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Roll-o-Frex

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Japanese 6×6 TLR
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
6×6cm Elmoflex | First Reflex | Kiko Flex | Lyra Flex | Minoltaflex | Minoltaflex Automat | Minoltaflex military prototype | Nōman Flex | Ostenflex | Prince Flex | Ricohflex (original) | Ricohflex B | Rollekonter | Roll-o-Frex | Rorter Ref | Rorterflex | Sakura-flex | Simpuflex | Starflex | Taroflex | Valflex | Yokusanflex
Postwar models and other TLR ->
Pseudo TLR and medium format SLR ->
Other Japanese 6×6, 4.5×6, 3×4 and 4×4 ->

The Roll-o-Frex (ローローフレックス) is a Japanese 6×6 TLR advertised by Taikodō in 1941. The strange name is obviously copied from the Rolleiflex name ("flex" and "frex" are pronounced the same in Japanese).

Description Edit

The Roll-o-Frex is a copy of the 1936 Rolleicord models. The focusing is done by moving the front plate back and forth. The film advance is certainly semi-automatic. The focusing and film advance knobs are on the photographer's right, and there is a round exposure counter window at the top of the right-hand side plate. The focusing knob is surrounded by a metal plate and the shutter release button is placed underneath. There is a magnifying glass inside the viewing hood.[1] It seems that there is a lever on the right-hand side of the viewing hood, perhaps releasing a mirror for eye-level reflex viewing. The nameplate is shaped like the nameplate of the early Rolleicord.

Advertisements and actual examples Edit

The Roll-o-Frex does not appear in the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, presumably because it was not yet in production.[2] The camera was advertised in Asahi Camera from May to September 1941, and appears in no other document known so far.[3] The September advertisement, placed by Taikodō, mentions an Elect[4] shutter giving 5–200, T, B speeds and an Electer[5] Anastigmat 75/4.5 lens.[6] There is an allusion to an "easy to use depth-of-field table", probably attached to the camera's back.[7] The pictured camera has a Roll-o-Frex nameplate. It seems that the words MADE IN TOKYO are inscribed in small letters in the nameplate's top corners, as on some examples of the Rollekonter.

Pictures of two surviving examples have been observed so far. They show minor differences from the camera pictured in the advertisement: the position of the release button is slightly higher, and an incurved part is added just in front of the advance knob, certainly indicating whether the film has been wound or not. The camera pictured in McKeown has a specific nameplate: the MADE IN TOKYO engraving is absent and it seems that the name Rollo-Frex is written in two words instead of three, but actually there is a small dot between the second l and the o.[8] The camera pictured in this page at Pleasure Classic Lenses, whose nameplate is missing, has the name Roll-o-Frex engraved on the metal plate surrounding the focus knob. It reportedly has an Electer Anastigmat 75/4.5 taking lens, a Universe Anastigmat 75/4.5 viewing lens, and a Pleime shutter (T, B, 1–200) — the same shutter name is faintly legible in the picture in McKeown.

Notes Edit

  1. Magnifying glass: Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.106.
  2. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku".
  3. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.344.
  4. Name inferred from the katakana エレクト.
  5. Name inferred from the katakana エレクター, and reported in this page at Pleasure Classic Lenses.
  6. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.106.
  7. "Easy to use depth-of-field table": 親切なる焦点深度表.
  8. McKeown, p.860.

Bibliography Edit

The Roll-o-Frex is not listed in Sugiyama.

Links Edit

In Japanese:

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