Photo: GakkenFlex 35mm TLR

GakkenFlexLast January, I got to visit some friends in San Francisco and got to see the sights.  My designated tour guide through my stay, D-chan, to my giddy excitement, pulls out a 35mm TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) film Camera. HOOO-LY CRAP~! I thought it was an actual Rollei or a Yashica. Turns out it was a builders kit that came with issue #25 of “Otona no kagaku magazine” (Science of Adult), published by Gakken.[1] So it’s not as fancy as Lomo’s Lubitel 166 or those really fancy TLR’s yet it STILL IS a basic but fully functional 35mm film camera.  When she told me it was a kit that came with a camera, I asked her to take me to where she got it. Mozied over to Kinokuniya in Japan town and picked one up. Of course I didn’t get to put it together while I was there.

So during one of our down times in our office, I put the GakkenFlex together. Man, was it a fun kit to put together. It wasn’t like your usual model kit that came in frames of runners, but in flush glossy pieces (No need to cut! That’s a relief).  It also came, conveniently, with a handy Philips screwdriver. There was just one catch; the building instructions in the magazine were in Japanese, as is with the rest of the magazine. Thank God though that it was completely illustrated and measurement scales for the screws.  Building it was pretty straight forward and interesting as it gave me a very good idea into the inner workings of a rudimentary camera.

PhotobucketSo after building it, I had to get me some film, then I recall that there was a camera shop around the back of the office. Luckily they had some Kodak Color Plus ISO 200’s on the bargain bin! Not exactly my favorite film but I just wanted to start snapping pics! Before I knew it, I just went through my first roll of 24 exposures. Infuriatingly, only 8 out of 24 came out. Most of my shots were under exposed! I put on my Google glasses and looked it up. Turns out that it had an “F-Stop Disc” which set the aperture at F11. Quite narrow unless it you were shooting outdoors with the sun high and bright. If you took it out, F-stop gets bumped up to a more common and ideal F5.6. So I was snapping away again and ran right through my next 24 exposures.  I haven’t had time to get the other exposures developed yet and I’ve already got 3 rolls of film that I need developed. So expensive to develop film these days but to be able to take photos in such a nostalgic piece of equipment is just priceless. Now where can I get my hands on some expired Fuji Color film.

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I also figured I’d get me another one, then ended up giving it as a gift to @AlodiaAlmira and @Ashlili knowing how they’re also both avid shutterbugs. I hope they enjoy it as much as I do. I think I just might get me another one to keep. I believe Jlist.com still has them.

4 responses to “Photo: GakkenFlex 35mm TLR

  1. Amazing vintage camera. Love TLR cameras. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Adhansstuff

    Do they still have it at kinokuniya? I’m going to tokyo. Reply please and thanks.

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