First Roll

Revision as of 19:51, 18 February 2007 by Rebollo fr (talk | contribs) (delinking First Camera Works and minor rewording)
Jump to: navigation, search
Japanese older 6×9 (edit)
folding First Center | First Roll | Kinka Roll | Lyra (6×9) | Pearl No.3 | Pearl No.2 | Year-Eight Pearl | Reex | Royal Junior
box Dox | Sakura (box)
3×4 and 4×4, 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6, 6×6 and plate ->
Modern 6×9 RF and SLR ->

The First Roll (ファーストロール) is a Japanese 6×9cm folding camera, advertised by First Camera Works or Minagawa Shōten from 1933 to 1936 and probably sold until the war.[1] It was certainly made by Kuribayashi.[2]

Description of the body

The First Roll is a vertical folding camera taking both 6×9 and 4.5×6 exposures. It is not self erecting and the lens standard needs to be manually pulled out after opening. There is a focusing scale on the left of the folding bed but no focusing control is visible: it seems that the camera is focused by manually moving the lens standard back and forth. The U-shaped lens standard and the focusing rails are similar to the corresponding parts on the First plate folder, as is pointed out by Baird.[3] The focal length is always 105mm.

There is a brilliant finder and a folding wireframe finder including an inner frame for half-format exposures. The eyepiece can be retracted by pivoting along the back.

The advance key is at the bottom right (as seen by a photographer holding the camera horizontally) and there are tripod threads both under the body and under the folding bed. The back is hinged to the left and the back latch is covered by a leather handle. There are two red windows near the top of the back, protected by sliding covers. Variations have been observed in the shape of these covers.

The name Roll is inscribed on the standing leg.

Evolution in the advertisements

It seems that the First Roll was initially offered with German lenses and shutters. According to Lewis, the camera was offered in 1933 with a Vario shutter and a Trinar f/6.3 lens for ¥30 and with a Trinar f/4.5 lens for ¥45.[4] Baird also mentions Radionar and Tessar f/4.5 lenses mounted on Compur shutters.[5]

The camera was advertised in February 1934 in two versions:[6]

In May and July 1935 the range was as follows:[7]

In September 1935, only the two first versions were offered, for respectively ¥33 and ¥43.

The First Roll was still listed in the Template:Kakaku1940 short compiled in October 1940, in two versions called "First Roll I" (¥45) and "First Roll II" (¥56) with no further detail.[9]

Actual examples

The version with Toko f/6.3 lens and Magna shutter is pictured in Baird and in Sugiyama and it has also been observed elsewhere.[10] The Magna shutter gives 25, 50, 100, B, T speeds selected by a small wheel at the top. It also has a simple thread-and-pin self-timer device. The shutter plate is marked MAGNA in the speed dial, SEIKOSHA at the bottom and has the SKS logo at the top right. The Toko f/6.3 lens has the Tōkyō Kōgaku logo and is engraved Tokyo Kogaku TOKO–Anastigmat 1:6.3 F=10.5cm Nr.xxxx[11] or simply Toko–Anastigmat 1:6.3 F=10.5cm Nr.xxxx.[12]

The version with State f/4.5 lens and Magna shutter is pictured in this page of the AJCC website.

The other observed lens and shutter combinations are as follows:

  • Magna shutter, First Anastigmat f/4.5 lens engraved First–Anastigmat Tokyo 1:4.5 F=10.5cm Nr.xxxx[13]
  • Rulex A shutter (1–200, B, T), Radionar f/4.5 lens by Neumann & Heilemann[14]

An example of the First Roll is also known with a Simlar f/4.5 lens by Tōkyō Kōgaku and a Seikosha shutter giving T, B, 1–250 speeds. It is said that this version was called "First Roll Deluxe".[15] According to Baird, the camera was sold under that name from 1937.[16] In the example pictured in Sugiyama, the wireframe finder is absent, either because it is missing or because the First Roll Deluxe has a more modern folding optical finder.


  1. The 1933 release date is given by Baird, pp. 17 and 63–4, Sugiyama, items 1044–5, McKeown, p. 576 and Lewis, p. 50. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 339, lists advertisements dated 1934 to 1936. Baird, p. 65, says that the camera was still made in 1937. The First Roll is still listed in the Template:Kakaku1940 short compiled on October 25, 1940.
  2. Baird; McKeown, p. 576. No original document has been found to confirm this.
  3. Baird, p. 64.
  4. Lewis, p. 50.
  5. Baird, p. 65.
  6. Advertisement published in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 85.
  7. May 1935 advertisement published in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Baird, p. 17. July 1935 advertisement published in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 72.
  8. The July advertisement says that this version cost the same as the Toko f/6.3 version, obviously by mistake.
  9. Template:Kakaku1940 short, type 6, sections 1 and 2.
  10. Baird, p. 63; Sugiyama, item 1044; Yahoo Japan auction.
  11. Example observed in a Yahoo Japan auction with lens n°1431.
  12. Example pictured in Baird, p. 63. The example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1044, seems to have the same engraving.
  13. Example observed in a Yahoo Japan auction with lens n°9722.
  14. Example pictured in Baird, p. 65.
  15. Sugiyama, item 1045; Baird, p. 65.
  16. Baird, p. 65.