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More Accessories, Cameras and Lenses

In 1956 several new products were added to the growing range of accessories for the Periflex camera.

Viewfinders for 85mm, 90mm, 105mm, 135mm, and 150mm lenses were launched. They were direct-vision, non optical types, and consisted of a cylinder with a three sixteenths of an inch hole at one end to form the eyepiece, the other end carrying a 2:3 proportional mask.

The equivalent focal length of each view finder depended upon the length of the cylinder. They were finished to match the camera and fitted into the accessory shoe. The cost of each viewfinder was 2.1s.8d. 

A lens hood and filter holder was produced to fit onto Lumar lenses. It was turned and polished to match the lens, and was a press fit over the inner ring of the lens mount. The filter holder screwed apart to accept standard 31mm filters. The price was 1.6s.3d.

Another new product was a set of four well made extension tubes, each with a Leica thread. They were made of metal and finished in black. The sizes were 52mm, 34mm, 26mm, and 18mm. They gave reductions of 1:1, 2:3, 1:2, and 1:3 respectively. The price of the set was 2.17s.8d. There was also a separate 10mm tube available for a 1:4 reduction, priced at 8s.11d.

The focus adapter was developed to assist in focusing and composing  the exact field of view from a lens. It was ideal to use in combination with the extension tubes for close-up work. It consisted of a housing carrying a ground glass screen and a lens flange. Their separation distance was the same as the film to flange distance in the Periflex camera. In use the adapter was screwed into a tripod with the lens fitted to it. The lens was focused and the adapter was replaced by the camera, care being taken, of course, not to disturb the focus setting or the tripod. It sold for 2.17s.8d.
The Corfield Microscope Adaptor allowed microscope images to be photographed by a Periflex camera. It had a built in focussing screen and a screw operated clamping ring for attachment to a microscope.

The best selling Corfield product was the Periflex camera. Its main competition was from Germany, but by 1956 German camera prices were falling and so it was essential to redesign the Periflex to ensure it retained its appeal. 

In the new model, consideration was given to making the camera easier to use, and John designed an automated periscope mechanism. The periscope was automatically lowered each time the film was advanced, and raised before the shutter fired. This greatly increased the complexity of the mechanism, and meant that the camera had to be taller to accommodate the extra mechanics. The taller body also meant that an internal viewfinder could now be used. The new periscope was completely housed inside the camera body, which had an extra eye-level eyepiece on the back next to the one for the viewfinder. Interchangeable objectives could be screwed onto the front of the viewfinder to cater for lenses of different focal lengths.

The top and bottom plates were given a finer, more durable finish, and the film wind and shutter speed controls were neater and easier to handle. Winding the shutter and transporting the film were now a simultaneous function of the film wind-on control, which also positioned the periscope. All of this was done in just half a turn, making for a very rapid action. The film speed dial was built around the rewind knob at the left end of the top plate. The film speed as set by the dial could be viewed in a third eyepiece that was just to the right of the other two. The rewind knob pulled-up to rewind the film. X and M flash synchronisation sockets were mounted on the front panel next to the viewfinder. 

It was decided to retain the Periflex name as it was so well known, and also to produce two versions, one cheaper than the other. The cheaper version was to be called the Periflex 2, and the more expensive version was to be the Periflex 3. It was also decided, that it would be better to regulate the rate of sales by releasing the more expensive version first. Otherwise the initial demand for the cheaper version alone could be too great for the company to handle.

The Periflex 3 was to be released first, followed by the Periflex 2 which would supercede the original camera.

The view of a Periflex 3 from the top with the controls labelled.

The standard lens was a 4 element 45mm f2.8 Lumax. The Lanthanum glass elements were made by Enna Werk in Germany to a very high standard. One interesting feature is a very wide focus adjustment which allows the lens to focus down to 12 inches, making this a very early macro lens. Other Corfield lenses available for the camera at this time were the 45mm f1.9 and the 35mm f3.5 Lumaxes, the 50mm f3.5 Lumar-X, and the 100mm f4 Lumar.

The camera was released in April 1957, and with a 45mm f2.8 Lumax lens sold for 79.6s.0d. The 35mm lens, known as the Retro-Lumax, cost 33.17s.6d. Additional viewfinder objectives were 1.19s.6d each, except for the 35mm version which was 2.15s.0d. A well designed ever ready case was also available. 

Also released at the same time was the Perilite electronic flashgun. It was very compact and light in weight, consisting of a flash head with an integral power supply housed in the handle.
 The power supply consisted of eight B.156 batteries which charged an internal 1000 micro farad capacitor to 240 volts. The flash tube was a F.A.12 which gave a flash duration of about 1/500 sec. The power output was 35 joules. A set of batteries was quite expensive at 26 shillings, but this would give a guaranteed 800 flashes. The flash weighed-in at one and a half pounds and sold for 12.12s.0d.
The Periflex 2 finally appeared in 1958. It superceded the original Periflex, and was built to the same high standard as the Periflex 3, with only minor differences. The maximum shutter speed was 1/500 sec instead of 1/1000 sec, the film speed indicator was removed, and the viewfinder objective was fixed. Other viewfinders could be fitted into the accessory shoe as on the original Periflex. 
  The camera top plate showing the clean styling. The shutter speed dial and film rewind knob are on the left. The film wind knob and film counter are on the right.
The Periflex 2 showing the bottom of the automatically lowered and raised periscope  

A Periflex back showing the patented glass film pressure plate
A Periflex 2 with its back cover removed. On the right is the sprocket-less film drive which was a feature of all Corfield cameras.

The camera, with a 45mm f3.5 Lumax lens sold for 23. It was an instant success and orders poured in.

 

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