Picture by Lincoln Kush. (Image rights) }} The Baby Leotax is a Japanese 3×4cm folding camera made before or during the war by Shōwa Kōgaku.

Original documents[]

Various recent sources say that the Baby Leotax was released in 1941,[1] but no original document has yet been found to confirm this. The Baby Leotax is not mentioned in the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, presumably because it was not yet available.[2] The camera only appears in the government inquiry listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943, as made by Shōwa and distributed by Misuzu Shōkai.[3]


The Baby Leotax is a vertical folding camera copied on the Baby Ikonta. (Other Japanese copies of that camera are the Baby Lyra and the folding Baby Germa, which is extremely similar to the Baby Leotax.)

There is a folding optical finder on one side. The body release is on the left of the viewfinder, as seen by the photographer holding the camera horizontally. The advance knob is at the bottom right, and there is a tripod thread at the bottom left. The back is hinged to the left and is locked by a sliding bar on the right. There are two red windows to control the film advance, protected by a common sliding cover.

The name BABY-LEOTAX is embossed in the front leather and there is an S.W.K. logo engraved in the folding struts (presumably for Swa Kōgaku).

The shutter is a Yamato Rapid (B, 1–500), engraved YAMATO-RAPID on the speed rim. It was made by Yamato Kōki Seisakusho.[4] The lens is a front-cell focusing Rieze Anastigmat 5cm f/3.5. It has three elements and was made by Fujita Kōgaku Kikai.[5]

Surviving examples[]

Baby Leotax Nr. 1674 is owned by eastwestphoto on 10/08/2014 it was stripped of all Corroded Chrome, Rusted steel, and ulgy leather and turned into a beautiful Brass & high polished Steel camera. Image=

The Baby Leotax was certainly produced in limited numbers, and only a few surviving examples are known. The early cameras have a black lens bezel with the lens name in lowercase letters.[6] Later ones have a silver lens bezel with the lens name in capital letters.[7]


  1. Date: Omoide no supuringu-kamera-ten, p.26; McKeown, p.891; Sugiyama, item 1158.
  2. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku".
  3. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 166.
  4. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), shutter item 18-R-10.
  5. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), lens item Jb6.
  6. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1158, and in McKeown, p.891 (this is perhaps the same camera, with lens no.14xx).
  7. Examples pictured in this article (lens no.1667), in Fujishima, p.23 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.8 (lens no.1737), and in Omoide no supuringu-kamera-ten, p.26 (lens no.1856).


The Baby Leotax does not appear in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.