The Snappy takes ten 14×14mm exposures on 17.5mm paper backed rollfilm. From a distance, it looks quite similar to the Hit-type cameras, but it was made by a reputable company and it has a much better finish and better features.
The body has a trapezoidal shape, as viewed from above, quite similar to that of the Exakta. The film is advanced by a knob on the left, as seen by the photographer. The back door is hinged to the right, and is opened by raising the advance knob. The spool holders are attached to its inner face, and it also contains an uncovered red window in a diamond-shaped frame.
The horizontally running guillotine shutter is placed inside the body, behind the lens. (It has been described as a focal-plane shutter, but this is inaccurate.) It is cocked by a sliding lever at the rear, on the right of the finder eyepiece, and it is tripped by a body release on the top cover. The speeds (B, 25, 50, 100) are selected by turning a ring at the base of the lens barrel.
The lens is interchangeable via a screw mount. The standard lens is a three-element Optor 25mm f/3.5. Its aperture is adjustable from 3.5 to 16, by turning the front bezel. It has a fixed focus, set around 3m.
The camera is identified by the name Snappy engraved above the viewfinder. The engraving is either slanted or parallel to the body edge — in the latter case, the word PATENTS is added below, in small characters. Some cameras have MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN engraved on the bottom plate, and others have the same mention embossed in the back leatherette.
Commercial life Edit
The Snappy was developed in Spring 1949, and an original blueprint dated March 17, 1949 is reproduced in an issue of Kurashikku Kamera Senka. Some sources say that it was released in August 1949. It was first announced in Japan in the September 1949 issue of Kohga Gekkan. It is said that it was first sold for export, and was distributed on the Japanese market only later. It was advertised in Japanese magazines from April 1950 to March 1951, and was episodically mentioned until July 1952.
|December 1949||May 1950||December 1951 supplement|
|Columns in Photo Art about the Snappy. (Image rights)|
Columns from Photo Art are reproduced above. The price is given as "less than ¥2,500" in December 1949, as ¥1,780 in May 1950, and as ¥1,558 in December 1951. The latter column mentions the tele lens as an "Optor" 40/5.6, perhaps by mistake. It does not mention its price, but recent sources say ¥980.
The Snappy sold fairly well, and it is said that about 40,000 units were produced. In Japanese department stores, it was sold at the real camera counter, not at the toy counter as most other Hit-type cameras. One source says that it was also used by the police, but this is unconfirmed.
Telephoto lens Edit
Other than the standard Optor 25mm f/3.5, the only interchangeable lens made for the Snappy is the Cherry Tele 40mm f/5.6. It focuses down to 3.5ft, and its aperture is adjustable from 5.6 to 16. The barrel is all chrome and the bezel is black. It comes in an auxiliary frame, which snaps in front of the finder window. The lens and finder frame both fit in a cylindrical carrying case.
Close-up lens Edit
It is said that a close-up lens was available for the standard Optor 25mm f/3.5, allowing to take pictures at 1m.
Hoods and filters Edit
A small hood with UV filter and a large hood with a set of colour filters are pictured here and here at Submin.com. Both have a metal finish and a round shape. The smaller hood and the filter set are contained in small leather cases. The smaller hood is also found in the Snappy Camera Set (see below) and is certainly specific to the camera. It is not known for sure if the larger hood is original too.
Tripod adapter Edit
A tripod adapter was made for the Snappy, and was included in the Snappy Camera Set (see below). That pictured in this page at Submin.com is said to be a modification of a Mycro tripod adapter, and it is not clear if it is original to the Snappy.
Case and box Edit
The ever-ready case is brown coloured, with the name Snappy embossed at the front. For the US market, the original box has a pentagonal shape, following the body's outline, and has white, black and red colours.
Snappy Camera Set Edit
Some examples of the Snappy were sold as a set in a red and black cardboard presentation box including the camera with case, the telephoto lens with case, the small hood, the close-up lens, the yellow filter, the tripod adapter and two packs of six film rolls.
- ↑ Some sources wrongly mention 16mm film with paper backing: Miyazaki, p.155, Hishida, p.74 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
- ↑ Shima, p.153 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.35.
- ↑ McKeown, p.545, Shima, p.153 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.35, Mizukawa, p.37 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.53.
- ↑ The description as a focal-plane shutter was also used in contemporary reports, for example in Photo Art May 1950, p.47.
- ↑ Three elements: Shima, p.153 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.35, Mizukawa, pp.36–7 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.53.
- ↑ Around 3m: Mizukawa, p.37 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.53.
- ↑ Hishida, p.75 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
- ↑ Miyazaki, pp.156 and 183, and Hishida, p.79 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
- ↑ Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.353.
- ↑ Kamera no ayumi, p.259.
- ↑ Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.353.
- ↑ Miyazaki, p.156, Hishida, p.79 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
- ↑ 40,000 units: Miyazaki, p.156.
- ↑ Shima, p.153 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.35.
- ↑ Sakai, p.12 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10: 初心者ばかりでなく警察用としても使用されていた.
- ↑ Mizukawa, p.37 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.53.
- ↑ McKeown, p.545.
Original documents Edit
- Photo Art December 1949. "Ōru kokusan kamera" (オール国産カメラ, All of Japanese cameras). Pp.34–41.
- Photo Art May 1950. "Kokusan kamera" (国産カメラ, Japanese cameras). Pp.42–7.
- Photo Art 12-gatsu-gō furoku Saishin Kokusan Shashinki Sō-katarogu (フォトアート12月號附録最新国産写真機総カタログ, General catalogue of the latest Japanese cameras, supplement to the December issue). December 1951. P.37.
Recent sources Edit
- Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Item 559 (see also the picture on p.432).
- Hishida Kōshirō (菱田耕四郎). "Konica history 10. Sengo no kamera." (Konica history 10. 戦後のカメラ. Postwar cameras.) Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.10, September 1987. No ISBN number. Konishiroku kamera no rekishi (小西六カメラの歴史, special issue on Konishiroku). Pp.60–75.
- Kamera no ayumi. Zen nihon shashin renmei sōritsu 50-shūnen kinen (カメラのあゆみ・全日本写真連盟創立五〇周年記念, History of cameras, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the All Japan Association of Photographic Societies). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1976. No ISBN number. P.259.
- Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.10, September 1987. No ISBN number. Konishiroku kamera no rekishi (小西六カメラの歴史, special issue on Konishiroku). Table of postwar Konishiroku and Konica cameras, pp.76–80.
- Lewis, Gordon, ed. The History of the Japanese Camera. Rochester, N.Y.: George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography & Film, 1991. ISBN 0-935398-17-1 (paper), ISBN 0-935398-16-3 (hard). P.68.
- McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). P.545.
- Miyazaki Shigemoto (宮崎繁幹). Konika kamera no 50-nen: Konika I-gata kara Hekisā RF e (コニカカメラの50年：コニカI型からヘキサーRFへ, Fifty years of Konica cameras: From the Konica I to the Hexar RF). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 2003. ISBN 4-257-12038-X. Pp.155–6 and 183.
- Mizukawa Shigeo (水川繁雄). "Gucchī to Sunappī" (グッチーとスナッピー, Guzzi and Snappy). Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.53, December 1999. ISBN 4-257-13026-1. Tokushū: 50-nin no korekutā ni kiku watakushi no ichi-dai (特集:50人のコレクターに聞く私の1題, 50 stories told by camera collectors). Pp.36–7.
- Pritchard, Michael and St. Denny, Douglas. Spy Cameras — A century of detective and subminiature cameras. London: Classic Collection Publications, 1993. ISBN 1-874485-00-3. Pp.70–1.
- Sakai Shūichi (酒井修一). "'Anbako' kara 'ōtofōkasu' he: kamera no hensen to tomo ni ayunda 114-nen" (「暗函」から「オートフォーカス」へ・カメラの変遷と共に歩んだ114年, From 'camera obscura' to 'autofocus': 114 years of camera evolution). Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.10, September 1987. No ISBN number. Konishiroku kamera no rekishi (小西六カメラの歴史, special issue on Konishiroku). Pp.8–13.
- Shima Kazuya (島和也). "Renzu kōkan-shiki mame-kamera — Sunappī" (レンズ交換式豆カメラ・スナッピー, The Snappy, a subminiature camera with interchangeable lenses). Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.35, November 1995. Nihon no kamera 50nen (日本のカメラ50年, special issue on 50 years of Japanese cameras). P.153.
- Sugiyama, Kōichi (杉山浩一); Naoi, Hiroaki (直井浩明); Bullock, John R. The Collector's Guide to Japanese Cameras. 国産カメラ図鑑 (Kokusan kamera zukan). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1985. ISBN 4-257-03187-5. Item 5136.
- Snappy at Submin.com, with a reproduction of the English user manual
- Snappy, lot no.591 of auction no.10 (November 18, 2006) by Westlicht Photographica Auction
- Snappy, lot no.217 of sale no.4913 (February 14, 2006) by Christies
- Snappy in Nigel Richards' website
- Snappy among other subminiature cameras at the Subminiature site of Gary Sivertsen