Lenses in Leica screw mount
Universal Supreme 5cm f/3.5
The Universal Supreme 5cm f/3.5 is only known from an article by Orima Isamu in Kurashikku Kamera Senka. In this document, it appears on a viewfinder-only Chiyoca 35, which was passed to the author by Ogihara Akira (荻原彰), founder of Orion. No other example is known, and the lens was perhaps a prototype. The serial number is 510418 — the two first digits might indicate that the lens was produced in 1951.
The lens is probably coupled to the rangefinder but this is not confirmed. The lens owner reports that it has three elements, judging from the number of reflections; this is however strange on a 5cm f/3.5 lens in Leica screw mount, where one would expect a Tessar formula with four elements.
The barrel is collapsible and has an all chrome finish. The rear part with the focusing ring is inspired by the Leitz Elmar 5cm f/3.5. Focus is driven by a tab with an infinity lock. The focusing scale is engraved in metres and goes down to 1.25m or closer. The front part is inspired from the Elmar 5cm f/2.8, and has the aperture scale on the side, graduated from 3.5 to 16. The lens has two screw threads for filter or hood attachment: an inner one around the lens bezel and an outer one. The lens bezel is engraved Universal Supreme 1:3.5 f=5cm No.xxxxxx in black on a chrome background.
Orion Seiki Supreme 3.5cm f/3.5
The Orion Seiki Supreme 3.5cm f/3.5 is only known from a lens sold at auction in 2008. It has an all chrome rigid barrel. The focusing ring has a tab and an infinity lock, and is coupled to the rangefinder. The distance scale is engraved in feet, from ∞ to 3½ft. The aperture ring is at the front of the barrel, and is graduated from 3.5 to 16. The lens rim is engraved Orion Seiki Supreme 1:3.5 f=3.5cm No.xxxxxx in black on a chrome background. The serial number of the only example known so far is 510464, only slightly later than that of the Universal Supreme 5cm f/3.5 — the two first digits are again probably related to the year of production.
Orion Camera Supreme 10.5cm f/2.8
The Orion Camera Supreme 10.5cm f/2.8 exists in a number of versions.
For the Mirax reflex housing
The Supreme 10.5cm f/2.8 lens was originally made for the Mirax reflex housing, in 44mm screw mount. The mount is physically identical to that of the later Miranda SLR, but the film-to-flange distance is different. The Supreme-A corresponds to the Mirax-A, for Leica screw mount cameras, and the Supreme-B corresponds to the Mirax-B, for Contax or Nikon cameras. They presumably only differ by the length of the barrel, because the film register of the Mirax-B is longer than that of the Mirax-A.
The lens barrel is all chrome, with fine mills on the base, focus ring and aperture ring. The distance scale in engraved in feet, and the aperture scale goes from 2.8 to 22. The barrel is inscribed for Mirax–A (or presumably for Mirax–B) in front of the focus ring. The lens name is engraved on the side, around the rim: Orion Camera Co. Supreme 1:2.8 f=10.5cm, and the serial number has six digits, of which the first two might indicate the year of production. The lens head unscrews from the focusing barrel, for use on the Focabell bellows (see below).
The lens was sold in a red jewel case, inscribed MIRAX–A (or certainly MIRAX–B) and TELEPHOTO LENS SUPREME 1:2.8 F=10.5cm, with the company name ORION CAMERA CO., LTD., TOKYO. The lens cap is chrome finished, and normally has SUPREME and Orion Camera Co. markings.
|Supreme-A 10.5cm f/2.8 on a Mirax-A, from Shashin Kōgyō June 1952|
and the June 1955 special issue of Photo Art. (Image rights).
The lens was certainly released together with the Mirax. It is pictured in the June 1952 issue of Shashin Kōgyō, with an ORION lens cap. Its price is given as ¥25,000 in the June 1955 special issue of Photo Art, both in the main text and in the advertisement placed by the distributor Matsushima.
Lens head for the Focabell
|Orion Camera Supreme-C 10.5cm f/2.8 lens head.|
Left: with jewel case and rear cap. Right: on a Mirax-B and Focabell outfit.
Pictures courtesy of eBayer toolchest (Image rights).
The lens head was available alone as the Supreme-C, introduced after the release of the Focabell bellows. The latter is only mentioned as "planned for release soon" in the June 1952 article in Shashin Kōgyō, but the detachable lens head in 44mm screw mount was integrated from the start in the lens barrel design.
|Advertisements listing the Supreme 10.5cm f/2.8, in Asahi Camera November 1953|
and the June 1955 special issue of Photo Art. (Image rights).
For the Asahiflex
|Table entry in the October 1955 special issue of Photo Art. (Image rights).|
It seems that the Supreme 10.5cm f/2.8 was also issued for the Asahiflex, in a version called Supreme-D, available for ¥28,000. This version is mainly known from an entry in a table of interchangeable lenses in the October 1955 special issue of Photo Art. This page of the Miranda Society Japan also mentions a Supreme-D, apparently from another source, without specifying the lens mount.
For the Miranda
The same page of the Miranda Society Japan shows a lens reported as a Supreme 10.5cm f/2.8, attached to a Miranda SLR camera. The barrel differs from that of the Supreme-A, and has four rows of knurls: at the base, on the focus ring, and two others surrounding the aperture scale, perhaps for a preset diaphragm. The lens comes in a box inscribed MIRANDA INTERCHANGEABLE LENS, unmistakably indicating that it was made for the Miranda SLR.
The same page also quotes a catalogue for the Miranda T, which says that "the lens head can be removed, transforming the lens into a Supreme H for use on the Focabell". The October 1955 table entry reproduced above also has a Supreme-H, but gives no indication of the price or lens mount. This might plausibly correspond to the lens head of the newer version of the lens, renamed to distinguish it from the former Supreme-C (with H for Head instead of the alphabetical order previously used).
- The katakana spelling スープリーム is found in all the original advertisements, but the article by Ogihara Akira, p.27 of Shashin Kōgyō no.1, has スュープリーム instead.
- Orima, pp.104–6 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.24.
- The lens was found on a viewfinder-only camera, hence the doubt.
- Orima, pp.105 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.24.
- In the available pictures, the focusing tab perhaps hides the minimum distance.
- Lens sold as lot no.397 of auction no.14 (November 30, 2008) by Westlicht.
- Ogihara, p.27 of Shashin Kōgyō no.1.
- June 1955 special issue of Photo Art, advertisement on p.22 and column on p.119.
- October 1955 special issue of Photo Art, pp.66–7.
- Ogihara Akira (荻原彰). "Mirakkusu ni tsuite" (ミラックスについて, About the Mirax). In Shashin Kōgyō no.1, June 1952. Pp.26–7.
- Photo Art rinji zōkan: Kamera akusesarī zensho (フォトアート臨時増刊・カメラアクセサリー全書, Photo Art special issue: All the camera accessories). June 1955, no.80 of the magazine.
- Advertisement by the photo department of Matsushima Megane-ten on p.22.
- "Shashin no kaimi wa sessha to bōen satsuei kara: Purokusā, Ōtoappu, Refubokkusu, sonota." (写真の快味は接写と望遠撮影から・プロクサー・オートアップ・レフボックス・その他, Because the appeal of photography comes with close-up and telephoto pictures: Proxar, Auto-Up, reflex housing, etc.) Pp.118–20.
- Photo Art rinji zōkan: Kamera no chishiki (フォトアート臨時増刊・カメラの知識, Photo Art special issue: Knowledge of cameras). October 1955, no.87 of the magazine. "Naigai hyōjun renzu oyobi kōkan renzu ichiranhyō" (内外標準レンズ及び交換レンズ一覧表, Table of Japan and foreign standard and interchangeable lenses). Pp.66–7.
- Orima Isamu (織間勇). "Puāmanzu Raika o mezashita ga: Chiyoka 35" (プアーマンズライカを目ざしたが・チヨカ35, The Chiyoca 35, a would-be poor man's Leica). 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.24, March 1993. No ISBN number. Leica Book '93: Barunakku-gata Raika zukan (バルナック型ライカ図鑑, album of screw-mount Leica cameras). Pp.104–6. (Shows a Universal Supreme 5cm f/3.5 on a Chiyoca 35. The camera and lens were passed to the author by Ogihara Akira [萩原彰], creator of the Miranda camera.)
- Past sales by Westlicht:
- Supreme 3.5cm f/3.5 in Leica screw mount: lot no.397 of auction no.14 (November 30, 2008)
- Supreme 10.5cm f/2.8 lens head with Mirax reflex housing: lot no.365 of auction no.9 (May 20, 2006)
- Supreme 10.5cm f/2.8 in focusing barrel with Mirax reflex housing: lot no.398 of auction no.14 (November 30, 2008)
- Supreme lens head with Mirax and Focabell among rare items, among Focabell bellows and among macro lenses, at the Miranda Camera website (the lens is listed as a 105/3.5 on some places, certainly by mistake)