Apollo and Lloyd

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Japanese plate cameras, folding bed (edit)
No.0 (4×5cm) Alpha | Sweet | Pony Sweet | Taishō-shiki
atom (4.5×6cm) Monarch | Need | Palma
meishi (5.5×8cm) Eagle | Idea A | Idea B | Idea Snap | Idea No.1 | Iris | Lily (horizontal) | Pearl No.3 | Special Camera | Venis | X
daimeishi (6.5×9cm) Apollo | Arcadia | Crite | Special East | Eaton | Elliotte | First | First Etui | Gold | Happy | Hope | Idea No.1 | Idea (metal) | Kinka | Kokka | Lily (horizontal) | Lily (metal) | Tropical Lily | Lloyd | Lomax | Masnette | Mikuni | Need | Nifca Klapp | Nifca Sport | Ohca | Palma | Peter | Prince | Prince Peerless | Proud | Romax | Rosen | Rubies | Sirius | Sun | Super | Tokiwa | Venus | Weha Idea | Weha Light
tefuda (8×10.5cm) Eagle | Idea A | Idea B | Idea No.1 | Idea (metal) | Iris | Lily (original) | Lily (horizontal) | Lily (metal) | Palma | Pearl No.3, No.4 | Minimum Pearl | Special Pearl | Sakura Palace | Sakura Pocket Prano | Star | Tokiwa | Weha
nimaigake (8×12cm) Eagle | Idea | Idea Binocular | Sakura Prano | Sakura Binocular Prano | Star Premo
hagaki (8×14cm) Eagle | Noble | Pearl No.3, No.4 | Star
kabine (12×16.5cm) Idea | Noble | Sakura Prano | Star Premo
Japanese plate film: monocular, box, strut-folding and SLR ->
3×4 and 4×4, 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6, 6×6 and 6×9 ->

The Apollo (アポロ) is a Japanese 6.5×9cm plate folder, made by Sone Shunsuidō in the 1920s. The Lloyd is a cheaper version of this camera.


The Apollo has an all-metal body and double-extension bellows driven by a small wheel on the photographer's right. There is a brilliant finder offset to the left, and there is no wireframe finder. The U-shaped front standard allows vertical and perhaps horizontal movements. The name APOLLO is inscribed inside the folding bed, between the focusing rails.


Early models, Testar lens

The Apollo was advertised in the April and May 1924 issues of Ars Camera.[1] The advertisements say that the camera was supplied with six single-sided plate holders and one film pack holder. Two lens and shutter combinations are listed:

The Testar lens was specially made by a French company in Paris for Tokyo Camera Works, the manufacturing branch of Sone Shunsuidō.

The advertisement in the September 1924 issue of Ars Camera only lists the Testar f/4.5 and Compur combination, at the higher price of ¥105.[2] A dedicated red case (特製赤鞄) is mentioned for ¥5 extra. The text of the advertisement says that the camera can take both "continental meishi" (大陸名刺, 6.5×9cm) and "British meishi" (英国名刺, 5.5×8cm) plates.

Another advertisement lists the following versions:[3]

  • Testar f/4.5 lens, dial-set Compur shutter, ¥115;
  • Testar f/6.3 lens, Ibsor shutter, ¥85;
  • Triplar f/6.3 lens, Vario shutter, ¥56.

The Triplar lens was not specifically made for Sone.[4] The scheme of the Testar lens is displayed in the advertisement, showing a four-element Tessar-type design; however recent reports on the Testar f/6.3 and f/6.8 lenses say that they are actually triplets.[5]

Surviving examples of the Apollo are known with the Testar 105mm f/6.3 and the Ibsor shutter (1–100, B, T).[6] In one case, the lens marking reads T C W PARIS – TESTAR f:6.3 F105 N°13025.[7] Another example is known with a Testar Anastigmat 90mm f/4.5 lens and a dial-set Compur.[8] The lens marking reads TESTAR ANASTIGMAT – f4.5 F90 N°11517 and does not mention Tokyo Camera Works or Paris.

Later models, Modelar lens

The Apollo was later reportedly offered with a Modelar or Welka f/4.5 or f/6.3 lens in an Ibsor or Compur shutter.[9] The Modelar was the new name of the Testar lens, after Carl Zeiss complained on the proximity of the name with Tessar.[10]

The Lloyd

The Lloyd is a cheaper version of the Apollo, about which little is known. It was offered at some time with a Modelar f/4.5 or f/6.3 lens in an Ibsor or Compur shutter.[11]


  1. Advertisements 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.
  2. Advertisement reproduced in Yazawa, p.19 of Camera Collectors' News no.98.
  3. Advertisement reproduced in Morishita, p.70 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.22.
  4. The advertisement says that it was "made elsewhere" (別製).
  5. Triplets: see this page and this page at ksmt.com.
  6. Example pictured in Lewis, p.44, and example pictured in this page at ksmt.com.
  7. Example pictured in this page at ksmt.com.
  8. Lens and shutter pictured in Yazawa, p.17 of Camera Collectors' News no.98. Whole camera pictured in Yazawa, pp.11 and 14 of Camera Collectors' News no.264.
  9. Lewis, p.44.
  10. Yazawa, p.17 of Camera Collectors' News no.98 and p.11 of Camera Collectors' News no.171, quoting books by Kitano Kimio.
  11. Lewis, p.44.


  • 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.
  • Yazawa Seiichirō (矢沢征一郎). "Renzu no hanashi (17) Chinpin renzu Tesutā" (レンズの話[17]珍品レンズ・テスター, Lens story [17] 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[88]モデラー, Lens story [88] 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[17]珍品レンズ・テスター, Lens story [174] The Testar). In Camera Collectors' News no.264 (June 1999). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. Pp.11–6.


In Japanese: