Baby Ōso

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The Baby Ōso (ベビー・オーソ)[1] is a 3×4 camera announced in 1937 by the Japanese company Optochrom.

The only known advertisement is in the February 1937 issue of Camera Art.[2] The Baby Ōso is presented as "available soon", and no price is indicated.

The camera pictured has a metal top housing, containing the viewfinder, not unlike the Letix or the Kraft. The shutter gives T, B, 25, 50, 100 speeds. The lens aperture is f/4.5, and two lens options are offered: New Gold and Lausar.[3]

The official price list compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941 mentions a "Tsubasa Ōso I" (ツバサオーソⅠ) for ¥60 and a "Tsubasa Ōso II" (ツバサオーソⅡ) for ¥77, with no further details.[4] It is not known if they were related to the Baby Ōso announced in 1937 or if the name was re-used for another camera model.

No surviving example of the Baby Ōso has been observed yet. Leather cases embossed BABY ŌSO have been observed on at least two occasions, with a slightly different shape and different lettering.[5] This certainly indicates that the camera was actually sold for some time.


  1. The Roman spelling "Ōso" is confirmed by an original case observed in an online auction. The katakana オーソ (ōso) were also used as an abbreviation for the orthochromatic films (オーソクロマチック). The name was perhaps intended to remind the word "Ortho".
  2. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi in two parts, pp.61 (items 34 and 91) and 70 (items 89–90). It is the only advertisement listed on p.334 of the same source.
  3. The advertisement reads "New Gold — Lausar" (ニユーゴールド・ローザー). This might mean that the lens was called New Gold Lausar, but it is more likely that the New Gold was one lens offer and the Lausar was another. The Lausar lenses were made by Tomioka.
  4. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 1, sections 5 and 7.
  5. Cases observed in online auctions, together with presumably unrelated cameras (an Alma Four and a Doris (3×4).


  • 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 34.
  • "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku" (国産写真機の公定価格, Set prices of the Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of October 25, 1940 and setting the retail prices from December 10, 1940. Published in Asahi Camera January 1941 and reproduced in 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. Pp.108—9. Type 1, sections 5 and 7.

This camera is not listed in Sugiyama.