Camerapedia
m (→‎Versions: observation)
m
Line 132: Line 132:
 
* [http://www.ajcc.gr.jp/sub1.3.htm#ino Ricohl I] at the [http://www.ajcc.gr.jp/ All Japan Classic Camera Club website]
 
* [http://www.ajcc.gr.jp/sub1.3.htm#ino Ricohl I] at the [http://www.ajcc.gr.jp/ All Japan Classic Camera Club website]
 
* Picture of a Ricohl I in a [http://eco.goo.ne.jp/nature/unno/diary/200501/1105532930.html short page on the Ricoh Camera Museum] at [http://eco.goo.ne.jp/nature/unno/ Kazuo Unno's website]
 
* Picture of a Ricohl I in a [http://eco.goo.ne.jp/nature/unno/diary/200501/1105532930.html short page on the Ricoh Camera Museum] at [http://eco.goo.ne.jp/nature/unno/ Kazuo Unno's website]
  +
* http://www.collection-appareils.fr/general/html/listeQ_imagettes.php#Ricoh Ricoh] on [http://www.collection-appareils.fr/general/html/francais.php www.collection-appareils.com] by Sylvain Halgand
   
 
=== Original documents ===
 
=== Original documents ===

Revision as of 10:22, 25 February 2009

Japanese Baby (3×4) and Four (4×4) (edit)
folding
3×4 Baby Balnet | Doris | Baby Doris | Baby Germa | Kinsi | Baby Leotax | Loren | Baby Lyra | Baby Pearl | Baby Pilot | Baby Rosen | Baby Suzuka | Walz
4×4 Adler Four | Rosen Four
rigid or collapsible
3×4 Baika | Baby Chrome | Comet | Cyclon | Gelto | Baby Germa | Gokoku | Hamond | Baby Hawk | Kinka Lucky | Lausar | Light | Baby Light | Molby | Mulber | Olympic | Baby Ōso | Peacock | Picny | Ricohl | Rorox | Shinko Baby | Slick | Baby Sport | Tsubasa Arawashi | Baby Uirus | Zessan
3.5×4 Kenko 35
4×4 Alma Four | Andes Four | Anny 44 | Arsen | Balnet Four | Bonny Four | Freude | Kalimar 44 | Auto Keef | Kraft | Letix | Mykey-4 | Olympic Four | Roico | Royal Senior | Seica | Terra Junior | Vero Four | Welmy 44 | Yashica Future 127
unknown
Baby First | Baby Lyra Flex
Japanese SLR, TLR, pseudo TLR and stereo models ->
Japanese 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6, 6×6 and 6×9 ->

The Gokoku and Ricohl are Japanese cameras taking 3×4cm pictures on 127 film, made by Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō (the predecessor of Ricoh) from 1938 to the war. They have a focal plane shutter and look like the Leica screw models, without a rangefinder. (It is said that the Roico 4×4 leaf shutter camera used the body of the Gokoku and Ricohl in a slightly modified form.)[1]

The Gokoku and Ricohl were not the only 3×4 camera with a focal plane shutter: other examples are the Foth Derby, the Ensign Multex or the French Lumière Elax, Gallus Derlux and Pontiac Lynx II. However they were perhaps the only ones with an exposure counter and film advance fully coupled to the shutter winding.

Possible predecessors: the Lausar and the Baika

The Lausar is only known from a letter by Ōishi Hiroshi (大石博) to the Japanese magazine Kurashikku Kamera Senka.[2] It is a 3×4 camera with a focal plane shutter, of which about ten prototypes were made by the company Tomioka: this was confirmed to Mr Ōishi by the company, the date being told as "at the time of the China events" (支那事変当時), an euphemism designating the war with China which broke out in 1937. According to the pictures, the camera's general aspect and the layout of the controls are very similar to the Gokoku but the body is slightly more angular. The name Lausar is engraved on the top plate above the viewfinder, together with a logo, the company name Tomioka Kogaku Tokyo and the serial number.[3] The speed dial seems to have Z, 30–500 settings. The lens is a collapsible Tomioka Lausar 5cm f/3.5 with a focusing tab and an infinity stop. It is not known if it is interchangeable. The striking design similarity leads to the hypothesis that Riken took over the Lausar project from Tomioka and developed it into the Gokoku.

The Baika (バイカ)[4] is only known from Kokusan kamera no rekishi, quoting a column in the April 1937 issue of Camera Club. It is said to be a 3×4 camera with a focal plane shutter giving B, 25–500 speeds, automatic stop film advance, chrome fittings and a collapsible Lausar f/4.5 lens.[5] It seems that it was presented as a Leica copy, and the name "Baika" itself is very close to Leica (ライカ, raika in Japanese). It is attributed to the department store Ōsaka Daimaru Hyakkaten which was obviously only the distributor.[6] The presence of the Lausar lens by Tomioka and the similarity of the specifications suggests that the Baika was another name for the Lausar camera.

The Riken No.1

The Gokoku itself was first announced by Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō as the Riken No.1 (理研NO.1) or Riken Camera (理研カメラ) in advertisements and articles dated October 1938.[7] The pictured camera is identical to the Gokoku but it seems to have no markings above the top plate. The shutter speed range goes from 1/20 to 1/500.[8] The lens looks like it is interchangeable but this is not mentioned anywhere in the original documents. It has a large focusing tab, different from the part normally found on the Gokoku lenses. The lens was said to be a Ukas Anastigmat f/3.5 in the October 1938 Asahi Camera article but it was announced as a Riken Kōgaku Anastigmat f/3.5 in the advertisements and the pictures show the engraving RIKEN 1:3.5 F=50mm.

The Riken No.1 was available for ¥195 to subscribers only (the same price as the Weha Chrome Six and Auto Semi Minolta).[9] It seems that the camera was never produced under that name and no surviving example has surfaced so far. It is said that the delivery was delayed and that this caused complaints.[10]

The Gokoku

The Riken No.1 was actually sold in 1939 and 1940 under the name Gokoku (or Gokoku No.1). The word gokoku (written 護国) means "protector of the country", it is an example of the "patriotic" wartime names often used by Riken.

Description

The camera has a metal body, leather covered with chrome top and bottom plates. The viewfinder is offset to the left and is contained in a short top housing. The name GOKOKU N°1 is engraved above the finder (with a stylized G) together with the R.K.K initials of Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō. The accessory shoe, speed dial and shutter release are above the top housing, to the right of the viewfinder. The speed dial has Z, 20, 30, 40, 60, 100, 200, 500 settings. The serial number is engraved in front of the accessory shoe. At the left end of the top plate there is a fake rewind knob what looks like a rewind knob: the camera does not need rewind and it is only there to look like the Leica. The advance knob is at the right end, it turns in the counter-clockwise direction and is surrounded by the exposure counter. The film is advanced and the shutter is wound in the same movement.[11] Because of the absence of perforations, the film advance mechanism only relies on feeler-rollers and it was plagued with reliability problems.[12]

The back and bottom plate are removable together and they are locked by keys at both ends. The bottom plate also has a tripod thread. The back contains a single red window at the left end, used to set the position of the first exposure. It is protected by a cover that is retracted by a thumbwheel surrounding the red window.

Advertising

In an advertisement dated February 1939 by Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō, the Gokoku was listed among the camera range for ¥195 (the name was written 護国).[13] A full advertisement for the Gokoku was inserted in the October 1939 issue of Shinkō Graph. The camera was presented with a fixed Gokoku Anastigmat f/3.5 lens and the price was ¥170.[14] The Gokoku was listed again in another advertisement dated October 1940 in Asahi Camera.[15] It was also listed for ¥190 in the list of set prices compiled on October 1940 and published in January 1941.[16]

Variations

The Gokoku is known both with an interchangeable lens and with a fixed lens. On the cameras with an interchangeable lens, the lens mount is the standard Leica thread mount. It is said that regular Leica lenses can be mounted on the Gokoku but that they end up in the upside down position, with the focusing scale at the bottom.[17] The only lens that was made for the camera is a close copy of the collapsible Leitz Elmar 50mm f/3.5. The lens rim is engraved Ofunar 1:3.5 f=50mm N°xxxxx, the aperture scale goes from 3.5 to 18 and the distance scale goes down to 1 meter. The lens looks very similar to that of the Lausar camera (see above); the similarity between these two Elmar copies might be fortuitous, or might indicate that the Ofunar was a rebadged version of the Lausar. The name Ofunar might give a further hint in favor of the Tomioka connection: it might come from the place name Ōfuna, near the city of Kamakura, where a plant was set up by Tomioka in the late 1930s or early 1940s, which would become Ōfuna Kōgaku after the war. Only one example of the Gokoku has been observed so far with the interchangeable Ofunar lens; it has body no.1887 and lens no.48010.[18]

The cameras with a fixed lens have a slightly larger helicoid, focusing down to 0.5 meter. The lens rim is engraved GOKOKU ANASTIGMAT 1:3.5 F=50mm and the lens number is engraved on the distance scale. On some lenses, the aperture scale is 3.5, 4.5, 6.3, 9, 12.5, 18 and on others it is 3.5, 4.5, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22. There is a metal lens cap engraved RKK. Examples have been observed with body numbers ranging from 1168 to 2954 and lens numbers ranging from 10168 to 12043. It seems that about 1,500 to 2,000 examples of the Gokoku were produced.

Variations are known in the feeler roller system advance system, presumably because of an attempt of making the troublesome mechanism more reliable. Some cameras have a roller attached to the back and facing the main roller inside the body. On others there is a metal bridge forcing the film onto the main roller and the pressure plate is accordingly modified.[19]

Accessory rangefinder

An external rangefinder was available for the camera. It is marked RKK and GOKOKU RANGE-FINDER, and it was copied on the external rangefinder of the Leica Standard, with a shorter base.

The Ricohl

Riken launched the Ricohl, successor of the Gokoku, around late 1940. It is said that Ichimura Kiyoshi (the founder of Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō) sought the help of Fujimoto Sakae (藤本栄), who would later design the Ricohflex III, to make the camera more reliable.[20]

Description

The Ricohl has a longer top housing covering the whole top plate. The finder is larger and the fake rewind knob has been suppressed. The accessory shoe, speed dial and release button are similar to the parts mounted on the Gokoku. The advance knob is different, it turns in the clockwise direction and contains the exposure counter. There is an index next to the advance knob, pointing to the frame number. The advance mechanism was completely reworked: it is said that the shutter is wound first and the film is advanced next, and that this needs about three turns of the knob.[21] The feeler roller was again modified too.[22]

The name Ricohl is engraved above the viewfinder, together with the model number and the initials R.K.K for Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō. The serial number is engraved in front of the accessory shoe.

Versions

The Ricohl I (リコールⅠ型) has the same fixed mount Gokoku Anastigmat 50mm f/3.5 lens as the Gokoku. The aperture scale usually goes from 3.5 to 18, but at least one advertising picture shows f/22 minimum aperture.[23] Examples have been observed with body numbers ranging from 2750 to 4143 and lens numbers ranging from 10642 to 12285. It seems that the serial number sequence continues the sequence of the Gokoku, with some overlap at the beginning of the production, and that about 1,000 to 1,500 examples of the Ricohl I were produced.

The Ricohl II (リコールⅡ型) was perhaps a rangefinder version. It was briefly advertised (see below) but no picture is known and no surviving example has ever surfaced.

The Ricohl IIB (リコールⅡB型) has an interchangeable lens with a specific screw mount.[24] The lens is a collapsible four-element Neutar 50mm f/3.5. The aperture scale goes from 3.5 to 18 and the lens rim is engraved NEUTAR 1:3.5 F=50mm. No lens number is visible. Very few examples of the Ricohl IIB has been observed so far, and the only observed serial number is in the 44xx range.[25] Variations are known in the size and shape of the focusing tab of the Neutar lens: it is either small with a striated tip, or large with a smooth tip (reminiscent of the focusing tab visible on the pictures of the Riken No.1).[26]

Two models of ever-ready case are known. One is hinged to the back and is embossed Riken at the front and the other is hinged at the bottom and is embossed Ricohl.[27]

Advertising

The camera was already listed in the list of set prices compiled in October 1940, in two versions: the Ricohl for ¥190 and the Ricohl II for ¥335, with no further detail.[28] These prices were set according the camera characteristics, and the price of the Ricohl II is on par with the original Leotax and with the rangefinder versions of the Canon. This might indicate that the Ricohl II was a rangefinder version.

The Ricohl I was advertised in February, March and October 1941 for ¥190[29] It was also featured in the new products column of the April 1941 issue of Asahi Camera.[30]

The Ricohl IIB was offered for ¥256 in an advertisement dated February 1942.[31] In another advertisement dated 1942, the Ricohl II was listed for ¥314 and the IIB for ¥256.[32] The price of the Ricohl IIB later rose to ¥291.48.[33] The Ricohl IIB was advertised until mid 1943.[34] The Ricohl was mentioned in the "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), listing the Japanese camera production as of April 1943.[35] In that document, the focal plane shutter is said to give B, 1–500 speeds, probably by mistake.

Notes

  1. "Senzen no rikō kamera — hoi", p.21 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
  2. Dokusha-dayori, pp.161–2 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
  3. The serial number is in the 11xx range, perhaps 1198.
  4. The Roman spelling "Baika" is given in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.338, but it is unconfirmed.
  5. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.338.
  6. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.338.
  7. Advertisement published in Shashin Salon October 1938, reproduced in Awano, p.4 of Camera Collectors' News no.39. Advertisement published in Asahi Camera October 1938, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.102 and in Awano, p.24 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14. (The advertisements in Shashin Salon and in Asahi Camera are exactly the same.) Atarashii kikai to zairyō (new products column) of Asahi Camera October 1938, reproduced in Awano, p.5 of Camera Collectors' News no.39. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.343, also mentions an advertisement in Ars Camera.
  8. The article in Asahi Camera October 1938 says 20, 40, 60, 100, 200, 500, bulb. The absence of 1/30 is perhaps a mistake.
  9. Advertisements cited above. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.343, mentions an article in Asahi Shinbun 28 August 1938 and it seems that the subscription was already open at that date.
  10. Awano, p.1 of Camera Collectors' News no.39 and p.23 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
  11. Awano, p.11 of Camera Collectors' News no.40 and p.24 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
  12. Awano, p.2 of Camera Collectors' News no.39 and p.24 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
  13. Advertisement for the Riken camera range published in the 26 February 1939 issue of Sunday Mainichi, reproduced in the Gochamaze website.
  14. Advertisement reproduced in Tanaka, p.9 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
  15. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.336.
  16. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 5, section 1.
  17. Awano, p.1 of Camera Collectors' News no.39 and p.24 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
  18. Example pictured in Awano and Sugiyama (item 3022).
  19. Comparative pictures are shown in Awano, p.3 of Camera Collectors' News no.39.
  20. Page about the Gokoku and Ricohl at the Ricoh official website.
  21. Awano, p.11 of Camera Collectors' News no.40 and p.24 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
  22. Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14, p.21.
  23. F/22 minimum aperture: advertisement in Shashin Bunka February 1941 reproduced in Awano, p.13 of Camera Collectors' News no.40.
  24. According to Awano, p.25 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14, the screw mount has 40mm diameter, 32 threads per inch and 27.9mm flange to film distance.
  25. The example pictured in Awano, p.23 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14 and in Sugiyama (item 3048) perhaps has body no.4410.
  26. Small tab: example no.4410 pictured in Awano, p.23 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14 and in Sugiyama (item 3048). Large tab: example pictured in Awano, p.25 of the same magazine, example pictured in Hayashi, p.85 of the same magazine, and incomplete Neutar lens sold as lot no.675 of Westlicht Photographica Auction no.5.
  27. The two case models are pictured in Awano, p.25 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
  28. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 5, sections 1 and 2.
  29. Advertisement published in Shashin Bunka February 1941, reproduced in Awano, p.13 of Camera Collectors' News no.40 and p.24 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14. Advertisement published in Shashin Bunka March 1941, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.103. Advertisement published in Shashin Bunka October 1941, reproduced in Tanaka, p.10 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
  30. Shashinkai topikku — Kokusan zairyō in Asahi Camera April 1941, reproduced in Awano, p.13 of Camera Collectors' News no.40.
  31. Advertisement published in Shashin Bunka, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.103 and in Awano, p.24 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14. This advertisement is also visible in this page of Xylocopal's photolog. See also this advertisement reproduced in Nostalgic Camera by Toshio Inamura.
  32. Advertisement reproduced in Nostalgic Camera by Toshio Inamura.
  33. Price set in March 1943 according to Awano, p.12 of Camera Collectors' News no.40. An advertisement showing the Ricohl IIB at that price is reproduced in Awano, p.14 of the same magazine, where it is mistakenly said to be dated June 1941.
  34. The last advertisement listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.343, is dated August 1943.
  35. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 160.

Bibliography

Links

General links

In English:

In Japanese:

Original documents


Asahi Bussan and Riken prewar and wartime cameras (edit)
rigid or collapsible
Vest Adler | Gokoku | Semi Kinsi | Letix | Olympic | New Olympic | Regal Olympic | Semi Olympic | Super Olympic | Vest Olympic | Riken No.1 | Ricohl | Roico | Seica | Zessan
folders pseudo TLR TLR
Semi Adler | Adler III | Adler A | Adler B | Adler C | Adler Four | Adler Six | Gaica | Heil | Kinsi Chukon Ref Ricohflex | Ricohflex B