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Clover Vest, Friend and Kooa

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Japanese Vest (4×5 and 4×6.5) (edit)
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unknown
4×5 Vesten
999+99*9999999 Victor Vest
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Japanese 3×4 and 4×4, 4.5×6, 6×6 and 6×9 ->

The Clover Vest, the Friend and the Kooa are Japanese folding cameras taking 4×6.5cm exposures on 127 film, dating from the second half of the 1930s.

Common description Edit

The three models have nearly the same body and were probably made by the same company.[1] They are copies of the Pearlette by Konishiroku, itself copied from the Piccolette by Contessa-Nettel. All these cameras are inspired by the Vest Pocket Kodak.

The front standard is mounted on a pair of scissor struts and extends towards the bottom to act as a standing leg. It seems that the shutter release slides to the right of the front standard. There is a brilliant finder at the top of the front plate, on the photographer's left, and a wireframe finder. The wireframe retracts behind the front plate and the eyepiece, shaped as a trident, retracts under the red window cover.

The winding knob or key is situated at the bottom left, as seen by the photographer holding the camera vertically. The back is fixed and the film is loaded through the side plate, on the advance side. The plate is locked by a knob with C and O positions (presumably for Close and Open). The red window cover plate is circular as on the Pearlette, but it has a single aperture.

The shutter is everset and gives T, B, 25, 50, 100 speeds, selected by a small wheel at the top.[2] The shutter plate is plain black, with the aperture scale at the bottom and no markings. The lens has f/6.3 aperture and is fixed-focus.[3]

The Clover Vest Edit

The Clover Vest was probably distributed by Hagi, owner of the Clover brand. It is mentioned in the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, for ¥33.[4]

The only surviving example observed so far is pictured in Yazawa.[5] It has an advance knob, certainly made of black plastic, and the presence of the wireframe finder is unconfirmed.

The front standard is marked Clover in cursive style at the bottom and there is a clover-shaped logo at the top left (opposite the brilliant finder).

The Friend Edit

The Friend (フレンド) was advertised in the March 1937 issue of Asahi Camera by Akabane Shashinki-ten (Tokyo).[6] The lens was mentioned as an Anastigmat f/6.3, with no further detail. The camera cost ¥22 and the case cost ¥3.50. It is said that the camera was also distributed by the company Friend-sha (フレンド社) of Osaka.[7]

The only surviving example observed so far is pictured in Sugiyama.[8] It has an advance key and a wireframe finder. The lens is reported as a Friend Anastigmat f/6.3.

The front standard is marked Friend at the bottom and there is an intricate logo at the top left, looking like the RK logo of the Pearlette.

The Kooa Edit

In the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, the Kooa is mentioned in two versions, called "Kooa I" (¥33) and "Kooa II" (¥45), with no further detail.[9] The price categories might indicate that the Kooa I and II are distinguished by the lens aperture, respectively f/6.3 and f/4.5, but this is unsure.

The only surviving example observed so far is pictured in Yazawa.[10] It has an advance key and a wireframe finder. Its lens is a Friend Anastigmat f/6.3, the same as on the Friend.

The front standard is marked Kooa in cursive style at the bottom and there is a logo at the top left (opposite the brilliant finder), with the word KOOA inside a rising sun.

Notes Edit

  1. This is pointed out in Yazawa, pp.3–5 of Camera Collectors' News no.260.
  2. Shutter speeds reported in Yazawa, p.4 of Camera Collectors' News no.260, and in Sugiyama, item 1067.
  3. The f/6.3 aperture is confirmed for the Friend and Kooa, and likely for the Clover Vest.
  4. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 2, section 3.
  5. Yazawa, p.5 of Camera Collectors' News no.260.
  6. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.91.
  7. Yazawa, p.4 of Camera Collectors' News no.260.
  8. Sugiyama, item 1067.
  9. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 2, section 3.
  10. Yazawa, p.5 of Camera Collectors' News no.260.

Bibliography Edit

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