The Aruba 35 II (アルバ35Ⅱ) is a Japanese 35mm viewfinder camera, distributed by Chūō Shashin-yōhin in 1954 and 1955. The camera is attributed to Koike Seiki in many recent sources, but this is perhaps only the lens maker.
The Aruba 35 II was succeeding a very different Aruba 35, retrospectively called "Aruba 35 I" and also distributed by Chūō Shashin-yōhin. It was itself succeeded by the very similar Nescon 35 by Nihon Seiki. The Soligor 45 is an export model, whose first version is half way between the Aruba and Nescon. The Ranger 35 is a final development of the series.
The Aruba 35 II
The Aruba 35 II takes 24×36mm exposures on regular 35mm film. It has an all metal body with chrome top and bottom plates. The advance knob is at the top right and the rewind knob at the top left, as seen by the photographer. It seems that the back does not open and that the film is loaded through the bottom plate.
The viewfinder is offset to the left and is contained in a top housing covering the space between both knobs. This housing also supports an accessory shoe and the body release, and it probably contains the exposure counter whose window is visible behind the release button. There are two black lines at the front of the housing, obviously mimicking the Pearl.
The lens is a unit-focusing 40mm f/4.5, advertised as a triplet. It is mounted on a helical with a focusing tab. The lens rim is simply engraved KOIKESEIKI ARUTER 1:4.5 f=40mm with no serial number. The shutter is situated behind the focusing helical. It gives B, 25–100 speeds, selected by an index with the 25, B, 50, 100 positions in that order. It is also synchronized for flash.
The Aruba 35 II was announced from October 1954 and advertised from November. The November advertisement in Ars Camera gives the price of ¥4,000, and has the probably overambitious motto "A Leica for ¥4,000!" ("4000円のライカ!"). The only company name mentioned in the document is Chūō Shashin-yōhin.
- The Japanese pronunciation is closer to "Alba" but the name "Aruba" is written on the camera.
- Sugiyama, item 3101; McKeown, p.536; Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.346.
- This is confirmed by the observation of its successors the Nescon 35 and its export version the Soligor 45.
- Advertisement in Ars Camera November 1954, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.117.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.346.
- Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.117.
- Sugiyama, item 3101.
- Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Item 373.
- McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). P.536.
- Sugiyama, Kōichi (杉山浩一); Naoi, Hiroaki (直井浩明); Bullock, John R. The Collector's Guide to Japanese Cameras. 国産カメラ図鑑 (Kokusan kamera zukan). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1985. ISBN 4-257-03187-5. Item 3101.