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The Elbowflex (エルボーフレックス) is a Japanese 6×6 TLR series, distributed in 1955–6 by Elbow Shōkai and made by Tōyō Seiki Kōgaku, later Cosmo Camera Seisakusho.

General description Edit

The Elbowflex is a regular copy of the Rolleicord. It focuses by moving the entire lens assembly. The focusing and film advance knobs are on the photographer's right, and the focusing knob is surrounded by a depth-of-field scale. There is a magnifying lens and a sportsfinder in the viewing hood. The name Elbow flex is inscribed on a stepped nameplate above the front plate, and the company name ELBOW CAMERA FIRM is written in small characters underneath. Some examples have the serial number engraved at the top of the nameplate and others don't.[1] The name Elbow flex is also embossed at the top of the leather case.

All the models have 80/3.5 viewing and taking lenses. On most examples, the lenses can take both 28.5mm and 32mm diameter filters.[2] The release button is placed at the bottom of the front standard, on the photographer's right. There are some minor variations in the shape of the shutter release (with or without thread for a soft release) and of the bottom latch.[3] It seems that all the models have a synchro post at the bottom right of the left hand plate (none has been observed with a synchro post directly mounted on the shutter). It also seems that all have an accessory shoe.


The logo of an interlinked G and K (could be C and K, but G more probable) appears on the finder hood, ever-ready case, box and instruction manual of all the cameras observed, as well as on some of the advertisements for them.

The meaning of this logo remains obscure. No name starting with "G" has yet been linked with these cameras. "C" could stand for Cosmo (see below) and "K" for Kamera, thus pointing at Cosmo Camera Seisakusho (Kosumo Kamera Seisakusho).[4]

Semi-automatic models Edit

The semi-automatic Elbowflex is very similar to the Prince Junior camera, and they share the same TSK, Ceres and Rectus shutters.

In the advertisements: Elbowflex II and IIB Edit

The first advertised model is the Elbowflex II: no record of a Model I has been found yet. It has semi-automatic film advance, and there is a round window for an exposure counter at the top of the right-hand side plate. The lenses are Correct Anastigmat 80/3.5 made by the same company as the camera.[5] The shutter is a TSK with B, 1–200 speeds, a self-timer, and flash synchronization.[6]

Japanese advertisements for the Elbowflex II were placed in magazines dated March to August 1955.[7] In an advertisement dated April, Tōyō Seiki Kōgaku was specified as the manufacturer and Elbow Shōkai as the distributor.[8]

The Elbowflex IIB is the same as the II other than for its Ceres shutter (B, 1–300, self-timer). An advertisement for this, dated February 1956,[9] names no manufacturer, merely naming Elbow Shōkai and, as authorized dealer, Zentsū (a mail order company).

Actual examples Edit

Among the semi-automatic examples observed, some correspond to the Elbowflex II, with a TSK shutter and Correct lenses,[10] and others have a Rectus shutter (B, 1–300).[11] The latter have the serial number above the nameplate.

A semi-automatic example has been observed in an online auction with a box and user manual. The box was labeled Elbow flex Model III — a model identified in the advertisements as lacking an exposure counter — and it was marked ELBOW CAMERA FIRM CO. LTD. in English. The user manual was marked Elbow Shōkai (エルボー商会).

Manual models Edit

The manual Elbowflex is very similar to at least some versions of the Elegaflex.[12]

In the advertisements: Elbowflex III and IIIA Edit

The Elbowflex III is similar to the II other than using a red window for film advance. The rectangular red window is placed near the bottom of the back, and is protected by a vertically sliding cover.

The Elbowflex III has Correct lenses and a TSK shutter. Advertisements for it appear in Japanese magazines dated April–August 1955.[13] In the advertisement dated April cited above,[14] the camera was priced at ¥9,000.

The Elbowflex IIIA is the same as the III other than for its Ceres shutter (B, 1–300, self-timer). Advertisements dated September 1955 offered this model for ¥9,500, naming Cosmo Camera Seisakusho (Kosumo Kamera Seisakusho) as the manufacturer, Elbow Shōkai without specifying its role (presumably distributor), Zentsū and sometimes Nittō Shashin Yōhin as authorized dealers.[15]

Actual examples Edit

One actual example of the IIIA has been observed.[16] Another manual example has been observed with a Ceres shutter and Eleger Anastigmat 8.0cm f/3.5 lenses, as found on some Elegaflex cameras.[17] The lenses are marked H.C. in red, the same as the Correct Anastigmat.

Notes Edit

  1. Serial number at the top: example pictured at, and example pictured in McKeown, p. 262.
  2. Feature mentioned in the advertisement dated February 1956 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 224.
  3. Compare for example this example at Minosan's blog with this example at Japan Family Camera.
  4. However, the logo does not appear on the two advertisements within Kokusan kamera no rekishi (pp. 121, 136) that name Kosumo Kamera (Cosmo Camera) Seisakusho; only on the pair that do not (pp. 121, 224).
  5. The advertisement dated February 1956 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 224, says that the Correct was made by the company itself: 当社が誇る優秀レンズコレクト.
  6. At least some of these are engraved H.C. in red, surely for Hard Coated. These and the following specifications are from Kokusan kamera no rekishi (which does not mention any version or variant with an Eleger lens or Rectus shutter).
  7. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 347.
  8. Advertisement published in Camera Mainichi, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 121.
  9. Advertisement published in Camera Mainichi, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi p. 224.
  10. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 2093, example pictured in this page at Minosan's blog and example observed in an online auction.
  11. Example pictured at, and example pictured in McKeown, p. 262.
  12. See the example presented in this page of Aya's Camera site.
  13. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 347.
  14. Advertisement published in Camera Mainichi, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 121.
  15. Advertisements published in Camera Mainichi (with Nittō) and in Sankei Camera (without Nittō), reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp. 121 and 136.
  16. Example observed in an online auction.
  17. Example pictured in this page at Japan Family Camera. The logo has fallen from the finder hood.

Sources / further reading Edit

Links Edit

In English:

In Japanese:

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