Astraflex 55 Camera (VERY RARE)
The Astraflex 55 Camera is essentially an Exakta VX, Version 2 camera that was imported in minuscule numbers in the 1950's by Sterling Howard Photo of the Bronx, NY. A special nameplate, engraved "Astraflex 55" was riveted to the front of the camera over the Exakta logo.
Recently acquired, this is only the second Astraflex 55 camera I've ever encountered in all my years of Exakta collecting; the other one is in Gary Cullen's collection, so I am quite delighted in obtaining this one. Gary's Astraflex 55 has the camera serial number ground off so naturally I was quite eager to see if mine had been similarly altered. It in fact was, and what is more interesting, the serial number on my camera looks to be 754161. Gary's looks to be 754158.
Recently, a third Astraflex 55 surfaced on eBay and sold for almost 575 dollars to an Italian buyer (9/08).
The Astraflex name can also be encountered on Contax/Pentacon (Astraflex '35) and Edixa (Astraflex '1000') SLR cameras of the same period. I have one of the Contax/Pentacon Astraflex cameras displayed on my Contax/Pentacon camera page. It too, is very uncommon! I have also recently acquired the Astraflex '1000' Edixa variant and a link page for it can be found by clicking HERE.
I have elected to mount an uncommon 50mm f2.0 Isco Göttingen Auto Iscoliton lens on this camera. I obtained the Astraflex 55 with a preset 50mm f3.5 Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar that is quite unusual. The size of the engraving on the lens ring is larger than that normally encountered and it has an unusual low serial number. Gary Cullen recently pointed this out to me and a photograph of the lens and its' name ring is shown below.
The following two photos show the unusual 50mm f3.5 preset C.Z. Jena Tessar that came with the Astraflex when I purchased it. Note the large size of the text on the ring. It is speculated that the US importer changed out the front ring since the ring that came with the lens could have had the Zeiss Jena logo obliterated.
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