Japanese Bolta film cameras (edit)
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The Dan 35 I (ダン35Ⅰ型) and Dan 35 II (ダン35Ⅱ型) are Japanese cameras taking twelve exposures on Bolta film, released in 1948. They are evolutions of the Boltax and Silver.


The Dan 35 was launched by Hagimoto Danji, who founded a camera shop in Ginza in 1945. He set up a plant in Suwa to manufacture the Dan 35, sold for ¥3,000.[1][2] He certainly bought the design of the Boltax and Silver to the Miyagawa company. It seems that the name Dan was forged after the first name Danji, and the cameras have an H DAN logo certainly standing for Hagimoto Danji. From the advertisements observed so far, the distributor of the Dan 35 was called Hagimoto Shōkai in 1948 and Dan Shashin-yōhin in 1949–50.[3] It is said that Hagimoto's plans failed in 1950.[4]

The Dan 35 models are attributed to Yamato Kōki in some sources.[5] Yamato is known for sure to have made the Minon 35, a derivative of the Dan 35 III, and the Pax 35, a derivative of the Super Dan 35. It is not known if the manufacturer was already called Yamato Kōki in the Hagimoto period, or if the production of the cameras was transferred to Yamato after the 1950 bankruptcy. The words Dan Camera Works are engraved on the Dan 35 III. This has been interpreted by some sources as the name of a company, maker of all the Dan models and predecessor of Yamato Kōki.[6] However this name probably does not correspond to any actual company, as many other names ending in Camera Works.

Common features[]

The Dan 35 I (ダン35Ⅰ型) and Dan 35 II (ダン35Ⅱ型) are evolutions of the Boltax and Silver. They have the same body with rounded edges, and a new type of focusing helical, turning in the reverse direction. The distance scale is engraved in metres down to 1m or in feet down to 4ft. The main metal parts are chrome-plated and the name Dan 35 is embossed at the bottom of the back.

The shutter is a Silver-B, similar to the Picny D shutter mounted on the Silver camera. It has the release lever on one side and the winding lever on the other. The shutter plate is black, has the speeds engraved at the top in the order 100, 50, 25, B, silver stripes on the sides and the name SILVER–B inscribed at the bottom. The lens is a Dan Anastigmat 40mm f/4.5, probably the same as the Silver Anastigmat lens of the Silver camera, except for the name. One source says that the lens is coated on the Dan 35 II.[7]

The Dan 35 I[]

The Dan 35 I has no auto-stop advance. The top plate is removable for film loading, and is very similar to the top plate of the Boltax. It is locked by a key with O and L indications, whose direction is reversed when compared to the locking key of the Boltax. The advance knob is at the left end of the top plate. It is surrounded by a disc with frame numbers engraved in black on a silver background, for manual control of the film advance. The torpedo-shaped viewfinder is placed on a small hump, absent from all the other models. There is a logo engraved on this hump, to the right of the viewfinder, and reading H DAN.

The bottom plate is attached by four screws and has a hump at each end. The hump on the supply side contains the tripod thread. The back has a single red window in the middle, protected by a horizontally sliding cover, and used to set the position of the first exposure.

The Dan 35 II[]

The Dan 35 II has a fixed top plate, similar to that of the Silver. There is an auto-stop advance mechanism contained in a small metal casing on the left, with the name DAN 35 and the body serial number inscribed above.[8] Frame numbers 1 to 12 are engraved on the base of the advance knob, facing an index on the metal casing. There is a small lever protruding to the rear, used to unlock the film advance after each exposure. The torpedo-shaped finder is directly attached to the top plate, and the hump visible on the Dan 35 I has disappeared. The film flange at the right end has the same H DAN logo as on the model I.

The bottom plate is removable for film loading. It is locked in place by a key and has film flanges at both ends. One of the film flanges contains the tripod thread, and the other is sometimes engraved MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN. The back has no red window but a screwed metal part, perhaps used to used to fine tune the infinity focusing during assembly or repair.

Some cameras, but not all, have a single strap lug at the right end of the top plate. This was probably added during the production run.

Commercial life[]

The Dan 35 I was advertised in Japanese magazines from February 1948 to December 1949, and the Dan 35 II was advertised from September 1948 to May 1950.

The 20 April 1948 advertisement in Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin shows a drawing of the Dan 35 I in front of a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes.[9] The camera is simply called "Dan 35", and the picture size is mentioned as 25×25mm. The advertisement, placed by the distributor Hagimoto Shōkai, makes no mention of the price, and gives a list of seven authorized dealers.[10] In Ars Camera February 1949, an advertisement placed by Hagimoto Shōten only mentions the Dan 35 cameras in passing and gives a list of related products:[11]

  • the guide book Dan kamera no tsukaikata by Suzuki Hachirō (鈴木八郎);
  • the Dan 35 processing tank;
  • the Dan 35 close-up lens, for pictures down to ½m;
  • the Dan chemicals.

The November 1949 advertisement in Asahi Camera shows the Dan 35 I, Dan 35 II and Dan 35 III.[12] It was placed by the company Dan Shashin-yōhin, and displays the H DAN logo. The models I and II are also briefly mentioned in the March 1950 advertisement in the same magazine, mainly showing the Dan 35 III and Dan 35 M.[13]

It is said that Dan 35 cameras of an unspecified type were bought in July 1949 by the Okayama police department, an early use of such miniature cameras for police application in Japan.[14]

The Dan 35 I and II certainly disappeared from the market in 1950, when Hagimoto's company went bankrupt.


  1. This page at Out of Focus quotes an interview of Hagimoto Danji's wife in a TV program, mentioning the plant in Suwa. The price is quoted as ¥3,000, but Takesaki, p.95 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.21, says that the camera was perhaps priced at ¥1,700 in 1947.
  2. Katsumido's history page has an interview of Fujimoto Katsumi, former manager of Hagimoto Kamera-ten, talking about the Dan 35.
  3. Hagimoto Shōkai: advertisement on p.5 of Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin, April 20, 1948, reproduced on p.83 of Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku. Dan Shashin-yōhin: advertisements dated November 1949 and March 1950 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.147 and in this page at Out of Focus.
  4. See this page at Out of Focus.
  5. Sugiyama, items 4196–9; Takesaki, p.95 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.21; Lewis, p.60. The attribution of the Dan 35 II and IV to "Daiwa Koki" in Lewis, p.66, is certainly a translation mistake for Yamato Kōki: 大和光機.
  6. McKeown, pp.241–2.
  7. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.354.
  8. The only serial number known so far is 2438.
  9. Advertisement on p.5 of Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin, April 20, 1948, reproduced on p.83 of Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku.
  10. The authorized dealers are Ueda Shōten, Yamashita Shōten, Haruna Shōkai, Chiyoda Shōkai, Asanuma Shōkai, Ōmiya Sangyō and Misuzu Shōkai.
  11. Advertisement in Ars Camera February 1949, p.28.
  12. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.147 and in this page at Out of Focus.
  13. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.147 and in this page at Out of Focus.
  14. Lewis, p.68.



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