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Idea A

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Japanese plate cameras, folding bed (edit)
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Japanese plate film: monocular, box, strut-folding and SLR ->
3×4 and 4×4, 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6, 6×6 and 6×9 ->

The Pocket Idea A1 (ポケットアイデアA一号), Idea A1 (アイデアA一号) and Idea A (アイデアA号) are Japanese plate folders made by Rokuoh-sha, the manufacturing branch of Konishi or Konishiroku (predecessors of Konica). They exist in tefuda (8×10.5cm) and meishi (5.5×8cm) size (some sources say daimeishi or 6.5×9cm, see below). They replaced the Sakura Pocket Prano in 1909, and were replaced in 1923 by the Idea No.1. The cheaper Idea B and Idea Snap, with single extension bellows, were offered simultaneously.

See also the other Idea models.

The tefuda models Edit

Description Edit

The tefuda models have an all-wooden vertically folding body, with a handle at the top. The bellows have double extension and are driven by a knob on the photographer's right, with a distance scale on the left. Variations are known in the shape of the folding struts, of which at least two types exist — thinner or larger. The front standard has two masts supporting the lensboard, and allows vertical and horizontal movements. It has a brilliant finder at the top, to the photographer's left, with a retracting hood; this finder exists in silver finish with a bubble level attached to the side, or in black finish with no bubble level.

Pocket Idea A1 Edit

The Pocket Idea A1 was reportedly introduced in August 1909, together with the Pocket Idea B.[1] It is said that the lens and shutter combinations available at the time were as follows:[2]

The camera appears in a 1909 catalogue by Ueda Shashinki-ten, where it is called "Idea No.1".[3] It was priced at ¥25 with a Bausch & Lomb RR lens and a Gem shutter.

In the December 1911 catalogue by Konishi Honten, the camera is called "Idea Pocket Hand Camera" in English and "Pocket Idea A1 Hand Camera" (ポケット、アイデヤA壹號手提暗箱) in Japanese script.[4] The following lens and shutter combinations are listed:

The camera was supplied with three double-sided plate holders. In the illustration, the camera has a pointed lensboard, the locking screw for the rise movement is to the photographer's left, and the bubble level is present next to the viewfinder; the shape of the folding struts is not visible.

Another catalogue extract lists the following versions at an unknown date:[6]

  • "Kō" (甲), ¥23.50;
  • "Otsu" (乙), with a Pronto shutter, ¥33.50;
  • "Hei" (丙), Voigtländer Dynar lens, Compound shutter, ¥76.

The version names "Kō", "Otsu", "Hei" were probably not officially given by Konishi but attributed by the distributor.[7]

At least one document shows the model names Pocket Idea A1, A2 and A3, but nothing else is known about the latter two.[8]

An advertisement dated 1914 in Shashin Geppō presents the Idea Camera A1 (アイデアカメラA一號), along with the nimaigake and kabine-size No.2 and No.4 (二號 and 四号).[9] The A1 is listed with a Rapid Aplanat lens and a Single shutter, for ¥26, and with an Extra Rapid Aplanat lens and a Pronto shutter, for ¥36. The illustration is the same as in the December 1911 catalogue.

At least one example of the camera is known with the pointed lensboard and the locking screw to the left.[10] It has the large folding struts and the silver brilliant finder with bubble level. (The two cameras identified as "Pocket Idea A-1" in Sugiyama are actually Pocket Idea B.)[11]

One illustration from an original document, reportedly corresponding to the Pocket Idea A1, shows a square lensboard and the locking screw to the right, suggesting that the camera was modified at some time before the name became Idea A.[12] The folding struts are of the thinner type and the bubble level is present. At least one camera is known with this type of lensboard, pictured in Sugiyama.[13] It has the thinner folding struts and the silver finder, and there is a round The Idea nameplate on the right of the body. The camera reportedly has a Bausch & Lomb RR f/8 lens and an unmarked shutter with T, B, I settings.

Idea A Edit

It is said that the Pocket Idea A1 became the Idea A (アイデアA号) in July 1920;[14] however the name "Idea Camera A1" found in the 1914 advertisement cited above suggests that the name change was gradual rather than sudden.[15] The Idea A was reportedly available in 1920 with an RR or Voltas lens and a Victo shutter.[16] The new model has yet another lens board, with a slightly rounded shape, and has the locking screw on the right.

The Idea appears in the advertisement in Ars Camera April 1922, also showing the "Lily" and "Pearl", with almost no detail. The illustration shows a tefuda-size Idea A; it is laterally reversed, obviously a mistake in the advertisement.

Surviving examples of this model are known with the following lens and shutter combinations:

  • RR 13.5cm f/8 lens, Ultro shutter (T, B, I);[17]
  • unknown lens, Ultex shutter (T, B, 100, 50, 25);[18]
  • RR f/8 lens, Deltax shutter (T, B, 100, 50, 25);[19]
  • RR 13.5cm f/8 lens, Victo shutter (T, B, 100–10);[20]
  • Voltas 13.5cm f/8 lens, Gammax shutter (T, B, 100–10);[21]
  • Idea Anastigmat 13.5cm f/7.5 lens, Gammax No.1 shutter (T, B, 100–10);[22]
  • unknown lens, Betax No.1 shutter (T, B, 100–2).[23]

These cameras have the thinner or larger folding struts, and the silver or black viewfinder, but no pattern has been detected so far. Most examples have the round nameplate on the body's left-hand side.

The meishi models Edit

Description Edit

The smaller models have the same general body shape and focusing mechanism. The front standard is very different from that of the tefuda models. It consists of a stamped metal part, with two handles at the bottom, and has no movement ability. (Similar parts were used for the 1916 meishi-size Pearl No.3.) There is a small brilliant finder at the top, on the photographer's left, with no bubble level. All the cameras known so far have large folding struts.

Evolution Edit

It is said that the meishi model was introduced in August 1915 as the Idea A1 (アイデアA1号), and was renamed Idea A (アイデアA号) in 1916 or 1917, with no apparent change.[24] Some sources say that the format is daimeishi (6.5×9cm), and that the camera was the first Konishi camera to use this film size.[25] However this is unlikely: the advertisement in Ars Camera April 1922 reproduced above mentions meishi size, not daimeishi, and the Idea No.1, successor of the Idea A, was first released in meishi size, and switched to daimeishi in 1927 only.[26]

Various lenses were reportedly available on the meishi model: Rapid Rectilinear, Vinco-Anastigmat, Dallmeyer Ser.IV, Voltas f/8, Deltas f/6.8, Trinar f/6.3, Velostigmat f/4.5.[27]

Actual examples are known with the following equipment:

  • unknown lens, Gammax No.0 (T, B, 100–10) shutter;[28]
  • unknown lens, Victo (T, B, 100–10) shutter;[29]
  • unknown lens, Pronto (T, B, 100, 50, 25) shutter.[30]

Notes Edit

  1. Chronology of the official company history Shashin to tomo ni hyaku-nen, reproduced in Tanaka, p.94 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, and Kikuoka, p.27 of the same magazine.
  2. Kikuoka, p.30 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, after the official company history Shashin to tomo ni hyaku-nen.
  3. Catalogue extract reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha.
  4. December 1911 catalogue of Konishi Honten, p.9. A similar document is reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha, towards the bottom.
  5. Lens details: p.40 of the same December 1911 catalogue by Konishi Honten.
  6. Catalogue extract reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha.
  7. (甲), otsu (乙), hei (丙) are the three first characters of a sequence used to count from one to ten. See this Wikipedia page.
  8. Catalogue extract reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha, with a black background.
  9. Advertisement reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha, near the bottom.
  10. Example pictured in Kikuoka, p.28 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  11. Sugiyama, items 1083–4.
  12. Illustration reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha, where the camera is identified as a Pocket Idea A1.
  13. Sugiyama, item 1086.
  14. Kikuoka, pp.27 and 31 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  15. Advertisement dated 1914 in Shashin Geppō, reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha, near the bottom.
  16. Kikuoka, p.31 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  17. Sugiyama, item 1087 (lens type reported only).
  18. Example pictured in this page of Neco's camera collection.
  19. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1089 (lens type reported only). The example pictured in this page of Neco's camera collection also has a Deltax shutter.
  20. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1088.
  21. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1090, and in Kamera no ayumi, p.78, belonging to the Pentax Gallery (lens type reported only).
  22. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1091 (lens type reported only).
  23. Example pictured in this page at Asacame.
  24. Idea A1 in August 1915: chronology of the official company history Shashin to tomo ni hyaku-nen, reproduced in Tanaka, p.94 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, and Kikuoka, p.29 of the same magazine. Idea A: Kikuoka says January 1917 on p.29 but lists a March 1916 catalogue with the so-called daimeishi Idea A on p.31.
  25. Kikuoka, pp.29 and 31 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, says daimeishi for the Idea A and meishi for the Idea B and Idea Snap. The daimeishi format is mentioned by mistake for the three models in the chronology of the official company history Shashin to tomo ni hyaku-nen, reproduced in Tanaka, p.94 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, and this is repeated in Lewis, p.23.
  26. See this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha.
  27. Rapid Rectilinear, Vinco-Anastigmat, Dallmeyer Ser.IV: Kikuoka, p.31 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10. Voltas f/8, Deltas f/6.8, Trinar f/6.3, Velostigmat f/4.5: Lewis, p.23.
  28. Examples pictured in Kikuoka, p.29 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, and in Lewis, p.45.
  29. Example pictured in this page of Neco's camera collection.
  30. Example pictured in Kikuoka, p.29 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.

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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