Foto-Flex TLR Camera

Marcy’s Foto-Flex Camera Review:

Manufactured by Hadds Manufacturing in Chicago, the Foto-Flex has to be the ugliest camera I’ve ever seen.

The Foto-Flex takes twelve square images on 127 film. It was in a box of cameras that I bought at an auction. Its made of metal, with a plastic viewfinder hood, and weighs close to a ton. Okay, it actually weighs over 1 pound 7 ounces … nearly a pound and a half! It’s 5 3/4″ across, 3 1/2″ high, with the viewfinder folded down.

I’m hitting up an area in the house that holds cameras I haven’t seen in a while. As it turns out, there are many I can’t even remember acquiring. (C’mon. I’m not alone in camera-amnesia, am I? Doubt it.) There were some notes regarding this camera: The mirror that reflects the image behind the viewfinder was loose and I sometimes I had to shake the camera to get that glass into the right place so I can fold the hood back down. I’d removed four screws and placed the mirror back into its assigned area. “I like the weight of it and maybe its lines aren’t ugly? Maybe they’re just simple?”

Ha! Yeah. Don’t kid yourself. This thing is ugly. Anyway, it’s weird-looking. The “twin” lenses are simply the taking and viewing lenses which are housed within a black ring on the front. Here’s a thought though: It’s made of such heavy metal, it could double as a warming iron. Set it by the fireplace, then slip it into your bed and enjoy comfort all night long.

Oh! So I revisited it. I found that once I unfolded the viewfinder hood, it [again] would not fold back down. At this point, the shutter quit working as well. As it turns out, this camera is so mechanically simple that even I could figure it out. I unscrewed the four metal screws and found that – once again- the viewfinder mirror was loose and simply swimming around inside the front workings. This time I glued it into place. Then I noticed something more. Something kinda gross.

See that thing? Inside the taking lens?
Without that dead bug will the images be better or worse?
Just thought I’d grab a shot of the perfectly functional and bug-free shutter mechanism.
A look at the back of the face plate.
Inside the back.

Oh! I guess we want to see some results, huh? Click on any image for a larger view:


My McKeown’s GUIDE TO ANTIQUE AND CLASSIC CAMERAS 2005-2006 says “Twin-lens box camera of unusual design. The small viewing and atking lenses are both within the round front disc which resembles a normal lens. (Design similar to the 35mm Agfa Flexilette.) Takes 4x4cm on 127 film. One model has a cast-metal body; another has a plastic body with a cast-metal faceplate’ Interior of body is marked “Hadds Mfg. Co.” Apparently Hadds manufactured the body or the entire camera for the Foto-Flex Corp. $12-20.”


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