The camera is a more modern evolution of the Dan 35, mixing features of the model II and model III. It was certainly developed by Yamato Kōki under the supervision of the Hagimoto company, as a successor to the Dan 35 II. It seems that some examples were sold by Hagimoto under the name "Dan 35", with the H DAN logo (see below). It was perhaps after the failure of Hagimoto in 1950 that Yamato decided to distribute the camera directly under its own trademark Minon 35, with its own YK logo.
Description of the Minon 35
The Minon 35 has an all-metal body with rounded edges, quite similar to that of the Dan 35 III. The camera normally takes Bolta film; it is not known if it can take regular 35mm film in special cassettes, as the Dan 35 III. The exposure size is unclear: one source says 24×32mm and another says 24×24mm.
The torpedo-shaped viewfinder is the same as on the Dan 35 I and II, except perhaps for the image aspect ratio. It is offset to the right, as seen by the photographer. The advance knob is at the left end of the top plate, and has the name MINON 35 and an arrow engraved on it. The camera has no auto-stop advance but has an exposure counter in the middle of the top plate, to the viewfinder's left. There is a film flange at the right end of the top plate, displaying the body serial number, as on the Dan 35 II. No strap lug is visible.
The bottom plate is removable for film loading. It is locked by a lever at the top, next to the advance knob, with O and S indications. This lever engages the exposure counter when placed on the S position. The details of the back are unknown.
The lens and shutter is mounted on a focusing helical. The distance scale, graduated from infinity to 4ft, is engraved on a metal plate attached to the front of the camera, very similar to that of the Dan 35 III. There is a round logo at the top, reading YK in a five-pointed leaf, surely for Yamato Kōki, and an unknown marking at the bottom, certainly ending in Camera Works. (At these places, the Dan 35 III has an H DAN logo and the words Dan Camera Works.)
The shutter gives B, 25, 50, 100 speeds, engraved in that order on the outer rim. It has the release lever on one side and the winding lever on the other, and it is certainly internally similar to the Silver-B mounted on the Dan 35 I and II. The lens is an Eria Anastigmat 40mm f/3.5, certainly the same as the Dan Anastigmat 40mm f/3.5 of the Dan 35 III and Dan 35 M. The Eria lens name is also known on some examples of the Poppy Six II and of the early Minon Six.
Dan 35 name variant
A possible predecessor or name variant of the Minon 35 is pictured in this page at Katsumido. It is similar to the description given above, but for a few markings. The name DAN 35 is engraved atop the advance knob, certainly with an unknown number or letter giving the particular model name. On the front plate, the H DAN logo of Hagimoto is used instead of the YK logo, and the bottom marking reads Y.K. Camera Works. The lens name is Eria Anastigmat, as on the Minon 35, and the lens number is 2379. The markings indicate that the manufacturing company was already called Yamato Kōki, but that the design of the camera was still ordered by Hagimoto, just before its demise.
Actual examples of the Minon 35
One example of the Minon 35 is pictured in various sources. It has lens no.2069, earlier than the lens of the Dan 35 mentioned above, and body no.1952. Another example is pictured in this page at submin.com, but only few details are visible.
- 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.1021.
- 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 4247.
- Takesaki Harutoshi (竹崎春年). "Boruta-han kamera no subete [katarogu]" (ボルタ判カメラのすべて[カタログ], All Bolta-size cameras [catalogue]). In Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.21, June 1992. No ISBN number. Kurashikku kamera daikenkyū (クラシックカメラ大研究, studies on classic cameras). Pp.95–105.
The Minon 35 is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.