Periflex 1953

Tomei Collection

The Periflex camera was made by K.G. Corfield in England.  Here is an early example of the first model marketed in 1953-55, marked Nr 3120. According to John E. Lewis' excellent history of the Periflex camera, this serial number corresponds the 120th camera built in 1953.


It has the unique periscope reflex viewer for focusing as well as the "eye-level focuser". The shutter speeds are engraved directly in the top housing which is characteristic of the early production models from 1953. The lens is a 50mm f/3.5 Lumar X built c1955.


I must admire the fact that the Periflex was actually designed and built to be a second body for photographers who used Leica cameras. As such, the periflex accepts 39mm Leica screw mount lenses. The cameras are exceptionally light, constructed primarily of aluminum and light alloys, a welcomed advantage during the decades of very heavy cameras from the major companies. 



Above:  When the non-coated Lumar was discontinued in late 1954 and a new lens mount was introduced that didn't look so much like a set of gears, the coated Lumar-X appeared.  Although the same design as the earlier lens, it had a leather wrapped barrel and click stops.








The camera was equipped with the unique periscope which when depressed provided a reflex view of the field.  However, there were some complaints about the process of using the periscope since it used a waist-level viewing window.  In response the company quickly came up with a simple solution in the form of a black plastic cap containing a 45 degree mirror, together called the "Eye-Level Focuser".  However, Corfield had already produced the fine leather case and the new focuser did not permit the case to close.  Consequently, the rewind knob was machined with a groove on top to accept the focuser which then just snapped in as shown here. 

One minor irritating feature of this design is the cross-hatched plate on the bottom that releases the lower assembly for loading film.  It is best turned using a rubber stopper or something that grips firmly.  It opens by turning to the right (CW) as viewed here.


Left:  One of the most troublesome elements of production was the rubber-mounted glass pressure plate (above) which was often found to have hair-line scratches visible only when viewed at a critical angle. Later models of the 3A were built with metal pressure plates as a consequence.  Here is shown the glass pressure plate on the early model in this collection.





Left: This 3 element 90mm f/2.8 Tele-Lumax lens was produced in 1961 and is one of the rarest of all Periflex lenses according to Lewis.  The optics were produced by Enna in Germany, it has a 26 degree acceptance angle and focuses down to an exceptionally close 2.5 ft. 

The more common lenses were the 3 element 95mm f/2.8 Lumar with 25 degree angle and 6 ft minimum focusing, and the four element 95mm f/3.5 Lumax with 43 degree angle and minimum focus of 4 ft.