they’re coming, they’re coming

Ad for the 1956 Ricohflex camera – dirt cheap compared to the Rollei

Toronto. Not the Russians like the old movie title, but the Japanese camera makers. Until after the Korean War in the early 1950s, the Japanese industry made little inroads in the west. This changed when Americans discovered the Nikon F while in Korea. Even in the late 1950s it was common to believe Japanese cameras, while well made, were just imitators of German design.

This was typified by the Ricohflex which looked vaguely like a Rolleicord  – the cheaper version of the Rolleiflex. To gain its foothold in the west, Ricoh bought expensive ads in popular magazines like this ad on page 20 of the April 2, 1956 issue of LIFE magazine, one of the preeminent magazines of the day.

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