity and advantages of such system, followed by no other camera. - The time lag is slightly larger than in conventional cameras,


from Mc. Keowns 12th edition 2005/2006



about synchro contacts: 

In model I the two upper contacts are used with electronic flash (1/25 standard speed) the two lower contacts are for lamps.

In model Ia the upper socket is used for electronic units , the lower for lamps


Wrayflex Ia w/ 50/2.8 Unilux  front view. One sees advance key and tripod screw.


¾ view


back view


Wrayflex Ia w/ 50/2 Unilite and removable accessory shoe

Wrayflex Ia model.

Two pictures.

 camera and four lenses. 50/2 Unilite in the camera, and from left to right, 90/4 Lustrar, 35/3.5 Lustrar, lens cap, 135/4 Lustrar.



 camera, normal lens, lens cap, and tripod cradle.

The camera key engages in the slot of the knurled cradle wheel  in order to advance film with camera attached in the tripod.

(Ivor Matanle - Classic SLR Cameras)


 A rare system of camera model Ia, three Wray lenses 2/50, 4/90, 4/135 with the original enlarger with transformer and low voltage lamp


Instructions booklet



Focal Press Focal Guide,  by  Walter Daniel Emanuel  covering the Wrayflex. This is a First Edition from September 1954. 80 pages





Title: Letters
Feature: news
31 August 2005

The 'wrong' format

I refer to Eric Hayman's letter re the 24x36mm film format, popularly accredited to Oscar Barnack and his Leitz camera (Letters, BJP, 03 August).

This format has served photographers since at least 1914 - long before the commercial release of the Leica in 1925. In fact, it is as long ago as 1910 that a stills camera using short lengths of 35mm motion picture film first became available although according to Roger Hicks, British patents for such a device were issued in 1908.

The first 35mm film-using camera was probably the US-made Tourist Multiple with 750 single (or half) frame exposures per load. Single frame is, of course, the motion picture 'frame' of 18x24mm. The Simplex camera of 1914, also made in the US, could switch between single frame and double frame 24x36mm and back at any time (just like the Hasselblad XPan with 'normal' and panorama).

Before Barnack there were many other 35mm film-using stills cameras.

So photographers have coped well making happy snaps, exhibition prints and illustrating newspapers, books and magazines with images shot in the 2:3 format since at least 1914, despite the differences, at least in Europe, between Imperial and metric paper sizes. One format fits all you could say - especially if you have a darkroom.

There have been attempts to break away from the 24x36mm format: the British Wrayflex with 24x32mm (Ideal Format?) and the Nikon 1, also 24x32mm, Nikon M (ll) 24x34 mm - The 'M' representing 'medium' or 'middle' between the 24x32mm and conventional 24x36mm. The Nikons were fitted with the Zeiss Contax bayonet and so there was much cross-fertilisation between Nikon and Contax users (especially with the US press corp during the Korean war, when the Nikkors were cheaper and readily available).

Most of the pro paper sizes fell by the wayside - the buying public preferred 24x36mm. From the 1960s, several attempts to market single or half frame cameras (albeit the same 2:3 format) were not exactly popular either.

So, what's wrong with 2:3?

Bob Dove, via email

A-grade standard

The 2x3 format fits reasonably well with the 'A' paper sizes. A4 has a ratio of 2x2.8, as do all the A sizes. So, in answer to Eric Hayman's question (would there be any disadvantages to building camera sensors built to A-series proportions?) I would say no. But any advantages would be very small.

Martin Doyle, Bridgend

Pro selector

I have been watching the film v digital debate on these pages closely and I now feel it is time for me to comment.

Surely one of the common attributes of a professional over an amateur is that they can accurately choose the right tool for the job.

I am a press photographer by day, for which I use a high speed digital SLR. But I also exhibit my art photography, where on occasion I have access to a darkroom to print my own colour enlargements. I use my trusty old twin lens medium format camera for my art but if I turned up at my picture desk with a roll of 120 colour negative film instead of a memory card full of digitally captured files I would probably get the sack.

Mr Derek Traylor said a few weeks ago (Letters, BJP, 03 August), it's 'horses for courses'. We have been blessed with the option of using digital technology as well as film, and we should embrace any new way of producing more pictures.

Sean Bickerton, South Wales


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