James's Camera Collection: Ansco Anscoflex II

Ansco Anscoflex II USA Twin Lens Reflex cameras
Ansco Anscoflex II
Film type: Roll film size 620 (2 ½ inches square)
Approx. dates of manufacture: 1954
Approx. original price: $27.95
Approx. street value: low

This isn't truly a TLR, because the upper viewing lens isn't anything like a twin to the lower taking lens. But if you really want to be that way about it, then my Voigtländer Brilliant, Kodak Duaflexes, and any number of other cameras aren't TLRs either. The thing is that they're close enough that it's simpler to classify them together than apart.

Anscoflex II openI picked it up as a kid when I was on a TLR kick, and had collected a raft of junkers for a buck or two each. This is arguably the best of the cheap TLR lot, even though I've awarded it Turkey status. The viewing lens is big and gathers a lot of light so get a brilliant image. The color is drab green, but it's got a silver winder knob and a big red shutter button on the side. The front door slides up to reveal the lenses and open up the finder, and the two knobs on the front are pretty obvious. There's an instruction book for this camera, but I don't see how anything on this camera isn't obvious.

This camera, surprisingly, is collectable. Both versions of this camera (I have the II model) were designed by the famous Raymond Loewy, who lent his pencils to the later Studebaker automobiles, train locomotives, vacuum cleaners, pencil sharpeners, toasters. He was a form-follows-function man, yet he managed to give each item an unmistakable look that set it apart from its peers. Loewy-designed stuff is notable and collectable beyond its ordinary value, much the way magazines with Frank Frazetta artwork tend to fetch more than the norm.

As I mentioned above, this is the II model. The only difference between the two is the addition of the two knobs on the bottom front face. One knob flips a close-up accessory in front of the lens, the other flips a yellow K2 filter in front for use with B&W film.

Camera manual: Orphan Cameras.com

©opyright by James Ollinger. All Rights Reserved.