image by Alun (Image rights)
The Echoflex are Japanese 6×6 TLR cameras. Two models exist: a manual model, perhaps made by Tōyō Seiki Kōgaku, and a semi-automatic model, perhaps made by Lustre. At least some of the Echoflex were distributed by Transvision Trading.
The Echoflex are regular copies of the Rolleicord. The front plate moves back and forth for focusing. The focusing and film advance knobs are on the photographer's right.
The first Echoflex model is known from Sugiyama. The body is shaped the same as various models produced by Tōyō Seiki Kōgaku, such as the Elbowflex, Easternflex and Elegaflex IS. It has manual film advance via a red window, no sportsfinder, and an ECHOFLEX nameplate. The focus knob is surrounded by a depth-of-field scale. The lenses are Echo 75/3.5 the shutter is an Echo (B, 1–200), synchronized via a pin at the bottom. The release lever directly protrudes from the bottom of the shutter casing.
The second Echoflex model is similar to the semi-automatic Elegaflex and to some semi-automatic models of the Lustreflex; it was probably made by the Lustre company. It has semi-automatic advance, with a round exposure counter window at the top right. The position of the first exposure is set by aligning the start mark of the leader paper with a red mark inside the camera, so there is no need for a red window. There is a button behind the focus knob, used to start the advance mechanism after the film is loaded, and another button at the centre of the winding knob, used to unlock the advance after each exposure.
The camera has an accessory shoe on the photographer's left, engraved LKK on at least some examples, perhaps standing for Lustre Kōki. There is a sportsfinder in the viewfing hood and a magnifying lens, hinged at the front. The nameplate has an oval shape and reads ECHOFLEX with a serial number. The release button is at the bottom of the front plate, actuated by the photographer's right fingers, and a PC synch post is buried on the opposite side. There are bayonet filter attachments on both lenses.
- According to this page at tlr-cameras.com, the user manual of the semi-automatic model mentions Transvision Trading Co. of Tokyo as the sole distributor for the camera.
- Sugiyama, item 2091.
- Lens name, speed range: Sugiyama, item 2091.
- Operation explained in the user manual reproduced here at tlr-cameras.com.
- This is reported by Barry Toogood in this page at tlr-cameras.com.
- Example pictured in McKeown, p.254, and example pictured here at tlr-cameras.com.
- 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.254.
- 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. Item 2091.
The Echoflex is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.