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The Lord Martian fixed lens rangefinder camera[1] was made by Okaya Optical Works in 1959, featuring:

  • Rangefinder-coupled Okaya Optical Highkor 40mm / f1.8 lens, with 5 aperture blades
  • Seikosha SLV shutter with speeds B, 1sec to 1/500s, M and X flash synchronization and self timer.
  • Fully coupled exposure meter with the selenium cell encircling the lens. The meter window is on the top plate, and the needle is centred against a fixed mark by turning either the shutter speed or aperture rings.
  • The camera has a bright line viewfinder featuring automatic parallax compensation, and a rangefinder spot surrounded by a dark area to improve contrast.
  • The cassette chamber features a device used on some earlier Lords whereby the cassette can unspool freely while film is being advanced, but the spindle is gripped by a mechanical fork when the rewind crank is raised and turned, to facilitate rewinding.

The camera was supplied in a double outer box, one side of which contained the camera in its own inner box, and the other which contained the ever-ready case with "Martian" badge. A yellow cleaning cloth was also supplied, printed "Lord Martian" and "Okaya Optical Co. Ltd". The camera was introduced to the Japanese market at a price of 20,000 yen. A dedicated lens hood and filters were available as accessories.

The Lord Martian's primary innovation was the relocation of its meter from the body to the front of the lens, to more accurately meter light entering the lens. It was the first Japanese camera to have such a meter[2]. The design was subsequently copied by other manufacturers, notably by Olympus with the Trip 35.

The Lord Martian was the last camera made and sold by Okaya Optical Works, although at least one prototype exists which appears to show that the company planned a modified version incorporating meter readout in the viewfinder, whereby the needle is centred to a mark which forms part of the bright frame.

Notes Edit

  1. Sugiyama/Naoi "The Collectors Guide to Japanese Cameras", code number 3368, p176.
  2. JCII/Lewis, ed. "The History of the Japanese Camera" p107.

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