Lyra Flex

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For the postwar Lyraflex, see Lyraflex (postwar).

The Lyra Flex is a Japanese 6×6 TLR made by Fuji Kōgaku between 1938 and 1944.[1]

Common features

The Lyra Flex is a 6×6 TLR with automatic film advance, copied from the Rolleicord. The focusing is done by moving the front plate back and forth. The focusing and 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 depth-of-field plate, and the top of the knob itself is engraved FUJIKOGAKU and NIPPON. There is a magnifying glass hinged to the front of the viewing hood and deployed by a small lever placed to the right.

The Lyra Flex


The original model, released in 1938,[2] has the shutter release on the right hand plate as well as double exposure prevention.[3] The nameplate says LyraFlex, with another marking underneath, Fuji kōgaku kikai seisakusho; and the shutter plate is black with FUJIKō inscribed at the top and FUJIKŌGAKU at the bottom. The viewing hood has the cross-like design of early Rolleiflex models, and there seems to be a sports finder.[4] A plate screwed on to the back shows the depth of field at various combinations of distance and aperture. This model is confused with the later Lyra Flex F and Lyra Flex J by many sources.[5]

Advertisements and other documents

An advertisement dated March 1938 presented the original Lyra Flex with a Fujikō A shutter (T, B, 1–300), a Fujikō Anastigmat Goldar 75/3.5 four-element taking lens and a Fuji–kō Anastigmat Terionar 75/3.2 viewing lens, for ¥190.[6] A later advertisement, dated September 1938, offered the camera for the same price, without mentioning the lens name.[7] The Lyra Flex was also listed in the list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, under the names "Lyra Flex A", "Lyra Flex B" and "Lyra Flex F", all three for ¥252.[8] The Lyra Flex F obviously corresponds to the camera described below; the Lyra Flex A is probably the original Lyra Flex and the Lyra Flex B is perhaps a version with a Fujikō B shutter (T, B, 5–250).


The camera pictured in the March 1938 advertisement has the FUJI KŌGAKU logo in the middle of the viewing hood. The September 1938 camera and the actual examples observed so far do not have this logo. When compared with the advertising pictures, the nameplate of the actual examples has a slightly different shape with straight sides.[9] At least one of them reportedly has a Terionar 75/3.5 taking lens.[10]

The Lyra Flex F and J


The Lyra Flex F and Lyra Flex J were offered between 1941 and 1944.[11] They have the shutter release at the bottom of the front plate, falling under the left hand fingers. This perhaps means that it is not linked any more to the auto-stop mechanism, and that the double exposure prevention was abandoned. The viewing hood has no cross structure and no logo but the presence of a sportsfinder is confirmed. The nameplate has a stepped frame and is marked LYRA FLEX in uppercase letters. There is an exposure table on the back, replacing the depth-of-field table of the original model.

The Lyra Flex F and Lyra Flex J are equipped respectively with a Fujikō F and a Fujikō J shutter. Both shutters have T, B, 1–200 speeds, but the J has a self-timer. It seems to be the only difference between the two models. The shutter plate is sometimes black with white markings and sometimes yellowish with black markings. It is written FUJIKŌ at the top (usually in two parts: FUJ and IKŌ, with an arrow between both, sometimes also in a single word like on the previous model), and FUJIKŌGAKU at the bottom.

Advertisements and other documents

All the advertisements observed (dated May and September 1941 and October 1942) mention an f/3.5 lens with no further detail.[12] The "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), listing the Japanese camera production as of April 1943, mentioned the Lyra Flex F and J with a Terionar 75/3.5 lens.[13]

The Lyra Flex F cost ¥230 in 1941 and the Lyra Flex J cost ¥252 in 1941 and ¥289 in 1942.[14]

Actual examples

All the actual examples observed so far have a Terionar 75mm f/3.5 taking lens. The engraving was changed from Fuji–kō Anastigmat Terionar to Fuji–kō Terionar at some point, between lens no. 120000 and no. 126000. It seems that the switch from the yellowish shutter plate to the black one occured at the same time. The viewing lens is a 75mm f/3.2, engraved Fuji-kō Anastigmat Terionar on all examples and having no serial number.


  1. Dates: advertisements and articles listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp. 342–3.
  2. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 342, says that it appeared in the new products column of the March 1938 issue of Asahi Camera.
  3. Double exposure prevention: advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 101.
  4. The example examined (by Camerapedia contributor Hoary) had deteriorated so severely that verification was impossible.
  5. Sugiyama, items 2011–2; McKeown, p. 329; this page of the website.
  6. Advertisement published in Ars Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 101.
  7. Advertisement published in Asahi Camera, observed in an eBay auction.
  8. Template:Kakaku1940 short, type 7, section 1.
  9. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 2011; example pictured at the bottom of this page of the website.
  10. Sugiyama, item 2011.
  11. Dates: Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 342–3.
  12. Advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp. 100–1. See also this undated advertisement reproduced at Nostalgic Camera.
  13. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), items 110–1.
  14. Advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp. 100–1.


  • Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Items 299–301. (See also the advertisements for items 294, 298 and 303.)
  • "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" (国産写真機ノ現状調査, Inquiry into Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943. Reproduced in Supuringu kamera de ikou: Zen 69 kishu no shōkai to tsukaikata (スプリングカメラでいこう: 全69機種の紹介と使い方, Let's try spring cameras: Presentation and use of 69 machines). Tokyo: Shashinkogyo Syuppan-sha, 2004. ISBN 4-87956-072-3. Pp.180–7. Items 110–1.
  • Template:Kakaku1940 Type 7, section 1.
  • Lewis, Gordon, ed. The History of the Japanese Camera. Rochester, N.Y.: George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography & Film, 1991. ISBN 0-935398-17-1 (paper), 0-935398-16-3 (hard). P. 39 (brief mention only).
  • 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. 329. (It presents a picture of a Lyra Flex J, identified by mistake as an original Lyra Flex.)
  • 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. Items 2011–2.


In English:

In Japanese:

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