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Karl Arnold was a camera-maker in Marienberg, Germany. Karl Arnold founded the company in the late 19th century, but the best-known products are several cameras from the 1930s called Karma-Flex (from Karl ARnold MArienberg).[1] These are variously true or pseudo-twin-lens reflex cameras of unusual design, and include one SLR.

Karma-Flex 4x4

The first Karma-Flex cameras are for 127 film, and were made from about 1932. The front of the camera body is a square box with the lens (or lenses) on the front. The film is wound horizontally across the camera body, giving it a widened film compartment at the back.

The Karma-Flex Model 1 (also sold as the Gee Flex[1]) is an SLR, with a folding focusing hood on the top (this does not allow for use as a 'sports' frame-finder). It has a metal guillotine shutter with speeds 1/25 - 1/100 second, and either a Laack Regulyt or Ludwig Vidar lens. Model 2 is very different; it is a pseudo-TLR, built in the same body; the (unidentified) viewing and taking lenses are close together and small (f/11), with fixed focus.[1][2] It has a simple 'I' and 'B' shutter and three fixed apertures.

There are three red windows on the back of the camera; this is presumably to allow for film numbered only 1-8. The Linco Flex is a variant with a slightly different finder hood design.

Karma-Flex 6x6

The first Karma-Flex 6x6 cm camera, from 1933, is a TLR of comparatively normal design, for 120 film wound vertically through the camera. It has Ludwig viewing and taking lenses, their focus linked with a metal rod, and a focal-plane shutter with speeds 1/25 - 1/500 second, plus 'B'.[1] This camera again has three red windows.

A later model (though McKeown calls it Model 1; a very similar camera was sold as the Karma-Lux) is a pseudo-TLR, little more than a box camera with an elaborate viewfinder (this can be used as a waist-level or eye-level optical finder).[3] The camera has an unidentified, fixed-focus f/7.7 lens, its aperture adjustable to f/7.7, f/11 and f/22, and a simple shutter with speeds 1/15 and 1/50 second, plus 'B'.[1] Model 2, pictured at the top here, is a true TLR. It has Ludwig 75 mm f/3.5 Victar viewing and taking lenses, their focus linked with a rod. The viewing lens forms the front of a viewfinder mounted on the top of a camera body (not folding into the body).[4] The body is very like that of the 4x4 cm cameras, with the film wound horizontally. The camera has a focal-plane shutter (armed with the large knob on the right side of the camera body) with speeds - 1/500 second, plus 'B'.


The Karma-Sport from about 1935 is a development from the Karma-Flex 6x6 model 2; the focusing viewfinder is replaced with a reverse-Galilean viewfinder, making the camera much more compact.[5] An uncoupled rangefinder is also mounted on the top plate. The camera still has a focal-plane shutter. The lens is either a Ludwig Victar, Laack Dialytar or Meyer Trioplan.[1] The camera has a single red window and frame numbers around the winding knob (so the window is probably used only to set the film at frame 1).


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 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). p76-7.
  2. Karma-Flex 4x4 model 2 (pseudo-TLR) offered for sale at the 21st Westlicht Photographica Auction, in May 2012.
  3. Karma-Flex 'Model 1' sold at the 24th Westlicht auction, on 23 November 2013.
  4. Karma-Flex 6x6 'Model 2' sold at the sixth Westlicht auction, in November 2004.
  5. Karma-Sport with a 7.5 cm f/3.5 Trioplan, sold at the ninth Westlicht auction, in May 2006.