The Dorimaflex (ドリマフレックス) is a Japanese 6×6 TLR made in 1952–3 by Tōkyō Kōki and distributed by Sanwa Shōkai. This company also announced the Dorima Six 6×6 folder in 1954. "Dorima" is certainly a phonetic adaptation of the English word "dreamer".
The Dorimaflex is a copy of the geared lens Ricohflex. It has externally geared lenses for focusing, and the distance scale and depth-of-field indications are engraved on the upper lens. The viewing hood contains a large magnifying lens. The film is advanced by a knob on the photographer's right. The advance is controlled by a red window in the back, protected by a vertically sliding cover.
The lenses are Dorima Special 8.0cm f/3.5, and the marking has a red C indicating lens coating. The shutter is of the setting type and the release lever protrudes either from the metal ring surrounding the shutter casing or from the casing itself.
Versions and commercial life
The Dorimaflex was advertised in Japanese magazines dated August 1952 to May 1953, and was featured in the February 1953 issue of Photo Art. The January 1953 advertisement in Asahi Camera, placed by the distributor Sanwa Shōkai, lists a number of versions, all with a synchronized shutter:
- Dorimaflex AII AL: B, 1–200 speeds, self-timer, Albada finder, ¥13,000 (case included);
- Dorimaflex AII: B, 1–200, self-timer, ¥12,500;
- Dorimaflex A: B, 1–200, no self-timer, ¥11,500;
- Dorimaflex B AL: B, 25–200, no self-timer, Albada finder, ¥10,500;
- Dorimaflex B: B, 25–200, no self-timer, ¥10,000.
The AL versions have an Albada finder contained in the viewing hood. At least one example of the AII is known with the shutter name FKS engraved on the speed rim; other examples reportedly have the shutter name "GMS". Despite the range of speeds indicated in the advertisement, the Dorimaflex B observed so far only have 1/100 or 1/150 top speed. All sorts of synch posts have been observed: single pin, ASA bayonet and even PC socket (the latter is perhaps not original).
The Dorimaflex presents a number of variations, independent from the version name. On some cameras, the back door consists of a single panel hinged at the top and locked by a latch at the bottom, as on the Ricohflex, and contains a rectangular red window. Other examples have an L-shaped back styled after more expensive TLR models. Among these, some have a rectangular red window and others have a round one.
Most examples have simple round strap lugs, but some examples with L-shaped back have more elaborate lugs with an arrow-shaped catch instead. The shape of the strap lugs is not correlated with that of the red window.
Tōkyō Kōki was certainly a very small manufacturer, assembling parts of various origin, and this probably explains these variations.
- The attribution of the Dorimaflex to Miwa Shōwai in Lewis, p.80, is certainly a wrong transcription of the distributor's name Sanwa Shōkai.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.356.
- Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.154.
- This version is mistakenly called "Dorimaflex AII" in Sugiyama, item 2088. The mention of a Dorimaflex ALL and AL in Lewis, p.88, is certainly a confusion with the A, AII and AII AL.
- This version is mistakenly called "Dorimaflex AI" in Sugiyama, item 2086.
- FKS: example observed in an online auction. "GMS": Sugiyama, items 2086 and 2088.
- 1/100 top speed reported in Sugiyama, item 2087, and observed in an online auction. 1/150 top speed visible on the example pictured here at Japan Family Camera (archived).
- Single pin: example pictured here at Japan Family Camera. ASA bayonet: example pictured here at Japan Family Camera (achived), example pictured in Sugiyama, item 2086, and examples observed in online auctions. PC socket: example pictured here at tlr-cameras.com.
- 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 640.
- 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). Pp.80 and 88 (brief mentions 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.927.
- 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 2086–8.