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Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by ToddB, Aug 22, 2013.
What are peoples thoughts on the those Flexaret cameras?
I own what I believe is a Flexaret III -- model designations do not appear, but the racheting half-throw crank is supposed to be unique. I'd say the lenses are pretty decent. The winding mechanism feels a little chintzy on mine, but I use it with care. At the moment mine suffers from a very dim viewfinder and the slow shutter speeds hang, but it sat in a closet unused for about thirty years. Its initial acquisition for me was at a flea market circa 1975, with the shutter hung altogether -- I bought it to get an 80 mm lens and decided to try an at-home CLA which worked. There are some relatively recent samples on that page taken with it in 2008, avoiding the slow speeds, as well as some earlier ones.
As far as I know, the III dates from the 1948-1950 time frame, there are much newer models that would probably be a better bet.
At present my go-to TLR is a Yashica Mat 124G.
More info and history HERE I also have what I think it is model V. Recently aquired as a gift from relatives in the Eastern Europe. Have not tested the camera with film yet.
If you want to brighten the viewfinder, you can probably get get a new mirror cut by marty1107 on the bay.
I don't have any connection to him but I needed a mirror for my Ikoflex II/III. I pulled the old one and measured with digital calipers, sent Marty the measurements and he was able to send me a perfect replacement. Very affordable as well.
Great! I have to take a closer look on Marty1107 offers. Otherwise, I can recommend the screens from Rick Olesen. They are a good value and make a difference.
I have a number of Flexarets. The favourite is the IV - It doesn't have the same quality feel like the Zeiss Ikoflex IIa, but it's lighter and it's easy to dis/reassemble when you need to do a CLA. The Belar lens does a good job too!
When it comes to design, I've always been fond of the VI and VII models. Though, they are heavier than the Flexaret IV.
If you buy from eBay, I would recommend Cupog - he seems to know these cameras very well!
Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for that. (A search didn't seem to turn up marty1107, but I may well have done something wrong.) I'll consider a CLA for a winter project, but I'm finding winters aren't long enough to cover the list lately!
You can email Marty at email@example.com. I emailed him the measurements (see attached) and he cut the mirror and created an auction for me to buy it. Now he has the measurements and offers the mirror for others who might be looking for the same. I attached the measurements I sent him.
I have also talked to Rick Olesen about his screens. He's also a super good guy who will help guide you to fitting one of his screens. I think he will even cut spacers if needed.
People like Marty and Rick, who offer these hard-to-find but extremely useful items, deserve to have attention brought to their business.
Here is the mirror for my Ikoflex: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ikoflex-II-...226?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cd4ad59a2
Vacuum Coatings Ltd in London will resilver a mirror for you or make a new one at a very reasonable price, not as cheap as that ebay seller though.
Sure does take great pictures!
Flexarets are good camera's but you need to have one that is serviced recently, Cupog on Ebay is a guy who sell serviced ones and he is trustworthy. The lenses are great and you can even have close-up lenses that will allow you to focus from 33cm and up (without these the minimum focus distance is 1meter). Be sure to take one with a Belar lens, these are the Tessar type lenses because the Mirar lenses are only triplets (Mirar lenses were phased out when the Flexaret IV was introduced). There are also some details to consider, the older models (from Flexaret II till IV) you have to cock the shutter manually while the newer models (Flexaret V till VII and the Standard) are automatically cocked when you wind the film. This automatic winding works great but you cannot do double exposure with them (except with the VII, which has a lever to do Double Exposure). Also, from Flexaret II till V they used the 30mm push on filters while the VI, VII and the Standard use Meopta dedicated bayonet filters which are a little harder to score (although they pop up on the bay from time to time). They also come in a variety of shutters, later models have Metax shutters who will go up to 1/400 of a second while the VII has a Pentacon Prestor shutter that goes up to 1/500 of a second. The IV and V's are installed with various setups, mostly Prontor shutters. Mind that the Flexaret II has been sold next to the newer models as a budget model (it lacks a frame counter) and might be even installed with a Metax shutter.
I used a Flexaret IV and VI for a few years with much pleasure, the way of focusing might be a little awkward at first but you get used to it pretty fast. And they are cheap, even a serviced one will not break your bank. They are certainly worth the try if you are new to MF since they are cheap but like I said before, be sure you get a serviced one because many have been left in closets for over 3 decades and are gummed up.
eBay is not the best source, aukro.cz (Czech, where Flexarets come from), paladix.cz, and allegro.pl (bigger country, so more items) are way better for Meopta's cameras and accessories. There is a good chance to buy there a VI Automat or VII with plenty of accessories for less then EUR 80. If you're lucky, everything will work fine, if not, you'll have to spend another EUR 50 for re-fitting it (and then you may expect next 40 years without the slightest issue). But there is no point in buying one in bad condition, repair will cost more than a better piece.
Most common accessories are:
- colour filters for B&W
- Flexpar close-up lenses; there are two sets (for 0.3-0.5m and for 0.5-1m) for taking and viewing lenses; viewing ones have a prism to reduce parallax error; sometimes they try to sell only one from the set, which is purposeless unless you have the other one, or need the bayonet for DYI adapter
- lens shades
- leather case
I did a DYI filter adapter for 49mm, good for IR and ND1000 filters. You need: a bayonet (eg. a filter or a close up lens), a step-up adapter and epoxy glue.
You can even load a 135 film (to VI Automat) with an adapter, and take vertical panoramas