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Baby Germa

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The Baby Germa (ベビーゲルマー)[1] is a Japanese camera taking 3×4cm exposures on 127 film, made from late 1938 by Tōkyō Shashin Kōgaku Kōgyōsha. It seems that two different versions exist, one has a rigid body and the other has a bellows.

See also the Semi Germa.

Rigid camera Edit

Advertising and other documents Edit

The Baby Germa was advertised in the October 1938 issue of Ars Camera and featured in the new products column of the November 1938 issue of Asahi Camera.[2] Based on this description, Kokusan kamera no rekishi says that the Baby Germa is a 3×4 camera with a telescopic tube and a tubular finder, and lists the following lens and shutter combinations:[3]

  • Trinar 50/4.5, Compur (T, B, 1–300);
  • Trinar 50/4.5, Germa A (T, B, 5–250);
  • Trinar 50/4.5, Germa B (T, B, 25–150).

The October advertisement reportedly mentions the maker Tōkyō Shashin Kōgaku as the maker of the Tsubasa photo products.[4]

Description Edit

The only known example of the rigid Baby Germa is pictured in Sugiyama.[5] It has a metal body, looking like it was made for a folding camera but the bellows part was solidified as an afterthought. It seems that there is a telescopic tube supporting the lens and shutter assembly.

The advance knob is at the left end of the top plate. There is an eye-level finder in the middle, contained in a housing extending to the right end of the top plate. This housing contains an additional brilliant finder and supports an accessory shoe. The back is hinged to the right.

The example pictured in Sugiyama has a shutter giving 5–250, B, T speeds, perhaps corresponding to the Germa A. The shutter plate is marked BABY-GERMA at the top and TSK at the bottom, maybe for Tōkyō Shashin Kōgaku. The release lever is on the shutter housing itself. The lens is a front-cell focusing 5cm f/4.5, reportedly called Helios Anastigmat, and it has no.2532. The aperture scale is at the bottom of the shutter plate.

Folding camera Edit

Original documents Edit

The Baby Germa is mentioned as a bellows camera in the government inquiry listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943.[6] The document says that the camera was made by Tōkyō Shashin and distributed by Kigawa. The lens is reported as a three-element Helios 50/4.5 made by Tōkyō Shashin, and the description of the shutter is missing.[7]

Description Edit

The only known example of the folding Baby Germa is pictured in this page. Its body is extremely similar to the Baby Leotax, except for the absence of a logo in the folding struts. (Both cameras are inspired from the German Baby Ikonta.) There is a folding optical finder, identical to the finder of the Baby Leotax, and a body release on the left of the top plate, with a slightly different shape. The advance knob is at the bottom right and is apparently similar to the knob of the Baby Leotax. The back is hinged to the left and has two red windows, protected by a cover.

The lens is a Helios Anastigmat 5cm f/4.5, with no.4644 (later than on the rigid example). The shutter gives T, B, 1–200 speeds, and its size looks smaller than the shutter of the rigid example. The shutter plate is inscribed BABY GERMA at the top but has no "TSK" marking.

Notes Edit

  1. This camera is called "Baby Gelmer" in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.336, but the shutter face reads BABY GERMA. ("Gelmer" and "Germa" are two possible readings of the katakana ゲルマー, see Gelmer).
  2. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.336.
  3. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.336.
  4. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.336.
  5. Sugiyama, item 4036.
  6. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 167.
  7. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), lens item Jc12.

Bibliography Edit

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