Kodak Instamatic Reflex

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by jason_withers, Mar 2, 2018.

  1. Last week, I purchased some long-expired Kodacolor II film for my Kodak Instamatic Reflex camera. I've had the camera for many years but never taken any actual pictures with it. I'm not through the first role yet, but I have a question about using flashcubes with this camera (I have a bunch of the cubes I would like to eventually use). I figured that the flashcube would fire regardless of the speed of the film in the camera, but that does not appear to be the case. The manual I have says that the flash is used for films with ASA speeds of 64, 80, or 125. The Kodacolor II film is a speed of 100 according to the box. Then I thought well when the Instamatic Reflex camera came out in the late 60s, Kodacolor II film may not have been around and there were no 100 speed 126 size films perhaps. Can anyone confirm that the camera only fires the flash with specific speed films? I realize that the results of the pictures from these expired rolls might be really bad, but I thought it would still be fun to try out and sometimes you can get some funky results with expired film. Was pretty cheap so I thought I would give it a try.

    The old mercury batteries that came in the camera when I got it are still working believe it or not and the meter on the Kodak camera is still very accurate when compared to other cameras. When I get this camera out, I'm always amazed at the build quality. I am thinking it was probably the top of the line 126 camera in its day. I read somewhere that it was about $200 in 1968 or so, which sure wasn't cheap!

    Even if the pictures don't turn out, I still think it's an awesome looking camera and a great conversation piece!


    Kodak 1.jpg

    Kodak 2.JPG
  2. It is a probably all that and more, a great conversation piece and an excellent camera. The down side is ...the lack of 126 cartridges ...but if you are willing to re-spool them with backing paper etc.. Go for it!

    The problem with the flash seems more of an electric problem or an auto exposure problem. The camera must know when to fire the flash ie when there's insufficient light. The handbook might shed some light on how and when flash . I would also look at the the connectors to be sure they are nice and shiny. You mentioned the "mercury" batteries as being ok. Are they needed to fire the flash too? To eliminate this possibility put a fresh 1.5 volt battery in. You have a very fast lens on this camera, you may not be getting the "flash" signal or light? as the need is not there. Also you would want to strop down to the recommended aperture based on the distance. See the flash package for tips or a guide number usually a graph that shows the recommended aperture to distance. The flash does draw current so where does this come from?
  3. Thanks chuck! Yeah, I thought too that the camera exposure system was thinking it had sufficient light so it didn't fire the flash, but I altered the f-stop and it still didn't fire indoors at night with 100 speed film (which is strange). The instruction manual does say the batteries are needed for exposure and to fire the flashcubes, but when I tested per the manual they checkout out ok ( the needle moves down between 1/250 and 1/500). Perhaps I'll try replacement batteries anyways to see if this solves the problem as well as try a slower lens. Of course the PX825 batteries are no longer available, but I can probably find a suitable replacement. On the plus side, the camera does have a cold shoe so I can attach an electronic flash to use instead.
  4. I really wish that the Lomo group would bring back 126 cartridges due to the plethora of cameras around. It seems to make much more sense than the 110 film, which they have. The 110 size was so small that most attempts at enlargements were useless. Of course, not all 126 cameras were of quality and the issue of the film not laying perfectly flat was a real problem in some.
  5. That's a very cool camera. I had no idea they made such high quality instamatics. Mine probably cost $10.

    New batteries is a good test, but my money is on the problem being the flash cubes, themselves. I often got 3 good ones out of a box of 4, and it wouldn't surprise me if you've got some dead ones. So, try more than one.

    These are FLASH cubes, right? As opposed to MAGIC cubes? Magic cubes didn't need battery power. They were chemical in nature, and you could fire one by sticking a paper clip into the hole in the bottom of one. (Or, sometimes, by dropping them just right.) It's possible the chemicals have a limited life span.

    And in flash cubes, the contacts may have corroded or the wires rusted out. You should be able to test fire one using some bits of wire and a fresh battery. If you test one that didn't fire on the camera, and it works, then it's the camera that's at fault.
  6. oooo, another camera to look for.
  7. @davecaz - Yes, I double checked that they are indeed flash cubes and not the magic cubes. I tried other ones and could not get any to fire. However, I was able to get my electronic flash to fire. Using the f/1.9 lens, I had to set the f-stop to f/11 or 22 before it would do so, so the electronic eye on the camera is controlling that aspect it seems.
  8. It might be that the battery can run the light meter but not the flashcube.

    It might be that 825 is hard to find, though. I did buy some old style batteries, but I don't remember about 825.

    Otherwise, I often use alkaline batteries in place of the old mercury batteries. Most of the time, it is close enough for metering black and white film.
  9. Exell is where I bought some like 625, but I don't see 825 on the list.

    I have a Kodak 814 Instamatic, the top of the line of Kodak 126 rangefinders, but a few other 126 cameras, too.
  10. So, that's an actual live hot shoe? And you have both that and the option to use flash cubes? Wow. They really went all out!

    I guess the practical answer is, use the flash and forget the cubes. I'm pretty sure no one is making them, any more, so the supply is very limited. I could be mis-remembering, but I think they always had an expiration date on the package, and it wasn't a very long window. But, it would bug me, if it were my camera, not knowing what the problem is, so I totally sympathize.
  11. My favorite flash for many years, which I inherited from my grandfather, is the Agfalux C:

    Vintage Agfa Agfalux C Pocket Flash Unit & Case & Cable X | eBay

    The one I had was PC only, but the one shown, and the one my father had, is PC or hot shoe.

    I used it for many years with a Canon VI rangefinder, especially with slide film.

    Lost it somewhere over the years, but last year got one for $10.

    I now have enough flash cubes, including some high-power cubes, to last a while.

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