Vintage and Classic Cameras
Reflex Korelle B, 120 roll film SLR camera, c1937 (Kochmann)

The Reflex Korelle hails from Dresden, Germany. I sometimes wonder if anyone living in Dresden did anything other than make cameras in the 1930s, such was the prolific photographic output of that city. Kochmann started out in the early 1920s and by the 1930s was producing a range of well made cameras that have become collectible. By far the most common are the Reflex Korelle series, an early 6x6cm square format SLR of rather angular appearance. Ihagee, also from Dresden, had introduced the Exakta VP (127 roll film) in 1933 the popularity of which must have influenced the birth of the first Reflex Korelle in 1935. Although not as refined at the Exakta, they were competent, though a little quirky. The larger Reflex Korelle produced twelve 6x6cm frames from a roll of 120 film, at a time when almost every other 120 film camera gave you 8 frames at 6x9cm. Known as the Reflex Korelle initially, a sister model launched in 1936 with slow speeds and delayed release known as the Reflex Korelle II meant that the earlier model became known as the Reflex Korelle I from then on. Both these models are fairly common today, but few work properly any longer as the cloth shutter curtains go stiff with age. Both these models have a potentially troublesome means of tensioning the shutter via the film advance knob and a cable, also known to fail. In 1937, a cut price version was introduced, the Reflex Korelle B, of which ours is an example. Only made for a year or so until 1938, the model B omitted the troublesame tensioning system, relying on the user to do this independently via the speed selection knob. It also had a much simplified reflex hood which neither incorporated the magnifier or wire frame finder of its bretheren. Typically supplied with a Victar of f/3.5 lens or Schneider Radionars of f/2.9 or f/3.5 and was roughly half the price of the Reflex Korelle 2. All the Reflex Korelles share a similar die cast aluminium shell, with pressed steel top and bottom plates with chrome plating. The leather covering is faux, and is glued to surfaces that are prepainted, accordingly these cameras resist the usual aluminium corrosion and bubbling under the covering quite well. The bright brass components are nickel plated. The finder is bright, although not fitting a magnifier to the B model was a bit too much of an economy, making focussing very difficult. This example was bought by the collection in June 2017 in poor but salvageable condition and returned to working order. Its restoration is partly documented in Project 5.

Reflex korelle B, SLR camera
Body No. Unserialled
Shutter, Focal plane, cloth blinds. B, 25, 50, 75, 100, 200 and 500th
Lens, Ludvig of Dresden, Victar, 75mm f/3.5
Condition, 5F


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