Unique – Odd – Quirky – Ugly – Gorgeous – Cool – Modern – Sexy – Sophisticated – Clunky – a failure?
Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. – Tokyo
Fuji’s first 35mm SLR
Originally released as the Fujicarex in 1962 and sold only in Japan (it listed for ¥25,000). An updated model was released in the United States in July 1964 (in Chicago) as the Fujicarex SLR 35 and for other overseas markets as the Fujicarex II. It listed for around $150 USD without a case. It came with a Fujinon-S f/1.9 5cm lens with an additional f/4 35mm wide angle lens and a f/2.8 80mm portrait lens available.
Billed (advertised) as the “World’s easiest-to-use SLR 35mm camera” – Electric Eye with Cluster Control!
What do you think of its design?
According to a very reliable Japanese source, the Fujicarex II was available in Japan as a replacement to the original model and that the model II was destined for other overseas markets beyond the U.S. (like Europe). This would lead one to believe that the Fujicarex SLR 35 was only available in America. I haven’t been able to verify that as I’ve never seen the “plain” Fujicaflex logo.
So was it a failure? Well, it got Fuji Photo moving in the right direction but I think overall it was just overdesigned and a bit hard to use. A bit like the Yashica Pentamatics – neat cameras that didn’t catch on. From what I understand it was only sold for about three years or so. The next 35mm SLR from Fuji didn’t appear until 1971.
No matter what, this unique camera is seldom seen in today’s collector marketplaces. It would make a wonderful addition to any vintage Japanese SLR collection since it was Fuji’s first SLR. Thanks for stopping by!