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Lily (horizontal)

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Japanese plate cameras, folding bed (edit)
No.0 (4×5cm) Alpha | Sweet | Pony Sweet | Taishō-shiki
atom (4.5×6cm) Monarch | Need | Palma
meishi (5.5×8cm) Eagle | Idea A | Idea B | Idea Snap | Idea No.1 | Iris | Lily (horizontal) | Pearl No.3 | Special Camera | Venis | X
daimeishi (6.5×9cm) Apollo | Arcadia | Crite | Special East | Eaton | Elliotte | First | First Etui | Gold | Happy | Hope | Idea No.1 | Idea (metal) | Kinka | Kokka | Lily (horizontal) | Lily (metal) | Tropical Lily | Lloyd | Lomax | Masnette | Mikuni | Need | Nifca Klapp | Nifca Sport | Ohca | Palma | Peter | Prince | Prince Peerless | Proud | Romax | Rosen | Rubies | Sirius | Sun | Super | Tokiwa | Venus | Weha Idea | Weha Light
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
nimaigake (8×12cm) Eagle | Idea | Idea Binocular | Sakura Prano | Sakura Binocular Prano | Star Premo
hagaki (8×14cm) Eagle | Noble | Pearl No.3, No.4 | Star
kabine (12×16.5cm) Idea | Noble | Sakura Prano | Star Premo
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 Lily (リリー) are Japanese plate folders made by Rokuoh-sha, the manufacturing branch of Konishi or Konishiroku (predecessors of Konica). This page is about the horizontal models, in meishi, tefuda and hagaki size.[1]

For the original vertical model, see Lily (original). For the later metal models, see Lily (metal and tropical).

General description Edit

The horizontal Lily were patterned after the Voigtländer Alpin. They have a wooden main body and double extension bellows driven by a knob on the photographer's right, with a distance scale on the left. The front standard has a U-shaped main part and horn-shaped handles to pull it forward. It allows vertical and horizontal movements. There is a handle on the right-hand side (as seen by the photographer), and a folding Newton finder above the main body.

The Lily No.2 is sometimes described as the first Japanese camera to have a Newton finder,[2] and the first Japanese camera to have rise and cross movements,[3] but both assertions are wrong: the 1909 Idea Telephoto already had a Newton finder, and the 1908 Noble or 1909 original Lily already had both movements. The Lily No.2 might have been the first Japanese to have rise movement controlled by a rack-and-pinion gear.

The Lily No.2 and Special Lily Edit

Commercial life Edit

The Lily No.2 (リリー二号) was reportedly introduced in January 1916 in tefuda format (8×10.5cm), and in September in meishi format (5.5×8cm).[4] The following lens and shutter combinations were reportedly offered in 1916:[5]

The Special Lily (スペシャルリリー) was released as an upmarket version, indistinguishable from the Lily No.2 but for its more expensive lens and shutter combinations.[5] This model was reportedly introduced in September 1916, at first in tefuda-size only, with an Optimo shutter and a Wollensak Velostigmat Ser.II f/4.5 lens.[5] In January 1919, a hagaki-size model (8×14cm) was introduced with the same lens; a Bausch & Lomb Zeiss Ser.IC f/4.5 lens option was simultaneously added in tefuda-size.[6] A Wollensak Verito f/4.5 lens is also reported at some time.[7] It is said that the Special Lily was later available with a Compur shutter and Heliar f/4.5, Collinear f/6.8 or Dagor f/6.8 lenses.[8]

The Lily No.2 appears in an advertisement in Ars Camera September 1921. The following lens and shutter combinations are listed:

lens shutter price in meishi-size price in tefuda-size
Wollensak Voltas f/8 Victo ¥78 ¥93
Idea Anastigmat f/7.5 Victo ¥97 ¥103
Velostigmat Ser.IV f/6.3 Victo ¥108 _
Velostigmat Ser.IV f/6.3 Auto _ ¥138
Velostigmat Ser.IV f/6.3 Optimo ¥138 ¥158
Velostigmat Ser.I f/6.3 Optimo _ ¥192
Velostigmat Ser.II f/4.5 Optimo ¥204 ¥229
Zeiss Tessar Ser.IIB (f/6.3)[9] Optimo _ ¥236
Collinear f/6.3 Compur _ ¥226
Dynar f/6.3 Compur _ ¥210
Goerz Dagor Compur _ ¥238
Cooke Ser.III (f/6.3)[9] Optimo _ ¥210

The camera was supplied with three double-sided plate holders and a black leather case. The following accessories were available:

  • additional plate holders, ¥7.50 each;
  • film pack holder, ¥4.20 in meishi-size, ¥6.50 in tefuda-size;
  • "ordinary" (並製) camera case, ¥7 for the meishi model, ¥8 for the tefuda model;
  • "special" (特製) camera case, ¥7.50 for the meishi model, ¥9 for the tefuda model.

The name "Special Lily" was perhaps dropped at the time: it does not appear anywhere in the document, which nonetheless lists expensive combinations. It does not appear either in another advertisement dated 1921, which lists some of these combinations (not all).[10] The advertisement in Ars Camera April 1922 shows the "Lily", "Idea" and "Pearl", but gives almost no detail.

In addition to the lenses and shutters listed above, one source also mentions the Deltas f/6.8 lens and the Betax shutter.[11]

Actual examples Edit

All the examples of the Lily No.2 or Special Lily have the name The Lily inscribed on a round plate attached above the body, next to the viewfinder. Most have the viewfinder in the middle and the round nameplate to the right (as seen by the photographer).

There are hints of a different version with an offset finder. One example has been observed with the finder offset to the right and the round nameplate on the left. It also differs by details of the rack-and-pinion gear. It is reported as a tefuda model but it actually looks bigger, and might correspond to the hagaki model (8×14cm). This particular example has a Goerz Dagor 168mm f/6.8 lens in a dial-set Compur shutter (1–200), but the shutter dial is inscribed C.P. GOERZ, and the lens and shutter unit is perhaps not original.

The illustrations of the September 1921 and April 1922 advertisements in Ars Camera commented above also depict a camera with an offset viewfinder. The latter illustration is laterally reversed, obviously a mistake in the advertisement. Nothing else is known on this version.

Regular examples, with the centered viewfinder, are known in tefuda-size with the following combinations:

  • unknown lens, Gammax No.1 shutter (T, B, 100–10);[12]
  • Voltas Convertible f/8 lens, Gammax shutter (T, B, 100–10);[13]
  • Idea Anastigmat f/7.5 lens, Gammax shutter (T, B, 100–10);[14]
  • Idea Anastigmat f/7.5 lens, Victo shutter (T, B, 100–10);[15]
  • Vinco-Anastigmat f/6.3 lens, Auto shutter (T, B, 100–1);[16]
  • Vinco-Anastigmat f/6.3 lens, Optimo shutter (T, B, 1–300);[17]
  • Wollensak Velostigmat Ser.IV f/6.3 lens, Betax shutter (T, B, 100–2);[18]
  • Wollensak Velostigmat Ser.IV f/6.3 lens, Auto shutter (T, B, 100–1);[19]
  • Wollensak Velostigmat Ser.IV f/6.3 lens, Optimo No.1 shutter (T, B, 1–300);[20]
  • Tessar 136mm f/6.3 lens, Compound shutter (1–200);[21]
  • Doppel Anastigmat 150mm f/6.8, Compound shutter;[22]
  • Wollensak Velostigmat Ser.II 5in f/4.5 lens, Optimo shutter (T, B, 1–300), corresponding to the Special Lily;[23]

Among these, minor variations are visible in the folding struts, which are flimsier on the earlier cameras, and in the U-shaped front standard: the two branches have an equal length on some cameras, whereas the left-hand branch is shorter on others, presumably to leave space for a removable brilliant finder. At least one camera has been observed with that brilliant finder, apparently similar to that of the later Neat Lily.[24]

The meishi model is less common than the tefuda model. Examples are known with the following combinations:

  • unknown lens, Pronto shutter;[25]
  • unknown lens, Gammax shutter;[26]
  • no-name US 4 (f/8) lens, Victo shutter.[27]

The Neat Lily and A Lily (or second Special Lily) Edit

New features Edit

The Neat Lily (ニートリリー), introduced in January 1923, was the successor of the tefuda-size Lily No.2.[28] The folding bed now has square corners, the rack-and-pinion mechanism is slightly different, and the distance scale has moved towards the outside. The camera has an additional brilliant finder atop the lens standard, on the photographer's left, though it seems that this device was already mounted at the end of the production of the Lily No.2. The Newton finder, attached by four screws on the previous model, is now completely integrated into the main body. The round nameplate at the top has been removed, and the name Neat Lily is embossed in the ground glass hood.

The meishi model received similar improvements in April 1924.[29] It was either called A Lily (Aリリー) or Special Lily (スペシャルリリー) — this is the second time the company used that name.[30] It sometimes has the round The Lily nameplate at the top, and presumably does not have the Neat Lily embossing on the ground glass back.[31]

Commercial life Edit

The Neat Lily was reportedly available in 1923 with the following lens and shutter combinations:[5]

  • Idea Anastigmat f/7.5 lens, Betax shutter;
  • Velostigmat Ser.IV f/6.3 lens, Betax shutter;
  • Velostigmat Ser.IV f/6.3 lens, Optimo shutter;
  • Velostigmat Ser.II f/4.5 lens;
  • Dynar f/5.5 lens, Compur shutter;
  • Collinear f/6.3 lens, Compur shutter;
  • Heliar f/4.5 lens, Compur shutter.

The meishi-size A Lily was reportedly available in April 1924 with a Verito f/4.5 lens or a Deltas f/6.8 lens in a Betax shutter.[5]

The Neat Lily appears in an advertisement in Ars Camera November 1924. The camera was supplied with six single-sided plate holders, one film pack holder and a case; two sets are offered in the advertisement: set A with an ordinary case, or set B with a larger case containing a tripod. Nothing is said of the shutter, and the following lenses are listed:


The advertisement in Ars Camera June 1926 is mainly about the Verito lens, which is soft-focus at full aperture, and can be used as a regular lens from f/6.[32] The tefuda-size Neat Lily with Verito f/4.8 is offered for ¥175, and the meishi-size Special Lily with Verito f/4.5 is offered for ¥145.


The advertisement in the December 1926 issue of the same magazine offers four versions of the Neat Lily, supplied with a tripod and a large case:

The camera is pictured with the Tele-Dynar lens.

The advertisement in the February 1927 issue says that the Neat Lily was available from ¥80 with an f/6.8 lens (this perhaps corresponds to the price of the December version with Deltas lens, minus ¥15 for the tripod).

In addition to the lenses listed above, one source also mentions Eurynar and Tessar lenses.[33]

Actual examples Edit

The tefuda-size Neat Lily has been observed with the following combinations:

  • unknown lens, Gammax No.1 shutter;[34]
  • Wollensak Velostigmat Ser.IV f/6.3 lens, Betax No.1 shutter (T, B, 100–2);[35]
  • Tessar 13.5cm f/6.3 lens, Compur shutter.[36]

The meishi-size A Lily or Special Lily has been observed as follows:

  • Idea Anastigmat f/7.5 lens, Gammax No.0 shutter;[37]
  • unknown lens, Betax No.0 shutter.[38]

Notes Edit

  1. The mention of daimeishi-size (6.5×9cm) in Lewis, p.23, and 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, is surely a mistake.
  2. Lewis, p.23, Sugiyama, item 1118.
  3. Lewis, p.23.
  4. Dates: Kikuoka, pp.26–7 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10. The date is given as January 1916 in the chronology of the official company history Shashin to tomo ni hyaku-nen, reproduced in Tanaka, p.94 of the same magazine; the format is mentioned as daimeishi (6.5×9cm) in this document, surely by mistake.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Kikuoka, p.26 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  6. Kikuoka, pp.26–7 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10. Lewis, p.24, says that "the Special Lily was also available in daimeishi format", but this is certainly a mistake, and the existence of a meishi model is unconfirmed.
  7. This page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha.
  8. Kikuoka, p.27 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  9. 9.0 9.1 The aperture appears in the 1921 advertisement reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha.
  10. Advertisement reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha.
  11. Lewis, p.23.
  12. Examples observed in online auctions.
  13. Example observed in an online auction.
  14. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1121, and example observed in an online auction.
  15. Examples pictured in Sugiyama, item 1122, in Kamera no ayumi, p.49 (this is the same camera, owned by the Pentax Gallery), in this page and this page of Neco's camera collection, and observed in an online auction.
  16. Examples pictured in this page and this page, and in this page and this page of Neco's camera collection.
  17. Example pictured in this page and this page of Neco's camera collection.
  18. Example pictured in this page and this page of Neco's camera collection, where it is wrongly identified as a Neat Lily.
  19. Example pictured in this page at Junk Binbō.
  20. Example pictured in this page at Asacame. The lens is wrongly reported as an f/4.5, but "Series IV" and f/6.3 are faintly legible on the picture.
  21. Sugiyama, item 1120.
  22. Example observed in an online auction.
  23. Examples observed in an online auction and for sale by an online dealer.
  24. Example pictured in this page and this page of Neco's camera collection.
  25. Example pictured in Kikuoka, p.27 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  26. Example pictured in McKeown, p.538.
  27. Sugiyama, item 1118. The lens is wrongly described as f/4 whereas the aperture scale is certainly graduated in the Uniform Scale. This mistake is repeated in McKeown, p.538.
  28. Date: 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, pp.36–7 of the same magazine.
  29. Date: Kikuoka, pp.26–7 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  30. A Lily: Kikuoka, pp.26–7 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10. Special Lily: advertisement in Ars Camera June 1926; the name is also mentioned in Kikuoka, p.27.
  31. Round nameplate: example pictured in Kikuoka, p.27 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, and example observed in an online auction. No nameplate: example pictured in Kikuoka, p.27, wrongly presented as a tefuda-size Neat Lily.
  32. Advertisement in Ars Camera June 1926.
  33. Lewis, p.24.
  34. Example pictured in McKeown, p.543, and example pictured in this page at Asacame.
  35. Example pictured in this page.
  36. Example observed in an online auction.
  37. Example observed in an online auction.
  38. Examples pictured in Kikuoka, p.27 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10. One of them is described as a tefuda model by mistake, as can be deduced from the shape of the focusing rails and from the general proportions.

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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