Kenko reflex housing

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The Kenko reflex housing (ケンコーレフボックス)[1] was made in Japan from the late 1940s into the mid 1950s. It was sold by Murakami Shōkai, later renamed Kenko Shashin Yōhin.

From the available pictures, the device appears to be an exact copy of the Leitz PLOOT reflex housing, predecessor of the Visoflex. It is all black, and consists of an almost cubic mirror box covered by a cylindrical chimney for the viewfinder, topped with an asymmetric eyecup. The position of the release control is unknown. There is a tripod thread at the bottom, and sometimes an accessory shoe on the right.

The Kenko reflex housing was certainly the first such device made in Japan, before the Mirax by Orion Seiki. It is featured in an advertisement by Murakami in Ars Camera February 1949, also showing the Kenko 35 camera. No price is indicated, and no detail is given. The picture is very small, and seems to show the reflex housing with a Telyt 20cm lens. No accessory shoe is visible.

The device appears again in the June 1955 special issue of Photo Art, entirely devoted to camera accessories. The picture shows an accessory shoe on the right of the reflex housing. The device is presented together with the dual-rail Kenko bellows (ケンコーフォーカス).[2] The back of the bellows is inscribed E.K.S. with a four-digit serial number — the initials might correspond to the actual manufacturer. The magazine gives the following price list:


  1. The name is given in katakana only: ケンコーレフボックス, Kenkō refubokkusu. This might be a generic name, or an actual brand name, such as "Kenko Refbox".
  2. The name is given in katakana only: ケンコーフォーカス, Kenkō fōkasu. This might be a generic name, or an actual brand name, such as "Kenko Focus".


  • Ars Camera. Advertisement by Murakami Shōkai in February 1949, p.28.
  • Photo Art rinji zōkan: Kamera akusesarī zensho (フォトアート臨時増刊・カメラアクセサリー全書, Photo Art special issue: All the camera accessories). June 1955, no.80 of the magazine. "Shashin no kaimi wa sessha to bōen satsuei kara: Purokusā, Ōtoappu, Refubokkusu, sonota." (写真の快味は接写と望遠撮影から・プロクサー・オートアップ・レフボックス・その他, Because the appeal of photography comes with close-up and telephoto pictures: Proxar, Auto-Up, reflex housing, etc.) Pp.118–20.