The wartime Starflex was much inspired by the Rolleicord. The focusing is done by moving the front plate back and forth. The film advance is semi-automatic, a geared wheel in the takeup chamber rotates with the increasing the film diameter - same as the Rolleicord. There is a red window under the camera, on the left-hand side, next to the tripod thread. It has a sliding cover and is used to set the position of the first exposure. The focusing and advance knobs are on the photographer's right, and there is a round window at the top of the right-hand side plate for the exposure counter. The focusing knob is surrounded by a depth-of-field plate. Two moving masks adjust the ground-glass view for parallax. The release lever is under the shutter casing; moved one way it cocks the shutter, move it the other way to release. The nameplate has stepped sides and is inscribed STARFLEX and in smaller letters NIPPON and U.T.K.
|Starflex with Star-Anastigmat f/3.5 7.5cm lens in Star-Rapid shutter.|
images by Geoff Harrisson (Image rights)
Advertisements and other documents
The camera was listed for ¥252 in the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941. It was offered in advertisements by Ueda Shashinki-ten dated December 1940, January and November 1941 (only the latter has a picture), with a Star Anastigmat f/3.5 lens and a Star-Rapid shutter giving B, 1–500. The price was ¥230 and rose to ¥269 in a later advertisement.
The "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943, still mentioned the camera with a Star 75/3.5 three-element lens, made by Takahashi and a Patent Mars shutter giving T, B, 1–250 speeds, made by Mars. The name of the camera manufacturer itself is unfortunately missing from the document, it was perhaps Takahashi which also made the Star Semi.
Only one example has been observed so far, it is pictured above.
- Dates: advertisements and articles listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.337.
- "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 7, section 1.
- Advertisements in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.72, 76 and 77. The December 1940 and January 1941 advertisements do not have the lens name nor the top speed.
- Price of ¥230 mentioned in December 1940 and November 1941 (no price mentioned in January 1941). Price of ¥269 mentioned in an advertisement dated between 1942 and 1945, reproduced in Nostalgic Camera by Toshio Inamura.
- "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 121, lens item Lb26, shutter item 18-U-12.
- 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. Item 130 (see also the advertisements for items 108 and 136).
- "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. Item 121.
- "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku" (国産写真機の公定価格, Set prices of the Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of October 25, 1940 and setting the retail prices from December 10, 1940. Published in Asahi Camera January 1941 and reproduced in 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. Pp.108—9. Type 7, section 1.
The camera is not listed in Sugiyama.