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 ->

For the postwar Lyraflex, see Lyraflex (postwar).

The Lyra Flex is a Japanese 6×6 TLR made by Fuji Kōgaku from 1938 to 1944.[1]

Common features Edit

The Lyra Flex is a 6×6 TLR with automatic film advance, copied from the Rolleicord. The focusing is done by moving the front plate back and forth. The focusing and advance knobs are on the photographer's right, and there is a round exposure counter window at the top of the right-hand side plate. The focusing knob is surrounded by a depth-of-field plate, and the top of the knob itself is engraved FUJIKOGAKU and NIPPON. There is a magnifying glass hinged to the front of the viewing hood and deployed by a small lever placed to the right.

The Lyra Flex Edit

Description Edit

The original model, released in 1938,[2] has the shutter release on the right hand plate as well as double exposure prevention.[3] The nameplate says LyraFlex, with another marking underneath, Fuji kōgaku kikai seisakusho; and the shutter plate is black with FUJIKō inscribed at the top and FUJIKŌGAKU at the bottom. The viewing hood has the cross-like design of early Rolleiflex models, and there seems to be a sports finder.[4] A plate screwed on to the back shows the depth of field at various combinations of distance and aperture. This model is confused with the later Lyra Flex F and Lyra Flex J by many sources.[5]

Advertisements and other documents Edit

An advertisement dated March 1938 presents the original Lyra Flex with a Fujikō A shutter (T, B, 1–300), a Fujikō Anastigmat Goldar 75/3.5 four-element taking lens and a Fuji–kō Anastigmat Terionar 75/3.2 viewing lens, for ¥190.[6] A later advertisement, dated September 1938, lists the camera for the same price, without mentioning the lens name.[7] The Lyra Flex also appears in the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, under the names "Lyra Flex A", "Lyra Flex B" and "Lyra Flex F", all three for ¥252.[8] The Lyra Flex F obviously corresponds to the camera described below; the Lyra Flex A is probably the original Lyra Flex and the Lyra Flex B is perhaps a version with a Fujikō B shutter (T, B, 5–250).

Variations Edit

The camera pictured in the March 1938 advertisement has the FUJI KŌGAKU logo in the middle of the viewing hood. The September 1938 camera and the actual examples observed so far do not have this logo. When compared with the advertising pictures, the nameplate of the actual examples has a slightly different shape with straight sides.[9] At least one of them reportedly has a Terionar 75/3.5 taking lens.[10]

The Lyra Flex F and J Edit

Description Edit

The Lyra Flex F and Lyra Flex J were offered between 1941 and 1944.[11] They have the shutter release at the bottom of the front plate, falling under the left hand fingers. This perhaps means that it is not linked any more to the auto-stop mechanism, and that the double exposure prevention was abandoned. The viewing hood has no cross structure and no logo but the presence of a sportsfinder is confirmed. The nameplate has a stepped frame and is marked LYRA FLEX in uppercase letters. There is an exposure table on the back, replacing the depth-of-field table of the original model.

The Lyra Flex F and Lyra Flex J are equipped respectively with a Fujikō F and a Fujikō J shutter. Both shutters have T, B, 1–200 speeds, but the J has a self-timer. It seems to be the only difference between the two models. The shutter plate is sometimes black with white markings and sometimes yellowish with black markings. It is written FUJIKŌ at the top (usually in two parts: FUJ and IKŌ, with an arrow between both, sometimes also in a single word like on the previous model), and FUJIKŌGAKU at the bottom.

Advertisements and other documents Edit

Advertisements dated May 1941, September 1941 and October 1942 mention an f/3.5 lens with no further detail.[12] The April 1943 government inquiry on Japanese camera production mentions the Lyra Flex F and J with a Terionar 75/3.5 lens.[13] Advertisements dated February 1944 again mention the Lyra Flex F and J; one of them, placed by Banno Toyoji Shōten, specifies the Terionar f/3.5 lens on the model F.[14]

The prices of the Lyra Flex F and J evolved as follows:

Date May 1941[15] September 1941[16] October 1942[17] February 1944[18]
Lyra Flex F ¥230 ¥230 ¥296.72
Lyra Flex J ¥252 ¥289

Actual examples Edit

All the actual examples observed so far have a Terionar 75mm f/3.5 taking lens. The engraving was changed from Fuji–kō Anastigmat Terionar to Fuji–kō Terionar at some point, between lens no.120000 and no.126000. It seems that the switch from the yellowish shutter plate to the black one occured at the same time. The viewing lens is a 75mm f/3.2, engraved Fuji-kō Anastigmat Terionar on all examples and having no serial number.

Notes Edit

  1. Dates: advertisements and articles listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.342–3.
  2. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.342, says that it appeared in the new products column of the March 1938 issue of Asahi Camera.
  3. Double exposure prevention: advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.101.
  4. The example examined (by Camerapedia contributor Hoary) had deteriorated so severely that verification was impossible.
  5. Sugiyama, items 2011–2; McKeown, p.329; this page of the website.
  6. Advertisement published in Ars Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.101.
  7. Advertisement published in Asahi Camera, observed in an online auction.
  8. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 7, section 1.
  9. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 2011; example pictured at the bottom of this page of the website.
  10. Sugiyama, item 2011.
  11. Dates: Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.342–3.
  12. Advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.100–1. See also this undated advertisement reproduced at Nostalgic Camera.
  13. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), items 110–1.
  14. Advertisements on the front and back cover of Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin, February 15, 1944, reproduced on pp.63 and 78 of Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku.
  15. Advertisement in Shashin Bunka reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.100.
  16. Advertisement in Asahi Camera reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.100.
  17. Advertisement in Shashin Bunka reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.100.
  18. Advertisement on the back cover of Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin, February 15, 1944, reproduced on p.78 of Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku.

Bibliography Edit

Links Edit

In English:

In Japanese:

Fuji Kōgaku cameras (edit)
prewar and wartime models postwar models
3×4 4×6.5 subminiature 4×4 subminiature
Baby Lyra | Baby Lyra Flex | Baby Balnet Dianette | Pionette Lyravit Balnet Four Comex
4.5×6 6×6 6×9 4.5×6 6×6
Bakyna | Semi Lyra | Lyrax Lyra Six | Lyra Flex Lyra (6×9) Semi Lyra | Pioneer Lyra Six | Lyraflex
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