The Baby Flex is a Japanese subminiature pseudo TLR made in the late 1940s or early 1950s, taking 14×14mm pictures on 17.5mm paper backed rollfilm.
The Baby Flex has the shape of a regular twin-lens reflex, but in a miniature form. The lens actually has fixed focus and aperture, and the camera is thus a pseudo TLR.
The film is advanced by a knob on the photographer's right. The L-shaped back is hinged to the top, and there is a simple latch at the bottom. The viewing hood has three ribs, and is released by a small button. The name Baby Flex is inscribed in relief on a plate in front of the viewfinder. The viewing lens has no marking, and the taking lens is a Sanko 20mm f/3.5.
Two versions of the camera are known, differing by the shutter unit. The simple version has the same everset shutter as on the Peace III, giving B and I settings. Its shutter plate is black with silver markings: PEACE at the top, and III R.K. at the bottom. The advanced version has a better cocking shutter, giving B, 150, 100, 50, 25 speeds selected by turning the rim. Its shutter plate has Y.N.S. at the top and PEACE MOD. II at the bottom, inscribed in black on a clear background.
The Baby Flex is clearly related to the Peace, and was certainly made by the same manufacturer. It was also closely related to the Peace Baby Flex, perhaps a successor. The Sanko lens might be related to the Sankō company, or to the Sanko 35mm lens of the Sun subminiature pseudo TLR, or these name similarities might be coincidental.
- McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). P.87.
- Pritchard, Michael and St. Denny, Douglas. Spy Cameras — A century of detective and subminiature cameras. London: Classic Collection Publications, 1993. ISBN 1-874485-00-3. Pp.58–9.
- Sugiyama, Kōichi (杉山浩一); Naoi, Hiroaki (直井浩明); Bullock, John R. The Collector's Guide to Japanese Cameras. 国産カメラ図鑑 (Kokusan kamera zukan). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1985. ISBN 4-257-03187-5. Item 5011.
The Baby Flex is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.
- Baby Flex (text only) at Submin.com
- Brief mention of the Baby Flex among 17.5mm film cameras at Subclub.org