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Japanese 6×6 TLR
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The Nikoflex (ニコフレックス) was a TLR project developed by Nippon Kōgaku immediately after World War II.


In 1945, the company decided to produce cameras for civil use, and in April 1946, it was decided to develop two camera models: a 6×6cm TLR and a 35mm camera.[1] It is said that the TLR had automatic film advance[2] and an 8cm f/3.5 lens.[3] A mock-up was exhibited on 25 July 1946,[4] and the trademark "Nikoflex" was applied for on 5 August 1946 and granted on 24 February 1947 (the same day as "Nikon").[5]

It is said that one or several prototypes were built,[6] apparently in the second half of 1946. The Japanese industry was much disorganized at the time, and it seems that leaf shutters were in short supply.[7] None of the Prontor copies available on the market was found satisfactory, and Nippon Kōgaku planned to make its own copy of the Compur.[8] It is said that this was found too expensive, and the Nikoflex was finally shelved for that reason.[9] It is also likely that the rangefinder Nikon with interchangeable lens looked more exciting and more promising to the company's executives, because a full range of lenses could be offered for the camera.

The Nikoflex was briefly mentioned in the June 1947 issue of Kohga Gekkan as one of the future Japanese TLR cameras coming to the market;[10] this is the only mention of the Nikoflex found in original documents. It seems that none of the prototypes or mock-ups of the Nikoflex has survived, and no picture of the camera has been observed so far.

A blueprint of the camera is reproduced in various sources.[11] It shows a rather ordinary looking TLR, with a NIKOFLEX nameplate and the company name NIPPON–KOGAKU between the two lenses. The shutter casing is quite large and has a bulge on one side, for an unknown purpose. The focus knob is on the photographer's right, and two film flanges are visible on the left. The details of the film advance control (crank or knob) are unknown. The better quality copies show the markings around the lenses, revealing a Nikkor-QC 8cm f/3.5 taking lens and a View-Nikkor 8cm f/2.5 viewing lens.


  1. "Nikon rangefinder cameras" in the Nikon official website.
  2. "Nikon S/M/I" in the Nikon official website.
  3. "Nikon rangefinder cameras" in the Nikon official website.
  4. "Nikon rangefinder cameras" in the Nikon official website.
  5. Trademark publication (商標公告) no.S22-154, for the name "Nikoflex", in the IPDL trademark database.
  6. "Nikon rangefinder cameras" and "Nikon S/M/I" in the Nikon official website.
  7. See this section on the Olympus Six.
  8. "Nikon rangefinder cameras" in the Nikon official website.
  9. "Nikon rangefinder cameras" in the Nikon official website.
  10. Column in Kohga Gekkan June 1947, reproduced in Awano, pp.5–6 of Camera Collectors' News no.254: 日本光学のニコフレックスも着々進行している.
  11. Blueprint reproduced in this page of the Nikon official website, in this page at Fotóművészet Online (larger size), and redrawn in this page at Nikon Owner Magazine.


  • Awano Mikio (粟野幹男). "Minorutafurekkusu Ōtomatto Shisakuki" (ミノルタフレックスオートマット試作機, Minoltaflex Automat prototypes). In Camera Collectors' News no.254 (August 1998). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha.
  • Trademark publication for the name "Nikoflex". The trademark was applied for (出現) on 5 August 1946 and granted (公告) on 24 February 1947 (no.S22-154). Available in the IPDL trademark database.


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