The Cordlef is a Japanese TLR camera taking 4×4cm exposures on 127 film, made around 1940 and attributed to a company called Kondo Seikō. It was certainly the first Japanese 4×4 TLR. The suffix lef is pronounced the same as "ref" in Japanese, it is an abbreviation often used for "reflex" in Japan at the time.
The camera is metal-bodied, with leather covering. The Cordlef is said to be based on the body of the Seica and Andes Four, in which the film is wound horizontally. A twin-lens reflex box is attached to the front of the body, replacing the telescopic tube. There are strap lugs at the top, on each side of the mirror cage. The viewing hood has an X-shaped pattern, written KSK at the center. The main nameplate is written CORDLEF.
The two lenses are reported in Sugiyama to be Helios Anastigmat 50/4.5 (certainly made by Tōkyō Shashin Kōgaku). They are geared together by two gears, one on each side, protected by a cover plate. The right-hand gear slightly protrudes from this cover and is used as a focusing wheel. The shutter is said to give T, B, 5–200 speeds. In this example, a small plate inscribed FOUR is screwed to the side of the reflex box, near the bottom.
Another example of the camera is shown in Holger Schult's collection at Cameras Downunder. This example has 5cm f/4.5 U.L.L. Anastigmat lenses, serial no.s 32175 (viewing) and 32096 (taking). Instead of a plate on the side, FOUR is impressed in the front plate, between the two lenses, and D.R. No 86500 is impressed below the taking lens. There is a small hole in the front plate, giving a view of the shutter-speed on a rim-set shutter. On the back, there is a red window with a sliding cover.
- 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.537.
- 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 2005.
The Cordlef is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.