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Japanese plate cameras, folding bed (edit)
No.0 (4×5cm) Alpha | Sweet | Pony Sweet | Taishō-shiki
atom (4.5×6cm) Monarch | Need | Palma
meishi (5.5×8cm) Eagle | Idea A | Idea B | Idea Snap | Idea No.1 | Iris | Lily (horizontal) | Pearl No.3 | Special Camera | Venis | X
daimeishi (6.5×9cm) Apollo | Arcadia | Crite | Special East | Eaton | Elliotte | First | First Etui | Gold | Happy | Hope | Idea No.1 | Idea (metal) | Kinka | Kokka | Lily (horizontal) | Lily (metal) | Tropical Lily | Lloyd | Lomax | Masnette | Mikuni | Need | Nifca Klapp | Nifca Sport | Ohca | Palma | Peter | Prince | Prince Peerless | Proud | Romax | Rosen | Rubies | Sirius | Sun | Super | Tokiwa | Venus | Weha Idea | Weha Light
tefuda (8×10.5cm) Eagle | Idea A | Idea B | Idea No.1 | Idea (metal) | Iris | Lily (original) | Lily (horizontal) | Lily (metal) | Palma | Pearl No.3, No.4 | Minimum Pearl | Special Pearl | Sakura Palace | Sakura Pocket Prano | Star | Tokiwa | Weha
nimaigake (8×12cm) Eagle | Idea | Idea Binocular | Sakura Prano | Sakura Binocular Prano | Star Premo
hagaki (8×14cm) Eagle | Noble | Pearl No.3, No.4 | Star
kabine (12×16.5cm) Idea | Noble | Sakura Prano | Star Premo
Japanese plate film: monocular, box, strut-folding and SLR ->
3×4 and 4×4, 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6, 6×6 and 6×9 ->

The Need is a Japanese plate folder distributed by Eikōdō in the 1930s. It exists in daimeishi size (6.5×9cm) and in atom size (4.5×6cm).


The Need is presented in an advertisement by Eikōdō, published at an unknown date.[1] The camera is described as all-metal. The daimeishi model is listed in five versions, supplied with three plate holders and one film pack holder:

  • double extension bellows, Vario shutter, Meyer f/4.5 lens, ¥35;
  • double extension bellows, Vario shutter, Meyer f/6.3 lens, ¥30;
  • single extension bellows, Vario shutter, Meyer f/4.5 lens, ¥30;
  • single extension bellows, Vario shutter, Meyer f/6.3 lens, ¥23;
  • simple Bulb and Instant shutter, simple lens, ¥15.

The pictured camera has a dial-set Vario and probably an f/4.5 lens. The body has simple incurved struts, a brilliant finder offset to the left and a wireframe finder with a rectangular eyepiece. It seems that there is a focusing worm-screw on the photographer's right and a distance scale on the left, and the front standard perhaps allows vertical movements.

In the same advertisement, the atom model is called Model A (A號), and is offered with a simple Bulb and Instant shutter and a simple lens only, at ¥8.50, including six plate holders. In the picture, the camera body looks like a down-sized version of the daimeishi model. No focusing control is visible, and the camera is perhaps focused by moving the lens standard back and forth by hand. There is a brilliant finder but no wireframe finder, and it seems that no movement is available. The shutter plate has the name NEED inscribed at the top.

The advertisement by Eikōdō in the June 1st, 1935 issue of Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin says that it was the distributor of the Need cameras, with no more details.[2]

Surviving examples

The only known surviving example is pictured in Sugiyama.[3] It is in daimeishi format, has a small focusing wheel on the photographer's right, a brilliant finder and a wireframe finder (whose front frame is missing), and no movement ability. The shutter is a dial-set Elka, giving 25, 50, 100, B, T speeds, and the lens is reported as a Steinheil Anastigmat Trionar 105mm f/6.3.

Yazawa shows a Fuji Optische Werk Anastigmat Trionar 105mm f/6.3 and Elka-C shutter (10–150, B, T), reportedly coming from a Need.[4] The shutter plate has ELKA–C at the bottom, Patent–Pending at the top and a TB logo on the right. The name "Fuji Optische Werk" certainly corresponds to Fuji Kōgaku, which maybe acquired the license of the Trionar lens to Steinheil, and maybe assembled the lenses from elements coming from Germany.

The same source also shows a Steinheil Anastigmat Trionar 105mm f/6.3 and dial-set Elka, said to come from a Sun plate folder looking very much like the Need and probably related.[5]


  1. Advertisement reproduced in Morishita, p.70 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.22.
  2. Advertisement reproduced on p.27 of Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku.
  3. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1212.
  4. Yazawa, pp.10–1 of Camera Collectors' News no.265.
  5. Yazawa, pp.10–1 of Camera Collectors' News no.265.


  • 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.261.
  • Morishita Hajime (森下肇). "Atomu-han kamera no subete" (アトム判カメラのすべて, All of Atom-size 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.22, September 1992. No ISBN number. Airesu no subete (アイレスのすべて, special issue on Aires). Pp.55–70.
  • 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. P.27, corresponding to p.9 of the June 1st, 1935 issue.
  • 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 1212.
  • Yazawa Seiichirō (矢沢征一郎). "Renzu no hanashi (175) Kubi no shūshū" (レンズの話[175]首の収集, Lens story [175] Collection of heads). In Camera Collectors' News no.265 (July 1999). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. Pp.9–11.