Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bedfordflex

The next 127 camera I want to talk about is the Bedfordflex, a plastic TLR camera. This was made, I think, by the same Hong Kong company that made the Diana. The only real clue I have to prove this is the tag on the bottom of the camera: No. 152 Made in Hong Kong. The Diana is labeled as No. 151, so we can assume that it is part of the same cheap camera line. The Bedfordflex doesn't look as old in style or condition, so I imagine it is from the 1970s, possibly even the early 1980s. I wouldn't be surprised if you could still buy one in a shop in Hong Kong. This one is missing the name badge on the top front.


As you see, it is designed as a basic TLR camera. It is fixed focus, and has Instant and Bulb settings, taking 12 shots on a 127 roll. It has a poorly spelled "Plasicion Lens", which I recently saw on another toy camera, but I can't remember what it was. It is almost all plastic, with a few pieces of metal for brackets and so forth. It looks cheap...even cheaper than a Diana. Maybe because it is trying lo look like a "real" TLR and just comes off as a plastic ripoff. Still, it is fairly sturdy and not as prone to breakage as the Diana is. Though my mirror is loose. I found out online that there are two different version of this camera. One is easy to repair, the other isn't. Mine isn't, and looks very difficult to take apart without breaking something. The plastic "window" on the top viewfinder is milky white (by design, not age), so I can't see anything anyway. Truly a toy camera!
All this seems to add up to a great toy for funky pictures. The lens is pretty straightforward, with a fairly sharp plastic lens...another reason I think it is probably newer than the Diana. Only maybe a very slight blur at the edges. The shutter is very inconsistant. Sometimes it was spot on, sometimes it was very slow. It has a nice, sharp snap sound to it, but I guess that was deceiving.




As you can see, it does leak. Quite a bit, actually. There were frames that were almost all lightleak, obscuring the photo completely. The back is not a tight fit, with no seal...just overlapping plastic. Overall, a piece of crap! Not my favorite camera to use, particularly because 127 film is so uncommon and the results don't stand out. Still a decent addition to your toycam collection. I paid $5 for this one, and I see them go for maybe $15 on ebay. There are a few name variations, Wonder Flex being one, I think. They are less common than Dianas, but also less collectible. A bit more about the Bedfordflex camera can be found here.

Tomorrow, I'll talk some about the Kodak Brownie Holiday 127 Camera!

4 comments:

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  2. Anonymous6:11 PM

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  3. Anonymous9:44 AM

    I have a copy of Gem magazine from 1971 which on the rear cover shows a Bedfordflex camera as part of the mellinger company import/export advert. You could supposedly get these cameras for 50 cents wholesale.

    Andy Reynolds

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  4. Hi there,

    I was 10 (that was in 1969) when I and my younger brother pooled together our pocket money to buy the Bedfordflex. Yes I remember that it was spelt "plasicion." My brother still has the camera and has constantly refused to pass it on to me eventhough he's no longer into photography! Please visit my blog, http://zeiss35biogon.blogspot.com/. Cheers.

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