Tomioka, now Kyocera Optec is a Japanese optical company. It is primarily a lens maker, but it also produced a camera prototype in the 1930s.


Prewar and wartime[]

The founder Toshioka Masashige (冨岡正重) graduated from the Tokyo School of Physics (東京物理学校) in 1913 and worked at the optical factory of the Army Artillery Arsenal, then for Nippon Kōgaku Kōgyō from 1917.[1] In 1924, he left this company to found Tomioka Kōgaku Kenkyūjo (冨岡光学研究所, meaning Tomioka Optical Laboratory) in Shinagawa-ku, Ebara (品川区荏原), to make civilian lenses.[1]

After various years of research, a manufacturing plant was opened in November 1932 in Ōmori-ku, Yukigaya (大森区雪ヶ谷), and the first Lausar (ローザー) four-element Tessar-type lenses were released.[2] The company received a subsidy from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (商工省) in December of the same year.[3] The company name was changed around the same time to Tomioka Kōgaku Kikai Seizōsho (冨岡光学機械製造所, meaning Tomioka Optical Instruments Manufacturing Facility).[4]

An advertisement dated January 1938 mentions f/4.5 and f/3.5 Lausar, and gives the following list of f/4.5 barrel and enlarging lenses:[5]

  • 300mm barrel lens, ¥290;
  • 250mm barrel lens, ¥220;
  • 210mm barrel lens, ¥95;
  • 180mm barrel lens, ¥80;
  • 105mm enlarging lens, ¥25;
  • 75mm enlarging lens, ¥20;
  • 50mm enlarging lens, ¥20.

The advertisement mentions the company as a kabushiki-gaisha (株式会社) and says that the distributor of the Tomioka lenses was Takashimaya Iida (高島屋飯田). Another advertisement, where the company is mentioned as a gōshi-gaisha (合資会社), gives the distributor as Nichiei Shōkai.[6]

The company was required to make military optical ordnance, including the 2m telephoto camera.[7] It opened a secundary plant in a place known as Ōfuna, in the city of Kamakura (prefecture of Kanagawa), which mainly produced binoculars.[8] After the war, this plant was separated from the main company and became Ōfuna Kōgaku (see the corresponding page).

Towards the end of the war, part of the main plant tooling was evacuated to another location in the village of Osogi (小曽木村), in the district of Nishitama (西多摩郡), Tokyo, which would later be merged into the city of Ōme (青梅市).[9] This allowed the company to survive the war despite the complete destruction of the main plant by an aerial bombing on May 24, 1945.[10]


After the war, a new factory was opened in October 1945 in the village of Osogi.[11] In January 1946, Tomioka was one of the 17 founding members of the Optical and Precision Instruments Manufacturers' Association (光学精機工業協会, Kōgaku Seiki Kōgyō Kyōkai).[12] The company supplied lenses to a number of Japanese camera makers such as Yashica and Royal Camera. In addition to the Lausar, other types and brand names include Tominon, Tominor, Tri-Lausar, Tomi-Kogaku, Auto-Tominon, Tomi-Yashinon, Yashimar, Yashikor, Yashinon, Heliotar and Lumaxar. (Yashinon lenses have a reputation of good quality.)

Tomioka was bought by Yashica in 1968 and changed its name to Tomioka Kōgaku K.K. (冨岡光学㈱, Tomioka Optical Co., Ltd.) in 1969.[13] The Tomioka plant made Carl Zeiss licensed optics for use on some Japanese cameras, like the Contax. These were made with at least some Zeiss tooling and personnel.[14] Tomioka became part of the Kyocera group in 1983 after the merge of Kyocera and Yashica and became Kyocera Optec Co., Ltd. (京セラオプテック㈱) in 1991.[15] Rumours say that Carl Zeiss progressively took control of the production facility and closed down the plant but they seem wrong (though the production line of the Zeiss licensed lenses has obviously stopped).[16] The company currently (2008) still exists.

List of products[]


Interchangeable lenses[]

The Ofunar 50mm f/3.5 lens found on a Gokoku with Leica mount might have been made by Tomioka's Ōfuna factory during World War II, or by Ōfuna after the war. (See Gokoku and Ricohl.)

  • Tomioka 42mm screw lenses
  • Lenses for Copal Press or Copal Polaroid shutters (mainly 135mm, 127mm, 105mm and 75mm, fitted on Polaroid "gel cam" uquipments, for video monitor reproduction and other scientific use).
  • Lenses for Polaroid MP-4 reprocamera, with their own diaphragm, front mounted on one special type of Copal/Polaroid "Press" No.1 shutter):
  • Tominon 1:4 f=17mm (10-20x)
  • Tominon 1:4 f=35mm (2-10x)
  • Tominon 1:4.5 f=50mm (2-5x)
  • Tominon 1:4.5 f=75mm (up to 4x)
  • Tominon 1:4.5 f=105mm (up to 1.5x)
  • Tominon 1:4.7 f=127mm (up to 1x)

Fixed lenses on cameras from other makers[]

Not all examples of the cameras listed below have Tomioka lenses.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hagiya, p.148 of Sengo kokusan kamera jū monogatari. Part of the data is also in Inoue, p.129 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14, in Baird, p.59 and in Lewis, p.185.
  2. Date and location: Hagiya, p.148 of Sengo kokusan kamera jū monogatari. Year also in Baird, p.59, and in Lewis, p.185. The lens name is mistakenly given as "Lauser" in Lewis, pp.46 and 185. The company's address is detailed as Yukigaya-chō 864 (東京市大森区雪ヶ谷町八六四) in the advertisement in Asahi Camera January 1938 reproduced on p.150 of Sengo kokusan kamera jū monogatari, and Yukigaya-chō 929 (東京都大森区雪ヶ谷町929) in the "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras").
  3. Hagiya, pp.148–9 of Sengo kokusan kamera jū monogatari. The subsidy is also mentioned in the advertisement in Asahi Camera January 1938 reproduced on p.150 of the same source.
  4. Lewis, p.185, says that the new name was adopted in 1932, whereas Baird, p.59, says 1933. Hagiya, p.149 of Sengo kokusan kamera jū monogatari, only says that the company became a kabushiki-gaisha around that time. However the advertisement reproduced in Inoue, p.130 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14, mentions the company as a gōshi-gaisha, and the date of the establishment as a kabushiki-gaisha is unclear.
  5. Advertisement in Asahi Camera reproduced in Hagiya, p.150 of Sengo kokusan kamera jū monogatari.
  6. Advertisement reproduced in Inoue, p.130 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14. The address is given as Nihonbashi, Honchō 1–1 in Tokyo (東京・日本橋・本町一ノ一), but this seems to correspond to the address of Nichiei Shōkai, not of Tomioka.
  7. Hagiya, p.149 of Sengo kokusan kamera jū monogatari.
  8. Hagiya, p.149 of Sengo kokusan kamera jū monogatari. The address was Kanagawa-ken Kamakura-shi Dai 659 (神奈川県鎌倉市台659番地).
  9. Hagiya, p.149 of Sengo kokusan kamera jū monogatari.
  10. Hagiya, p.149 of Sengo kokusan kamera jū monogatari.
  11. The company history in the official website of its successor Kyocera Optec says that the company was established in 1949 as K.K. Tomioka Kōgaku Kikai Seizōsho (㈱冨岡光学機械製造所), based in Tokyo, Ōme (青梅). This source does not mention any event prior to 1949, and this information is therefore dubious.
  12. Lewis, p.60.
  13. Kyocera Optec company history.
  14. Camera Lens News no.3.
  15. Kyocera Optec company history.
  16. See for example this post at



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