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Focal Happy

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Japanese plate strut-folding cameras (edit)
No.0 (4×5cm) CH
atom (4.5×6cm) Idea Spring
meishi (5.5×8cm) Minimum Idea | Korok
daimeishi (6.5×9cm) Idea Spring | Minolta | Auto Minolta | Auto Press Minolta | Nifca-Dox | Vester Klapp
tefuda (8×10.5cm) Focal Happy | Idea Spring | Idea Telephoto
10×15cm Kongo Press
kabine (12×16.5cm) Idea Spring | Idea Telephoto
Japanese plate film: monocular, box, folding bed and SLR ->
3×4 and 4×4, 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6, 6×6 and 6×9 ->

The Focal Happy (フォーカルハッピー) is a Japanese strut-folding camera taking 8×10.5cm tefuda plates. It was sold and perhaps made by Asanuma Shōkai, owner of the Happy brand later used for a plate folder by Molta.

Description Edit

The Focal Happy has a wooden body, inspired by the Ernemann Klapp camera. The rectangular front standard is mounted on four straight folding struts, mounted in pairs on spring-loaded axles. The lens is mounted on a focusing helix with a large focus tab, and is surrounded by a sort of hood, slightly off-centre towards the bottom.

The rear part of the camera contains a vertically-travelling focal-plane shutter, wound and set by a large knob on the photographer's right. This shutter is said to give T, B, 20–500 speeds.[1] The release button protrudes at the front of the right-hand side plate, and there is a thread for a cable release just below. There is a leather handle on the photographer's left, helping to hold the camera.

Surviving examples Edit

Two surviving examples of the Focal Happy are known so far. The lens is reported as a Schneider Xenar 12cm f/4.5 on both cameras.[2]

The example pictured in McKeown has a metal plate screwed at the top, reading Focal Happy and 浅沼照会 ("Asanuma Shōkai" in kanji script); it perhaps also displays a serial number and the address of the company or a list of towns where it is installed. The axles of the folding struts are visible on the top plate. There is another plate attached below the shutter knob, certainly giving indications about the shutter speeds. The front standard has a wireframe hinged to the top. No eyepiece is visible, either because it is missing or because it is hidden behind the top plate.

The example pictured in Sugiyama has nothing on the top plate, and the axles of the folding struts do not show through. There is a large metal plate covering the whole right-hand side plate; it reads Focal Happy above the shutter knob, has a table of indications below and certainly the name 浅沼照会 ("Asanuma Shōkai") at the bottom. No wireframe finder is visible, perhaps because it is missing. The front standard has two additional handles, on both sides of the lens, helping to pull it out. This example seems later than the other one, but this is merely a guess.

Notes Edit

  1. Speeds: Sugiyama, item 1070, McKeown, p.85.
  2. Example pictured in McKeown, p.85, and example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1070.

Bibliography Edit

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