The Kolt is a Japanese subminiature camera made by Okada in the late 1940s or early 1950s.
Context[edit | edit source]
The Kolt takes ten 14×14mm exposures on 17.5mm paper backed rollfilm. From a distance, it looks very similar to other Hit-type cameras, but it was made by a reputable company and it has a much better finish and better features, aiming the same market as the Midget and Mycro, rather than the cheap Hit-type models. One source says that it was developed around 1949 by Ishiwata Shigeo (石渡茂雄), the designer of the unconventional subminiature cameras Gemmy, Camera "A" and Camera "B".
Description[edit | edit source]
The top housing covers the whole length of the camera and contains the viewfinder in the middle. The advance knob is on the left, as seen by the photographer, and has a red arrow inscribed at the top. The right part of the top housing has a KOLT CAMERA logo. The back is hinged to the right and is locked by a spring-loaded latch on the left. It contains a single red window, protected by a sliding cover. The bottom plate has no tripod thread; on at least some examples, it is engraved MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN.
It seems that the camera has a separate pressure plate, integral with spool holders, which is sometimes missing on the examples found today. One of the editions of the English user manual insists on the importance of properly loading the camera with the film holder, whereas another does not make any allusion to the device, perhaps indicating that it was only introduced after the release of the camera.
The shutter is everset and has 100, 50, 25, B speeds, selected by an index at the top. The shutter plate has a silver background and is inscribed KOLT at the top and OKAKO at the bottom. The lens is a Kolt Anastigmat f/4.5, and the aperture is set from 4.5 to 11 by an index on the side of the barrel. The front bezel is engraved "KOLT" Anastigmat. F:4.5, with no indication of a focal length.
Paraphernalia[edit | edit source]
The Kolt was sold with a brown leather case, embossed Kolt at the front, in a blue box marked KOLT MINIATURE CAMERA and OKAKO. At least one edition of the user manual, curiously titled "Explanatory note for Kolt camera", gives the maker's name "Okada Optical Industrial Co., Ltd.", a translation of Okada Kōgaku Seiki K.K. (whose name was often abbreviated to Okako). The document also mentions the Waltax as a higher class product made by the same company, and a Kolt enlarger specially designed for the pictures taken by the Kolt camera.
Notes[edit | edit source]
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- 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). P.745.
- Pritchard, Michael and St. Denny, Douglas. Spy Cameras — A century of detective and subminiature cameras. London: Classic Collection Publications, 1993. ISBN 1-874485-00-3. P.76.
- Sugiyama, Kōichi (杉山浩一); Naoi, Hiroaki (直井浩明); Bullock, John R. The Collector's Guide to Japanese Cameras. 国産カメラ図鑑 (Kokusan kamera zukan). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1985. ISBN 4-257-03187-5. Item 5048.
- Yazawa Seiichirō (矢沢征一郎). "Renzu no hanashi (143) Kamera 'A'" (レンズの話カメラ'A', Lens story  Camera 'A'). In Camera Collectors' News no.233 (November 1996). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. Pp.11–5. (On Ishiwata Shigeo.)
The Kolt is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.
Links[edit | edit source]
- Kolt at Submin.com, with a reproduction of an English user manual
- Kolt at Subclub.org
- Kolt among other subminiature cameras at the Subminiature site of Gary Sivertsen