The 2021 meeting of the Friends of Flexaret took place in Hradec Králové in June. The meeting was (again) kindly sponsored by Foma Bohemia, so there was no shortage of material to waste put to good use.
As is usual for meetings of this type we had a short photo walk in the town, followed by a lunch and an intensive discussion session in one of the local pubs.
A defining element of this year’s meeting was an oppressive heat. Our photo walk was, by necessity, shorter than usual. Some of the Friends even sought refuge in the waters of the Elbe river – of course maintaining decorum, and their dedication to Flexaret cameras, at all times.
On 12th May 2018 the fourth meeting of Czech fans of the Flexaret cameras was held in Hradec Králové. More than 30 Flexaret enthusiasts (and their Flexaret cameras) took part. The event was sponsored by Foma films, so everyone got a couple of rolls of film, and there was no excuse to not waste some of it.
We started out with a photo walk in the city – Hradec is justly famous for its modernist architecture – and continued to a bar for beer stories and swapping of secret developer formulas.
A fun fact is that the second party in our venue was a meeting of Baby Reborn life like dolls (they were actually rater death like, as they lay there silent and still). Such company made us – fans of analog photography – feel almost mainstream.
I am a great fan of the Flexaret camera. But despite my warm feelings I am aware of its shortcomings. One of them is that it uses a proprietary B36 filter bayonet. This bayonet was introduced by Meopta Přerov in the 1960’s and included a number of filters – the classical sequence from ultraviolet, through shades of yellow, green and orange up to red. Even an almost mythical polarizer, of which many collectors have heard but nobody that I know ever saw one.
But the last Flexaret – and the last B36 filter to go with it – was produced in the year 1971. The number of filters available is therefore limited. More significantly the range of filters is limited to 1960’s technology. To overcome this I have obtained a simple filter adapter.
My main film camera is the Bronica ETRSi, which uses 62mm filters over the whole fixed lens range; a major advantage. I have over time obtained a large stack of 62mm filters, including some rather exotic ones. I have therefore requested my favorite camera technician, Mr. Maštalíř of Škoda Foto, to make a B36 to 62mm adapter.
The adapter has the look of a home made hack, but it does the job. It fits the B36 bayonet snugly. The big 62mm filter seems sort of awkward on a 36mm lens, but I do not mind. I was at first a little worried that it would obstruct the view from the upper focusing lens, but it just about clears the view. The only problem is that the camera with the filter adapter on will not fit into its carrying leather case, and I can live with that.
The Flexaret Filter Adapter allows me to use the full modern range of filters, up to and including the Hoya R72. This greatly increases the possibilities of my Flexaret.
Shooting infrared with a non – SLR camera is great fun; I can have the best of both worlds: shoot with the opaque filter on my taking lens, and focus easily on the screen. With a little care, and fast infrared sensitive film such as the Rollei Infrared, it is even possible to shoot handheld.