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Lily (metal and tropical)

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{{Japanese plate folding bed

The Lily (リリー) 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, including the Tropical Lily despite its wooden construction. These models exist in 6.5×9cm or 8×10.5cm size.

For the original vertical Lily, see Lily (original). For the horizontal models, see Lily (horizontal).

Description Edit

The metal Lily have typical folding struts hinged in the middle, inspired from the Voigtländer Bergheil models. The U-shaped front standard allows vertical movements, controlled by a small knob at the top of the right-hand branch, and horizontal movements, controlled by two small knobs at the base (except on the interchangeable model). The bellows have true double extension, and there is a small focusing wheel at the end of the folding bed, on the photographer's right, and a distance scale on the left. There is a collapsible brilliant finder offset to the left at the top of the front standard, and a wireframe hinged to the front standard. The most advanced models add a second focusing wheel on the left, and even an Albada finder on the left-hand side of the body (see below). There is a leather handle at the top, and the folding bed release is on the right-hand side of the body. The name Lily is normally inscribed in cursive script in a round escutcheon inside the folding bed. The original ground glass hood has the name Rokuoh-sha embossed in the leather, and the metal plate holders also have ROKUOH-SHA inscribed in relief.

The 6.5×9cm and 8×10.5cm models are not easy to distinguish from a distance. Apart from the focal length of the lens, the easiest way to recognize them is the height of the left-hand branch of the U-shaped front standard: it stops just above the wireframe hinge on the smaller model, and comes up a bit higher on the larger one.


Evolution Edit

Original 1930 model Edit

The metal Lily models were released in 1930.[1] The original 1930 model (昭和5年型) does not have the focus lock on the focusing wheel, added on the 1934 model. The eyepiece for the wireframe finder has a rectangular shape and folds on a metal part screwed to the side plate and extending towards the front; it is smaller than that of the 1934 model.

The 1930 Lily was reportedly offered with the following lens and shutter combinations:[2]

In addition to these, one example has been observed in 6.5×9cm size with a Schneider Radionar f/4.5 lens and a rim-set Compur shutter,[6] and other two are known in 6.5×9cm and 8×10.5cm size with the newer Hexar Ser.1 lens, respectively 10.5cm f/4.5 and 13.5cm f/4.5, again in a rim-set Compur[7] — one of these is pictured below. This reveals that the Hexar was mounted on the regular Lily before the minor changes in the body which occurred in 1933–4 (see below).

It is said that twenty examples in 6.5×9cm size were delivered to Nippon Kōgaku, to mount its first camera lens Anytar Anastigmat 12cm f/4.5 with a dial-set Compur shutter.[8] At least two examples are known to exist, pictured in Sugiyama and in Baird, reportedly having lens no.3045 and 3093.[9] The markings on the distance scale are modified because of the different focal length.[10]

Tropical Lily Edit

The Tropical Lily (トロピカルリリー) was released in 1931, in 6.5×9cm or 8×10.5cm size.[11] It has a body made of teak and frosted metal fittings. The bellows is made of maroon leather, and the parts which are black lacquered on the regular model are painted maroon on the Tropical Lily. The shape and features are otherwise similar to the 1930 model. The name TROPICAL Lily is written inside the folding bed, instead of the mere Lily of the regular model.

The Tropical Lily was offered with the rim-set Compur shutter (T, B, 1–250 or T, B, 1–200, depending on the size) and a choice of three lenses: the Tessar f/4.5 by Carl Zeiss, the Heliar f/4.5 by Voigtländer and the Hexar f/4.5 by Rokuoh-sha itself.[12] The Hexar f/4.5 was among the first camera lenses made in Japan, and was first mounted on the Tropical Lily, in 11.5cm or 10.5cm focal length for 6.5×9cm size and in 13.5cm focal length for 8×10.5cm.[13] The Tropical Lily was perhaps the first Japanese camera originally sold with a Japanese lens, the Nifca-Dox being another plausible candidate.

Surviving examples in 6.5×9cm size are known with the Hexar Ser.1 f/4.5 lens, in both 11.5cm and 10.5cm focal length.[14] One example is known in 8×10.5cm size with the Hexar Ser.1 13.5cm f/4.5; it has lens no.15329, directly engraved with no prefix.[15] Examples with the Tessar lens are known in 6.5×9cm size and in 8×10.5cm size.[16] No example with Heliar lens has been observed so far.

Gradual upgrade Edit

The regular Lily was gradually upgraded in 1933–4, together with the introduction of Japanese lenses and shutters. The definitive version is sometimes called "Year-Eight Lily" or "Year-Nine Lily" (this refers to Shōwa years 8 or 9, i.e. 1933 or 1934),[17] but it is not known if such name was used at the time for advertising — as was the case for the "Year-Eight Idea". The first modifications were the addition of a pivoting lock for the focusing wheel, and of a depth-of-field plate on the left-hand side of the body. Transitional examples with the focus lock but retaining the small viewfinder eyepiece have been observed in 6.5×9cm size. One has a Tessar 10.5cm f/4.5 lens in a rim-set Compur, and a depth-of-field table on the side marked Optor Anas't. 10.5 c.m and 焦点震度表 ("depth-of-field table").[18] Another has a Toko-Anastigmat 10.5cm f/6.3 lens by Tōkyō Kōgaku and a Magna shutter by Seikōsha (this equipment is probably not original).[19]

The second change was the introduction of a larger eyepiece for the wireframe finder, consisting of a large rectangular plate directly folding over the leather covering. The newer model, with the large eyepiece and focus lock, was reportedly offered with the following combinations:[20]

The example pictured in Sugiyama in 8×10.5cm size with a Heliar 13.5cm f/4.5 lens and a rim-set Compur shutter has a Voigtländer nameplate screwed to the top of the shutter plate, and its lens and shutter equipment is probably not original.[23] A dismantled front standard certainly belonging to a Lily has been observed with a Simlar 10.5cm f/4.5 lens by Tōkyō Kōgaku and a rim-set Compur shutter (T, B, 1–250); it is not known if this equipment is original or not.[24]

It seems that the regular Lily was further enhanced by the addition of a second focusing wheel, to the photographer's left, surely after the introduction of the New Lily with Albada finder. At least one example is known in 8×10.5cm size, with a Hexar Ser.1 13.5cm f/4.5 lens in a rim-set Compur (T, B, 1–200).[25]

\

New Lily Edit

The New Lily (新型リリー) is an upgraded model released in 1936 or 1937.[26] The simple viewfinder eyepiece is replaced by an Albada finder, and a second focusing wheel is added to the photographer's left, opposite the other one. The New Lily only exists in 6.5×9cm size, and was reportedly offered in at least four lens and shutter combinations:[27]

Heliar and Optor f/4.5 lenses were perhaps also offered on the New Lily.[31] Further lens and shutter combinations have been observed on actual cameras, but some of these are perhaps not original:

The Albada finder and some expensive lens/shutter combinations were shared with the Luxury Pearl released the same year 1937. It is said that Konishiroku bought Simlar lenses and Leo shutters after the Rokuoh-sha factory became increasingly involved into military contracts, and could not sufficiently cope with the production of civilian lenses and shutters any more.[35] Another explanation for the adoption of the Leo, actually a rebadged Seikosha, was perhaps that Rokuoh-sha was lacking a suitable high-specification shutter to replace the Compur-Rapid after the stock of imported parts dried out, and had to turn to an external supplier.

The New Lily was reportedly advertised in the June 1936 and April 1937 issues of Asahi Camera.[36] The April 1937 advertisement says that the price of the camera started at ¥85 with an f/4.5 lens.[37] The advertisement in Photo Times February 1937 gives the price of ¥185 for the version with Heliar f/4.5 and ¥195 for that with Tessar f/4.5, certainly the most expensive one.[38]

Military Lily Edit

The Military Lily was made to meet military needs. It only exists in 8×10.5cm size. It has the two focusing wheels of the New Lily, and the same viewfinder as the 1934 model. The Lily logo inside the folding bed is replaced by a military logo showing two red palms. The original canvas case is inscribed ROKUOH–SHA on the latch and has the same logo inside the cover.[39] The lens is a Hexar Ser.1 13.5cm f/4.5; all the numbers observed so far are in the 14xxx range.[40] The shutter is a KTI-Tiyoko (T, B, 1–200), made by Chiyoda Kōgaku Seikō (predecessor of Minolta).[41] The name KTI–TIYOKO is inscribed at the top of the shutter plate; "Tiyoko" is an alternative writing for "Chiyoko", abbreviation of Chiyoda gaku. This is an early example of cooperation between the two companies, certainly imposed by the military, some 65 years before they merged. The cause was probably the lack of a suitable Rokuoh-sha shutter again.

The Portable Camera Type 97 (九七式携帯写真機, 97-shiki keitai shashinki) is described by one source as a military version of the 6.5×9cm Lily for the Japanese Navy, first having a Tessar lens, later replaced by a Hexar.[42] The name "Type 97" implies that this camera was made from 1937, corresponding to Year 2597 in the Japanese mythological calendar. The mention of 6.5×9cm format might be a mistake, and this camera might correspond to the Military Lily described above.[43]

Interchangeable Lily Edit

The interchangeable Lily is a version certainly made for military purpose, known from very few examples only. It has two focusing wheels, the same as the New Lily and Military Lily, and no horizontal movement ability. There is a small lever visible behind the shutter, releasing the bayonet mount to interchange the lens and shutter unit.

The camera pictured in the AJCC website has no wireframe finder or Albada finder. It has a Hexar Ser.II 13.5cm f/3.8 lens in a Compur shutter, and it is clearly in tefuda (8×10.5cm) format. The camera pictured in Baird has no wireframe finder either but a folding optical finder on the rear, covered by two flaps and similar to that of the Idea Spring, inspired by the Ernemann Klapp.[44] Two bulges are visible under the leather covering, on the finder's side. The standard lens is a Hexar Ser.II f/3.8 lens in a Compur shutter too; it is reported as having 10.5cm focal length[45] but the marking might read 13.5cm instead. A Tele-Hexar 30cm f/6.3 lens and Compur shutter is pictured next to the camera.

Two other examples of the Tele-Hexar 30cm f/6.3 lens have been observed in leaf shutters. One is mounted in a Compur; the other is in the same KTI-Tiyoko shutter as on the Military Lily and has a bayonet mount on the rear.[46] These lens and shutter units were probably made for the interchangeable Lily.

Late mentions Edit

The official price list compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941 has a "Lily" for ¥130, with no further details.[47] It is probable that the imported lenses and shutters were no more available at the time.

The government inquiry listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943 also has a "Lily" attributed to Konishiroku, with a Hexar 105/4.5 four-element lens and a Durax shutter reportedly giving T, B, 1–150 speeds.[48] The Durax normally has 1/125 top speed, and this unusual range is perhaps a mistake.

Notes Edit

  1. Tanaka, p.35 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  2. Combinations reported in Tanaka, p.36 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, and in this page of the R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha website.
  3. This version is pictured in 6.5×9cm size in Sugiyama, item 1123, in McKeown, p.538 and in this page at ksmt. The example owned by the Pentax Gallery and pictured in Kamera no ayumi, p.82, has a larger viewfinder eyepiece mounted on the front edge of the body, probably not original, and an added flash synch connector.
  4. This version is pictured in 8×10.5cm size in Kamera no ayumi, p.83, in Sugiyama, item 1129, where it is wrongly called "Lily (Showa 8)", and in Tanaka, p.36 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  5. It is perhaps the combination pictured in 8×10.5cm size in McKeown, p.538.
  6. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1124.
  7. 6.5×9cm example pictured in this page; 8×10.5cm example pictured in this page of Ross Alford's website.
  8. Sugiyama, item 1126; Baird, p.56 of The Japanese Camera.
  9. Example pictured in Yazawa, p.23 of Camera Collectors' News no.271, reportedly having lens no.3045. Example pictured in Awano, Camera Collectors' News no.46, in Sugiyama, item 1126 and in Baird, p.55 of The Japanese Camera; lens no.3093 is reported in the latter source.
  10. Picture in Awano, p.3 of Camera Collectors' News no.46.
  11. Release date: Tanaka, p.35 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, Lewis, p.47.
  12. Tanaka, p.37 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, and this page of the R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha website.
  13. First mounted on the Tropical Lily: Tanaka, p.37 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, Lewis, p.183, and this page of the R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha website.
  14. Hexar Ser.1 11.5cm: example pictured on the cover page of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, and in Tanaka, on p.37 of the same magazine. The lens has no.2741. — Hexar Ser.1 10.5cm: example pictured in the first colour pages in Sugiyama, and as item 1125, owned by Morihara Hitoshi. The lens has no.3129; the same lens number is found on a New Lily owned by the same person, pictured in Kamera no Ayumi, p.83 (and surely in Sugiyama, item 1133), probably because the lenses were swapped at some time.
  15. Example pictured in Lewis, p.47, in Kamera no ayumi, p.81, and in Tanaka, p.88 Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  16. 6.5×9cm: examples pictured in McKeown, p.545, and in this page and this page at Ito Collection. 8×10.5cm: examples pictured in this page, and in Tanaka, p.37 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  17. Sugiyama, items 1127 and 1130, says 1933 and calls the camera "Lily (Showa 8)", for Shōwa year 8. (The other cameras called the same in this source actually correspond to other models of the Lily.) Tanaka, p.41 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, says 1934 (Shōwa year 9), and is probably more accurate.
  18. Example observed in an online auction, lens no.682807.
  19. Example observed in an unknown website, lens no.11446.
  20. Combinations reported in Tanaka, p.41 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  21. This version is pictured in 6.5×9cm size in Shashin Kōgyō December 2008, p.30, and in 8×10.5cm size in Sugiyama, item 1130.
  22. This version is pictured in 6.5×9cm size in this page, in Sugiyama, item 1127 (with a depth-of-field plate), and in Tanaka, p.41 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  23. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1132.
  24. Front standard observed in an online auction.
  25. Example pictured in Tanaka, p.89 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, where it is wrongly identified as a New Lily. The lens number perhaps reads 12981.
  26. This page of the R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha website says 1936, and Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.343, reports an advertisement dated June 1936. Tanaka, p.41 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, and Sugiyama, item 1133, say 1937.
  27. Tanaka, p.42 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  28. This version is pictured in this page and in Sugiyama, item 1128, where it is wrongly called "Lily (Showa 8)".
  29. This version is pictured in Sugiyama, item 1133, in Kamera no ayumi, p.83. The example pictured in both sources belongs to Morihara Hitoshi, and has lens no.3129; the same lens number is found on a Tropical Lily owned by the same person, pictured in the first colour pages in Sugiyama, and as item 1125, probably because the lenses were swapped at some time.
  30. This version has been observed in an online auction.
  31. Heliar and Optor: this page of the R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha website. The Heliar and Compur-Rapid combination is mentioned in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.343.
  32. Example pictured in Tanaka, p.42 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  33. Example pictured in this page.
  34. Example observed in an online auction.
  35. This is said of the Simlar and Leo mounted on the Luxury Pearl in Tanaka, p.44 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  36. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.343.
  37. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.103.
  38. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.82.
  39. Case pictured in lot no.688 of Westlicht Photographica Auction no.10.
  40. Example sold as lot no.688 of Westlicht Photographica Auction no.10 (no.14170); example pictured in Tanaka, p.42 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10 (no.14251); example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1131, wrongly called "Lily (Showa 8)" (no.14xxx); example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1134 (no.1444x); example pictured in Nakayama and Imai, pp.140–1 of Militarī gun'yō kamera daizukan (no.14551); examples observed in online auctions (no.140xx and 14556).
  41. Made by Chiyoda Kōgaku Seikō: see for example Sugiyama, item 1134.
  42. See this page of the R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha website.
  43. This is further suggested by the title of an article in Shashin Kōgyō May 2006: "Portable Camera Type 97 (Military Lily)".
  44. Example pictured in Baird, p.82.
  45. Caption in Baird, p.82.
  46. Compur: example observed in an online auction. KTI-Tiyoko: example pictured in this page.
  47. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 8, section 4B.
  48. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 201.

Bibliography Edit

Links Edit

In English:

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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