The Elka was a Japanese leaf shutter made in the 1930s.

See also the Semi Elka, a 4.5×6cm camera made in 1941.


The maker of the Elka shutter is not known for sure. Some versions have T.B.C.T. markings or a TB logo.

A Semi Elka 4.5×6cm camera is reported in the official price list dated November 1941, where it is attributed to the company Banno Toyoji Shōten, which is otherwise unknown.[1] The "TB" logo might stand for Toyoji Banno, but this is merely a guess.

The company Fuji Kōgaku is also known to have made an Elka rangefinder in 1936,[2] but it is not known if it is related.


It seems that the first versions of the Elka shutter were dial-set, up to mid-1936, and that it became rim-set after that date.[3]

The early dial-set Elka has 25, 50, 100, B, T speeds selected by a flat wheel at the top.[4] The name ELKA is inscribed in capital letters on the speed wheel cover and the initials T.B.C.T. are written in small capital letters underneath. There is a hole under the lens for a thread and needle release device, and no logo is visible.

The late dial-set Elka has the same speeds engraved in the reverse order on a conical wheel, engraved ELKA at the front.[5] The hole for the thread and needle release is at a slightly different location, and the front plate has a TB logo on the right.

The plain Elka has B, 25, 50, 100 speeds set by an index, and the name Elka in small letters at the top of the shutter plate.[6] Some illegible text is also written at the bottom.

The Elka-C has 10, 25, 50, 100, 150, B, T speeds set by turning the rim. The front plate has the words Patent–Pending at the top, ELKA–C at the bottom and a TB logo on the right.[7] One example is known with the same name and markings but 100, 50, 25, B, T speeds only; however this particular example was crudely repaired during World War II, and its speed rim was perhaps substituted.[8]

An Elka-B is also reported, giving T, B, 5–200 speeds, but has not been observed so far.[9]

Cameras equipped[]

This list is incomplete, and not all the versions of the cameras listed have an Elka shutter:

Associated with an unknown lens[]

In the advertisements, the Elka shutter is often associated with a lens called トリオナー (torionā) in katakana script. The corresponding Roman spelling is unclear, and is discussed in the Trionar page.


  1. The name is hardly legible as 伴野豊治商店. This might read "Tomono Toyoji Shōten" as well.
  2. Advertisement dated March 1936 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.137.
  3. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.388 (item 157), says that the July 1936 advertisement in Asahi Camera for the National (4×6.5) shows a shutter of the "old Vario type" whereas the following ones show a shutter of the "new Vario type".
  4. Early dial-set Elka pictured in Yazawa, p.11 of Camera Collectors' News no.265, and on the Need plate folder in Sugiyama, item 1212.
  5. Late dial-set Elka pictured on a Yamamoto Lucky in an advertisement in Asahi Camera July 1936, p.A62.
  6. Lever-set Elka on the National (4×6.5) pictured in Sugiyama, item 1209.
  7. Elka-C pictured in Yazawa, p.11 of Camera Collectors' News no.265, advertisement for the Kinka Roll in Asahi Camera December 1936, p.A58, and leaflet for the Gold Camera, reproduced in this Flickr set by Rebollo_fr.
  8. Example pictured on the Neure Six in the Umemoto history page.
  9. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.336 (item 102).


Original documents[]

  • Anonymous company. Leaflet for the Gold Camera. Date not indicated. Document reproduced in this Flickr set by Rebollo_fr.
  • Asahi Camera. Advertisements by Yamamoto Shashinki Kōsakusho:
    • July 1936, p.A62;
    • December 1936, p.A58.
  • "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō" (カメラの公定価格官報発表, Official announcement of the set prices of the cameras), November 1941. Extract of a table listing Japanese camera production and setting the retail prices, reproduced in "Bebī Semi Fāsuto 'Kore ha bebī wo nanotta semi-ki da'" (ベビーセミファースト"これはベビーを名乗ったセミ機だ", Baby Semi First, 'this is a Semi camera called Baby'), an article by Furukawa Yasuo (古川保男) in Camera Collectors' News no. 277 (July 2000). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. P. 27. Type 3, sections 6A and 7A.

Recent sources[]