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. The nameplate says AiresReflex; under the nameplate, Aires Camera Ind. Co., Ltd.
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.
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.
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.
|Aires Reflex Z|
image by Ghostavny (Image rights)
|Aires Automat 6x6cm, Nikkor f3.5/75mm lens|
Images by yalluflex. (Image rights)
- Lens and shutter: Hagiya, p.98.
- Photograph: Hagiya, p. 92.
- From US Camera, November 1953; cited by Hagiya, p.99.
- Advertisement placed in the May 1955 issue of Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.114.
- 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.
- Aires Camera Co. TLRs at tlr-cameras.com
- Airesflex series, in particular the Airesflex Z and Aires Automat, in Hiura Shinsaku's camera site. (See also Hiura's index.html tests of the Nikkor-Q.C. lens on the Airesflex Z [comments in Japanese], and sample photos from the Aires Automat.)
- Airesflex PDF instructions from www.OrphanCameras.com
In English and Italian:
- TLR cameras (with an Airesflex) at Samlarkameror.com
- Aires Automat, lot no.111 of auction no.31 (2 November 2008) by LP Foto
- Airesflex Z in the Camera database of the Center of the History of Japanese Industrial Technology
- Airesflex IV from this page of old advertisements
- Pages at Takasaki Motohiro's camera repair/maintenance site:
- Airesflex specifications (archive.org) at Japan Family Camera
- Airesflex Z repair, by H. Arai
- Pages at Aya's camera site:
- Airesflex Z at Hayata Camera Laboratory
- Advertisement for the Airesflex and Aires 35 dated 1954, reproduced in Shashin-Bako