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Baby Doris

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Japanese Baby (3×4) and Four (4×4) (edit)
folding
3×4 Baby Balnet | Doris | Baby Doris | Baby Germa | Kinsi | Baby Leotax | Loren | Baby Lyra | Baby Pearl | Baby Pilot | Baby Rosen | Baby Suzuka | Walz
4×4 Adler Four | Rosen Four
rigid or collapsible
3×4 Baika | Baby Chrome | Comet | Cyclon | Gelto | Baby Germa | Gokoku | Hamond | Baby Hawk | Kinka Lucky | Lausar | Light | Baby Light | Molby | Mulber | Olympic | Baby Ōso | Peacock | Picny | Ricohl | Rorox | Shinko Baby | Slick | Baby Sport | Tsubasa Arawashi | Baby Uirus | Zessan
3.5×4 Kenko 35
4×4 Alma Four | Andes Four | Anny 44 | Arsen | Balnet Four | Bonny Four | Freude | Kalimar 44 | Auto Keef | Kraft | Letix | Mykey-4 | Olympic Four | Roico | Royal Senior | Seica | Terra Junior | Vero Four | Welmy 44 | Yashica Future 127
unknown
Baby First | Baby Lyra Flex
Japanese SLR, TLR, pseudo TLR and stereo models ->
Japanese 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6, 6×6 and 6×9 ->

The Baby Doris (ベビードリス) is a Japanese 3×4cm folding camera, distributed from 1941 to 1943 by Fukada Shōkai.[1] It succeeded to the original Doris (3×4) camera and was probably made by Shinkō Seiki (see the discussion below).

Description Edit

The Baby Doris is a vertical folder, with straight folding struts. The main body is shaped the same as on the previous strut-folding Doris, which was perhaps made by the same company. The folding optical finder is in the middle of the top plate, as seen by the photographer holding the camera horizontally. There is a button on the top plate, falling under the right index finger and looking like a shutter release, but it certainly opens the folding bed instead. The advance knob is at the top left. The back is hinged to the left, and retained by a sliding bar on the right. The name DORIS is embossed in the front leather.

Commercial life Edit

The Baby Doris was first advertised in September 1941, and was featured in the new products column of the October 1941 issue of Shashin Bunka.[2]

Advertisements in Shashin Bunka dated October 1942 and February 1943 list three versions of the camera:[3]

  • Baby Doris I: Doris Anastigmat 50/4.5 lens, T, B, 25, 50, 100 speeds, ¥52;
  • Baby Doris II: Doris Anastigmat 50/4.5 lens, T, B, 5–150 speeds, ¥68;
  • Baby Doris IIII: U.L.L. Anastigmat 50/3.5 lens, same speeds (or perhaps T, B, 10–150 with self-timer),[4] ¥80.

The case is listed separately for ¥5.51. There is no mention of a Baby Doris III. On the picture, which is the same on the two advertisements, the camera has a chrome finished shutter plate, marked DORIS at the bottom.

The April 1943 government inquiry on Japanese camera production has a "Doris" 3×4cm bellows camera made by Shinkō and distributed by Fukada, certainly corresponding to the Baby Doris.[5] Two versions are listed, both with a Doris shutter made by Shinkō:[6]

  • "Doris": Doris 50/4.5 lens, 25–100, B speeds;
  • "Doris VI": U.L.L. 50/3.5 lens, 5–150, T, B speeds.

These two versions have the same features as the Baby Doris I and Baby Doris IIII listed above. The name "Doris VI" is presumably a mistake for "Doris IV", perhaps introduced in the recent reproduction of the document, compiled from a hand-written original which is said to be hardly legible on some places.[7]

Actual examples Edit

Only two surviving examples have been observed so far, and both correspond to the Baby Doris I.[8] They have a black shutter plate, marked DORIS at the top. The speeds are engraved in the shutter rim in the order 100, 50, 25, B, T.

Manufacturer Edit

The April 1943 government inquiry says that the Baby Doris and its Doris shutter were made by Shinkō.[9] No other source has been found to confirm this, and the original advertisements only give the name of the distributor Fukada Shōkai.[10]

Some sources say that the camera was made by "Prince Camera Works".[11] but this was not the name of any actual company, only a dummy name used for promotional purpose (see Camera Works). Moreover, this name is not associated to the Baby Doris in any of the original documents seen so far.

The "Doris" name might also be related to the name of Mr Motodori, founder of the Motodori company. At least this was the case for the postwar Doris cameras made by Tōkyō Seiki and later Doris Camera (successors of the Motodori company).[12]

Notes Edit

  1. Dates: advertisements and articles listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.338.
  2. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.338.
  3. Advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.60 and 80.
  4. For the model IIII, the shutter speeds are written "T, B, S, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/150". The letter "S" might be a typo for 1/5, or an abbreviation for "Self-timer".
  5. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), items 170–1.
  6. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), shutter items 12-U-1 and 12-V-5.
  7. Supuringu kamera de ikou, p.187.
  8. Examples pictured in this page at Kitanomachi tekuteku aruki, and in Sugiyama, item 1039.
  9. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), items 170–1.
  10. Advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.60 and 80.
  11. Sugiyama, item 1039, and McKeown, p.803.
  12. Niimi, p.92.

Bibliography Edit

Links Edit

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