The Reise company was founded by a former employee of Kōgaku Seiki (predecessor of Nicca), who worked under Kumagai Genji on the Nippon Leica copy. Since the first half of the 1950s, it made the Chiyoca Leica-like cameras for Chiyoda Shōkai, a photo shop in Tokyo. It is supposed that Chiyoda provided financial backing to the small Reise company.
In late 1954, the cameras were rebranded Chiyotax because the name Chiyoca was close to Chiyoko, used as a short name by the company Chiyoda Kōgaku Seikō, predecessor of Minolta. The Chiyotax camera line was discontinued in Summer 1957, perhaps because Chiyoda Shōkai withdrew its support, and the Reise company disappeared. Its manager, followed by a team of workers, was hired by the company Misuzu Kōgaku Kōgyō, and continued the production of the camera as the Alta.
It seems that the Reise company was somewhat tied with Tanaka Kōgaku (maker of the Tanack), which reportedly distributed the police version of the Chiyoca, and later supplied Tanar 5cm f/2 lenses — rebadged Altanon — for the Alta. Tanaka was founded by another former employee of Kōgaku Seiki, and there were perhaps personal ties between the company's executives.
The company's full name perhaps varied with time. According to some sources, it was first "Reise Optical Institute" (presumably a translation for Reise Kōgaku Kenkyūjo, ライゼ光学研究所), and later "Reise Camera Company, Ltd." (maybe for Reise Kamera K.K., ライゼカメラ㈱). The name Reise–Kogaku appears on the Reise-Q.C 5cm f/3.5 lens made for the Chiyoca, and Reise Camera Company, Ltd. appears at the top of the late Chiyotax IIIF. In the September 1956 issue of Shashin Kōgyō, the maker of the Chiyotax appears as Reise Camera (ライゼカメラ), but it is quoted as Reise Kōgaku (ライゼ光学) in the October issue.
The names "Chiyoca Camera Company, Ltd." and "Chiyotax Camera Company, Ltd." found on the top covers of Chiyoca and Chiyotax cameras are presumably dummy names, hiding the actual name of the manufacturing workshop.
The Lena-Q.C 5cm f/3.5 lens, ostensibly made by a Lena Kōgaku, is exactly identical to the Reise-Q.C lens, and was certainly made by Reise, "Lena Kogaku" being perhaps another dummy name.
- Chiyoca 35, for the police
- Chiyoca 35 or Chiyoca I (today, the version with flash synchronization is sometimes called "Chiyoca 35 IF")
Rangefinder and slow speeds:
The Reise TLR frame (ライゼレフフレーム) is an internal baffle for 6×6cm TLR cameras, made of a bellows and a metal frame. It was sold in 1955 by Chiyoda Shōkai, and its name likely indicates that it was made by the Reise company. It can be installed inside any TLR camera patterned after the Rolleiflex or Rolleicord, but does not fit the geared lens Ricohflex or similar cameras with removable exposure chamber.
|Columns on the Reise TLR frame in special issues of Photo Art.|
Main and top right: June 1955. Bottom right: October 1955. (Image rights)
- Shirai, pp.25–6 of Maboroshi no kamera o otte: 熊谷氏の会社の職人だった人々が作ったカメラに、やはりライカそっくりの「タナック」、「チヨタックス」、「メルコン」があるという.
- Awano, p.50 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.37.
- Hagiya, reproduced in Mabuchi.
- Sugiyama, items 3214–5 and 3220, HPR, p.175.
- Sugiyama, item 3218, HPR, p.175.
- Shashin Kōgyō no.52, p.173.
- Shashin Kōgyō no.53, p.269.
- June and October 1955 special issues of Photo Art. The price appears as ¥370 in June and ¥250 in October.
- Photo Art rinji zōkan: Kamera akusesarī zensho (フォトアート臨時増刊・カメラアクセサリー全書, Photo Art special issue: All the camera accessories). June 1955, no.80 of the magazine.
- "Zukai: Akusesarī no mekanikku. 14: Nigan-refu kamera sen'yō no akusesarī." (図解・アクセサリーのメカニック・14・二眼レフカメラ専用のアクセサリー. Drawings: accessory mechanisms. 14: Accessories specific to TLR cameras.) P.53. (On the Reise TLR frame.)
- "Watashi no benri jō" (私の便利帖, My handy notebook). P.155. (On the Reise TLR frame.)
- Photo Art rinji zōkan: Kamera no chishiki (フォトアート臨時増刊・カメラの知識, Photo Art special issue: Knowledge of cameras). October 1955, no.87 of the magazine. "Kakubu no kikō to sono sōsa. 14: Kamera ni toritsukeru akusesarī no chishiki. Benri na akusesarī." (各部の機構とその操作・14・カメラに取付けるアクセサリーの知識・便利なアクセサリー. Mechanism and operation of all the parts. 14: Knowledge of the accessories attached to the camera. Handy accessories.) P.49. (On the Reise TLR frame.)
- Shashin Kōgyō no.53, October 1956. "Renzu kōkan-gata kamera go-shu o kentō suru" (レンズ交換型カメラ五種を検討する, Inspecting five cameras with interchangeable lens). Pp.265–9. (Briefly gives the company name as Reise Kōgaku.)
- Awano Mikio (粟野幹男). "Kokusan Barunakku-gata kamera: Chiyoka, Chiyotakkusu" (国産バルナック型カメラ・チヨカ、チヨタックス, Japanese Leica-type cameras: Chiyoca, Chiyotax). 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.37, March 1996. No ISBN number. Leica Book '96 (ライカブック'96). Pp.50–2.
- HPR. Leica Copies. London: Classic Collection Publications, 1994. ISBN 1-874485-05-4.
- Mabuchi, Sam. "In search of the missing Altair camera". In The PHSC E-mail, vol.6–10, supplement to Photographic Canadiana, Feb. 2007, pp.4–5. Also published in Camera Shopper no.173, Mar. 2007, pp.11–2. (This article contains a partial reproduction of an article by Hagiya Takeshi [萩谷剛] in an unspecified issue of Kurashikku Kamera Senka.)
- 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.
- Shirai Tatsuo (白井達男). "Nippon Kamera" (ニッポンカメラ, Nippon Camera). Pp.17–26 of Maboroshi no kamera o otte (幻のカメラを追って, Pursuing phantom cameras). Gendai Kamera Shinsho (現代カメラ新書). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1982. ISBN 4-257-08077-9. (First published in Kamera Rebyū / Camera Review no.2, February 1978.) Contains an interview of Kumagai Genji, mentioning the Chiyoca and Chiyotax as made by a former employee.