Kodak Reflex

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In 1946 Kodak presented a new TLR with a cast-aluminum body, and a geared pair of Kodak Anastar (Anastigmat) 80mm lenses, the Kodak Reflex. It made 2¼×2¼ inch exposures on 620 rollfilm. By fitting an adapter it could also use 828 film. [1] The Kodak Reflex II was introduced in 1948.

Physical description

The camera is a fairly typical, but well-outfitted, example of a geared-lens TLR like the Argoflex E or the Ricohflex, with the front elements of both lenses joined by teeth that double as knurling for the photographer to manipulate the focus. The viewing lens has a notch missing to block a tooth from the opposing gear and prevent the lenses from turning past infinity (at one end) or approx. 3.5 feet (at the other.) The camera's construction is of light metal covered predominately by leatherette. The controls are on the shutter body, and the wind knob (with film indicator) is on the photographer's upper left.

The finder is shielded by a self-erecting hood, the front panel of which can be swung up and back to form the sports finder. The hood includes a loupe, which is spring-loaded to stay in the ideal position once erected.

Optics

The camera has two three-element lenses, apparently identical (though on TLR's this was seldom actually the case.) The taking lens, at least, is a "Kodak Anastar f:3.5 80mm", and both lenses are identified as such on the rims. The reflex finder is relatively basic, with the focusing screen being ground glass as opposed to a potentially brighter fresnel screen (which were available as an upgrade.) Depth of field is relatively shallow in the viewfinder owing to the wide aperture, and focusing accurately can feel more finicky than it actually is. A depth-of-field scale is helpfully provided on the barrel of the viewing lens, corresponding to a distance scale on top of the front element. This placement allows the scale to be visible at the same time as the aperture.

The diaphragm is five-bladed and the aperture lever has detents for each f/stop, making it easy to go up or down a single stop without looking at the front of the camera.

Shutter

The shutter is a 7-speed "Flash Kodamatic," a five-bladed between-lens leaf shutter offering T & B and speeds between 1/2 and 1/200 sec. This shutter combines the cocking lever and the shutter release into one control: the lever is first moved up to cock the shutter, then pressed down to fire it. The cable-release socket is opposite the lever.

Oddly, given that the aperture has detents, the shutter lever moves freely and the shutter can be fired at positions between the marked speeds.

Flash

The camera has the ASA bayonet flash socket, on side of the camera to the photographer's left. The flash syncs at all speeds, but for high-speed flash bulbs (or strobe), an additional synchronizer lever must be cocked after the shutter is cocked. This springs home and triggers the flash after a delay, giving the shutter time to open. A standard Kodak flashholder could be used, or a special one, also made by Kodak, that screws into a second tripod socket on the side below the flash socket.

Notes

  1. "Bulletins: News of Kodak Plans and Products" (advertisement), Popular Photography June 1946, pg. 68.