Corfield Periflex

Corfield Periflex
Corfield Periflex 1953

The Periflex 35mm rangefinder camera was launched by K. G. Corfield Ltd, England in May 1953 as the first and original model from this source. The camera resembles the Leica Standard and qualifies fully as a Leica copy. However, film loading is by way of a removable back and it provides through the lens visual focusing using an inverted periscope to be lowered into the light pass between the lens and the film, utilising the single-lens reflex principle, showing a small section from the lower middle of the full image. The Periflex became quite popular in Britain and several improved models were introduced during the ensuing years until their demise in the early nineteen sixties. [1] [2] [3]



The body is made of black painted metal alloy castings, while the top and base-plates are of black anodised stamped aluminium with delicate engravings. The covering material of the first two hundred units or so were brown pig skin, while all later ones were finished in black leather cloth because the pig skin stained easily. Also for this reason, whenever a camera was returned to the Wolverhampton works for service, the brown covering would be replaced without charge, if the owner so desired. [4]

The knobs and controls on the top-plate are turned and milled from solid aluminium. Engraved numerals and arrows in the top plate indicate their respective function and mode of operation. A semiautomatic decrementing frame-counter is built into the wind-on knob visible through a small cutaway window in the knob. A small button next to it, which also doubles as a film rewind release, allows the wind-on knob to be turned back and forth to set the frame counter to the number of frames remaining on the loaded film.

The built-in rangefinder is situated centrally on the top plate. It is arranged as an inverted periscope to be lowered into the light pass behind the camera lens and held in position against spring tension by sliding a small knob on the side of the periscope to its down position. Only a small fraction of the lower central part of the motive is shown magnified on a focusing screen inside the periscope, making it particularly useful for macro and copy work. A separate interchangeable optical viewfinder matching the field-of-view of the camera lens, with individual eyesight adjustment, is mounted in an accessory shoe next to the periscope on the top plate for actual image composing and framing. [5]

The cloth focal-plane shutter provides speeds from 1/30 to 1/1000 sec. and B. The shutter release button is situated on the right-hand camera front externally threaded for Leica cable release. The shutter control is the small milled knob on the top with numerals from 30 to 1000 and B engraved around it. It serves dual purposes, for winding the shutter in a single anti-clockwise motion until a catch arrests it, and thence as a lift and turn type shutter speed selector. A standard coaxial flash synchronising socket is situated at the front of the camera, below the shutter release button.

The camera back is removable for changing film. A milled button next to the tripod socket rotates either way to lock the back, while in a position in between it is unlocked. The back comes off downwards as a single unit including the base-plate. A quite small film-pressure plate of thick glass is mounted on a piece of rubber foam on the back. Inside the camera, on the left-hand side, is the 35mm film cassette chamber, and to the right is the counter clockwise rotating film take-up drum. It has a narrow slit for the film leader. The drum rotates freely whenever the small film rewind button on the top plate is depressed. The film is advanced by the take-up drum that always rotates the same angular amount for next picture frame. Acceptable frame spacing is accomplished using a large diameter take-up spool to reduce the effect of increasing spool diameter as more film is wound onto it, which in turn increases slightly the length of film drawn across the film gate. [6] [7] [8]

The lens

The Periflex was sold with a Corfield England Lumar f=50mm 1:3.5 standard lens in a bright aluminium barrel. Corfield had the British Optical Lens Company calculate the three element Cook design which proved to be quite satisfactory, and subsequently became the manufacturer and supplier of the coated glass elements, while Corfield turned, cut and milled the barrels, and completed the lenses in their premises. [1]


The original Periflex body has black anodised aluminium top and base plates with engravings directly in the top plat. The first few hundred were covered in brown pig skin, which proved to be difficult to mount in production without getting glue stains on it and this was soon changed to black leather and some time after that the engraving of the top plate was dropped and a engraved disc was placed under the shutter speed dial and "Corfield / Periflex / England" appeared on the front of the periscope housing. After about one and a half year of manufacture, the top and base plate were changed to bright aluminium finish. All later standard models were finished in bright aluminium and black leather. [2]

  • 1st. version - black body, brown pigskin cover, aluminium lens barrel
  • 2nd. version - black body, black leatherette cover, aluminium lens barrel
  • 3rd. version - black body, black leatherette cover, engravings moved to bright aluminium parts
  • 4rd. version - chrome body, black leatherette cover, black leather strips on lens [8]

Later models

The Periflex was replaced by the largely reworked Periflex 3 in 1957, and a year later complemented by the economy model Periflex 2, both with a built-in range finder. [5]


  1. ^ a b P-H. van Hasbroeck (1989). 150 Classic Cameras. Sotherby's Publications. ISBN 0856673633. 
  2. ^ a b James M. and Joan C. McKeown (2004). McKeown's price guide to antique classic Cameras, 12th Ed.. Centennial Photo Service, Grantsburg. ISBN 0931838401. 
  3. ^ Rudolph Lea (1993). Register of 35mm SLR cameras. Wittig Books, Hückelhoven. ISBN 3889841309. 
  4. ^ Morgan Channing & Mike Dunn (1996). British Cameramakers. Parkland Designs, Surrey. ISBN 0952463008. 
  5. ^ a b Ivor Matanle (1986, 1992). Collecting and using Classic Cameras. Thames & Hudson, London. ISBN 0500276560. 
  6. ^ Roger Hicks (1984). A history of the 35mm Still Camera. Focal Press, London. ISBN 0240512332. 
  7. ^ John F. Lewis (1985). The Periflex Story. Ericsen Lewis (Publications) Norwich UK. ISBN 0951021109. 
  8. ^ a b Thomas R. Lutton (1992). Luttons List. Thomas R. Lutton, Merseyside. ISBN n.a.. 

External links

British Optical Lens Company by David Gardner:

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