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Fun with the Anscoflex II Pseudo-TLR

The Anscoflex II, a fixed-focus (f11), fixed-shutter (1/60) pseudo-TLR. I picked this one up in a batch of stuff I got from Craigslist for $15. Primarily I wanted the daylight film loader that came in the batch, but this camera was one of the added bonuses.

The Anscoflex II, a fixed-focus (f11), fixed-shutter (1/60) pseudo-TLR. I picked this one up in a batch of stuff I got from Craigslist for $15. Primarily I wanted the daylight film loader that came in the batch, but this camera was one of the added bonuses.

Anscoflex1

The Anscoflex was designed by Raymond Loewy, who also designed this nifty pencil sharpner, the Coke Bottle, the Zippo Lighter, the Studebaker Avanti (below) and loads of other things.

The Anscoflex was designed by Raymond Loewy, who also designed this nifty pencil sharpener, the Coke Bottle, the Zippo Lighter, the Studebaker Avanti (below) and loads of other very attractive things.

1963 STUDEBAKER AVANTI R2 IMG_6669

Huge, bright viewfinder - apparently one popular use for this camera is to shoot through the viewfinder with a digital camera, which gives a vintage instagrammy look.

Huge, bright viewfinder – apparently one popular use for this camera is to shoot through the viewfinder with a digital camera, which gives a vintage instagrammy look.

My first test was to open up the camera in the darkroom and cut a strip of 35mm film from one of my rolls & scotch-tape it to the inside of the camera. First, had to tape up the red window in the back of the camera. Apparently 620 film has a paper backing, which prevents the film getting exposed through this window. 35mm film has no such protection.

My first test was to open up the camera in the darkroom and cut a strip of 35mm film from one of my rolls & scotch-tape it to the inside of the camera. First, had to tape up the red window in the back of the camera. Apparently 620 film has a paper backing, which prevents the film getting exposed through this window. 35mm film has no such protection.

Here's what it looked like (using scrap film to demonstrate - all this has to be done for real in pitch blackness) . This actually worked, but I've since found a blog post describing how to modify the camera to take an actual 35mm roll.

Here’s what it looked like (using scrap film to demonstrate – all this has to be done for real in pitch blackness) . This actually worked, but I’ve since found a blog post describing how to modify the camera to take an actual 35mm roll.

2014-04-14-1

Here’s my single test shot, from inside my garage of the place across the street in bright sun. Not too bad. I will use the built-in yellow filter next time for more B&W contrast.

The Anscoflex II seems to be a pretty popular “toy” TLR, due to the huge viewfinder and spiffy design.  Lots of reviews and posts in photo blogs:

http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Ansco_Anscoflex
https://sites.google.com/site/contraptionsinphoto/ansco-anscoflex-ii
http://danielleruth.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/anscoflex-ii/
http://westfordcomp.com/foundfilm/anscoflex/
http://junkstorecameras.com/anscoflex.htm
http://connealy.blogspot.com/2012/08/anscoflex-ii.html
http://mwpfilm.blogspot.com/2011/03/anscoflex-ii.html
http://phil-are-go.blogspot.com/2010/02/anscoflex-camera-hideously-beautiful.html
http://shootfilmridesteel.com/?p=133
http://www.jollinger.com/photo/cam-coll/cameras/tlrs/23601_Anscoflex2.html
http://malcolmchalmersphotography.weebly.com/2/post/2014/01/anscoflex-built-to-last.html
http://tazmpictures.com/site/?p=2468

These pages review the Anscoflex II and mentions an interesting technique where you shoot pictures with your digital camera *through* the viewfinder of the Anscoflex II, as the viewfinder is so unique and bright that it is essentially like using a “vintagizing” filter on the digital camera. I’ll have to give this a try soon.
http://mconnealy.com/vintagecameras/anscoflex/index.html
http://btoewsphotos.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/10/day-285/365

Designed by Raymond Loewy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Loewy
http://susan-fama.blogspot.com/2010/05/raymond-loewy.html

Typewriter collector Mr. Martin has one:
http://www.mrmartinweb.com/medium.html

I just loaded a small strip of film for a single shot to test, but here’s an interesting blog post describing how to adapt a 35mm film roll to the 620-size Anscoflex II:
http://blog.kellysamuelson.com/2012/06/how-to-use-your-obsolete-620-film.html

Manuals:
http://www.cameramanuals.org/agfa_ansco/anscoflex_ii.pdf
http://pdf.textfiles.com/manuals/CAMERAS/VINTAGE/anscoflex.pdf

Tutorial on how to completely disassemble the Ancsoflex and clean it:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/shaneblomberg/sets/72157630846801082/with/7688158708/

Updated: July 29, 2015 — 5:38 pm

13 Comments

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  1. I’ve not seen one of those little Anscos since I was a child. They are neat cameras.
    On your thruft shop ventures you may find some old 620 film. If you do buy it and save the paper. I rewind 120 film onto 620 rolls to shoot in my old 620 cameras. There are also many other odd no longer available roll films and the one fellow who supplied antique film is no longer in business. 120 film will work, but you will need a set of 620 spools or the spools will not fit the camera. Without the paper it’s anyones guess as to correct frame feed. 120 film spool flanges can be cut down to fit a 620 camera, but I never did it.

    Neat pencil sharpener.

    I remember the Avanti too.

    1. yah, I didn’t think about the frame advance rate until I already loaded it with a 36-exposure roll of 35mm film tonight. *sigh*, guess I’ll have to shoot the roll at different crank numbers and just note how many cranks ends up being correct. I shoulda thought of that and tested with a 10-shot roll. :P

      1. Probably every other frame will be close. Every 3 definately, but could also be wasteful.

        1. I’ll try 3 cranks at the beginning, then 2 about halfway through the roll. I expect the thickness of the used film on the roller will alter the amount of take-up. Thanks! (:

  2. Never knew the Zippo was designed. I suppose I thought it just came out of an expedient manufacturing process. I recognise the name from the Coke bottle though.

    1. Yeah, I didn’t know about the Zippo either. I suppose Loewy may have given the top of the lid it’s distinctive curve.
      Nice camera, Ted!

  3. Never seen/hear of it, nice find. I must say, that Raymond Loewy pencil sharpener is the coolest, I want one!

  4. It’s neat how the viewfinder gives a fairly “vintage” look to it without even ever putting an image to film even though we usually associate that look with the actual film.

  5. Why do you call it a “pseudo TLR”? It seems like a real one to me.

    Did Loewy ever make a bad design? I can’t think of one, but perhaps we are never shown his clunkers.

    == Michael Höhne

    1. “Pseudo-TLR” mainly because there’s no mechanical connection between the two lenses for focus, as it is focus-free.

  6. Nifty! You continually amaze me with your industriousness. I barely have the time/energy to get my work for photo class done and you’re mixing up home-brew developer and rigging 50’s TLRs to use 35mm while work is kicking your keister! Impressive.

    1. comes from having the attention span of a hummingbird. lots of bursts of frantic activity that is seemingly unconnected, but all a part of the Master Plan. :D

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