Diacord L TLR
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Diacord L TLR

A fully manual 6x6 format camera with uncoupled light meter, using knob film advance with automatic stop at next frame. Released in 1958 and sold for $75.

  • Taking lens: 8cm (=80mm) f3.5 Rikenon. This is a well regarded 4 element Tessar style fully coated lens. Accepts Bayonet 1 (Bay 1) accessories.

  • Shutter: Seikosha-MXL and has speeds of 1 sec, 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/250 and 1/500 plus B. The shutter is cocked and fired with the same lever or can be fired with the front mounted shutter button. (Cable release can be used if you get a Leica adapter which screws onto the large thread around the shutter button.) There is no double exposure prevention. The leaf shutter appears to have 5 blades. A self timer is provided and the control is located at the top of the front panel.

  • Aperture: goes from a marked f3.5 to f22, with clicks every 1/2 stop. The aperture is formed by 5 curved blades and thus gives rounded-pentagonal out-of-focus highlights.

  • DOF scale: is not provided at the focus distance pointer (bottom of front face). But a little rotary calculator is provided on the advance knob. Marks for f3.5, f4, f5.6, f8, f11, f16 and f22. Markings appear to be based on a circle of confusion of 0.08mm (FL/1000) and so will give a somewhat soft image in critical applications.

  • Viewing lens: 8cm f3.2 and appears to be 3 element with all surfaces appear coated. Some older models have an f3.5 lens. Accepts Bayonet 1 (Bay 1) accessories.

  • Finder: groundglass with fresnel making it bright even to the corners. The fresnel is visible as concentric circles except for a center clear spot (1/2" dia.). No composition lines are present on the ground glass. A flip-up magnifier (about 1" dia) is also provided for critical focusing. A sport finder is also provided. The camera can be held at eyelevel and you look through a small square hole in the back of the viewfinder shade. The front of the shade (the top of the camera when closed) can have the middle flipped down leaving a square hole. Viewing through these two holes gives an approximate view of what will be photographed.

  • Meter: Selenium (no batteries required) uncoupled "Light Value" meter with two ranges. The sensor is located above the viewing lens, behind the Diacord name plate. On the high range (bright light) the sensor sees through slots cut in this plate. In dim light the low range is used by flipping up the name plate to allow more light to strike the sensor. The meter is read from the top of the bulge on the right side of the camera (when viewing from behind). It reads out in exposure values and then the shutter and aperture are set to match this LV number. The aperture and shutterspeed are friction coupled so that when the shutter speed is adjusted the aperture changes to keep the same "Light Value". (Changing the aperture will not change the shutter speed.)

  • Focusing: the taking and viewing lenses are mounted together on a moveable front panel. Focus levers protrude from the left and right sides of the front panel and are connected to the focus helical. As you focus in and out one lever moves up while the other moves down. Thus you can focus with either hand. Focus distance is indicated by a pointer below the front panel. (in feet).

  • Film advance is done with a knob. A buttom in the center of the advance knob is pressed to release the lock and advance to the next frame, where it stops automatically. There is no mechanism to prevent advancing without taking a photo (blank frames).

  • Film changing: The back and bottom of the camera swing up out of the way when you open the back. The old spool is moved to the takeup position at the top and the film put in the supply position in the bottom of the camera. The film leader is started on the takeup spool and the film advanced until the arrow marks on the paper backing line up with the arrows in the camera back (at the bottom of the film gate). The door is then closed and you can advance until the frame counter (top of RH side) reaches "1".

  • Flash: The shutter can be set for X (electronic strobe), M (flash bulbs) or F (focal plane flash bulbs) flash sync. Flash connection is done though the PC connector on the front or the hot shoe on the top left hand side.

Advance knob with DOF calculator can be seen. Light meter bulge is also visible on side. Small circle above it is the frame counter window.

The Diacord L manual shows the camera with a Ricohflex nameplate. So they may have been produced with this nameplate. Below is a photo of a Diacord L (I assume) with a Ricoh Dia nameplate. Photo is courtest of, and Copyright 1999 by, Karl Kokurewicz.

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Email: greg.erker@shaw.ca