Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Reflex 5 x 7 Camera

Reflex Camera Company

Name: Reflex 5 x 7
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Manufacturer: Reflex Camera Company
Country of Origin: US
Construction: Very large wooden bodied, leather covered, reflex camera with internal focusing (bellows)
Production Period: Unknown


Plate / Film Size: 5 x 7 plate
Lens: Dallmeyer Pentac f2.9, F=8" (Serial VV183569)
Shutter: Focal plane shutter, 1/5 to 1/1000
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l): 8½ x 10½ (20 with hood open) x 13 inches
Date of this Example: c1910
Serial Number: None found
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [x]
Inventory Number: 600

The table below shows a group of images of the Reflex 5 x 7 camera, the first showing it alongside a ¼-plate Auto Graflex. Click on the image to open a larger version in the same window. Hit the back button on your browser to return to this page.

Reflex 5 x 7 camera made by Reflex Camera Company Reflex 5 x 7 camera made by Reflex Camera Company
Reflex 5 x 7 camera made by Reflex Camera Company Dallmeyer Pentac lens


The Reflex 5 x 7 camera is a SLR with focal plane shutter of substantial size. The main case measures a modest 13" deep x 10.5" high (20" once the hood is open) x 8.5" wide. The main hood folds up out of the top; the lid is hinged at the rear. It has internal bellows focus (black square section). The camera is believed to date to c1910 (based on McKeown). The speed table in the back of the camera, which identified the shutter model, carries a patent date of 1905.

The maker's name is shown in gold on the front face of the hood and shows the Newark, NJ address.

McKeown states that the camera should be fitted with an Anastigmat f16/210mm but that is not what is fitted now. The lens is pretty substantial in size and weight. It is approx 3.25" across (wider of course at the aperture ring) and about 3" deep. It weighs an astonishing 3lbs 8oz (1.6 kg). The focal length is marked as 8", serial No VV.183569 and it is a pretty fast f2.9. I am quite certain that this is a Dallmeyer Pentac, though possibly made under licence by another maker.

The lens is also marked on its side with a War Department "broad arrow" and 14A 3585 marking. I assume the lens is a later 'upgrade' (maybe World War II era). Unfortunately the substantial weight of the camera caused the internal mounting assembly to come apart (pinned joints fractured rather than actual breakage of the wood). The camera simply was not constructed to hold a lens of this weight and I am amazed it survived as long as it did.

The bodywork shows a number of signs of wear, including scuffs and scratches and a few minor splits in the leather covering, but is basically sound. The assembly on the rear has a slot to take the plateholders. This until (about an inch deep and nearly 8" square) is mounted on four pins and is removable by pulling out two clips that engage with the pins. It is quite hard to replace.

The shutter and controls are seized. The curtain is closed and very hard - more like plastic than cloth! The internal mirror is intact and the mechanism still operates. I assume that the rh lever, which raises the mirror, would also have fired the shutter, but this is not altogether clear.


Compare this to the much smaller box style Junior Reflex camera from the same maker.