The Lovely is a Japanese subminiature taking ten 14×14mm pictures on 17.5mm paper backed rollfilm, made around 1948. It is attributed to "Kyoto Seiki" or "Kyoto Seiko".
The Lovely has a predominantly horizontal design, but can be held vertically as well; this description will assume that the camera is held in the horizontal position. The camera has a bright metal finish all around. It is identified by the name Lovely engraved on the top plate. At least some examples have a large front door swinging to the right (as seen by the photographer), covering the whole front plate, similar to that of the later Gami 16.
The viewfinder is integrated in the main body, at the far left (as seen by the photographer). The film is advanced by a control at the top right, either a thumbwheel or a key. It seems that the back is hinged to the right for film loading, but this is unconfirmed. The button visible at the top, in front of the name engraving, is certainly the shutter release, perhaps combined with a lock.
The lens has a fixed focus and aperture, and has no marking. The shutter speed is selected by a lever on the right of the lens, with 25, 50, 75, 100 positions (there is no Bulb exposure). There is another lever to the right of the viewfinder, certainly used to cock the shutter.
The camera was certainly made in very few numbers by a small workshop. The individual examples show some variations. The example pictured in Sugiyama has a thumbwheel to advance the film, and is certainly early. It has no front door, either because it is missing or because it was originally lacking this feature. The camera pictured in Pritchard is presumably later; it has the front door and a hinged key for film advance. It comes together with its original box, curiously inscribed CAMERA 18×18 Lovely, despite the 14×14mm format. The camera pictured in McKeown has the front door too, but the details of its advance control are unclear.
The Lovely has some similarity to the Robin (but it is not identical). The two cameras might have been made by the same manufacturer, or designed by the same person.
- ↑ Date: Sugiyama, item 5053; McKeown, p.592; Pritchard, p.81.
- ↑ "Kyoto Seiki": McKeown, p.592; Pritchard, p.81. "Kyoto Seiko": Sugiyama, item 5053.
- ↑ Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 5053.
- ↑ McKeown, p.592, says that the examples lacking the front door are incomplete, but this is unconfirmed.
- ↑ Example pictured in Pritchard, p.81.
- ↑ Example pictured in McKeown, p.592.
- 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.592.
- 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. P.81.
- 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 5053.
The Lovely is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.
- Lovely (text only) at Submin.com
- Brief mention of the Lovely among 17.5mm film cameras at Subclub.org