Wrayflex

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The Wrayflex is a 35mm SLR camera made by Wray from about 1950, the only British-made 35mm SLR.[1] There are three different models: the first two have a low profile appearance and use a system of mirrors rather than a pentaprism to provide the reflex viewing image. The first camera, the Wrayflex I,[2] makes images in a 24x32mm format; the second, the Wrayflex Ia,[3][4] gives the standard 24x36mm format. Other than this it is very similar to the first model; McKeown states that the frame-counter (which counts beyond 40 on the Wrayflex I because of the small format) is the easiest way to tell the two apart.[1]

Sadly the mirror viewfinders were very dim compared to the prism used on rival cameras, and produced a laterally reversed image. The third model, the Wrayflex II from about 1959,[5] has a prism, giving it a taller profile. It has the standard 24x36mm image format.

The cameras use normal 35mm film cassettes and have a film-advance key in the base. The 24x32 mm format was a problem for slide films (the images would not fit neatly in standard mounts, and might be incorrectly cut by the processors).

All three cameras use the same series of lenses:

  • 35/3.5 Lustrar
  • 50/2.8 Unilux
  • 50/2 Unilite
  • 90/4 Lustrar
  • 135/4 Lustrar

The Unilite lens design was covered by patents; later there would be a dispute with Corfield when the latter company introduced their 45mm Lumax f/1.9 lens for the Periflex camera range. Corfield had unwittingly infringed the Wray patent and were obliged to acknowledge this fact.

All three models have a focal-plane shutter, with speeds ½ - 1/1000 second, plus 'B'. There are separate flash synchronisation sockets on the front of the camera for electronic flash ('E') and bulbs ('B'). The Wrayflex II also has a cold shoe on top of the prism;[5] (the cited example of the Wrayflex I at Westlicht also has a cold shoe).[2]


Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 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). p1016-7.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wrayflex I serial no. 1579, with a Unilite 50mm f/2 lens, sold at the sixth Westlicht Photographica Auction, on 6 November 2004.
  3. Wrayflex 1a serial no. 2580 with Unilite 50 mm f/2, also sold at the November 2004 Westlicht auction.
  4. Wrayflex Ia serial no. 2691, with 35 mm f/3.5 Lustrar, sold at the 21st Westlicht auction, on 23 May 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Wrayflex II serial no. 4246, with Unilite 50mm f/2 lens, also sold at the May 2012 Westlicht auction.

Links

Bibliography

  • Wally Morley, 'The Wrayflex' in Photographica World, no. 64, March 1993, pp. 35-37.
  • John Wade, 'The Wrayflex Story' Wordpower Publishing; see www.wrayflex.co.uk.