The Mascot is a Japanese subminiature taking 14×14mm pictures on 17.5mm paper backed rollfilm, made around 1950 by Shimura.
The Mascot has a vertical shape, somewhat similar to a lighter. It is said that the overall design was inspired on the Coronet Midget. There is a tubular finder sunken at the top. The film is advanced by a knob on the photographer's right. The shutter is released by a button at the top, on the right of the viewfinder. It cannot be tripped unless the film has been advanced, thus providing double exposure prevention.
The lens is a fixed-focus Mascot Anastigmat f/4.5. The focal length is reported as 20mm in various sources, including a press article dated January 1951, but the markings Mascot Anastigmat F:4.5 f=25mm can be discerned on the only picture observed so far. The speed is selected by a pivoting index on the front plate, above the lens, with 100, 50, 25, B positions. The aperture is selected by a similar index placed below the lens, with 8 and 4.5 positions.
The Mascot was announced in Japanese magazines dated January 1950. It was still featured in the January 1951 issue of Photo Art, in an article on Japanese camera production, whose extract is reproduced below.
|Column in Photo Art January 1951. (Image rights)|
The camera was developed by Otagi Michifusa, designer of the Minion, Minion 35 and Primoflex. It is said that the camera was produced on behalf of Tōkyō Kōgaku by Shimura, which was perhaps an offshoot or a subcontractor. The sources disagree on the exact company name, which is either "Shimura Kōgaku", "Shimura Koki" or "Shimura Seiki Co."
- The column in Photo Art January 1951, p.40.
- The column in Photo Art January 1951, p.40, mentions double exposure prevention (二重露出防止) and says that "the shutter is not set unless the film is wound": フィルムを捲かぬとシャッターがセットされない.
- 20mm focal length: column in Photo Art January 1951, p.40; Sugiyama, item 5062; Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.365.
- Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 5062. The same picture appears on pp.365 and 432 of Kokusan kamera no rekishi, but the reproduction is less good and the markings are not legible.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.365, mentions f/4.5, f/8 and f/11, certainly by mistake.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.365.
- Column in Photo Art January 1951, p.40.
- Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 5062; Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.365 and 432.
- Column in Photo Art January 1951, p.40: the Mascot is described as "the most convenient camera made by Otagi Michifusa" (愛宕通英先生作る所の最も使い良いカメラ).
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.432: "Tōkyō Kōgaku had it made by the separate company Shimura Kōgaku" (東京光学は志村光学という別会社でやっていた).
- "Shimura Kōgaku": Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.365 (surely the most reliable). "Shimura Koki": McKeown, p.890. "Shimura Seiki Co.": Sugiyama, item 5062.
- Photo Art no.20, January 1951. "Kokusan kamera no kentō" (国産カメラの検討, Inquiry on Japanese cameras). Pp.36–40.
- 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. Item 846 (see also the picture and discussion on pp.432–3).
- 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.890.
- 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 5062.