Reflex Beauty

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The Reflex Beauty (レフレックス・ビューティ) is a Japanese 6×6 SLR made by Taiyōdō in the mid-1950s.

See also the Beautyflex 6×6 TLR.

Contents

The Reflex Beauty (I)

The original model was released in 1954. It is recognized by the separate film advance and shutter winding, the silver nameplate and other details.

Description

The design of the Reflex Beauty was strongly influenced by the Reflex-Korelle, but it is not a dead-copy.

The main body has a prismatic shape and the cubic mirror box protrudes at the front. On the original model, the film runs horizontally from right to left; it is advanced by a knob placed at the top left and containing a film reminder disc. The serial number is engraved on a small plate screwed to the top plate next to the advance knob. The back is hinged to the right and contains a red window in the middle, protected by a horizontally sliding cover, for manual control of the film advance. The leather is embossed TAIYŌDŌ KŌKI CO. under the red window.

The focal-plane shutter has horizontally travelling curtains; it is wound by a lever at the top right and the speed is selected by a knob placed immediately to the left. The available speeds are B, 25, 50, 100, 200 and 500. The release button and a cable release thread are attached to the right of the mirror box — as seen by the photographer. There is an accessory shoe and a sunken PC synch socket on the left, and there are strap lugs on each side. The tripod thread is placed under the mirror box and there are two film flanges under the bottom plate, allowing the camera to stand on a table.

The nameplate is in front of the viewing hood; it is silver-coloured and engraved Reflex Beauty in cursive script on the original model. The center part of the hood is retractable, giving place to a sports finder, and has a shape reminding the Hasselblad viewing hoods. There is also a loupe hinged at the back of the hood. The mirror is moved upwards when the release button is tripped and only comes back when the shutter is wound again.

The lens mount is the same screw thread as on the Reflex-Korelle. The standard lens is a TKK Canter 75mm f/3.5 in all-chrome finish, made by Taiyōdō — the initials TKK probably stand for Taiyōdō Kōki. It has a slightly knurled focusing ring with depth-of-field indications, and has an aperture ring at the front going from 3.5 to 22.

Advertisements and other documents

The Reflex Beauty was announced in many Japanese magazines in October 1954.[1] It was offered for ¥18,800 in an advertisement in Asahi Camera dated the same month.[2] This advertisement also mentions a 150mm lens as "under production" (製作中), presumably meaning "available soon". This lens has not been observed yet and it is not known if it was actually sold.

The Reflex Beauty II

The Reflex Beauty II was released in 1956. It was featured in various Japanese magazines throughout the year 1956 but no advertisement is known.[3]

The model II has a bayonet mount, locked by a lever at the bottom. The other main difference with the previous model is the coupling of the film advance to the shutter winding: both are operated by a black and chrome lever at the top right, slightly different from the lever of the original model. As a consequence, the film now runs from left to right and the advance knob has disappeared from the top left corner; the film reminder disc is directly mounted on the top plate. The model II presents other minor changes in the shape of the shutter release and in the black nameplate engraved Reflex Beauty in typewriter script.

The standard lens of the Reflex Beauty II is the same as on the original model, supplied with an adapter converting the screw mount to the bayonet mount. The only other known lens is the TKK Canter 135mm f/4, a short tele lens apparently using the bayonet mount directly. Only two examples of this lens have been observed so far, with serial numbers in the 35xxx range.[4]

Total production

The examples of the Reflex Beauty observed so far have a body number in the 11xxx or 12xxx range and a lens number in the 10xxx, 11xxx or 12xxx range. The serial number sequence probably began at 10000 and we can roughly estimate the total production at less than 3,000.

Notes

  1. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.361.
  2. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.169. See also the advertisement published in Photo Art October 1954, reproduced on p.168 of the same book.
  3. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.396.
  4. Lens no.35003 sold in lot 42 of Rahn Photographica Auction 4, and lens no.35135 sold in lot 666 of Westlicht auction 10 (see the links below). The lens no.35003 might be the third example produced.

Bibliography

Links

In English:

In German:

  • Reflex Beauty II: lot no.42 of auction no.4 (November 11, 2006) by Rahn

In Swedish:

  • Past auctions by LP Foto:
    • Reflex Beauty (I): lot no.76 of auction no.26 (April 22, 2007).
    • TKK Canter 75/3.5 lens for the Reflex Beauty: lot no.499 of auction no.16 (September 8, 2002).

In Japanese:

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