The Speed Pocket (スピード・ポケット) is a Japanese folding camera taking 4×6.5 pictures on 127 film, sold in 1936 and 1937 by First Camera Works. Baird says that it was first called "Speed Pocket" in 1934 then "First Speed Pocket" in 1936 but this is unconfirmed.
Description of the body
The Speed Pocket is a vertical folder copied from the Agfa Billy 0. The metal struts have an incurved slot guiding the front standard when folding the bed. There is a folding frame finder in the middle of the top plate. The key to wind the film is and the folding bed release are at the bottom right. The back is hinged to the left.
The top and bottom plates and the standing leg have "art-deco" patterns directly copied from the Billy 0. The front leather is embossed SPEED with a higher "S".
Lens and shutter equipment
The Speed Pocket was featured in the new products column of the January 1937 issue of Asahi Camera. The camera is called Speed Pocket and mentioned as a new model in an advertisement dated December 1936. It was offered for ¥50 with a Toko f/4.5 lens by Tōkyō Kōgaku and a selftimer-equipped Licht shutter by Seikosha. Versions equipped with a Magna shutter and an f/6.3 or f/4.5 lens were announced as available soon. No mention is made of the ability to take 3×4cm pictures.
An advertisement dated April 1937 mentions the dual-format feature and lists the same lens and shutter equipment for the slightly lower price of ¥48, but it does not mention the Magna shutter any more.
Both advertisements cited give the company name First Camera Works and the authorized dealers Hattori Tokei-ten, Ōmiya Shashin-yōhin, Mizuno Shashinki-ten, Asanuma Shōkai Honten, Misuzu Shōkai and Shimoda Shashinki-ten.
No surviving example of the Speed Pocket has been observed so far. A camera presented as a Speed Pocket is pictured in Sugiyama and Baird. However it has a Baron Anastigmat 7.5cm f/4.5 lens in a Kerio shutter, no art-deco patterns and no SPEED embossing, and it is strongly suspected that this camera is a Pocket Prince.
- Dates: Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 340.
- Baird, pp. 99–101. Lewis, p. 54, also gives 1934 as the release date. Sugiyama, item 1052, and McKeown, p. 577, say 1936.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 340.
- Published in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 86.
- Published in Camera Club, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 88.
- Sugiyama, item 1052 and Baird, pp. 99–101.
- 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. Item 209. (See also the advertisements for item 199.)
- Baird, John R. Collectors guide to Kuribayashi-Petri Cameras. Grantsburg, WI (USA): Centennial Photo Service, 1991. ISBN 0-931838-16-9. Pp. 18 and 99–101.
- Lewis, Gordon, ed. The History of the Japanese Camera. Rochester, N.Y.: George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography & Film, 1991. ISBN 0-935398-17-1 (paper), 0-935398-16-3 (hard). P. 54.
- 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. 577.
- 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 1052.