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Bonny Four

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The Bonny Four (ボニー・フォアー) is a Japanese camera taking 4×4cm pictures on 127 film. It was made by Yamasaki Seiki[1] and distributed by Ōmiya Shashin-yōhin in the first half of the 1940s.

Description Edit

The Bonny Four has a rigid body, made of alloy.[1] The lens and shutter assembly is mounted on a tube, which is perhaps telescopic. The top and bottom plates are chrome finished. The tubular viewfinder is offset to the left, as seen by the photographer. Its casing extends further to the left, supporting an accessory shoe. The name BONNY and the company initials YSS are engraved on the top plate, together with the serial number.

The back is removable together with the bottom plate for film loading. The film is advanced by a knob at the right end of the top plate. The advance is manually controlled by three red windows in the back, protected by sliding covers opened by two sliding levers. This advance method requires to use the numbers 1, 3, 5, 7 twice (in the outer windows) and the numbers 2, 4, 6, 8 once, in the central window. (There are no numbers on the paper backing of 127 film for 4×4cm exposures.) Another camera of the same format using this advance method is the Super Flex Baby SLR, which has a plate on the back to remind the user of the sequence. The Bonny Four lacks such a reminder, certainly making it quite tedious to use. Other 4×4cm viewfinder cameras made in Japan at the period usually have auto-stop advance, to avoid this problem.

The lens is a three-element Bonny Anastigmat 50mm f/4.5, apparently focused by turning the front element. It was made by a company called Suzuki.[2] The shutter gives T, B, 150, 100, 50, 25 speeds, and was made by Hasegawa.[3] Its front plate is black, with the name BONNY inscribed at the bottom. The aperture scale is at the top, and is inscribed Y.S.S. too.

Documents and surviving example Edit

The Bonny Four appears in the list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, where it is mentioned at ¥60 with no further detail.[4] Its name is given in advertisements dated 1941 and February 1942 by Ōmiya Shashin-yōhin together with the Bonny Six, again with no detail.[5] Another advertisement by Ōmiya, in the October 1942 issue of Shashin Bunka, mentions the lens name and aperture and the range of shutter speeds, and shows a picture of the camera.[6] The Bonny Four is still mentioned in the April 1943 government inquiry on Japanese camera production.[7]

The only surviving example observed so far has body no.2677 and lens no.3016, and is pictured above.

Notes Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 199.
  2. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), lens item Jc3.
  3. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), shutter item 18-V-7.
  4. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 1, section 5.
  5. Advertisement dated 1941 reproduced in the Nostalgic Camera page by Toshio Inamura, and advertisement in Asahi Camera February 1942, visible in this page of Xylocopal's photolog.
  6. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.92. Other advertisements dated 1942 are listed on p.341 of the same book.
  7. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 199.

Bibliography Edit

This camera is not listed in Sugiyama.

Links Edit

In Japanese:

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