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Top Camera

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Japanese subminiature
on paper-backed roll film and round film (edit)
17.5mm film Baby Flex | Baby-Max | Barlux | Beauty 14 | Bell 14 | Blondy | Baby Colon | Comex | Corona | Croma Color 16 | Epochs | Fuji Kozet | Gamma | Gem 16 | Gemflex | Glico Lighter | Halmat | Hit | Hit-II | Hit-type | Hobby 16 | Homer No.1 | Homer 16 | Honey | Hope | Jenic | Kiku 16 | Kolt | Kute | Lovely | Mascot | Meteor | Micky | Midget | Mighty | Mini | Moment | Mycro | Myracle | Nikkobaby | Peace | Peace Baby Flex | Peace Small Lef | Pet | Petit | Petty | Prince 16-A | Prince Ruby | Robin | New Rocket | Rubina | Rubix | Saga 16 | Saica | Septon Pen | Sholy-Flex | Snappy | Spy-14 | Sun | Sun B | Sun 16 | Sweet 16 | Tacker | Takka | Tone | Top Camera | Toyoca 16 | Toyoca Ace | Tsubame | Vesta | Vista | Vestkam
20mm film Guzzi | Mycroflex | Top
round film Evarax | Petal | Sakura Petal | Star
unknown Hallow | Lyravit | Tsubasa
cine film see Japanese cine film subminiature
110 film see Japanese 110 film

See also the Top taking 20mm film, evolution of the Guzzi.

The Top Camera is a Japanese subminiature, launched in 1965.[1] The camera is attributed to Maruso Trading Co. or Maruso Manufacturing.[2] It was distributed in the USA and Canada by Tak-Air Sales Company.[3]

Top Camera Edit

The Top Camera looks like contemporary 16mm subminiature models but actually takes ten 14×14mm exposures on 17.5mm rollfilm. The main body is made of plastic, with metal front and back panels. The hammertone grey finish makes the camera look like it is all-metal.

The back panel is removable for film loading, and has a rectangular red window in the middle. It is retained by a latch on the right, as seen by the photographer. The film is advanced by a knob at the top right.

The viewfinder is at the left end. Most cameras have a dual eye- and waist-level finder, using a semi-transparent mirror, whereas others have a simple eye-level finder.[4] The name TOP CAMERA is inscribed at the opposite end of the front panel.

The Top Camera has simple features, like most Hit-type cameras. The lens is non-focusable, and is reported as a 25mm f/8.[5] It is placed behind a square aperture in the middle of the front plate. The shutter has Bulb and Instant settings, selected by a small lever at the top. It is everset, and is tripped by a lever at the right end of the front plate.

The camera is sometimes found in its original box, in red and cream colours, inscribed TOP CAMERA on the cover. It often comes with a vinyl case, which is sometimes black or cream-coloured. The camera often has a mere cord attached to a strap lug at the right end.

Top Camera II Edit

The Top Camera II is a later version, distinguished by the TOP II CAMERA nameplate. It has an eye-level finder only and no B setting, and the back is hinged to the left. At least some cameras retained the hammertone grey finish all around and the original advance knob, but most cameras have a modified advance knob and a two-tone finish with black front and back panels and smooth grey paint on the center part, and .[6]

The Top Camera II was also sold as a kit called Spy-14, with a zipped case, a pack of six film rolls, a development tank and developer fluid.[7]

Notes Edit

  1. Date: Sugiyama, item 5150, McKeown, p.653.
  2. "Maruso Trading Co.": Sugiyama, item 5150, McKeown, p.653, Pritchard, p.80. "Maruso Manufacturing": Sugiyama, item 5151.
  3. English instruction manual reproduced in this page at Submin.com. The address of Tak-Air Sales Company was 175 – 7th Street, San Francisco 3, CA.
  4. Eye-level finder only: example pictured in McKeown, p.653. Dual finder: examples pictured in McKeown, p.653, in Sugiyama, item 5150, in Pritchard, p.80, and in various websites. The example pictured in this page at Moshe Bar-El's camera collection has a non-standard black advance knob, perhaps a non original replacement part.
  5. 25mm f/8: Sugiyama, item 5150.
  6. Hammertone grey finish and original advance knob: example pictured in this page at Shōwa no shōnen bōken nikki (part of the Spy-14 kit). Two-tone finish and modified advance knob: examples pictured in Sugiyama, item 5151, in McKeown, p.563, and in this page at Submin.com.
  7. See the contents in this page at Shōwa no shōnen bōken nikki.

Bibliography Edit

The Top is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.

Links Edit

In English:

In Swedish:

In Japanese:

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