Japanese subminiature
on paper-backed roll film and round film (edit)
17.5mm film Baby Flex | Baby-Max | Barlux | Beauty 14 | Bell 14 | Blondy | Baby Colon | Comex | Corona | Croma Color 16 | Epochs | Fuji Kozet | Gamma | Gem 16 | Gemflex | Glico Lighter | Halmat | Hit | Hit-II | Hit-type | Hobby 16 | Homer No.1 | Homer 16 | Honey | Hope | Jenic | Kiku 16 | Kolt | Kute | Lovely | Mascot | Meteor | Micky | Midget | Mighty | Mini | Moment | Mycro | Myracle | Nikkobaby | Peace | Peace Baby Flex | Peace Small Lef | Pet | Petit | Petty | Prince 16-A | Prince Ruby | Robin | New Rocket | Rubina | Rubix | Saga 16 | Saica | Septon Pen | Sholy-Flex | Snappy | Spy-14 | Sun | Sun B | Sun 16 | Sweet 16 | Tacker | Takka | Tone | Top Camera | Toyoca 16 | Toyoca Ace | Tsubame | Vesta | Vista | Vestkam
20mm film Guzzi | Mycroflex | Top
round film Evarax | Petal | Sakura Petal | Star
unknown Hallow | Lyravit | Tsubasa
cine film see Japanese cine film subminiature
110 film see Japanese 110 film

The Tsubame is a Japanese subminiature camera made in the late 1940s or early 1950s by an unknown company, and only known from an entry in Sugiyama.[1]

Description[edit | edit source]

The Tsubame takes 14×14mm pictures on 17.5mm paper backed rollfilm. It is slightly better than the average Hit-type camera, and has some strange features. It has a waist-level finder only, contained in the middle of the top housing, and no direct vision finder. There is a body release on the right of the viewfinder (as seen by the photographer), an unusual feature on Hit-type models.

The film is advanced by a knob on the left, with numbers engraved at the top, certainly a crude form of exposure counter. It is not known if there is a red window on the back or if the frame spacing relies on these numbers only. The back is probably hinged to the left, and there is a spring-loaded latch on the right. The leatherette covering is clear-coloured and has a decorative pattern.

The lens is a fixed-focus Tsubame Anastigmat 20mm f/4.5, and the aperture is reportedly adjustable from 4.5 to 9. The shutter has B, 100, 50, 25 speeds selected by turning the rim.

Documents[edit | edit source]

No document mentioning the Tsubame has been found, and the only example known so far is pictured in Sugiyama.[2] This book gives the name "Tsubame" (meaning "swallow" in Japanese) but it is unconfirmed: in the picture, no marking is visible except for the lens name.

Various sources describe a "Swallow" subminiature with a waist-level finder only, whose features exactly correspond to the Tsubame.[3] None provides a picture, and they might make a confusion with the English translation provided in Sugiyama for "Tsubame".

Notes[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • 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 5154.

The Tsubame is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.

Links[edit | edit source]

In English:

  • Swallow among 17.5mm cameras at Subclub.org, mentioning a version with a waist-level finder only, perhaps corresponding to the Tsubame
  • Swallow at Submin.com, mentioning a version with a waist-level finder only, perhaps corresponding to the Tsubame
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