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British TLRs

The only true British TLRs of the postwar era are the two/three MPP variants detailed below. For completeness, I'm including a couple of other pseudo-TLRs from the 'fifties below them.

If you find any errors on this page or have any camera I might be interested in, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. Click on the small "thumbnail" pictures below to go to larger ones.


Micro Precision Products

MPP of Kingston on Thames was formed in the late 1940s to produce photographic products. The owner, a Mr De Laszlo, also owned Celestion, the electronics and radio specialist (I think primarily renowned for its Celestion "Ditton" speakers - Thames Ditton is close to Kingston). As well as its TLR models, MPP made enlargers, projectors, 5 x 4 MicroTechnical and MicroPress, monorail cameras and specialist photographic equipment for the British armed forces, Police and Prison Service. Production ended in 1988. The best source of information on MPP is the MPP Users Club.

As to the TLRs themselves, they were undoubtedly substantially copies of the Rollei range of the time, but none the worse for that. Interestingly, I was recently told by Don Morley, a well-known Fleet Street photographer in the nineteen-fifties to seventies, that press photographers rated the MPP TLR cameras very highly - alongside Rolleis - for the quality of their lenses and general performance.

MPP Microcord Mk. II

Made in Britain (Kingston) in the 1950s, this was actually the third version of the original MPP TLR with a better shutter than the Mk. I, and unlike the "Mk 1.5" transitional model, it has "Prontor SVS" on the lower scutcheon. It was simpler and more reliable than the later Microflex. The Microcord was basically a copy of the Rolleicord III, but fitted with Rolleiflex-type wheels on the front between the lenses to set the aperture and shutter speed. This transitional model dates from somewhere round 1953 or 1954.
Taking lens is Ross Xpres 77.5mm f3.5
Shutter is Prontor SVS 1 - 1/300

MPP Microflex

The Microflex replaced the Microcord, designed as a Rolleiflex-based model with similar lever wind advance and cross-coupled aperture and speed settings with light values, as on the late Rollei Automats. It had an improved Micronar lens made by TTH, and better matching of the viewing and taking lenses. It was a sophisticated model whose sales penetration was let down by a dubious reliability record caused by lack of development in what was always a small manufacturer. Great unrealised potential.
Taking lens is Micronar 77.5mm f3.5
Shutter is Prontor SVS 1 - 1/300

A further note on the Microflex reliability issue, which centres on the winding mechanism - not infrequently broken by users. The following is from an email I received from Terry Hardy, one of the UK's most knowledgable TLR collectors:

I note that you comment on the MPP Micropress shutter/loading problems. Perhaps I should mention, in case you are not aware, that this camera has an inherent fault in its loading and winding mechanism. If the camera is unloaded and then immediately reloaded without closing the back, there should be no problem. If however, a film is loaded into an empty camera that has had its back closed, then the following procedure should be followed:

The film leader must be wound onto the take up spool without turning the cranked winding lever - i.e., it should be hand wound until the double arrow aligns with the red dots. Only then should the film be fed into the film chamber and the back closed.

This might save a few of these increasingly rare cameras from consignment to the "broken" shelf.

Ilford Craftsman

The Craftsman is a basic pseudo-TLR rather like the early Voigtlander Brillants in concpet. It has a bakelite body, with a fixed focus viewing lens and screw-out focussing object lens. No lens and shutter details are given, but the speed adjusts to B, 1/25 and 1/75. f-stops of 9 and 18 are allowed.

Gnome Pixie-Flex

Another pseudo-TLR - essentially a box camera without even the luxury of a focussing object lens. It probably has the distinction of being the only such beast of Welsh origin - Gnome Photographic were a Cardiff-based company. The shutter adjusts between B and "I" - probably around 1/50.

Ensign Ful-Vue Super

Yet another pseudo-TLR. This is the upper end of the Ful-Vue range which came out in the early 'fifties. A solid metal body, built to reasonable standard, but very basic, with a helical screw focus for the taking lens only. No speed adjustment except "I" and "B". There is an earlier Ful-Vue model, which is so basic as to be outside the scope of this site!

Ensign Fulvueflex

The last of the Fulvue line from Ensign. It looks smart, but has a plastic body nowhere near the solidity of the earlier Ensign models. I suspect that this one was made under contract, possibly in the Far East. Again, the only settings are "I" and "B". These aren't very common now in good condition, perhaps because they're plastic.