The French Approach to TLR: Semflex
I Recently noticed a new brand of TLR in the big auction site, maybe its only new to me as this is the first time and I saw some info about it. It looks interesting and claims to be the competitor of Rolleiflex.
Here are some info about Semflex:
The Semflex is a 6×6 twin-lens reflex, launched in 1949 by the French maker SEM. At a time when products imported from Germany to France were very expensive, the Semflex was a Rolleiflex copy and competitor. It was a robust and efficient machine, whose finish was a bit rough, but whose durability was very good, as well as the image quality on most of the models.
There were many Semflex variants, with button or crank advance, coupled to the shutter winding or not. The best models had 4-element 75/3.5 Angénieux or Berthiot lenses, which were nice Tessar copies. Some of the cheaper and older ones had three-element lenses.
As a rule of thumb, all the f:4.5 and f:3.8 lenses are 3-element, and all the 3.5 lenses on the crank-advance models are 4 element. Some 3.5 lenses on the older button-advance models were 3-element. Sometimes the sellers want more for a model with an Angénieux lens, but it seems there is no practical quality difference with Berthiot (it is a bit like the Planar vs Xenotar or Tessar vs Xenar situation with the Rolleiflex).
The Semflex is not well known outside France but in the country it is easy to find and quite inexpensive.
Here are some sample images from Flickr Semflex Group: