The Testar, Complanar and Modelar lenses were made by a French company for Tokyo Camera Works, the manufacturing branch of the Japanese distributor Sone Shunsuidō.
One advertisement dated February 1927 says that the Testar was introduced seven years earlier, that is 1920. Advertisements by Sone say that the Testar f/4.5 and f/6.3 and Complanar f/4.5 lenses were specially made for Tokyo Camera Works by a French company in Paris.
The Testar was advertised as a four-element lens, but recent accounts say that the f/6.3 and f/6.8 versions are actually triplets. Carl Zeiss complained about the name "Testar", deemed too close from "Tessar". This is explained in an advertisement by Sone dated February 1927, where the company defends itself against the accusation of usurping a famous name; it says that the name "Testar" comes from "Test lens", in the sense of "Standard lens", and that "Modelar" was patterned the same, presumably after "Model lens". This explanation is plausible for "Modelar", but it is hard to believe that "Testar" was not inspired by "Tessar".
|Advertisement for the Modelar lenses in Ars Camera February 1927 (left) and in Asahi Camera July 1929 (right). (Image rights)|
Testar f/4.5 and f/6.3 lenses were mounted on the Apollo 6.5×9cm plate folders, in 105mm and sometimes 90mm focal length. A Testar 50mm f/4.5 was also mounted on the Secrette Special detective camera. Testar f/6.3 and f/6.8 lenses were offered on the Idea No.1 and Pearl No.2 by Konishiroku in 1924; Tanaka suggests that this temporary measure was taken because the Konishiroku company was facing a shortage of lenses after its stocks were destroyed in the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake.
The following lens engravings are known:
- TESTAR ANASTIGMAT – f4.5 F90 N°11517 on an Apollo
- TESTAR ANASTIGMAT f6.8 F90 N°11690 on a Pearl No.2
- T C W PARIS – TESTAR f:6.3 F105 N°13025 on an Apollo
- T C W PARIS . TESTAR f:4.5 F50 N°13405 on a Secrette Special
Modelar f/4.5 and f/6.3 lenses were mounted on the Apollo and Lloyd. One isolated Modelar 10.5cm f/6.3 lens is known on a Super plate folder, but this equipment is perhaps not original. On this particular lens, the engraving reads Modelar Anastigmat 1:6,3 F=10,5cm T.C.Works N°35921, and the same markings are repeated on the back rim of the rear element.
A Modelar Anastigmat 210/4.5 barrel lens is pictured in the February 1927 and July 1929 advertisements pictured above; the front rim is engraved T. C. W. Paris . Modelar Anastigmat 1:4.5 F=210 N°xxxxx. A Modelar 21cm f/6 barrel lens has been reported as well; the name is engraved on the side instead of the front rim.
- Advertisement in Ars Camera February 1927.
- Testar: advertisements in Ars Camera April and May 1924, reproduced in Yazawa, p.18 of Camera Collectors' News no.98, p.13 of Camera Collectors' News no.171 and pp.15–6 of Camera Collectors' News no.264: "東京カメラウオークス佛國巴里レンズ工場にて新製のテスターレンズF四、五又はF六、三を装せる". This also appears in the advertisement in Ars Camera February 1927. — Testar and Complanar: advertisement reproduced in Morishita, p.70 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.22.
- Lens scheme visible in the advertisement in Ars Camera February 1927, and in the advertisement reproduced in Morishita, p.70 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.22.
- Triplets: see this page and this page at ksmt.com.
- Advertisement in Ars Camera February 1927.
- The text reads 標準鏡玉, with the non-standard reading tesuto indicated in furigana next to the word 標準, normally read hyōjun and meaning "standard".
- Advertisement in Asahi Camera July 1929, p.A26.
- Tanaka, p.33 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
- Lens pictured in Yazawa, p.17 of Camera Collectors' News no.98, and p.14 of Camera Collectors' News no.264, mounted in a dial-set Compur shutter.
- Lens pictured in this page at ksmt.com, mounted in a dial-set Pronto shutter.
- Lens pictured in this page at ksmt.com, mounted in an Ibsor shutter.
- Lens pictured in Yazawa, p.14 of Camera Collectors' News no.264.
- Lewis, p.44, Yazawa, p.13 of Camera Collectors' News no.171.
- Lens pictured in Yazawa, p.12 of Camera Collectors' News no.171.
- Example observed in an online auction. The focal length and aperture are reported only.
- Advertisement reproduced in Morishita, p.70 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.22.
- Ars Camera. Advertisement by Sone Shunsuidō in February 1927. No page number.
- Asahi Camera. Advertisement by Sone Shunsuidō in July 1929, p.A26.
- 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.44.
- Morishita Hajime (森下肇). "Atomu-han kamera no subete" (アトム判カメラのすべて, All of Atom-size cameras). 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.22, September 1992. No ISBN number. Airesu no subete (アイレスのすべて, special issue on Aires). Pp.55–70.
- Tanaka Masao (田中政雄). "Konica history 4. Taishō 12-nen – Shōwa 8-nen." (Konica history 4. 大正12年–昭和8年. From Taishō year 12 (1923) to Shōwa year 8 (1933).) 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.10, September 1987. No ISBN number. Konishiroku kamera no rekishi (小西六カメラの歴史, special issue on Konishiroku). Pp.33–8.
- Yazawa Seiichirō (矢沢征一郎). "Renzu no hanashi (17) Chinpin renzu Tesutā" (レンズの話珍品レンズ・テスター, Lens story  A rare lens: the Testar). In Camera Collectors' News no.98 (August 1985). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. Pp.17–9.
- Yazawa Seiichirō (矢沢征一郎). "Renzu no hanashi (88) Modelā" (レンズの話モデラー, Lens story  The Modelar). In Camera Collectors' News no.171 (September 1991). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. Pp.11–3.
- Yazawa Seiichirō (矢沢征一郎). "Renzu no hanashi (174) Tesutā" (レンズの話珍品レンズ・テスター, Lens story  The Testar). In Camera Collectors' News no.264 (June 1999). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. Pp.11–6.