The Recesky Twin Lens Reflex camera is essentially a clone of the GakkenFlex TLR camera. The GakkenFlex was originally given out as part of a kit with a Japanese photography magazine. The kit is no longer available new but the Recesky is the closest you’ll get to it and you can grab them on ebay for £9 or there abouts. A bargain for anyone looking for their first dabble with a true TLR camera. I know, it’s hard to believe that it is a true TLR for the price.
The kit is relatively straight forward to put together despite the best efforts of the translated assembly instructions. One issue that may confuse is spring C is actually spring D and spring D is actually spring C, but you will work this out from the photograph in the instructions. All you need to put the camera together is a set of precision screw drivers, some patience and around 2 hours of your time depending on how your mind works.
The camera feels great to use. It’s tiny comparatively speaking. Because it is a 35mm camera the body is small and compact as you’ll gather when assembling it. The view finder is remarkably sharp for a camera of this nature and focusing isn’t an issue. There are reports of people having difficulties with turning the focusing lenses but actually if you screw them in right against the body you’ll breach the barrier that stops the lenses coming off the body when you turn them too far for closeup images. This is deliberate. Once the lens has been screwed into infinity they should turn a lot easier and will loosen up over time.
The images that you see on the left are shot on this camera. This was my first roll and that was an expired roll of Kodak Gold 200 that I found for 50p at a car boot sale. There are some hints of light leaks and some serious vignetting and loss of sharpness in the corners but this adds to the charm of the camera, and very much is the reason why it’s a favourite among Lomography fans.
It’s a lovely little project to keep you occupied for a few hours and it’s a pleasure to use. The shutter is snappy, giving you a 1/125 shutter speed. The aperture is f6 I think and the recommended film speed to use is 200 but the film speed really is the only variable you have to worry about.
Make no mistake though, this is in terms of build quality a terrible camera. I had issues with the film sprockets not catching on the sprocket gear but I managed to fix this by taping some thick paper to the back door over the sprocket gear to put pressure on the film. This worked a treat and the film advance mechanism works perfectly, but if you want to measure satisfaction based on how much fun you’ll have with it then it’s a no-brainer.