See also the Tenar lenses.
The Tenar Six (テナーシックス) is a Japanese 6×6 folder announced by Bikōdō Seisakusho from 1951 to 1953.
Drawing and original description
The Tenar Six was advertised from June 1951, together with the Superflex TLR. The October 1951 advertisement in Asahi Camera shows the drawing of a very strange camera, and describes its four main features:
- the diaphragm is shaped as a "radiator" above the shutter and is set by a gear on the side, and there is a "special finder" on the left side;
- there is a "fashionable" folding optical finder;
- a device can be attached above the folding finder, coupled to the front element of the lens, and transforming the camera into a TLR; this device is computed to show an image two times smaller than 6×6cm;
- there is a "fashionable" body release.
The drawing shows a horizontal folder, with the film advance knob at the top left, as seen by the photographer. There is a small rectangular casing above the shutter, maybe containing the diaphragm mechanism; it has a small brilliant finder on the left, but the diaphragm gear announced in the description is not visible. The description of the diaphragm "shaped as a radiator" is obscure; this might mean that it works as a pleated blind or a venetian blind.
The camera has a mirror box attached to the middle of the top housing, hiding the eye level finder. The viewing hood of this mirror box has a strange shape, and is perhaps hinged on both sides rather than on the front. A small lens protrudes from the mirror box and is coupled via a long and tortuous arm to a large wheel placed on the left of the taking lens. This wheel seems geared to the distance ring around the front element of the taking lens; its diameter is as large as the taking lens itself.
The November 1952 advertisement in Asahi Camera finally shows a picture of the Tenar Six. The camera is pictured without the TLR attachment, which was perhaps abandoned. The shape of the folding struts is now visible, inspired from the Balda products and from the Olympus Six and Olympus Chrome Six.
The top housing has a smooth shape, with the film advance knob at the left end, as seen by the photographer. There is a folding optical finder in the middle, with flaps on either side, certainly meant to cover the finder completely when in folded position. A round part is visible at the front of the top housing, under the main finder; this might be a brilliant finder buried underneath the folding finder, or the attachment for the accessory mirror box.
The rectangular casing above the shutter has disappeared, but a wheel is faintly visible on the right side of the front standard; this wheel perhaps actuates the diaphragm, which is probably of the regular type. It seems that the shutter has an ASA synch post and that the lens is focused by turning the front cell.
The Tenar Six was advertised until March 1953 before its complete abandon. It was certainly never actually sold, and no surviving example is known. All trace of the Bikōdō company is lost after April 1953.
- 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 610. (See also the advertisements for items 543–4 and 546.)
- Lewis, Gordon, ed. The History of the Japanese Camera. Rochester, N.Y.: George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography & Film, 1991. ISBN 0-935398-17-1 (paper), ISBN 0-935398-16-3 (hard). P.86 (brief mention only, called "Tenor Six" probably by mistake).
The camera is not listed in Sugiyama.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.355.
- Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.141.
- Advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.141, 142 and 149.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.355.
- April 1953: date of the last advertisement for the Superflex BIII listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.353.