Fuji’s only attempt at a twin-lens reflex camera – 1954
The Fuji Photo Film Company of Tokyo has a long history of making some very desirable cameras – from simple point and shoot models to high-quality professional medium format film cameras covering most types of film formats (Fuji Photo, after all, is in the business of selling film). Along the way, there have been a few cameras that have stood out for their technical achievements and innovations and one of them is the Fujicaflex Automat (for much more about this model please check out Mr. Koyasu’s wonderful site).
We’ve wanted to add this camera to our collection for many years and the right combination of events led us to this one. It was for sale in Japan a short while back and we missed it – it became available again from a collector in Thailand so we went for it.
Of the many neat features that this camera has, one of the most useful is its close-up capabilities. Although we haven’t finished our first test roll of film we wanted to verify the reported 70cm close focusing feature. By pushing the little button above the thumbwheel you’ll be able to adjust the taking and viewing lenses for a closer focus (notice that the lens rings extend outwards about 4mm or so). The ability to bring the taking lens closer to the subject allows the camera to get closer to the subject without the use of cumbersome auxiliary lenses.
Here the lenses are retracted back to their “normal” positions.
Thanks for stopping by! We’ll cover more of the camera’s features in future posts and we will post images from our first test roll soon. – Chris
On the left is the Fujicaflex Automat by the Fuji Photo Film Company – Fuji’s first and only twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera. On the right is the Yashica Flex S (aka Yashicaflex S) by Yashima Kogaku Seiki Company.
Yashima (later to be known as Yashica) went on to build TLRs until 1986 producing thousands encompassing over thirty models.
The Fujicaflex was under development by Fuji since around 1948 and the direction they took was to build a high-quality camera geared to the serious amateur and semi-professional photographer. By all accounts, it was a bust in the marketplace (way too expensive) as Fuji never attempted to follow it up with a second model and ending production in just about a year.
The Fujicaflex is noticeably larger than the Yashica Flex S – the Fuji weighs 1,323 grams and the Yashica comes in at 1,117 grams. Both cameras were weighed with a roll of 120 film loaded.
The Yashica Flex S was the first ever TLR with an attached exposure meter. I imagine you could say built-in as the meter’s cells were located behind the nameplate flap and were connected to the meter on the camera’s left side via wires. The non-coupled selenium cell meter was built by Sekonic and was marked “Sekonic CB-1”.
We’ll continue to feature the Fujicaflex in upcoming posts and hopefully soon we’ll be able to post some images taken with it. I’ve got a roll of Fujichrome Velvia 100 in it now.
Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out some of our unique photo gear in our shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com
Vintage camera wish list item 101.
The Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd., Fujicaflex
Designed to incorporate the best features that were available in the medium format twin-lens reflex camera market, the Fujicaflex debuted in 1954 – at a very premium price, we might add. While surfing today, we stumbled upon this wonderful site from Fujifilm Europe. You can check it out here
It’s nice to see a large corporation like Fujifilm blog about some of the really cool cameras that helped make their company great. In another blog, they go on to talk about the amazing Fujipet from 1957.
For more about this wonderful camera, take a trip here too to see Mr. Yoshinobu Koyasu’s camera collection… it is not to be missed!
It’s certainly interesting to read (Fujifilm Europe’s blog) – the older posts that pay tribute to the cameras of their roots are so interesting.
My Fujicaflex acquired in 2018 from a collector in Thailand. Finally!
Thanks for stopping by! – Chris
Please stop by my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com