Ofuna Six (オフナーシックス, Ofunā Shikkusu) was the name used by Ōfuna for two very different 6×6 rangefinder folders in the 1950s. Both have a diecast body with two windows on the back, for 6×6 and 6×4.5, and have a unit-focussed Ofunar 75mm f/3.5 lens, designed by Kunitomo Kenji (国友健司) within Ofuna, made by Ofuna and the same as is used on the Ofunaflex.
Model with non-coupled rangefinder
The earlier and better-known model seems to have been sold from the very end of 1952 or the start of 1953 and it was still advertised in summer 1956. It has a non-coupled rangefinder, which shares the eyepiece of the viewfinder. As the camera is viewed by somebody using it to take a photograph, the eyepiece is slightly to the left, the focusing dial for the rangefinder is to the right, and the film winding knob is to the left. The finder housing has an accessory shoe in the centre and is inscribed "OFUNA SIX". The struts for the door are curved and are not marked with any manufacturer's name.
Cosmetic and perhaps other changes were made over the camera's lifetime. An early example (to judge by its Nissei shutter) has "OFUNA SIX" in one line in oblique script (the ends of the "S" extending below the "F" and above the X"), an "OFUNA" logo to the right of the accessory shoe (as the camera is held for use), and "∞—feet—4" inscribed below the distance scale of the rangefinder; a later example (to judge by its Copal shutter) has "OFUNA SIX" in one line and in a straightforward (non-oblique) script, no "OFUNA" logo, and no inscription below the distance scale.
An advertisement in the November 1953 issue of Asahi Camera offers the Ofuna Six (with Nissei Rapid shutter) for ¥15,000 (exactly half the price of the Ofunaflex); one in the December 1954 issue offers it (with NKS shutter) for ¥14,500 (and the Mamiya Six K for ¥18,800).
About 2000 of these cameras were made.
Model with coupled rangefinder
A later model (c.1956–7) is much less known in Japan. It has a sliding control on the front of the finder housing to move the 6×4.5 finder mask in and out of position. "OFUNA-SIX" is inscribed in one line of a non-oblique lettering across the top. In other ways, too, it looks very different from its predecessor, and very similar to certain models of Mihama Six and Mine Six.
- Note the change of pronunciation from that of Ōfuna (大船), the manufacturer.
- Much of the information in this article derives from Hagiya, "Ōfuna Kōgaku no kamera."
- Older example shown here, later example shown by Hagiya, p. 160–61.
- Both advertisements are reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 125.
- Hagiya, p. 162.
- Takane's manufacture of this camera for Ōfuna was one part of an arrangement whereby Takane was able to obtain Zunow-brand (but in fact Ofunar) lenses for the Mine Six IIIS(B); see Takane.
Sources / further reading
- 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 436–7, 1141.
- Hagiya Takeshi (萩谷剛). "Ōfuna Kōgaku no kamera: Kamera kara kōgaku heiki e" (大船光学のカメラ：カメラから光学兵器へ, The cameras of Ōfuna Kōgaku: From cameras to military optics). Chapter 8 of Zunō kamera tanjō: Sengo kokusan kamera jū monogatari (ズノーカメラ誕生：戦後国産カメラ10物語, The birth of the Zunow camera: Ten stories of postwar Japanese camera makers). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1999. ISBN 4-257-12023-1.
- Ofuna Six (very early version) at Kamera no heya
- Ofuna Six (early version) in a page of the All Japan Classic Camera Club. The photograph shows four folders with non-coupled rangefinders; clockwise from top left these are: Ofuna Six, Zenobia, Sisley and Balm Six.
- Ofuna Six (Copal shutter) at Doraku Oyaji no Kamera Koheya
- Advertisement for the Ofuna Six and Ofunaflex dated 1954, reproduced in Shashin-Bako