The Lyra Six and Lyra Six II
Early examples, Super Lyra shutter
The original model (ライラシックス), introduced in 1937, has no body release and is dual-format, taking both 6×6 and 4.5×6 exposures. The advance knob is at the left end of the top plate, as seen by the photographer, and it has a hollow top and a red arrow engraving indicating the winding direction. There is a frame counter for 6×6cm exposures, visible through a hole placed next to the advance knob. This device was necessary because, at the time, the paper backing of the rollfilm sold in Japan was not yet marked for 6×6cm exposures. However there is no auto-stop advance mechanism. For 4.5×6cm exposures, the film advance is manually controlled via two red windows in the back, near the bottom, protected by a horizontally sliding common cover. There is an accessory shoe at the right end of the top plate. The folding optical finder is slightly offset to the left and the folding bed release is to the right. The back is hinged to the right and the back latch is covered by a leather handle. The front leather is embossed LYRA on the left and SIX on the right.
The distinguishing features of the early examples are the back latch with a leather handle, the absence of strap lugs and the folding bed release placed to the right of the viewfinder.
An advertisement dated September 1937 says that the camera is dual-format, taking both 6×6 and 4.5×6 exposures. There was a choice of three lenses, all with a Super Lyra shutter providing T, B, 1–300 speeds:
It seems that all three lens options have an 80mm focal length, unlike the later Lyra Six III. The shutter plate is marked SUPER LYRA at the top and FUJIKŌGAKU at the bottom.
The Lyra Six II (ライラシックスⅡ型) has a body release protruding in front of the top plate. Despite sources saying that the earliest advertisements are dated late 1938, it certainly appeared in 1937: one example is known with a Terionar 80/2.9 lens, a Super Lyra shutter (T, B, 1–300) and the typical features of the early models.
|Lyra Six II, Fuji-kō Anastigmat Terionar 80mm f/2.9 lens, Super Lyra shutter.|
It has the old back latch with leather handle, no strap lugs and the folding bed release on the right.
Picture courtesy of Scott at www.collectiblecameras.com. (Image rights)
Fujikō shutter and minor changes
|Lyra Six II, Fuji-kō Anastigmat Terionar 80mm f/2.9 lens, Fujikō A shutter.|
It has the new back latch, strap lugs and the folding bed release on the left.
Pictures courtesy of eBayer wisteria_cottage. (Image rights)
From the end of 1937, the Super Lyra shutter was replaced by the Fujikō A (T, B, 1–300) and Fujikō B (T, B, 5–250). This type of shutter is also found on the New Semi Lyra and Lyrax. The shutter plate is almost identical to the Super Lyra with a FUJIKŌ marking at the top.
The body was slightly altered at some time. It received a new type of back latch, consisting of a long sliding bar with no leather handle, and strap lugs were added on each side of the body. The folding bed release was kept on the right side of the viewfinder for some time.
An advertisement dated September 1938 displays a picture of this model, still having the folding bed release to the right. All three lenses are listed. The shutter type, body release and dual format feature are not mentioned, but the dual format ability was probably kept: all the examples observed so far have a dual format finder.
One example has been observed with the new back latch and strap lugs, the folding bed release to the right and no body release. The lens is a Fuji-kō Anastigmat Terionar 80mm with f/4.5 or f/3.5 aperture and the shutter is a Fujikō A.
At some time, the folding bed release was moved to the left of the viewfinder. One example has been observed with the new back latch and strap lugs, the folding bed release to the left and a body release. The lens is a Fuji-kō Anastigmat Terionar 80mm f/3.5 and the shutter is a Fujikō A. Another example has been observed with the same features, a Fuji-kō Anastigmat Terionar 80mm f/2.9 lens and a Fujikō A shutter.
Advertisements dated August and October 1939 list the Lyra Six II with the f/2.9 lens for ¥135, along the Lyra Six III, sold at a cheaper price. The shutter is not specified but it is probably a Fujikō A. The picture of the August advertisement shows a camera with strap lugs, body release and folding bed release to the left.
The Lyra Six III
The Lyra Six III (ライラシックスⅢ型) has an advance key in place of the knob, a body release located on the top plate in a more usual way and a film retaining flange in place of the accessory shoe. It also has different strap lugs, placed on both ends of the top plate. The folding optical finder is more bulky and its opening is coupled to the release of the folding bed. All these changes make the Lyra Six III closer to the Ikonta 6×6, of which it is nearly a plain copy.
The Lyra Six III has a single red window in the middle of the back, protected by a horizontally sliding cover. The back leather is embossed LYRA SIX, with both words separated by the red window. These features were perhaps present on earlier models as well, but no picture has yet been found displaying the back. The folding bed leather is embossed with the FUJI KŌGAKU logo, and FUJI KOGAKU logos (with no macron) are engraved in both folding struts.
- Terionar f/4.5, Fujikō B (¥74);
- Terionar f/3.5, Fujikō B (¥84);
- Terionar f/4.5, Fujikō A (¥85);
- Terionar f/3.5, Fujikō A (¥95).
Kokusan kamera no rekishi mentions a version of the Lyra Six III with Terionar f/2.9 lens and Fujikō A shutter, having the same body release as the Lyra Six II, but this has not been confirmed and this is perhaps a confusion.
The Lyra Six III was listed in the January 1941 official price list cited above, in four versions, curiously called "Lyra Six III L" (¥79), "Lyra Six III Y" (¥89), "Lyra Six III R" (¥94) and "Lyra Six III E" (¥110). They certainly correspond to the four lens and shutter combinations. Their names form the word "L-Y-R-E" in ascending price order and this is certainly not casual.
The Lyra Six F and J
|Lyra Six F, Fuji-kō Anastigmat Terionar 75mm f/3.5 lens, Fujikō F shutter, yellow front plate.|
Pictures courtesy of Dan Orton. (Image rights)
The Lyra Six F (ライラシックスＦ型) is similar to the Lyra Six III with a new Fujikō F shutter giving T, B, 1–200 speeds. The shutter plate is sometimes black with white markings and sometimes yellowish with black markings. These markings are almost the same as on the previous Fujikō shutters, except that FUJIKŌ at the top is written in two parts: FUJ and IKŌ, with an arrow between both. This shutter is also found on the Semi Lyra F, Lyrax F and Lyra Flex F. This model was introduced at the end of 1940.
An advertisement dated May 1941 offered two versions:
The camera was advertised in Shashin Bunka until August 1942. It is mentioned in the government inquiry compiled in April 1943, together with the Lyra Six J equipped with a Fujikō J shutter (T, B, 1–200, self-timer) and the Terionar f/3.5 lens. The Lyra Six J is still listed in an advertisement by Banno Toyoji Shōten dated February 1944.
|Lyra Six F, Fuji-kō Terionar 75mm f/3.5 lens, Fujikō F shutter, black front plate.|
Pictures courtesy of J. Wegrzyn. (Image rights)
Actual examples of the Lyra Six F have been observed both with the f/4.5 and with the f/3.5 lens. The lens engraving was changed from Fuji–kō Anastigmat Terionar to Fuji–kō Terionar at some point, between lens no.120000 and no.126000. It seems that the switch from the yellowish shutter plate to the black one occured at the same time.
A postwar Lyra Six has been observed twice. It has a top housing containing the viewfinder in the middle and supporting an accessory shoe to the left.
The advance knob is at the left end of the top housing and it is engraved with a red arrow. The folding bed release is just to the front of the accessory shoe and the shutter release is to right, next to a decorative knob.
The camera is dual format, taking 6×6 and 4.5×6 exposures. There are two red windows in the back, protected by horizontally sliding covers respectively marked 4.5X6 and 6X6. The folding struts are more incurved than those of the prewar and wartime models.
The top housing and maybe the folding struts have a LYRA FUJIKŌ logo, shaped like the older Fuji Kōgaku logo. The same logo is embossed in the ever-ready case, whereas the folding bed leather is embossed with the older FUJI KOGAKU logo. The back leather is embossed LYRA-SIX under the red windows.
The lens is a front-cell focusing Terionar 80/3.5, marked LYRA Terionar 1:3.5 f=80mm. The distance ring is engraved in feet.
The shutter is a Fujikō U giving B, 10–200 speeds, with a self-timer, a distant release connector and a PC synch post. It is marked FUJIKŌ-U on the speed rim, and has a logo with an S in a circle next to the synch post.
- The first advertisement mentioned in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.342, is dated April 1937. The same source says that the Lyra Six was featured in the new products column of the July 1937 issue of Asahi Camera.
- Description of the film advance: Tanaka, p.80 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.8.
- Advertisement published in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.100, in two parts.
- See the description of the actual examples observed. Moreover, Kokusan kamera no rekishi says 80mm for all three lenses on p.342.
- The earliest advertisement listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.342, is dated October 1938.
- Example pictured in this page, lens no.43xxx.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.342, says that the first advertisement showing the Fujikō A and B shutters is dated October 1937.
- Advertisement published in Asahi Camera, scans observed in an online auction.
- Price list published in the September 1938 issue of Asahi Camera, formerly reproduced in the Gochamaze website (no longer available as at January 2016).
- Example pictured in a Korean website, lens no.56990.
- Example pictured in Tanaka, p.80 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.8, lens no.6873x.
- Example observed in an online auction, lens no.58896.
- August 1939: advertisement published in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.101. October 1939: advertisement published in Asahi Camera, reproduced in this page of the Heiki Seikatsu website.
- "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 3, section 8B.
- "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō", November 1941, type 3, section 8B.
- The earliest advertisement listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.342, is dated April 1939.
- Advertisements in Asahi Camera May and August 1939, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.101. Advertisement on the second cover of Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin, December 15, 1939, reproduced on p.34 of Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku.
- This version is simply called "Lyra Six" in Sugiyama, item 1167.
- This version is called "Lyra Six (Deluxe)" in Sugiyama, item 1168.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.342.
- "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 4, sections 3, 4, 5A, 6A.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.342, says that it was featured in the new products column of the October 1940 issue of Asahi Camera together with the Semi Lyra F.
- Advertisement published in Shashin Bunka, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.100.
- This version is pictured in McKeown, p.329, and in Omoide no supuringu-kamera-ten, p.15.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.342.
- "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), items 88, 89 and 200. The Fujikō J shutter is called "Fujikō I" and the self-timer is not mentioned in the available reproduction of the document, certainly by mistake (shutter item 18-P-22). The Fujikō J shutter is confirmed to have a self-timer in an advertisement dated May 1941 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.100.
- Advertisement on the back cover of Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin, February 15, 1944, reproduced on p.78 of Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku.
- It is pictured in this page at Japan Family Camera (site now unvailable, but archived at the Internet Archive) and has also been observed in an online auction, and as lot 269 in auction no.168 by the Australian auctioneer Charles Leski.
- 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. Items 295–8.
- "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 3, section 8B.
- "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 88, 89 and 200.
- "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 3, section 8B; type 4, sections 3, 4, 5A and 6A.
- 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.329 (pictures a Lyra Six F).
- Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin (日本写真興業通信). Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku (百号ごと十回の記録, Ten records, every hundred issues). Tokyo: Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin Sha (日本写真興業通信社), 1967. No ISBN number. Advertisements on p.34, corresponding to the second cover of the December 15, 1939 issue, and on p.78, corresponding to the back cover of the February 15, 1944 issue.
- Omoide no supuringu-kamera-ten (思い出のスプリングカメラ展, Exhibition of beloved self-erecting cameras). Tokyo: JCII Camera Museum, 1992. (Exhibition catalogue, no ISBN number.) P.15.
- 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 1167–8.
- Tanaka Masao (田中政雄). "Sonota no nihon no supuringu-kamera" (その他の日本のスプリングカメラ, "Other Japanese folding 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.8, September 1986. No ISBN number. Supuringu kamera (スプリングカメラ, special issue on spring cameras). Pp.76–80.
- Lyra Six in an archived copy of Robert Monaghan's Medium Format Photography website medfmt.8k.com, at the Internet Archive: very brief notes.
- Lyra Six F at Ranzōsha's camera site
- Lyra Six F at Otowa no nigan-refu, misidentified as a Lyra Six III
- Lyra Six F in a page of the AJCC website
- Advertisement for the Lyrax and Lyra Six published in the October 1939 issue of Asahi Camera, reproduced in a page of camera advertisements at the Heiki Seikatsu website
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