Allenflex TLR Camera – One of 50 in the world

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So I found a camera on craigslist with a brand that I wasn’t familiar with – Allenflex. It looked like any other typical late 50s medium format TLR. So I decided to make the buy.

The specs are pretty standard:

  • 80mm prime lens
  • f3.5-22
  • Shutter speeds of B – 1/300 so it needs slower film.
  • Takes 120 medium format film
  • Top down viewfinder, just like my Yashica Mat.

I wasn’t able to find much online about it. Literally the only google result lead me to the NewsPaper archives from Salt Lake City with the following ad from November, 1957. You can see the camera in the bottom right hand corner

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After emailing the people at Allen’s Camera, who are still functioning as a family business in Utah, they were able to confirm to me that it was one of theirs and one of about 50 that were ordered with the Allenflex branding.

That being said, it’s a rare camera and it isn’t. After I did some more research, I discovered that it was made by Tougodo Optical in Japan, who produced a great deal of made to order custom branding items for individual companies looking to have custom products. There are a lot of other Tougodo cameras produced that look exactly like my Allenflex – with the right serial numbers to boot, just with a different branding like Lionflex or Metascoflex. So there are a lot of cameras that are essentially the same camera – but not many called Allenflex. How it ended up in Quebec from Utah I have no idea. 

Here’s what it looks like, aside from some cracked leather on one side it’s in fantastic shape. And I got to use my new light tent, which looks pretty good (and will look better when I get some proper lights for it).

 

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