The Robin is a Japanese subminiature taking ten 14×14mm pictures on 17.5mm paper backed rollfilm, made in the late 1940s or early 1950s. It is known from a single example pictured in Sugiyama.
The Robin has a horizontal design, reminding more evolved cameras using 16mm film. It has a bright metal finish all around. There is a large front door swinging upwards, covering the whole front plate. The camera is identified by the name ROBIN and the initials M.K.S engraved on that front door.
The viewfinder is integrated in the main body, at the far left (as seen by the photographer). The example pictured in Sugiyama has number 3015 engraved on the finder's front frame, perhaps a serial number. (The engraving might consist of two distinct numbers: 30 and 15, but this would make little sense.) The film is advanced by a knob at the top right. It seems that the rear half of the camera is removable for film loading and locked by sliding buttons on either side, but this is unconfirmed. There is a part attached to the top, perhaps a sliding bar for some unknown use. The release button is at the right end of the body.
The lens has a fixed focus and aperture, and has no marking. The shutter certainly offers 50, 75, 100 settings. Corresponding engravings are visible on the front plate, to the right of the lens, but the setting lever appears to be missing on the only known example.
The Robin has some similarity to the Lovely (but it is not identical). The two cameras might be related in some way.
The meaning of the initials M.K.S is unclear. An MKS logo and MKS shutters are found on the Mizuho Six 6×6 folder; in that context, the initials certainly correspond to the maker's name Mizuho Kōki Seisakusho. The brand name "Robin" was used again for a name variant of the Neoca, made by the successor of Mizuho. This might be a mere coincidence, or a hint that the Robin subminiature was made by Mizuho too. The "Robin" brand was also used by a different company on the Robin 35, an evolution of the Cooky 35.
- 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 (text only).
- 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 5123.
The Robin is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.
- Robin (text only) at Submin.com
- Brief mention of the Robin among 17.5mm film cameras at Subclub.org