|Baby Camera with no-need-darkroom film|
image by Dirk HR Spennemann (Image rights)
The Baby or Baby Kamera (ベビーカメラ) is a Japanese box camera using the no-need-darkroom process, made and distributed by Baby Kamera Kenkyūjo, and advertised by Sanesudō in 1931.
The Baby was reportedly advertised from July 1931 by Sanesudō, in at least three versions priced at ¥0.50, ¥1 and ¥2. It is said that the first advertisement appeared that month in Asahi Camera. One original document observed is the camera's user manual, printed by Baby Kamera Kenkyūjo, mentioned as the maker and distributor (製造発売元). It contains no picture or detailed drawing, but a schema explaining the no-need-darkroom process, showing a simple box-shaped camera with no viewfinder and with a simple release lever protruding from a round shutter casing.
The document says that all subjects are in focus from 3ft to infinity, and gives an exposure table with speeds ranging from 1/10 to 3s, to be obtained by hand on a simple shutter offering Bulb exposure only. It gives a detailed description of the process of taking a picture, developing the film, making a contact print and developing it.
The instruction sheet supplied with the camera that has more details is pictured below.
The camera was sold as a set, and the user manual lists the contents of the box:
- the camera,
- a set of film,
- a set of printing paper for artificial light,
- a bottle of developer fluid,
image by Geoff Harrisson (Image rights)
- a bottle of fixer,
- a frame for contact prints
- the user manual itself.
The document finally gives a price list for accessories:
- a dozen film, ¥0.50;
- bottle of developer, ¥0.30;
- bottle of fixer, ¥0.20;
- two dozen printing papers, for artificial light, ¥0.15;
- one dozen printing papers, for natural light, ¥0.30.
Actual examples of the no-need-darkroom Baby Camera are known in various forms. The box-shaped model is very similar to the Kamerette and other box-shaped yen cameras. The folding model is very similar to the Highking Camera and Special Camera, except for the Baby Camera and Made in Japan inscriptions on the shutter plate.
The Baby Reflex pictured in Sugiyama might be a more expensive version of this camera, but this is unsure.
- ↑ The Roman name "Baby Kamera" appears on the user manual reproduced in Awano, p.12 of Camera Collectors' News no.316.
- ↑ Awano, p.7 of Camera Collectors' News no.317, quoting the book Nihon Shashinshi Nenpyō (日本写真史年表).
- ↑ Awano, p.10 of Camera Collectors' News no.316, quoting a letter by Nakada Motoaki (仲田元亮).
- ↑ User manual reproduced in Awano, pp.12–5 of Camera Collectors' News no.316.
- ↑ Example pictured in McKeown, p.87.
- ↑ Examples pictured in McKeown, p.87, and in Pritchard, p.70.
- ↑ Sugiyama, item 4025.
- Awano Mikio (粟野幹男). "Tougō kamera (3)" (トウゴーカメラ, Tougo cameras ). In Camera Collectors' News no.316 (October 2003). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. Pp.9–21.
- Awano Mikio (粟野幹男). "Tougō kamera (4)" (トウゴーカメラ, Tougo cameras ). In Camera Collectors' News no.317 (November 2003). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. Pp.7–12.
- 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.87.
- 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.70.
- 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 4025 (on the Baby Reflex).