Ricohflex (geared lens)

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Japanese 6×6 TLR
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The Ricohflex models of the 1950s were a series of 6x6 TLRs made by Riken Optical Industries (Ricoh) with geared rings around the front of the taking and viewfinder lenses for synchronous focusing.

The simplified design and a streamlined manufacturing process allowed Ricoh to greatly increase production, and offer a TLR at an attractive low price.[1]

List of models:

  • Ricohflex III

The Ricohflex III of 1950 had a pair of similar Ricoh Anastigmat 1:3.5 f=80mm lenses. Arched "Ricohflex" lettering on nameplate.

  • Ricohflex IIIB

The production volume was more than 10,000 units per month. For this, Riken used a conveyor belt assembly line .

  • Ricohflex IIII / IV

The first ones are labelled IIII which was later changed to the correct Roman Numeral IV.

  • Ricohflex VI

The Ricohflex VI had a combination of Anastigmat camera lens and Viewer finder lens. It was also sold as the Victaflex.[2]

In 1953 this sold at the competitive price of USD $49.95 including case.[3]

  • Ricohflex VII (Riken or Seikosha shutter)

The Ricohflex VII was made in 1954. It had a Ricoh Anastigmat 1:3.5/8cm front-element focusing lens geared to the Ricoh Viewer 1:3,5/8cm lens for viewfinder focusing. It had a Riken shutter with B mode and speeds from 1/25-1/100 sec. that used the same lever to cock the shutter (pull up) and fire the shutter (push down). The camera uses 120 film or, with an adapter, 35mm film. It’s an easy to use camera giving sharp images.

  • Ricohflex VIIS
  • Ricohflex VIIM
  • Super Ricohflex

There is a minimum of 3 different versions of the Super Ricohflex, with different shutters and front plates. This camera was primarily designed for the U.S. market. It's the most sold Ricohflex.
Lens is an anastigmat (Cooke triplet) 80mm/f3.5 with a matching viewing lens.
Riken (B-10-25-50-100 and 200) shutters are the most common; however a few have a Seikosha.
An accessory called "Color Back" to enable the camera to use 35mm film was also offered, it came with a take-up 35mm canister and a special film counter for vertical 35m exposures. Another accessory called "Auto stop" prevented waste of film or double exposures in 35mm.

  • Ricohflex Holiday

  • Ricohflex Million
  • Ricohflex New Million

Various copies of the geared-lens Ricohflex were made, including the following:



In French:

In Japanese:


  1. Ricoh claims that this model was the first Japanese camera built on a conveyor-belt production line(PDF), at its company history pages.
  2. Seen at online auction 1/2018
  3. An advertisement in the May, 1953 Popular Photography (Vol. 32, No. 5; pg. 133) also highlighted an available Ricohkin 35mm film adapter.