Tag Archives: Twin Lens Reflex

New Toy : Lubitel 166B !

In my photographer journey, I recalled playing with manual Pentax SLR (belongs to my father) and Nikon F401X SLR, it was using 35mm film negatives and I wasn’t really into rangefinder or twin lens reflex (TLR) thus no experiences with medium format. Over many years, as I appreciate, explored and tried out different fields of photography, I began to start appreciating lomography and medium format most recently.

Photo Source : Lomography Lubitel Microsite

Learning photography is always on-going, very excited to start from scratch learning another field of photography, excited in the prospects of mastering the TLR and bringing it out for my personal photography project that I would be sharing shortly, another area that I would be exploring and taking photographs would be portraits/people photography using medium format on my Lubitel 166B, bought from E-Bay at a price that I was comfortable with.

Lomography has a dedicated microsite on the Lubitel 166+, with excellent information, history and photographs taken using Lubitel 166+, a newer ( and more modern) cousin of my Lubitel 166B. Checking Flickr groups on Lomography, TLR and Medium Format have been inspiring and I am looking forward to capturing photographs with my Lubitel 166B, sharing with all my readers here and on Flickr.

Looking forward, I would love to share my TLR and b&w Medium Format photojournalistic adventures with you all … What is my personal photography project all about ? It’s about Old Places

Constructing & Transforming GakkenFlex 35mm TLR

The GakkenFlex 35mm Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) is a DIY journey and it would be a very interesting and exciting (and sometimes stressful) adventure for photography enthusiasts ! The manual is inside a segment of the magazine issue and there is also a link of the manual in pdf file online here. The entire manual is in Japanese Language and for a person not versed in Japanese Language, it can be really challenging, stressful and fun at times. Nevertheless, the diagrams are well drawn for you to begin your GakkenFlex transformation.

Let me bring you through the journey of constructing and transforming the GakkenFlex. You might take a short time (1 hour) and complete the GakkenFlex or you might slowly construct and enjoy the overall transformation process (3 hours). When you opened up your box, it’s all wrapped up nicely and placed in their respective spaces.

Tip : Follow the Steps in the Manual – Do Not Jump the Steps

Tip : Some parts are very small, be careful not to lose them.

Tip : Don’t screw the bolts/nuts too tightly and deeply, you would need some slack to open up the different plates and push in other plates and components.

There are 7 major points/steps in constructing the GakkenFlex and in each major points/step, there are smaller sub-points/steps for you to build up a part of the GakkenFlex 35mm TLR.

Tip : I can’t read Japanese characters (not trained in the language), however, look at the components/parts listed inside the steps/points and match it exactly to the list of components/parts picture on the 1st page. Some of the steps are relatively easy just by looking at the diagrams and I have taken photographs of each step and construction of the GakkenFlex for your reference. Therefore, I would be concentrating on the slightly more tricky/difficult steps that you might face in the construction.

Step 3 : Front Body Plate

Tip : This step is quite tricky with the springs to be attached and screwed together. Do be careful with it.

Step 3 – 2 : Attaching the spring バネ B to a small component board シャッター板 , take extra note here, follow the tips inside the manual.

(1) Attach the end of the small component board to the spring 1st.

(2) Holding the 2 small pieces in (1) together, put down and hook the end of the spring into the body side plate.

(3) Once the spring is in position on the other end, push the small component board down into the holder as shown in the manual.

Step 3 – 3

Step 3 – 3 : Attaching the springバネ C to another small component シャッター板送り. Once the 2 components in place, screw in first and leave a 1mm space in between screw and base of the small component.  Turn the small component anti-clockwise as shown in the diagram, until the orientation is exactly like the photo in the manual.

Step 3 – 4

Step 3 – 4 : Attaching the spring バネ D to シャッター レバー軸 . Hook up the end of the spring first and turn シャッター レバー軸 clockwise until the orientation is exactly like the photo in the manual. Take the bolt ツバ付ネシ and  screw the シャッターレ バー into position with the spring バネ D and シャッター レバー軸 .

Step 3 – 5

Step 3 -5 : Once Step 3 – 3 and 3 – 4 are completed, it should look like the photo in the manual.

Step 5 : Attaching the Left and Right Body Plates to the Front Plate

Step 5 – 1 : For the middle bolt, do not screw in too tightly and deep down, leave it some space for the Left and Right Body Plates to push in and become “locked in”.

Step 5 – 2

Step 5 – 2 : The mirror and double sided tape, it can be confusing here. Don’t worry, peel of 1 side of the mirror (leave the other sticker on the mirror on), peel off 1 side of the double sided tape and paste it on the mirror. Once that is done, peel off the other side of the double sided tape and paste the mirror onミラー固定板 . Keep the sticker on the mirror on it first, do not remove.

Step 5 – 3 : Remove the other sticker on the mirror at this stage.

These are the following steps during the overall construction that I faced difficulties, challenges and stress, overall, the experience in constructing and transforming the GakkenFlex 35mm TLR is awesome ! I was very grateful to this photographer on Flickr, who shared and posted the steps in constructing his GakkenFlex (in photographs on Flickr) and it really helped me a lot !

Finally, the GakkenFlex 35mm TLR is transformed !! It was a great adventure for me and I hope that my sharing and photographs would help you in the construction. Have fun shooting !

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

A New Toy – GakkenFlex 35mm TLR !

The journey of purchasing a new toy – GakkenFlex 35mm Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) began when I saw the BlackBird,Fly on a website and I was immediately swayed by its toy TLR camera features. Researching more into BlackBird,Fly, I was thinking whether to buy it, fellow blogger Xinyun, told me about the price and where I could buy it, she also suggested the GakkenFlex 35mm TLR. That caught my attention when I was given a link showing the comparison between BlackBird Fly and GakkenFlex TLR.

Before making the purchase, I decided to research more into GakkenFlex TLR and these are the useful links that I found on

~ In Review – The GakkenFlex 135mm TLR by Holgablog

~ GakkenFlex : Fun ! by FUZZYEYEBALLS

~ GakkenFlex TLR on lomography by Lomography

~ new toy – GakkenFlex 35mm twin lens reflex camera by Chillicraps

~ Lusting for a GakkenFlex ? by Travelomo.com

~ GakkenFlex – Read, Assemble, Customize, Shoot ! by Patrick Ng

~ All about the GakkenFlex by Miketsu Blog

~ GakkenFlex : All built by Hoefler Imaging

Basic Specifications of GakkenFlex 35mm TLR

~ Fixed Aperture (f-stop) @ f/11

~ Fixed (single) shutter speed @ 1/125s

~ Dimensions : 80mm x 115mm x 70mm

~ Weight : 130g


~ Affordable price

~ Customizable with your own paint / stickers on the camera

~ TRUE viewfinder (What you see is what you get)

~ The fun & joy of shooting/playing with a toy TLR camera


~ No Flash hot-shoe

~ No frame counter

~ No bulb mode

~ No aperture and shutter changes

Once the research, analysis and comparisons completed, my mind was made up to go for GakkenFlex 35mm TLR ! I was on the move one of the afternoon and since I had a bit of time during lunch time, I decided to swing up to Kinokuniya Singapore, at their main store at Takashimaya Shopping Centre, searched for the GakkenFlex 35mm TLR and paid for it ! The excitement and joy inside me was just a like little boy that just got his new toy car ! This feeling was awesome and it felt really good to pamper myself once in a while and I am somebody who doesn’t splurge on myself often.

The GakkenFlex 35mm TLR comes along with the Otona no kagaku magazine Vol. 25 , 大人の科学マガジン付録二眼レフ and it was a worthy and affordable investment. Costing SGD $53.50 at my date & time of purchase, consisting of a toy camera and magazine, it’s worth your investment !

It’s not just a toy camera, there’s also the fun of DIY ! Build your own camera ! Keep a lookout in my next post whereby I would share my journey, photographs and steps to construct and transform the GakkenFlex 35mm TLR ! Looking forward to purchasing film and go out shooting with my GakkenFlex 35mm TLR !