The FL cameras can be identified by having a brass plate on the front of the base, and another one on the rear.  The front plate just says "TOKO" while the rear plate says "TOKO INTERNATIONAL" along with a serial number (see sample below).


Apparently the more commonly seen Toko 4x5 cameras are the FL versions, as opposed to the earlier Nikki models.  The Toko FL-451 is almost identical to the Nikki I.  Even though the Nikki cameras had a magnet on the top to keep it closed when the camera was collapsed, there was also a small clip on the top to assure that the camera body would stay closed when collapsed.  Apparently the Toko designers figured out that this clip could accidentally scratch, or even puncture, the top of the bellows, so they removed it from the FL cameras.  The clip did scratch the top of the bellows on my Nikki II so I removed it myself, but the magnet alone is too weak to assure that my Nikki and FL cameras stay closed.  It's no big deal because I got use to using my index finger to keep my Nikki II closed a long time ago -- after I removed the clip.  And when they are closed, chances are they are in my camera case, and that keeps them closed!

Anyway, the FL-451 is hard to find, but here is proof they existed.  Notice the lasck of a rear focusing knob!



Like the Toko Nikki II, the Toko FL-452 adds rear focus to the FL-451 so you can extend the back out (60mm) or move it forward (50mm). This allows you to set the total bellows extension anywhere from 65mm to 360mm (14 inches). It also lets you use super-wide-angle lenses - even without a recessed lensboard and without dropping the camera bed -- as well as using longer focal length lenses such as 300mm and 360mm lenses - and even 400mm telephoto lenses. With a recessed lensboard you are even able to use extra-super-wide-angle lenses such as the 47mm Schneider XL and with extension cones you can use 600mm lenses.

Both the Toko FL-452 and the FL-451 have substantial rise and fall on the front standard (75mm up or down) as well as left and right swings (20 degrees left and right) and backward and forward tilts (90 degrees forward and 20 degrees back). Neither has shift on the front standard. On the rear standard both have left and right shift (20mm left and right) and left and right swings (12 degrees left and right) and backward and forward tilts (28 degrees backward and 20 degrees forward). There is no rise and fall on the rear standard.

The front standard takes Wista or Linhof type lensboards but the shutter hole is off-center -- about 10mm lower than dead center (other camera companies, but not all, do the same thing). The rear standard is a standard, universal spring back accepting 4x5 sheet film holders, Polaroid film packs and holders (FYI, in case you haven't heard, Polaroid film is being made once again, but not by Polaroid.  It is sold by a company named THE IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT.  Right now, they sell B&W, as well as color, "Polaroid" film for the 600 series, SX-70 type, and Image/Spectra cameras.  They even have some 8x10" films!.  Unfortunately though, there is no 4x5 film in their line-up, but who knows, that might change in the future if sales of their current films are good enough, or customer demand warrants it), 6x7 and 6x9 roll film holders, and even 5x7 film -- with an adapter back.


You can identify the model that you have in a couple of ways.  If it's an FL model it will have a TOKO plate on the front.  There is no "FL" marked anywhere.  If it's a NIKKI model it will have a NIKKI plate on the front or rear.  The Nikki I and the FL-451 both lack rear focus.  The Nikki II and the FL-452 both have rear focus.  Here is a shot of the two backs.  

Otherwise, you are on your own -- but the FL model serial numbers probably start with a "B", although it might be hard to see!

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