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Weha Six

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Japanese Six (6×6)
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
folding
Adler Six | Bonny Six | Clover-Six | Condor Six | First Six | Gelto Six | Gotex | Green | Lyra Six | Super Makinet Six | Mamiya Six | Miyako Six | Mulber Six | Mulix | National Six | Neure Six | Oko Six | Olympus Six | Pilot Six | Romax | Ugein | Vester-Six | Victor Six | Weha Six
collapsible
Ehira Chrome Six | Minolta Six | Shinko Super | Weha Chrome Six
unknown
Freude Six | Heart Camera | Konter Six | Tsubasa Six
Postwar models ->
Japanese 6×6 TLR, pseudo TLR and medium format SLR ->
Japanese Semi (4.5×6) and older 6×9 ->

The Weha Six (ウエハーシックス) is a Japanese 6×6 folding camera. It was made by Ehira and distributed by Yamamoto Shashinki-ten from 1938 to about 1943.[1]

General description Edit

The Weha Six is a horizontal folder. It has rounded body edges and folding struts inspired by the Balda products. The tubular optical finder is in the middle of the top plate, and the advance knob is at the top right. There is a body release on the left and a smaller folding bed release button on the right. The back is hinged to the left and contains a single red window to control the film advance, protected by a vertically sliding cover.

Advertisements and other documents Edit

The Weha Six was released in early 1938.[2] An advertisement dated June 1938 listed three lens and shutter combinations:[3]

  • Lidex C shutter, Weha Anastigmat 75/4.5 lens (¥53);
  • Prontor II shutter, body release, Weha Anastigmat 75/4.5 lens (¥85);
  • Prontor II shutter, body release, Weha Anastigmat 75/3.5 lens (¥95).

The Lidex (リデックス) shutter has the same name as the first shutter made by Minolta at the beginning of the 1930s, but it is not known if it is related. The name "Lidex" might as well be a typo for "Lex" (レックス), a shutter name effectively found on some Weha Six.

An advertisement dated April 1939 listed similar combinations:[4]

  • Weha Six I (Ⅰ型): "C shutter", f/4.5 lens (¥53);
  • Weha Six II (Ⅱ型): Prontor II shutter, f/4.5 lens (¥95);
  • Weha Six II (Ⅱ型): Prontor II shutter, f/3.5 lens (¥105).

The name Weha Six II applies to two different versions; this is perhaps a misprint, or this might indicate that the models I and II differ by the body features. In both advertisements observed, the picture is the same and shows a Prontor II shutter and a manual parallax-correcting device placed under the tubular finder, similar to the device mounted on some Balda cameras.

The Weha Six I and Weha Six II were mentioned in the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, for ¥94 and ¥110 respectively.[5] At least the Weha Six I was also in the official price list dated November 1941.[6]

The Weha Six I and II were still mentioned in the government inquiry of early 1943.[7] In this document, the Weha Six is said to have a Weha 75/4.5 three-element lens made by Takemoto[8] and a Wester II shutter (T, B, 1–200, self-timer) made by Nishida, whereas the Weha Six II is said to have a Weha 75/3.5 three-element lens, whose maker is not mentioned, and a Kōki T.T.S.H. shutter made by Ehira and giving T, B, 1–400 speeds.[9]

Actual examples Edit

Four actual examples have been observed so far, all with a body release. One has the parallax correcting finder, an Orion Anastigmat 7.5cm f/4.5 lens (no.2122) and a Lex shutter giving T, B, 5–200 speeds, marked Mars Tokyo at the top and Lex at the bottom, probably made by Mars Shashin Kōgyō-sha.[10]

The other three have a larger finder with no parallax compensation and a larger release button. Two of them have the Weha Anastigmat 75mm f/3.5 lens and the Kōki T.T.S.H. shutter, and thus correspond to the Weha Six II described in the 1943 inquiry.[11] The speed settings are engraved in the fixed part of the shutter plate, in decreasing order 400–1, B, T. The shutter plate is marked Kōki T.T.S.H. at the top and Patent pending at the bottom. One of these two examples have black paint instead of chrome plating on the body edges.[12] The last camera, pictured in this page, has the same shutter and a Weha Anastigmat 75mm f/4.5 lens. Its finder's front frame is silver instead of black.

Notes Edit

  1. Made by Ehira: "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 197. Dates: advertisements and articles listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.334, and mention in the 1943 "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras").
  2. The earliest advertisement listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.334, is dated January 1938.
  3. Advertisement published in the 8 June 1938 issue of Asahi Graph, reproduced in the Gochamaze website.
  4. Advertisement published in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.59.
  5. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 4, sections 4 and 6A.
  6. "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō", November 1941, type 4, section 3.
  7. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), items 92 and 197. The Weha Six is mentioned as made of bakelite and the Weha Six II as made of steel; this is obviously a mistake.
  8. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), lens item Lc22.
  9. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), shutter item 24-R-2. The reproduction of the document reads "T.T.S.R." by mistake and actual examples have the marking "T.T.S.H."
  10. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1266.
  11. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1267, example observed in an online auction and example pictured in this page.
  12. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1267.

Bibliography 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 20.
  • "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō" (カメラの公定価格官報発表, Official announcement of the set prices of the cameras), November 1941. Extract of a table listing Japanese camera production and setting the retail prices, reproduced in "Bebī Semi Fāsuto 'Kore ha bebī wo nanotta semi-ki da'" (ベビーセミファースト"これはベビーを名乗ったセミ機だ", Baby Semi First, 'this is a Semi camera called Baby'), an article by Furukawa Yasuo (古川保男) in Camera Collectors' News no. 277 (July 2000). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. P. 27. Type 4, section 3.
  • "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" (国産写真機ノ現状調査, Inquiry into Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943. Reproduced in Supuringu kamera de ikou: Zen 69 kishu no shōkai to tsukaikata (スプリングカメラでいこう: 全69機種の紹介と使い方, Let's try spring cameras: Presentation and use of 69 machines). Tokyo: Shashinkogyo Syuppan-sha, 2004. ISBN 4-87956-072-3. Pp.180–7. Items 92 and 197.
  • "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku" (国産写真機の公定価格, Set prices of the Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of October 25, 1940 and setting the retail prices from December 10, 1940. Published in Asahi Camera January 1941 and reproduced in 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. Pp.108—9. Type 4, sections 4 and 6A.
  • 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. Items 1266–7.

Links Edit

In Japanese:

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