Reflex Korelle repair

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by cliffmanley, May 14, 2010.

  1. Did you ever fix a camera that was not really worth the effort? I just did. It is called a Reflex Korelle. It was a great idea, a 2 1/4 inch square frame on 120 film with a full size ground glass viewing hood. with a single lens and a reflex mirror camera. The idea would eventually put the twin lens out of business. A real shining star. Or so they told you!
    beto_jimenez likes this.
  2. But not this one. Other copies that were designed better soon followed. Most people recommend setting this one up on the shelf to collect dust as not being worth the effort to fix. Not only a bad design, but also built badly. I'm showing it here just because it was such a pain to get working. In fact when I say fix, it really is not the correct term for something that never worked correctly from the beginning.
    Aside from being old with rotten curtains, there is this goofy cable that runs from the film wind crank ratchet to the other side to tension the shutter. It is a bad design since you need to crank this thing to cock the shutter, but then you need to turn it another partial turn while watching a frame counter to finish winding the film. If you didn't get the shutter cocked on the first try, your film frames are goofed up for the rest of the roll. And when you get to the last frame, you need to crank it up again and cock the shutter to be able to ratchet the rest of the roll to the take-up spool.
    To make matters even worse, the little crank has to not only tension the shutter, which is quite a pull, but also wind the film on a camera that has a very tight fitting back and the film rolls pretty tight. The little cable in there is .015 inch and doesn't take much to break it. The history and stories of these cameras will tell you that they all break cables. and I found out why. The parts in the shutter mechanism were raw stampings, and were never filed to fit. That's why I say it was built badly. The parts were assembled that way and being over sized, the result being you needed to really wrench down on the cable to get it cocked. You were lucky to get a few rolls through it before it broke the cable again.
  3. This one came to me in a frustrated state. The hood was off and the screws were missing from it. The curtains were bad, the cable was broke, the lens had been assembled wrong and wouldn't clear the mirror and had stripped holes that needed to be re-tapped and missing screws. There were missing screws actually all over the place, I think nine total. Obviously this thing had been taken apart more in it's life than it had been together by people trying to make it work.
  4. So anyway I fixed it and now it works smoothly, I changed the cable to a heavier .018 inch, So maybe someone can take a few extra rolls before it breaks again.
  5. Fixed #2
  6. Last one
  7. I'll run a test roll through it and post some pictures with it before I return it to the owner.
  8. Thanks for sharing Cliff. Very cool, can't wait to see the pics. What's the lens?
  9. A great essay, Cliff, and it's sure looks as if it was worth the effort. A most unusual camera, and they're the ones I tend to pursue. I'm looking forward to your picture post!
  10. The Korelle was something of a disaster. After WWII, the British Aeronautical and General Instruments (AGI) company made a direct copy of it, called the Agiflex. It wasn't a lot better than the source machine. However, they then produced an Agiflex II, which had a lot of improvements, followed by the not half bad Agiflex III. I've only seen the latter camera in a shop window but I owned an Agiflex II for a while. The II was never going to give Hasselblad sleepless nights but it was a reasonable camera by the standards of its period.
  11. Cliff, I think the Reflex Korelle holds the record for the distance it has been thrown down the garden by a frustrated repairman. The little chain wind-on connector is the usual culprit. But as the Focal Plane guide says 'The Reflex Korelle is a nice little camera'. Well done!
    I have to say I sold mine in bits and pieces eventually. So you are a better man than I am.
  12. Does the shutter have a "mule kick" aspect like the Foth-Derby 127 cameras? They have a quite "explosive" focal-plane shutter.
  13. A wonderful story of a resurrection.
    They sold the Korelle for a long time, but never made much market penetration with it. I suppose there is some kind of link to the later Praktisix and Pentacon 6 models, but I have never seen it spelled out explicitly.
    That 'shining star' certainly shows off the design appropriately. I too await the pictures with bated (baited?) breath.
  14. Here's a listing for the Reflex-Korelle from the 1940 Sears Camera Catalog.
  15. Despite the major design flaws this thing had.. you apparently were up to the task! Looking forward to the results! I hope for whoever you went through all this trouble for.. is extremely grateful! Nothing like inherent bad design! It would be endearing if it wasn't just bad! I know of this model and thought it might be I know better.
  16. I think I read someplace that one of the Hassenblad people had worked at that company before starting his own camera company ? Lauren
  17. Cliff - Fantastic article.
    I have two of these. I got the second one hoping to get it in working shape, alas, it was worse than the first one. The first one has pin holes on the curtain cloth and lazy speeds, the second one, even though it looks better cosmetically, some smart ass had taped the shutter curtains together.
    Would you be so kind and have a look my sick korelles if I send them to you and give me an estimate to repair them? I hate storing cameras that do not work. Please let me know.
  18. Gads. What an awesome story and presentation, Cliff! I have one of these - it was my grandfather's, the first R-K, with an optimistic 1/1000 sec max shutter speed. He evidently used it but it's been in storage for 40 years. The shutter didn't work well at all -- same symptom as yours, but the curtain looks good. In fact, the lens on mine also interferes with the mirror (but it came with a macro tube and that solves that problem, but doesn't allow focus to infinity) and there are several missing screws on both the camera and lens! So your story of - probably misguided - repairs is probably true for this one as well.
    I started disassembling the shutter speed dial and parts went flying when the spring discombobulated. I gathered them all, and determined I wasn't going to repair it that way. So I spent a couple hours putting it all back together and got it to essentially the same place I started with but after reading this I think it's time to just put it on the shelf. The old Schneider-Kreuznach lens (f2.8, 7.5cm), on the other hand, is salvageable and I've adapted it to use on my Pentax gear (41mm mount - doesn't take much to make it fit 42mm adapters!).
  19. I bought two Model II 12 years ago, and ran a couple of rolls through the one equipped with a Tessar lens 8 years ago. I can tell you that
    the pictures were very sharp and it was a lot of fun to use, albeit very cumbersome. The second, one with a Steinheil Cassar has a
    defective curtain. I just bought a third copy (Model I) this morning with a Tessar lens, and just hope that it is in working condition.
  20. Reflex-Korelle III with Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2.8. I believe was manufactured in 1939, possibly the last model produced by Franz Kochmann before the war. It is in Mint Condition except for the shutter the lags (does not close all the way as you can see in the far right pic). I don't know if your model has the same shutter mechanism as this model iii. but I could use some help. Thank you.


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