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The Aires Reflex, Airesflex and Aires Automat are 6×6 TLRs made by Aires in the early 1950s. Until summer 1953, and perhaps later, these were distributed in Japan by Tōyō Shashinki-zai.

All have 75mm f/3.5 lenses, and focus by moving the entire lens assembly.

The Aires Reflex Y was advertised in early 1951. It has Fujita Excelsior triplet lenses and a Nishida Wester shutter (B, 1–200) with self-timer and flash synchronization.[1] The nameplate says AiresReflex; under the nameplate, Aires Camera Ind. Co., Ltd.[2]

The Aires Reflex YII (advertised in spring and summer 1951) has an NKK shutter (same specifications as before, but with Kodak-style flash terminal) and a magnifying glass in the hood. The nameplate says Airesreflex.

The Aires Reflex YIII (advertised from summer 1951 until summer 1953) is based on the YII but has semi-automatic film advance (align the "start" arrow with a marker; thereafter wind, cock and fire). Early examples have the Excelsior lenses; later ones Coral lenses.

The Aires Reflex Z (advertised from summer 1951 until spring 1954) is based on the YIII but has a Seikosha-Rapid shutter (B, 1–500, synchronized), and, for the most part, four-element Nikkor lenses (the view lens of which is f/3.2). Variants have Zuiko and Coral lenses, some made by Showa Koki. Export models have Seikosha-MXL shutters. The nameplate of the domestic model says AIRESFLEX, with an underline extending the A and so that it almost touches the X; that for export says AIRES and below it reflex. The Z was well-received outside Japan, where Nikkor lenses were highly regarded: in 1953 when the Rolleicord IV cost $149 in the US, the Z with Coral lens cost $99 but the Z with Nikkor cost $165.[3]

The Airesflex U (later, Airesflex U, advertised from autumn 1951 until autumn 1954) exists in a number of versions:

  • Zuiko, Seikosha-Rapid
  • Zuiko, Copal
  • Coral, Seikosha-Rapid
  • Coral, Copal
  • Excelsior, Copal

in which the Copal shutter has speeds of B, 1–200 with flash synchronization and self-timer. The nameplate says AIRESFLEX.

The Airesflex IV (advertised in the second half of 1954) is a simpler version, with a red window for film advance. It has Coral lenses and a new Copal shutter (B, 1–300, with self-timer and flash synchronization). The nameplate says AIRESFLEX and underneath it Model IV. In summer 1954 it cost ¥17,000 including case.[4]

The Aires Automat (advertised from spring 1954 until mid-1955) is the final model and the most advanced. It is based on the Airesflex U; film advance is semi-automatic and it is wound by crank and has a self-cocking shutter. The shutter is a Seikosha-Rapid with M and X flash synchronization, and the lens is a Nikkor or Zuiko. The nameplate says AIRES AUTOMAT. In spring 1955 it was priced at ¥43,000 including case, remarkably high for a TLR.[5]


  1. Lens and shutter: Hagiya, p.98.
  2. Photograph: Hagiya, p. 92.
  3. From US Camera, November 1953; cited by Hagiya, p.99.
  4. Advertisement placed in the May 1955 issue of Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.114.
  5. Advertisement placed in the July 1954 issue of Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.113. The IV appears in this ad together with the U and Automat, whose prices are not mentioned.

Sources / further reading

  • 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. 347–53. (See also the advertisement for item 355.)
  • Hagiya Takeshi (萩谷剛). "Airesu no kamera: Yarūfurekkusu soshite 6×6-han niganrefu, 35mm kamera e (アイレスのカメラ:ヤルーフレックスそして6×6判二眼レフ、35mmカメラへ, The Aires cameras: From the Yallu Flex to 6×6 TLRs and 35mm cameras). Chapter 5 of Zunō kamera tanjō: Sengo kokusan kamera jū monogatari (ズノーカメラ誕生:戦後国産カメラ10物語, The birth of the Zunow camera: Ten stories of postwar Japanese camera makers). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1999. ISBN 4-257-12023-1 First published in issue 22 (September 1992) of Kamera rebyū: Kurashikku kamera senka (カメラレビュー・クラシックカメラ専科).
  • The Japanese Historical Camera. 日本の歴史的カメラ (Nihon no rekishiteki kamera). 2nd ed. Tokyo: JCII Camera Museum, 2004. P.60. The Airesflex Z appears (with the Minolta Flex IIB) for its semi-automatic film advance.
  • Watakushi no ni-gan-refu kamera-ten (私の二眼レフカメラ展, Exhibition of twin lens reflex cameras). Tokyo: JCII Camera Museum, 1992. (Exhibition catalogue, no ISBN number.) P.26.


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