Rorter Ref and Rorterflex

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Japanese 6×6 TLR
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
6×6cm Elmoflex | First Reflex | Kiko Flex | Lyra Flex | Minoltaflex | Minoltaflex Automat | Minoltaflex military prototype | Nōman Flex | Ostenflex | Prince Flex | Ricohflex (original) | Ricohflex B | Rollekonter | Roll-o-Frex | Rorter Ref | Rorterflex | Sakura-flex | Simpuflex | Starflex | Taroflex | Valflex | Yokusanflex
Postwar models and other TLR ->
Pseudo TLR and medium format SLR ->
Other Japanese 6×6, 4.5×6, 3×4 and 4×4 ->

The Rorter Ref[1] (ローターレフ) and Rorterflex are Japanese 6×6 TLR cameras made by Tōkyō Kōsoku Seiki-sha from 1941 to 1944.

Description

The Rorter Ref is much inspired from the 1936 Rolleicord models. The camera is focused is done by moving the front plate back and forth. The focus and advance knobs are on the photographer's right. The film advance automatically stops at each exposure, and there is a round window for a frame counter at the top right. The focus knob is surrounded by a depth-of-field plate. The shutter release button is placed underneath, and it is interlocked with the advance system for double exposure prevention.[2]

There is a magnifying glass inside the viewing hood and a mirror for eye-level reflex viewing, certainly released by a small lever on the right-hand side of the viewing hood.[3] The nameplate is shaped like that of the early Rolleicord and is inscribed RORTER REF or RORTERFLEX in capital letters.

Advertisements and other documents

The Rorter Ref is not mentioned in the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, presumably because it was not yet in production.[4]

The camera was first announced and advertised in November 1941.[5] Advertisement placed by Tōkyō Kōsoku Seiki-sha in Shashin Bunka November 1941 and February 1942 show a picture of the camera with RORTER REF nameplate.[6] The documents mention a Universal[7] Anastigmat f/4.5 and 5–250 shutter speeds. The price is given as ¥170 in November 1941, raised to ¥199 in 1942 (case ¥14.16 extra).

The Rorter Ref or Rorterflex appears in the government inquiry listing the Japanese camera production as of April 1943.[8] The shutter is a Pleime giving 5–200, T, B speeds.[9] The manufacturer's name is unfortunately missing from the document, as well as the details of the lens.

Advertisements for the camera were placed until March 1944.[10]

Actual examples

At least one example of the Rorter Ref is reported in McKeown, with a Grimmel Anastigmat f/4.5 lens in a Union shutter (T, B, 5–200).[11] Another example has been observed with the RORTERFLEX nameplate and a Pleime shutter.[12] It reportedly has an Electr Anastigmat 75mm f/4.5 lens.

Notes

  1. In the name, "Ref" is an abbreviation of "Reflex", often used in Japan at the time.
  2. Double exposure prevention: advertisements reproduced in Nakamura, p.29 of Camera Collectors' News no.173, and in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.105.
  3. Advertisements reproduced in Nakamura, p.29 of Camera Collectors' News no.173, and in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.105.
  4. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku".
  5. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.343.
  6. Advertisement in Shashin Bunka November 1941 reproduced in Nakamura, p.29 of Camera Collectors' News no.173; advertisement in Shashin Bunka February 1942 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.105.
  7. Name inferred from the katakana ユニバーサー.
  8. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 115. The document indifferently uses the suffix "Ref" instead of "Flex" for various TLR cameras, e.g. listing an "Elmo Ref" for an "Elmoflex".
  9. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), shutter item 18-U-4.
  10. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.343.
  11. McKeown, p.860.
  12. Example observed in an online auction.

Bibliography

  • Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Item 331.
  • "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" (国産写真機ノ現状調査, Inquiry into Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943. Reproduced in Supuringu kamera de ikou: Zen 69 kishu no shōkai to tsukaikata (スプリングカメラでいこう: 全69機種の紹介と使い方, Let's try spring cameras: Presentation and use of 69 machines). Tokyo: Shashinkogyo Syuppan-sha, 2004. ISBN 4-87956-072-3. Pp.180–7. Item 115.
  • "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku" (国産写真機の公定価格, Set prices of the Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of October 25, 1940 and setting the retail prices from December 10, 1940. Published in Asahi Camera January 1941 and reproduced in Shōwa 10—40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10〜40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935—1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Pp.108—9. The camera does not appear in this list.
  • McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). P.860.
  • Nakamura Kin (中村欽). "Hanseiki mae no jū-ichi-gatsu ni wa..." (半世紀前の十一月には..., In November, fifty years ago...) In Camera Collectors' News no.173 (November 1991). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. P.29.

The camera is not listed in Sugiyama.