The Doris (ドリス) is a Japanese 4.5×6 folding camera made between 1952 and 1955 by Tōkyō Seiki, later Doris Camera. This company was the successor of the prewar Motodori and Nissan Kōgaku, presumably founded by a Mr Motodori (本鳥). It is said that this is the source of the camera's name: "Dori's camera", thus "Doris".
The Semi Rocket, a possible predecessor
Tōkyō Seiki announced a 4.5×6 folder called Semi Rocket (セミロケット) in 1951 and 1952. It is said that it had an uncoupled rangefinder, a Perfa f/3.5 lens and a Convex-Rapid shutter, synchronized and giving B, 1–500 speeds. The only mention of this model has been found in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, and no picture has been observed. It seems that the Semi Rocket was only announced in some Japanese camera magazines and never advertised, and it was probably never sold. The exact relationship with the Doris is unknown.
The Doris is a vertical folder, with folding struts inspired from the Ikonta. The viewfinder is contained in a top housing, that supports the advance knob and the body release on the left side, and the accessory shoe and folding bed release to the right above the viewfinder. The back is hinged to the left and has a single red window near the top, protected by a horizontally sliding cover. The front leather and the folding struts are marked DORIS in curved letters.
The original model has a depth-of-field dial on the right end of the top plate, and the viewfinder window is surrounded by a metal frame screwed to the top housing. The front of the top housing has two black lines mimicking the ones that appear on the Pearl, except that they are on the other side of the finder. The name DORIS is engraved above the viewfinder in the same curved font as the front leather and folding struts. The serial number is also engraved above the top housing.
The Doris was offered as a new product in an advertisement in Asahi Camera July 1952. The lens is a coated Perfa Anastigmat 75/3.5 and the shutter is a NKS giving B, 1–200 speeds, with a self-timer and an ASA bayonet synch post.
This variant has not yet been observed. It was replaced by the Doris-P at the end of 1952.
The Doris-P is a cheaper model. Its appearance is similar except that the depth-of-field dial is replaced by a smaller decorative knob.
The Doris-P has been observed with various shutter types. All have a self-timer and an ASA bayonet synch:
- NKS, B, 10–200;
- Convex, B, 10–200 (the speed rim is engraved CONVEX);
- MSK, B, 1–200 (the speed rim is engraved MSK and there is an OKK logo).
The Doris-P was advertised until 1954.
The Doris IA
The Doris IA is an evolution of the Doris-P. There is no metal frame surrounding the viewfinder window, the small decorative knob on the right is replaced by a larger one and the advance knob is replaced by a newer one, with a striated rim and a red arrow engraved on the top. The DORIS engraving above the top housing has a more squarish lettering while the other DORIS markings are unchanged. It seems that some examples have two black lines on both sides of the viewfinder window while other ones only have them on one side like the previous models.
The lens is a front-cell focusing Doris C. 75mm f/3.5 and the shutter is a Helio giving B, 10–200 speeds, equipped with a self-timer and synchronized via a PC post. The Doris IA was offered together with the Dorisflex A as a new product in an advertisement dated October 1955. The price of ¥6,000 was indicated, but it is not fully clear if this applied to the Doris IA, the Dorisflex A or both cameras.
Lewis mentions a "Semi Doris II" dated 1954, but nothing is known about this possible version. McKeown also mentions a "Doris IIIA", but it is said to be a dual-format 6×6 and 4.5×6 folder, certainly related with the Doris Six.
- Dates: Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.356.
- Niimi, p. 92.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.374.
- Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.153.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.356.
- This model is called "Doris Semi P" in McKeown, p.928, but the official name was "Doris-P型".
- Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.153. Lewis, p.86, says that the "Semi Doris P" appeared in 1954, but this is surely a mistake.
- In online auctions.
- Pictured in McKeown, p.928.
- Pictured in a website which is now dead.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.356.
- One example has been observed in an online auction with black lines on both sides while the advertising picture reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.153, shows them on one side only.
- Advertisement published in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.153.
- Lewis, p.86.
- McKeown, pp.927–8.
- 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. Items 634–6 and 1051.
- Lewis, Gordon, ed. The History of the Japanese Camera. Rochester, N.Y.: George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography & Film, 1991. ISBN 0-935398-17-1 (paper), ISBN 0-935398-16-3 (hard). P.86 (brief mention only).
- 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). Pp.927–8.
- Niimi Kahee (新見嘉兵衛). Kamera-mei no gogen sanpo (カメラ名の語源散歩, Strolls in the etymology of camera names). 2nd ed. Tokyo: Shashin Kōgyō Shuppansha, 2002. ISBN 4-87956-060-X