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Idea (metal)

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tefuda (8×10.5cm) Eagle | Idea A | Idea B | Idea No.1 | Idea (metal) | Iris | Lily (original) | Lily (horizontal) | Lily (metal) | Palma | Pearl No.3, No.4 | Minimum Pearl | Special Pearl | Sakura Palace | Sakura Pocket Prano | Star | Tokiwa | Weha
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3×4 and 4×4, 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6, 6×6 and 6×9 ->

The Idea (アイデア) are Japanese plate folders made by Rokuoh-sha, the manufacturing branch of Konishiroku (predecessor of Konica). This page is about the models made after the introduction of a metal body in 1930, existing in 6.5×9cm or 8×10.5cm size. These models replaced the Idea No.1 wooden models. All the metal Idea have a vertical body and split folding struts. Some cameras were sold under the name Weha Idea (ウエハーアイデア) by Yamamoto Shashinki-ten.

See also the other Idea models.

1930 model Edit

Description Edit

The Idea models released in 1930 were the first to have a metal body.[1] The bellows have "one and a half" extension,[2] and there is a small focusing index on the photographer's right, moving along a distance scale. The U-shaped front standard has rounded contours and allows vertical movements;[3] it is pulled forward by two cylindrical pins. There is a brilliant finder, a wireframe hinged to the front standard and a small round eyepiece at the rear. There is a leather handle and a folding bed release at the top. The original ground glass hood has the name Rokuoh-sha embossed in the leather, and the metal plate holders and film pack holder also have ROKUOH-SHA inscribed in relief.

The known surviving examples show some variations in the position of the brilliant finder and consequently in the shape of the lens standard. At least three types exist. The presumably older one, observed in 6.5×9cm size, has the brilliant finder centered above the lens; this finder is collapsible and has a square window.[4] The presumably intermediate type, observed in 8×10.5cm size, has a large collapsible finder offset to the left, with a round window.[5] The presumably late type, observed in 6.5×9cm size, has a smaller rigid finder offset to the left, with a round window, similar to that of the 1933 Idea.[6]

Versions Edit

The 1930 model exists in 6.5×9cm and 8×10.5cm size. In an advertisement in the June 1932 issue of Asahi Camera, the price is given as "from ¥35" for 6.5×9cm daimeishi size and "from ¥44" for 8×10.5cm tefuda size, with an f/6.8 lens.

The camera was reportedly offered with the following lens and shutter combinations:[7]

One source also mentions the Trinar f/4.5 lens by Rodenstock.[11]

One example is known with the Trinar f/6.3 lens and a Koilos shutter (T, B, 25–100), in 8×10.5cm size.[12]

Another example is known with a Nikkor 105/4.5 lens by Nippon Kōgaku, a dial-set Compur shutter (T, B, 1–250) and the early type of viewfinder.[13] Nippon Kōgaku had previously made a preseries of Lily cameras with its earlier Nikkor lenses, and it perhaps switched to the Idea for its first Nikkor lenses.

Weha Idea rebadged model Edit

The Idea (1930 model) was also distributed by Yamamoto Shashinki-ten under the name Weha Idea (ウエハーアイでヤカメラ). This model is known from an advertisement dated April 1933, where it is listed along with the Weha Light B.[14] It is a daimeishi size model, described as "manufactured by Rokuoh-sha", having a single extension bellows and a Heliostar Anastigmat lens. The camera was supplied with three plate holders and one film pack holder. The following options are listed in the advertisement:

It is not known if this Weha Idea can be distinguished from the regular Idea model sold by Konishiroku, apart from the specific lens and shutter equipment.

1933 model Edit

New main body Edit

The 1930 model was replaced in 1933 by the Year-Eight Idea (八年型アイデア, hachinen-gata aidea), only existing in 6.5×9cm size. The name "Year-Eight Idea" refers to Shōwa year 8, i.e. 1933, and was effectively used at the time for advertising.[15] It has a different body, easily recognized by the angled front standard pulled out by two triangular handles. Limited vertical movements are available, as on the 1930 model. There is a rigid brilliant finder offset to the left; the wireframe finder has indents at the bottom, and the rear eyepiece has a rectangular shape. All the examples observed so far have a depth-of-field table on the left side. All these features would be shared by the Ohca plate folder released by Konishiroku in 1935.

Two models exist; the simpler one has a focusing system similar to the 1930 model, with a focusing index and distance scale on the photographer's right, the same as on the 1930 model. The advanced model has true double extension bellows, with more elaborate focusing rails, a small focus wheel on the right and the distance scale on the left. The modern sources imply that the two models were offered simultaneously, but this is unconfirmed, and the double extension model might plausibly have replaced the simpler one.

Japanese lenses and shutters Edit

The Year-Eight Idea was the first model to have Japanese lenses and shutters. The camera was initially announced with a Zion f/6.3 or f/4.5 lens made by Asahi Kōgaku and an Apus or Zeus shutter by Rokuoh-sha, in all four possible combinations. These are listed in an advertisement dated March 1933, at the following prices:[16]

  • Zion f/6.3, Apus, ¥40;
  • Zion f/4.5, Apus, ¥47;
  • Zion f/6.3, Zeus, ¥50;
  • Zion f/4.5, Zeus, ¥55.

The Apus gives T, B, 25, 50, 100 speeds and the Zeus gives T, B, 1–125 speeds. Both have a thread and needle release device (a crude replacement for a self-timer). All the models were supplied with three single-plated plate holders and one film pack holder. The camera pictured in this advertisement has the focusing index on the right, and no focus wheel.

Some months later, the Zion lens was replaced by the Optor, again in f/6.3 or f/4.5; it seems that the Zeus shutter was renamed Durax at about the same time.[17] Sources are conflicting on whether the Optor f/6.3 and Durax combination was offered or not.[18]

The Idea was reportedly advertised with an Apus shutter in July and August 1936 issues of camera magazines, and as the "Idea New" (アイデア新型) with a Durax shutter in the July 1936 issue of Kogata Camera and in a catalogue by Yamashita Yūjirō Shōten dated April 1937.[19] The Idea was advertised again in the May 1939 issue of Asahi Camera, where it is said to have true double extension bellows.[20] In this advertisement, the price is given as ¥45 with an Apus shutter and f/6.3 lens, and as ¥50 with an f/4.5 lens; brown or green leather covering is also listed for ¥2 extra. One source says that the green model comes with green bellows,[21] and one brown example has been reported with tan bellows.[22]

Surviving examples are known in the following combinations:

No example has yet been observed with a Zeus shutter.

Notes Edit

  1. Date: Kikuoka, p.30 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10; Sugiyama, items 1096–9.
  2. "One and a half" extension: Kikuoka, p.30 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  3. Vertical movements: Kikuoka, p.30 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  4. Examples pictured in Sugiyama, items 1096 and 1103, and in McKeown, p.538.
  5. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1098.
  6. Examples pictured in Sugiyama, items 1097 and 1099.
  7. Kikuoka, p.31 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  8. This version is pictured in 6.5×9cm size in Sugiyama, item 1099 (where the lens name is wrongly spelled "Deltus"), and perhaps in McKeown, p.538.
  9. This version is pictured in 6.5×9cm size in Sugiyama, item 1096.
  10. This version is pictured in 6.5×9cm size in Sugiyama, item 1097.
  11. See this page of the R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha website.
  12. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1098.
  13. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1103, where it is dated 1935 for some reason.
  14. Advertisement published in the April 1st, 1933 issue of Ōsaka Shashin Shinbun, reproduced in Tanimura, p.97 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.12.
  15. Advertisement in Shashin Geppō March 1933 reproduced at the bottom of this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha. The name is translated as "Idea (Showa 8)" or "Idea Hand Camera (Showa 8)" in Sugiyama, items 1100–2.
  16. Advertisement in Shashin Geppō March 1933 reproduced at the bottom of this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha.
  17. Kikuoka, p.31 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, says August 1933 for the Optor and Durax; Tanaka, p.40 of the same magazine, says 1934 for the Optor.
  18. Kikuoka, p.31 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, does not list the Optor f/6.3 and Durax combination; Tanaka, p.40 of the same magazine, mentions this combination in the text.
  19. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.334.
  20. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.82.
  21. Tanaka, p.40 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  22. Example offered for sale by a dealer, with an Optor f/6.3 lens and Apus shutter; no picture was observed and the exact model is unknown.
  23. Examples pictured in Sugiyama, item 1101, in Kikuoka, p.30 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, and in Tanaka, p.40 of the same magazine (where it is wrongly reported as having an Optor).
  24. Example observed in an online auction. It has a depth-of-field table riveted on the side with the words Optor Anas.t 10.5c.m.
  25. Example observed in an online auction.
  26. Examples pictured in Lewis, p.47, and observed in an online auction.
  27. Examples pictured in Sugiyama, item 1100, in Kikuoka, p.30 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, and in Tanaka, p.40 of the same magazine.
  28. Example observed in a Chinese website.
  29. Example pictured in the first page of the Yamada Camera Museum.
  30. Examples pictured in Sugiyama, item 1102, in Kamera no ayumi, p.84, and observed in online auctions.

Bibliography Edit

Links Edit

In Japanese:


Konishiroku prewar and wartime cameras (edit)
plate hand cameras stereo hand cameras strut folders box telephoto SLR
Idea (original) | Idea A | Idea B | Idea Snap | Idea No.1 | Idea (metal) | Lily (original) | Lily (horizontal) | Lily (metal) | Tropical Lily | Noble | Ohca | Sakura Palace | Sakura Pocket Prano | Sakura Prano Idea Binocular | Sakura Binocular Prano Minimum Idea | Idea Spring | Korok Champion | Cherry | Sakura Army | Sakura Honor | Sakura Navy Idea Telephoto Idea Reflex (1910 and 1911) | Idea Reflex (1932) | Neat Reflex | Sakura Reflex Prano
rollfilm folders box or collapsible TLR
Pearlette | Special Pearlette | B Pearlette | Pearl (for plates and rollfilm) | Pearl No.2 | Pearl (Year 8) | Baby Pearl | Semi Pearl | Sakura Palace Record | Sakura (box) | Sakura (bakelite) Sakura-flex

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