New Rocket

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Japanese subminiature
on paper-backed roll film and round film (edit)
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round film Evarax | Petal | Sakura Petal | Star
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The New Rocket is a Japanese subminiature camera taking ten 14×14mm exposures on 17.5mm paper backed rollfilm, made in the late 1940s or early 1950s by Tōkyō Seiki and perhaps by a Rocket Camera Co.


The New Rocket is slightly better made than the average Hit-type camera. The top housing was obviously copied on that of the New Midget. (The manufacturer Tōkyō Seiki would later ape other makers' designs with the Doris, inspired by the Pearl, and the Condor, styled after the Nikon S2.) The film is advanced by a knob on the photographer's left. The back is hinged to the left and has a spring-loaded latch. The red window is protected by a sliding cover. The lens is a Rocket 20mm f/4.5, with a fixed aperture. The everset shutter only gives instant exposures. The camera is identified by the name NEW Rocket engraved above the viewfinder — this name itself was obviously patterned after "New Midget".


Variations are known in the design of the shutter plate. Some examples have a clear shutter plate with the name ROCKET in red letters at the top, and the company name TŌKYŌ SEIKI Co., LTD. in black letters at the bottom.[1] Others have the company name ROCKET CAMERA CO., LTD. instead.[2] All these have the engraving ROCKET 1:4.5 F=20mm on the lens rim. Some have a gold instead of chrome finish on the metal parts.[3]

Yet other examples a black shutter plate, inscribed NEW at the top and ROCKET at the bottom, with no mention of a company name.[4] These have a slightly different shutter casing and lens rim, engraved Rocket Anastigmat 1:4.5 with no mention of the focal length.

At least one original box is known; it shows the name NEW Rocket 14X14 and the phrases THE HOLDER OF SPLENDID ABILITY and MINIMUM CAMERA.[5]


The attribution of the New Rocket to Tōkyō Seiki is near certain. This company is known to have changed its name at various times, becoming Doris Camera, then Condor Camera in the 1950s. Before 1945, it was called Motodori (certainly after its founder's name), and used many dummy names mimicking the names of its products, such as "Victor Camera Works" or "Condor Camera Works" after the Victor and Condor folders. The name "Rocket Camera Co., Ltd." found on some examples of the camera might be one such dummy name, or might be the name of the importer of the camera into the United States.


  1. Example pictured in McKeown, p.844.
  2. Example pictured in this page at
  3. Example pictured in this page at
  4. Examples pictured in Sugiyama, item 5124, and in this page at
  5. Box pictured in Pritchard, p.76.


  • 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.844.
  • 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.76.
  • 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 5124.

The New Rocket is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.


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