|Third version Geltoflex |
image by eBayer david1014 (Image rights)
Three different versions of the Geltoflex have been observed. They were perhaps made by different subcontractors. All have knob advance controlled by red window. All have the taking and viewing lenses geared together and none has a moving front plate, even if at least one version is styled to make believe the contrary. In what follows, the versions have been ordered according to the lens serial numbers.
The first version has a housing hiding the lens coupling gears. It seems that the focusing lever is placed at the bottom of this housing. It seems that the lens rims are fixed and that only the optical elements move during focusing.
The speed and aperture are set by two wheels, a feature styled after the Rolleiflex. However the settings are not reported in a window on top but they are simply engraved on the wheel rims. The front plate also supports the shutter release at the bottom, actioned by the right hand, and an ASA bayonet synch connector at the opposite corner.
The viewing hood contains a sports finder and a loupe hinged to the front part. There is an accessory shoe on the left side plate (as seen by the photographer). The strap attachments extend all the length of the side plates. The red window is rectangular and protected by a cover vertically sliding under a chrome finished part.
The nameplate has a stepped contour and it is written Geltoflex. The taking and viewing lenses are engraved GRIMMEL C. 1:3.5 f=80mm, probably with a red "C", and they are both numbered. The shutter is written GKK at the bottom and it is reported to give B, 1–200 speeds.
This first version has only been observed in this page at Japan Family Camera, where the quality of construction is described as "toy-like". The lens numbers are 11122 and 11127.
The second version has a different body looking much rougher. The lens gears are visible, there is a focusing tab on the taking lens and a distance scale with depth-of-field indications at the top of the viewing lens. The front plate is plain and does not imitate the moving front standard of the Rolleiflex. There is a ribbed black casting around the taking lens. The shutter release is at the bottom of the front plate and is actioned by the left hand.
The viewing hood has no sportsfinder and the loupe is hinged to the rear part. The strap attachments are shorter and only extend on the rear half of the side plates. There is no accessory shoe. The nameplate is flat, written GELTOFLEX in capital letters and simply attached by two apparent screws.
The shutter gives B, 5–200 speeds, the rim is engraved GELTO and the ASA bayonet synch is directly placed on the shutter housing. There are two levers on the left of the shutter, the upper one is certainly used the cocking lever and the other probably actions the self-timer. The aperture scale is on the right as seen from the front.
The taking lens is engraved the same as described for the first version. The viewing lens is marked GRIMMEL VIEWER C. 1:3.5 f=80mm and is not numbered.
This version has only been observed once, with lens number 13378.
The third version has a more usual aspect. The front plate again is again shaped as the moving front standard of the Rolleiflex, and the position of the release button and synch post are the same as on the first version. The lens gears are visible, there is a focusing lever on the taking lens and a depth-of-field scale on the viewing lens.
The red window is round and is protected by a cover vertically sliding under a black part. It seems that the viewing hood is similar to the second version.
The nameplate has stepped contours again. It is written first GeltofleX and later GELTOFLEX with large "G" and "X" letters.
The shutter gives B, 1–200 speeds and the cocking and self-timer levers have a more usual aspect than on the second version. The speed rim is sometimes engraved GELTO and sometimes GKK–S. The aperture scale is at the bottom.
This version has been observed on repeated occasions and it seems more common than the other two. The observed lens numbers run from 13510 to 15259.
- This page at Japan Family Camera (archived) says that the camera was made by Kigawa, but this is believed to be a mistake and this other page of the same website (archived) attributes another version of the Geltoflex to Toakoki. This page of the Ichirizuka website also mentions the Geltoflex as a product of Kigawa, but this is probably a copy of the same error.
- This page at Japan Family Camera pictures the version and says that it is focused by moving the front plate back and forth but no focusing knob is visible.
- Example observed in an online auction.
- GeltofleX: example pictured in this page at Japan Family Camera (archived), lens number 13549. All the other observed examples have GELTOFLEX, the earliest lens number being 13707, on the example pictured in Sugiyama, item 2116.
- Examples pictured in Sugiyama, item 2116, in Watakushi no ni-gan-refu kamera-ten, p. 28, in this page at Japan Family Camera (archived), and examples observed in various online auctions and for sale at a Japanese dealer.
- 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. 922.
- 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 2116.
- 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. 28.
The Geltoflex is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.