beauty with beautyflex...

Another portrait at Tumwater with the "new" Beautyflex.

I didn't know what to expect from this camera. In fact, after seeing this article my expectations were especially low. "Equipped with various shutters and mediocre lenses and faces, they all added up to the same thing. Crappieness."

Well, my Beautyflex seems especially well made. The fit and finish are high-grade, the design feels solid and reliable. The materials and machining all approach or equal that of the famous brand "R". In fact, if I were to design a camera from scratch, it would be a lot like this one: well-made, fitted with a good lens and shutter, no frills, no nonsense.

This Beauty has a big, bright f/2.8 lens, the famous "Canter" (huh?). I think it is probably a 4-element, Tessar-like design. Although it gets a bit mushy in the corners, the image quality is sharp where it matters and has a lovely "bouquet" that seems especially appealing in portraits like this one. It is fitted with a strong Copal shutter, and standard Rolleiflex-compatible Bay III bayonet mounts are provided on both viewing and taking lenses.

Whatever "crappieness" may have passed before it, this Beauty made every effort to be a world-class machine,

Unfortunately, as it turns out, this was to be the last Beautyflex model, the end of the line, a last grasp for glory at the close of the TLR era. It was probably too expensive to produce, and by the late 1950s there was to be Beauty no more.

Tumwater (near Olympia), Washington. October 2006.

Beautyflex 2.8, Ilford Delta 400.