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Chinese and Hong Kong TLRs

This page contains details of both TLRs made in Communist China since the revolution of 1949 (if there were any before then, I've found no evidence of them) and of those made in the British colony of Hong Kong before it was returned to China in 1997 (the chief manufacturer being Haking, with a few others making novelty plastic "cheapies".

Seagulls (and their badge-engineered equivalents) are the commonly-known models - and still made!  But there are quite a few other and more obscure makes, albeit that most are derivatives of the original Shanghai/Seagull design

THE book on the classic cameras of the People's Republic of China (PRC) is Cameras of China by Douglas St Denny (Jessops, 1989). It's fairly hard to find, but try eBay or www.abebooks.com. China is one of only two places where TLRs are currently still being made - the Seagull series from Shanghai Camera (the others are the short-run special editions produced at vast prices by Rolleiflex).

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.

TLRs from the PRC


This is the predecessor of the Seagull 4 and granddaddy of all Seagulls. It is a heavy camera made between 1960 and 1964 and feels rather more solid than later derivatives made of thinner metal.
Taking lens unnamed 75mm f3.5
Shutter Chinese script 1 to 1/300

Seagull 4A-105

Upgraded Seagull with lever advance from the Shanghai Camera Factory. A ubiquitous workhorse, still in production today. Some say its wind mechanism is suspect, but I find it solid.
Taking lens Haiou 75mm f3.5
Shutter Chinese script 1 to 1/300

Seagull 4A-107 (WWSC-120)

This a later lever-advance Seagull from the end of the 1990s - a slightly modified model sold in the West for some reason under the name WWSC-120. It uses a 3-element SA-96 lens
Taking lens Haiou SA-96 75mm f3.5
Shutter unnamed 1 to 1/300



Seagull 4A-109

This is the current top-end Seagull model, which I purchased new in box. The 4A-109 is modelled closely on the late-model Rolleiflex, right down to the complex double-folding hood design copied from the later 3.5/2.8 series Rolleis. The lens is a better four-element Tessar type.

Taking lens SA-99 3-G 4-E 75mm f3.5
Shutter unnamed 1 to 1/500

Hongmei 5

A plastic TLR made in the 1960s in Changzhou, this is very basic, but functional. It was built down to a price, but with a reasonable shutter and lens - not as flimsy as some Hong Kong models.
Lens Hongmei 75mm f4.5
Shutter Hongmei Kuamen 1/10 to 1/200

Hua Zhong

One of several derivatives of the Seagull 4B, made in Central China somewhere between the 'sixties and 'eighties. It's functional with knob wind, coated lens and a fairly decent shutter.
Taking lens Hua Zhong 75mm f3.5
Shutter Chinese script 1 to 1/500

Qingdao SF-2

This rare and unusual Chinese model departs from the general run of Shanghai/Seagull clones. It is a sort of Rolleicord/Rolleiflex cross, with knob wind and the two setting wheels straddling the inter-lens gap. The settings show in a window above the viewing lens like Rolleiflexes. It came from the coastal city of Qingdao, and St Denny shows two versions, with the nameplates of both in English. This one with Chinese characters for the name is apparently rarer.

Taking lens SF-2 75mm f3.5 coated 3-element
Shutter SF(?) 1 to 1/500

Tianjin Eastar

This is another Seagull 4B derivative, very little different from the original. The Eastar was made in the Tianjin factory around 1977 and is very common in China, according to St. Denny.

Taking lens unnamed 75mm f3.5
Shutter Chinese script 1 to 1/300


Wuhan Youyi

Yet another Seagull 4B derivative, this time made in the factory at Wuhan. Its name means "friendship". Again, apart from the nameplate, there's little distinguishing it from the Seagull.

Taking lens Youyi 75mm f3.5
Shutter unnamed 1 - 1/300

Pearl River

Another Seagull 4B variant with some better design features, a metal body but some flimsy plastic parts. Made in Guangdong 1960s-80s. This is, I think, an earlier model, without Bay 1 filter mounts.

Lens Pearl River 75mm f3.5
Shutter Pearl River 1/25 to 1/250

Pearl River (later?)

This is a pretty similar camera to the earlier Pearl river, but differs by having Bay 1 filter mounts, and a restyled nameplate.  Interestingly, it seems slightly better made of stronger parts

Lens Pearl River 75mm f3.5
Shutter Pearl River 1/25 to 1/250


Click here to see pictures of a couple of Seagull variants produced for German distributors - the Revue 6x6 and the BIG Twin 4.

TLRs from the Former Colony of Hong Kong

Haking Halina AI

Made by Haking in Hong Kong c1952. This is a basic coupled-lens TLR with no frills, but solid and heavy; widely sold in the fifties in both Europe and North America. Like some other Halinas' it is distinguished by its profusion of chrome plating!
Lens Halina Anastigmat 80mm f3.5
Shutter unnamed 1/25 to 1/100

Haking Halina Prefect

The Prefect is a rather cheap and basic pseudo-TLR. The basic pressd-metal body is shared with the AI and other Haking models. Note the logo on the lid, which is not generally used on the AI.

Lens Halina Double Meniscus f8
Shutter unnamed B and I settings only

Haking Mirroflex II

This a seriously oddball item. It is quite clearly a Haking product, with the same logo as the Prefect above and the common pressed-metal body. However, the lens configuration is different from other Haking products. Haking did produce a number of name-variants, but those in McKeown are all rebadged Prefects. This is something else, with a chrome-plated taking lens which focuses by turning, whilst the viewing lens is fixed-focus. Even stranger, it uses the "Mirroflex" name which only occurs elsewhere on a rebadged Tougodo Toyocaflex from Japan (see my Tougodo page). Was it made for distributor who decided to lower the quality of its offering for a Mark II Mirroflex model?

Lens Halina Anastigmat 80mm f3.5
Shutter unnamed B and 1/25 - 1/100

Binaflex and Traveller

These two identical twins (wearing different nameplates) are lightweight and very cheap "plastic-fantastics" - even down to the lenses! The taking lens rotates to focus, and the shutter actually has three speeds, with aperture variable between 8 and 22 for the Binaflex and 11-22 for the Traveller. I have no idea who made them, but the stylised logo moulded into the rear door looks to say "WT"

Lens - plastic - no size stated
Shutter unnamed B and 1/25 - 1/50