Go Back   Rangefinderforum.com > Cameras / Gear / Photography > Classic Film RangeFinders & Other Classics > SLRs - the unRF

SLRs - the unRF For those of you who must talk about SLRs, if only to confirm they are not RF.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

Rare Mystery SLR.
Old 05-05-2017   #1
tunalegs
Pretended Artist
 
tunalegs's Avatar
 
tunalegs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,560
Rare Mystery SLR.

If the USPS doesn't screw up, I should be in possession of an extremely rare SLR tomorrow. Japanese manufacture, introduced circa 1958 (1958 is the year given on the internet from a couple of sources, but I'm not entirely sure it's 100% correct). Rather advanced for its time with a fixed pentaprism, instant return mirror, bayonet lens mount, and fully automatic aperture operation.

Oddly, two Japanese cameras were introduced in 1958 with these features, neither from a large company. One is famous for its rarity. The other is rather more obscure because of it. I've been looking for over five years for an example; Indeed, a couple years go I even contacted Japan Camera Hunter, and he was unable to locate one for sale in Japan at the time.

Who thinks they can guess what it is?
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #2
David Murphy
Registered User
 
David Murphy's Avatar
 
David Murphy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: California
Age: 63
Posts: 2,457
Is it the legendary Zunow SLR?
__________________
Canon L1, Leotax S, Bessa R2C, Konica Autoreflex, Canon FX, Pentax Spotmatic, Minolta SRT-101, Nikon F, Exakta VX, Miranda Automex II, Leotax K3, Yashica Mat LM, Leotax S, Pen FT, Rollei 35S, Ricoh Singlex TLS, Kowa Six, Pentax K1000, Canonflex, Praktina, Voigtlander R2C

http://legacycamera.wordpress.com
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #3
Coopersounds
Registered User
 
Coopersounds's Avatar
 
Coopersounds is offline
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Age: 40
Posts: 257
Zunow reflex?
__________________
I LOVE FILM!
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #4
tunalegs
Pretended Artist
 
tunalegs's Avatar
 
tunalegs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,560
It's not a Zunow.
I wish it were, (although I would have paid a lot more had it been) but somehow this forgotten oddball is more appealing to me.
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #5
farlymac
PF McFarland
 
farlymac's Avatar
 
farlymac is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Roanoke, VA
Posts: 6,213
Yashica Pentamatic

PF
__________________
Waiting for the light
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #6
tunalegs
Pretended Artist
 
tunalegs's Avatar
 
tunalegs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,560
Quote:
Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
Yashica Pentamatic

PF
Much rarer than that.
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #7
Swift1
Registered User
 
Swift1's Avatar
 
Swift1 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Talent, Oregon.
Posts: 1,875
Miranda A?
__________________
Colton

If you're gonna shoot, shoot, don't talk. The Ugly
My Flickr
My Website
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #8
Tim Murphy
Registered User
 
Tim Murphy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 387
Miranda A?
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #9
Coopersounds
Registered User
 
Coopersounds's Avatar
 
Coopersounds is offline
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Age: 40
Posts: 257
tokiwa firstflex 35?
__________________
I LOVE FILM!
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #10
farlymac
PF McFarland
 
farlymac's Avatar
 
farlymac is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Roanoke, VA
Posts: 6,213
I was a year late on the Pentamatic (1959), so the only other one I can think of is the Orion Miranda T.

PF
__________________
Waiting for the light
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #11
Chubberino
-
 
Chubberino is offline
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 355
pentax k1000
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #12
Swift1
Registered User
 
Swift1's Avatar
 
Swift1 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Talent, Oregon.
Posts: 1,875
Quote:
Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
Rather advanced for its time with a fixed pentaprism, instant return mirror, bayonet lens mount, and fully automatic aperture operation.
This would point towards the Minolta SR-2... but is it all that rare...?
__________________
Colton

If you're gonna shoot, shoot, don't talk. The Ugly
My Flickr
My Website
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #13
Crazy Fedya
Registered User
 
Crazy Fedya's Avatar
 
Crazy Fedya is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Lon Gisland
Posts: 993
Tokiwa Seiki Pentaflex?
__________________
Regards,
Sam.
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #14
tunalegs
Pretended Artist
 
tunalegs's Avatar
 
tunalegs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,560
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coopersounds View Post
tokiwa firstflex 35?

Ding Ding Ding! Give the man a cigar.

Not so glamorous as a Zunow, but strangely cutting edge for what it was.

I've got what is only the third example I've seen come up for sale since 2009 (and one of the other two was missing its Tokinon lens).
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #15
Chubberino
-
 
Chubberino is offline
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 355
There's one on eBay for $400. Is it really that rare?
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #16
Coopersounds
Registered User
 
Coopersounds's Avatar
 
Coopersounds is offline
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Age: 40
Posts: 257
cool. hope it turns out to be all you hope it is.
__________________
I LOVE FILM!
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #17
Shac
Registered User
 
Shac is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: White Rock, BC, Canada
Posts: 1,099
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chubberino View Post
There's one on eBay for $400. Is it really that rare?
The 2 I found on the bay were going for $3,338.52 and $4,050.02 sp $400 would seem like a steal

Good for you tunalegs
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #18
tunalegs
Pretended Artist
 
tunalegs's Avatar
 
tunalegs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,560
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chubberino View Post
There's one on eBay for $400. Is it really that rare?
Yes.

For example, In my collection I have a Cee-Ay 35, a camera that was produced for less than a year, production estimated to be maybe as high as 8,000 units (and possibly maybe only about half that). That camera is already less common than many cameras described on this forum as being rare. I have one, and I have seen them show up on ebay on average about once every year. I've been watching ebay for a Firstflex 35 for over five years, (and sporadically even earlier than that) and only three have shown up in that period of time - including the $400 one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shac View Post
The 2 I found on the bay were going for $3,338.52 and $4,050.02 sp $400 would seem like a steal

Good for you tunalegs
Those are an earlier model, which strangely enough, I have seen more frequently than the 1958 version. Although still rather sporadically. One showed up on ebay about three years ago in Brazil. A waist level finder version showed up last year in the U.S., and this year two more pentaprism versions showed up, one in Europe and one in Japan.

Apparently a revised version on the 1958 model appeared in the early 1960s, but this one is even more uncommon, I've never seen one for sale, and they appear to have only been sold in Europe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coopersounds View Post
cool. hope it turns out to be all you hope it is.
Thanks. I don't have very high expectations, but I felt it would go along well with my collection of early SLRs, and its specifications and rarity made it intriguing to me.
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #19
nhchen
Nathan
 
nhchen is offline
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 284
Is that the one with the exakta mount lens and only one or two shutter speeds? I found one a few years ago for about $30 or so on eBay, but never used it.
Nathan
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #20
tunalegs
Pretended Artist
 
tunalegs's Avatar
 
tunalegs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,560
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhchen View Post
Is that the one with the exakta mount lens and only one or two shutter speeds? I found one a few years ago for about $30 or so on eBay, but never used it.
Nathan
Was it located in Australia? That might explain how it escaped my notice. I don't think they were ever sold in the U.S. so I watched ebay Canada and UK, where I know they had been sold. I paid more for shipping from England than I did for the camera itself, I had feared a bidding war because the last one I saw, without lens, ended up going for rather a lot of money. In this case, rarity does not = $$$, there were only two others bidding against me.

If you dig it out, note the serial number. Known serial numbers from lowest to highest cover a span of less than 3000 units, assuming consecutive numbering.
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #21
nhchen
Nathan
 
nhchen is offline
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
Was it located in Australia? That might explain how it escaped my notice. I don't think they were ever sold in the U.S. so I watched ebay Canada and UK, where I know they had been sold. I paid more for shipping from England than I did for the camera itself, I had feared a bidding war because the last one I saw, without lens, ended up going for rather a lot of money. In this case, rarity does not = $$$, there were only two others bidding against me.
Yes on the Australian eBay. its packed in a box somewhere, I'll have to go and dig it up later. I thought it might be cool to put other lenses on, but the exakta ones one fit completely due to the different aperture linkages on it.
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #22
tunalegs
Pretended Artist
 
tunalegs's Avatar
 
tunalegs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,560
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhchen View Post
Yes on the Australian eBay. its packed in a box somewhere, I'll have to go and dig it up later. I thought it might be cool to put other lenses on, but the exakta ones one fit completely due to the different aperture linkages on it.
Will they not mount? Or is it just incompatible with the aperture lever thing? I guess I'll find out tomorrow.
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #23
bucs
Registered User
 
bucs's Avatar
 
bucs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Manila, PH
Age: 28
Posts: 389
So I got curious and searched for information on the web. That camera has only two shutter speeds? 1/125 and B?

Perfect for iso 100 film and sunny 16
__________________
Nathan
7107
Instagram
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #24
Keith
On leave from Gallifrey
 
Keith's Avatar
 
Keith is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 18,596
Quote:
Originally Posted by bucs View Post
So I got curious and searched for information on the web. That camera has only two shutter speeds? 1/125 and B?

Perfect for iso 100 film and sunny 16

Lol ... the original one trick pony!
__________________
---------------------------
flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #25
tunalegs
Pretended Artist
 
tunalegs's Avatar
 
tunalegs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,560
If you look at the instruction manual, the exposure settings are basically just a chart showing sunny 16:

http://www.butkus.org/chinon/firstfl...rstflex_35.htm
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #26
johnf04
Registered User
 
johnf04 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Age: 68
Posts: 366
Chris Sherlock has one:
http://retinarescue.com/firstflex35.html
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #27
nhchen
Nathan
 
nhchen is offline
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
Will they not mount? Or is it just incompatible with the aperture lever thing? I guess I'll find out tomorrow.
I just checked again, I got it the other way around. The exakta lenses I have do mount it, but its lens doesn't mount on the exakta slr. I also tried with a topcon lens, it almost mounts but the tab doesn't click in completely to secure the lens.

Here's my one:


Firstflex 35

nathan
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-05-2017   #28
oftheherd
Registered User
 
oftheherd's Avatar
 
oftheherd is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 7,905
Nice find!
__________________
My Gallery
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-06-2017   #29
ChrisLivsey
Registered User
 
ChrisLivsey's Avatar
 
ChrisLivsey is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,066
You must have missed this UK one then, or was this the one?

http://mwclassic.com/product/firstfl...ta-mount-lens/

£49
__________________
Fishing for shadows in a pool.
Louis Macneice

http://www.flickr.com/photos/red_eyes_man/
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-06-2017   #30
tunalegs
Pretended Artist
 
tunalegs's Avatar
 
tunalegs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,560
Interesting.

The known lens numbers run from the 10XXX range into the 13XXX range, which also suggests around 3000 units. I have to wonder why production was so low, given how long these cameras appeared in catalogs.

Nhchen, I'm hoping the lens will at least mount in my exakta-canon adapter so I can try it out on digital. If the camera functions well enough I'll probably shoot a roll of film through it as soon as I can too.
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-06-2017   #31
xayraa33
rangefinder user and fancier
 
xayraa33's Avatar
 
xayraa33 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,862
this Tokiwa Seiki Pentaflex camera has a behind the lens leaf shutter and not a focal plane shutter.
__________________
My Gallery
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-06-2017   #32
tunalegs
Pretended Artist
 
tunalegs's Avatar
 
tunalegs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,560
Well it is here today. It is basically functional, but both lens and camera need some minor attention. It might take a while to get the lens together again because a filter ring dent is complicating disassembly (some ham-hand apparently tried to take it apart before hence why it needs fixing in the first place).
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-06-2017   #33
nhchen
Nathan
 
nhchen is offline
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 284
The lens also didnt fit into my exakta to the original Pen F mount.

Nathan
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-06-2017   #34
tunalegs
Pretended Artist
 
tunalegs's Avatar
 
tunalegs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,560
Pic for proof! Exakta lenses do fit.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_1738.jpg (33.2 KB, 28 views)
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-06-2017   #35
tunalegs
Pretended Artist
 
tunalegs's Avatar
 
tunalegs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,560
Ok, so here we are. First day with the Firstflex 35.

Pentacon 3.5/30 mounted:


Pentacon 3.5/30 on Firstflex 36 by Berang Berang, on Flickr

Fits just fine. I have to imagine that the Tokinon lens's one-way compatibility was probably planned. Exakta lenses, and T-mount lenses could be mounted on the Firstflex, but Firstflex lenses can't be mounted on Exas/Exaktas.


Firstflex 35 shutter by Berang Berang, on Flickr

The shutter works just like the shutter in an Exa. The mirror swings up, and is followed by a capping section, which then fits against the back of the mirror sealing light out. Only in this case, both swing back down automatically.

Then it was time to do some cleaning:


In pieces by Berang Berang, on Flickr

The viewfinder was filthy with haze and specks. The exposure counter didn't work. The viewfinder was easy to take care of. I just had to clean all the crumbling foam out of the pentaprism housing. I replaced it with strip of packing foam for now. Blew out the focusing screen and cleaned the pentaprism's glass surfaces and the eyepiece.

The exposure counter doesn't seem to be repairable. There is too much "slop" (for lack of a better term) and no apparent way to adjust it out, not even in the primitive Exa way of just bending the linkage until play is removed.


Tokinon 2.8/45 lens. by Berang Berang, on Flickr

Lens was quite fiddly. It is a front element focus Tessar (I think? the rear element is pretty thick if it's only a single element). Somebody had absolutely wrenched the front off, pulling one of the stop screws out. But I got it cleaned up and put back together.

Frustratingly this lens also won't fit on my Exakta-Canon adapter. But it will fit on an Exakta extension tube, which can then be fitted to the adapter! So I took some close up photos with the thing.


Tokinon 2.8/45 test by Berang Berang, on Flickr


tokinon 2.8/45 test by Berang Berang, on Flickr

Not too bad for what is either a three or four element lens shot wide open!

Sparkly boke' quality:


tokinon 2.8/45 boke by Berang Berang, on Flickr

I'll be running a roll through as soon as time permits.
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-24-2017   #36
tunalegs
Pretended Artist
 
tunalegs's Avatar
 
tunalegs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,560
I'm going to take a break from RFF for a little while, but I thought I would update this before then. After the various minor repairs and cleaning above, I loaded a roll of Ektar and went out for an afternoon of putting the Firstflex through its paces. I looked high and low online for examples of photos taken with this camera or its lens, and found just a couple of underexposed low-res shots on flickr. In the entire world, that seemed to be it. So I was curious what I would get.

The lens is pretty much what you'd expect for a Japanese made 2.8/45 on any typical fixed lens RF coming out of the country at the time. Decently sharp from f/5.6 down, but noticeably soft in the corners at larger apertures. Plenty of contrast, and some slightly swirly boke' complete the package.


there by Berang Berang, on Flickr


dog line by Berang Berang, on Flickr


rust in the sky by Berang Berang, on Flickr


saab by Berang Berang, on Flickr


pole by Berang Berang, on Flickr


Tokinon Test by Berang Berang, on Flickr


Tokinon 2.8/45 boke' by Berang Berang, on Flickr


cycling by Berang Berang, on Flickr

There is a slight light leak coming from the bottom of the camera, I'll have to figure that out, then I'll probably shoot another roll of film.

The fixed shutter speed limits one's creativity with DOF somewhat, but I guess that just makes it bit more straightforward to shoot with since you really only have to think about the f/stop when exposing. It's a pretty fun experience, though the lack of strap lugs is rather annoying (what's left of the everready case I trust even less than my hands for carrying).
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-25-2017   #37
Doug
Moderator
 
Doug's Avatar
 
Doug is offline
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Pacific NW, USA
Posts: 13,018
Thanks for the update... Nice project refurbishing this rig, and the results look pretty nice.
__________________
Doug’s Gallery
RFF on Facebook
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-25-2017   #38
johnf04
Registered User
 
johnf04 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Age: 68
Posts: 366
Good results! Come back soon.
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 20:39.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.