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Sakura Binocular Prano and Idea Binocular

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The Sakura Binocular Prano (さくら双眼プラノ)[1] is a Japanese stereo camera made from 1907 by Rokuoh-sha, the manufacturing branch of Konishi (predecessor of Konica). It was succeeded by the similar Idea Binocular (アイデア双眼) in 1909.

Description Edit

The Sakura Binocular Prano is a derivative of the Sakura Prano, taking two nimaigake-size (8×12cm)[2] plates for each stereo exposure. The body is very similar to that of the single-lens camera, itself copied from the Rochester Pony Premo, but it is longer to accommodate the two exposure frames. The camera has double extension bellows driven by a small wheel on the photographer's right. The straight folding struts are maintained in position by a screw. The front standard consists of various parts assembled to form a rectangle, and allows vertical and perhaps horizontal movements. The brilliant finder is attached to the top of the lensboard, above the right-hand lens.

Evolution Edit

The Sakura Binocular Prano was the first Japanese stereo camera, released in 1907.[3] Original documents reportedly mention Bausch & Lomb Symmetrical f/8 lenses and an Automatic (T, B, 1–100) shutter by the same company.[4] It is said that two versions were available, called No.4 (¥98) and No.6 (¥135).[5] Among the single-lens models, it seems that the Sakura Prano No.6 differs from the No.4 by its triple extension bellows, and this is probably true of the stereo models as well.

The only surviving example of the Sakura Binocular Prano known so far reportedly has Bausch & Lomb Extra Rapid lenses. The main body is leather-covered wood, and the inside of the folding bed and other apparent wood parts are varnished.

The Idea Binocular was a renaming of the Sakura Binocular Prano, released in 1909.[6] It seems that the catalogue entries for this model were illustrated with the exact same drawing as for the Sakura Binocular Prano.[7] A catalogue by Ueda Shashinki-ten dated 1909 has the Idea Binocular No.4, priced at ¥98 with a Symmetrical lens and an "Auto" shutter, both made by Bausch & Lomb.[8]

The December 1911 catalogue by Konishi Honten lists the Idea Binocular No.4 at the same price of ¥98, along with a No.6 priced at ¥135.[9] The lens and shutter are the same.

One source says that the camera was offered in 1914 in nimaigake (8×12cm) and kabine (12×16.5cm) size, but this is unconfirmed.[10]

Notes Edit

  1. The name "Prano" is sometimes written "Plano" by mistake. The two spellings would be pronounced the same in Japanese, but "Prano" is confirmed by an advertisement reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha.
  2. Many sources say that nimaigake corresponds to 4×5in, but the actual measurements given in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha do not confirm this.
  3. Date: Sakai, pp.18 and 23 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, this page of the Center of the History of Japanese Industrial Technology and this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha.
  4. Sakai, p.18 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  5. Sakai, p.18 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  6. Date: this page and this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha. Kikuoka, p.28 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, says January 1914 but this is a mistake.
  7. Compare the drawings reproduced in Sakai, p.18 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, and in Kikuoka, p.28 of the same magazine.
  8. Catalogue extract reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha. The "Auto" shutter name is hardly legible.
  9. December 1911 catalogue of Konishi Honten, p.11.
  10. Kikuoka, pp.28 and 31 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10. The table on p.31 seems to imply that No.4 is in nimaigake-size and No.6 is in kabine-size, and that the camera has Extra Rapid lenses by Bausch & Lomb.

Bibliography Edit

Links Edit


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
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