The Zany is a Japanese 16mm subminiature made by Nihon Seimitsu Kōgyō around 1950.
The Zany takes 10×14mm exposures on 16mm perforated film loaded in special cassettes. Its aspect is that of a 35mm viewfinder camera, only much smaller. The viewfinder is slightly offset to the left, as seen by the photographer, and is contained in a small housing extending further to the left. The camera name Zany and the maker's logo are engraved on this housing — the logo is either NSK or NDK depending on the particular example (see below).
The film is advanced by a knob at the top right, and is loaded through the bottom plate. No exposure counter is visible, and it is not known how the film advance is controlled. There is a body release next to the advance knob, and a small knob at the left end, mimicking the rewind knob of 35mm cameras.
There is a rectangular metal plate screwed to the front of the camera. The serial number is engraved in the top left corner. The lens is a fixed-focus Gemmy Anastigmat 25mm f/4.5. The diaphragm is adjustable from 4.5 to 12 by turning a ring on the lens barrel. The shutter gives B, 25, 50, 100 speeds, selected by a knob on the front plate, next to the lens. It is perhaps everset (no cocking control is visible).
|images by eBayer aelvitct (Image rights)|
|1949 ad scanned by steevithak (Image rights)|
Origin and variations
Almost nothing is known on the Zany's commercial life. Most sources attribute the camera to a company called Nihon Seimitsu Kōgyō, and this is corroborated by the NSK logo visible on some examples. The lens name "Gemmy Anastigmat" is reminiscent of Okada's Gemmy pistol-shaped camera — this might hint that Okada was the lens supplier.
Actual cameras are known with a serial number in the 040xxx range and an NSK logo. One example has no.2319 and an NDK logo, another has no.0865 and an unknown logo. No other difference is visible between these examples.
- ↑ Date: Sugiyama, item 5161, Pritchard, p.73, McKeown, p.721, this page at Nekosan's website (archived).
- ↑ Pritchard, p.73, Sugiyama, item 5161, McKeown, p.721.
- ↑ Maker: Pritchard, p.73, McKeown, p.721. The maker's name is translated as "Nihon Precision Industry" in Sugiyama, item 5161. This page at Nekosan's website (archived) says "Nihon Seiki", surely by mistake.
- ↑ No.040520 pictured in this page at Submin.com, no.040634 reported in the same source, and no.040843 pictured in Pritchard, p.73.
- ↑ No.0865: McKeown, p.721. No.2319: Sugiyama, item 5161.
- 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.721.
- 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.73.
- 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 5161.
The Zany is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.
- Zany at Submin.com
- Nihon Zany among 16mm film cameras at Subclub.org
In English and Japanese:
- Zany among subminiature cameras in Nekosan's website (archived)