The Septonflex is an auxiliary reflex finder made in the mid-1950s by Panon, for use on 35mm cameras. It is made of a mirror box, with a viewing hood and a View-Congo 50mm lens, perhaps supplied by Yamasaki. The name SEPTONFLEX is inscribed in front of the hood, above the lens. The whole device clips on the camera's accessory shoe, and can rotate for horizontal and vertical pictures.
The lens is focused by turning the outer rim, which automatically tilts the device for parallax correction. When the viewing image is in focus, the distance can be manually transferred from the viewing lens to the camera's taking lens.
Six versions of the finder were offered in 1955, with f/2.8 or f/3.5 lens, at a price ranging from ¥2,700 to ¥4,850. It is not known if all have the focusing ring and automatic parallax correction, though.
|Column on the Septonflex in the June 1955 special issue of Photo Art. (Image rights)|
All observed examples are fitted with a View-Congo 50mm f/3.5 lens and automatic parallax correction. The company name PANON CAMERA CO. LTD. and the words NON–PARALLAX are engraved on the lens rim in the inner position, and the lens name VIEW–CONGO, lens features and distance scale (from 2ft to ∞) are engraved on the same rim in a concentric outer position. The words MADE IN JAPAN are inscribed under the device. The leather case is embossed SEPTONFLEX and the original box has the brand name SEPTONFLEX and the company name PANON CAMERA CO. LTD.
The similar devices available in Japan at the same time were the cheaper Masmirar and the yet more sophisticated View-Arco, with fully automatic parallax correction when coupled to the Arco 35 camera.
- Column in the June 1955 special issue of Photo Art, p.43.
- Online auctions and image posted on Picasa.
- Photo Art rinji zōkan: Kamera akusesarī zensho (フォトアート臨時増刊・カメラアクセサリー全書, Photo Art special issue: All the camera accessories). June 1955, no.80 of the magazine. "Zukai: Akusesarī no mekanikku. 8: Akusesarī kurippu ue de mochiiru fuzokuhin. Seputonfurekkusu." (図解・アクセサリーのメカニック・8・アクセサリー・クリップ上で用いる付属品・セプトンフレックス. Drawings: accessory mechanisms. 8: Devices used on the accessory shoe. Septonflex.) P.43.
- Photo Art rinji zōkan: Kamera no chishiki (フォトアート臨時増刊・カメラの知識, Photo Art special issue: Knowledge of cameras). October 1955, no.87 of the magazine. "Kakubu no kikō to sono sōsa. 14: Kamera ni toritsukeru akusesarī no chishiki. Akusesarī kurippu ni. c: Faindā." (各部の機構とその操作・14・カメラに取付けるアクセサリーの知識・アクセサリークリップに・c・ファインダー. Mechanism and operation of all the parts. On the accessory shoe. 14: Knowledge of the accessories attached to the camera. c: Finders.) P.45.