Camera "A" and Camera "B"

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The Camera "A" and Camera "B" are subminiature cameras made by Okada around 1950, certainly in extremely few numbers.


It is said that the Camera "A" and Camera "B" were made after a request by the US military.[1] Their designer was Ishiwata Shigeo (石渡茂雄), who previously developed the Kolt, a straightforward Hit-type subminiature, and the unconventional pistol-shaped Gemmy.[1] The Camera "A" was designed for 8mm film and the Camera "B" for 16mm film. It is said that a stereo camera for 16mm film was planned and perhaps made as well.[1]


No original document showing either camera has been observed so far. Mention of at least four actual examples is known, all having a number associated to the name. No two examples have the same, and this might be a serial number, but this is yet unclear.

The Camera "A" No.1 is mentioned by various authors, perhaps after some pictorial source.[2] The Camera "B" No.2 is pictured in Sugiyama, where it is said to belong to the collection of M. Auer.[3] The Camera "A" No.3 is featured in an article by Yazawa in Camera Collectors' News, and the unfinished Camera "A" No.6 appears in a follow-up of this article.[4]

The Camera "A"

The description of the Camera "A" is mainly based on the pictures of the Camera "A" No.3 published by Yazawa.[5] The camera takes unperforated 8mm film, loaded in a double cassette. The frame size is about 7×8mm and the exposure counter goes one graduation past 30.[6] The camera's overall dimensions are 45.5×25×22mm when the finder is retracted, and 45.5×25×34mm when it is deployed, and the weight is a mere 70g.[7]

The body is made of solid brass and has the shape of a stadium track, when viewed from above.[8] Rectangular front and rear plates are screwed to the main body by six screws each. The camera name CAMERA "A" NO.3 is engraved on the front plate, above the lens hole. The finder's frame retracts into the front plate, and the rear bead slides into a compartment protruding from the rear plate. There are two diamond-patterned discs on the camera's top, turned by the thumb. The left one selects the shutter speeds among B, 25, 50, 100. The right one is the exposure counter, which must be reset manually. The bottom plate slides out to load the film, and has inscriptions all around: an OKAKO TOKYO logo, the company name OKADA OPT. INDST. CO., LTD., the mention PATENTS···PENDING, and the name NO.3 CAMERA "A".

No conventional shutter release is visible, and it seems that the camera can be triggered only by a soft release screwed into a post protruding at the right end of the body. The two-bladed shutter is probably everset. The lens is placed behind the shutter blades, and is not externally visible. Its focus and aperture are fixed, and its features are unclear — Yazawa suggests a 15mm f/4.5.[9]

From the few mentions of the Camera "A" No.1, it seems that this earlier example was exactly similar.[10] The Camera "A" No.6 was found in an unfinished state, missing the lens, shutter, front and rear plates, and other minor parts.[11] Its bottom plate is similar to that of No.3, except for the mention of NO.6.

Example no.1 reportedly comes with various accessories, in addition to the mandatory cable release: filters, close-up lenses, hood, and tripod adapter, assembled together in a presentation case.[12] Example no.3 also has its own case with a metal plate attached to the lid, inscribed NO.3 CAMERA "A" and OKADA OPTICAL INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. TOKYO JAPAN, with Okada's OKAKO TOKYO logo.[13]

The Camera "B"

The Camera "B" is only known from the picture of the Camera "B" No.2 in Sugiyama.[14] The camera takes 11×15mm exposures on 16mm film loaded in special cassettes.[15] It is similar in shape to the Camera "A", but somewhat larger. The frame finder is replaced by a tubular finder at the top. The speed selecting disc on the left is similar to that of the smaller model, and gives B, 25–200 settings. The exposure counter disc is buried inside the top cover, under a circular plate attached by three screws, and only a portion is visible through a crescent-shaped window. The central part again has a diamond pattern for manual reset.

The camera name CAMERA "B" NO.2 is engraved at the top of the front plate. There is a sliding lever above the lens, certainly used to cock the shutter. The camera again has no conventional shutter release but a thread for a cable release at the right end of the body. The lens is a B-Kolex Anastigmat 22mm f/3.5 with fixed focus and aperture. It is placed in front of the shutter blades, and its barrel protrudes out of the front plate, unlike on the Camera "A". The only surviving example observed so far has lens no.105.[16]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Yazawa, p.11 of Camera Collectors' News no.233.
  2. Mention in Yazawa, p.15 of Camera Collectors' News no.235, quoting an unspecified "foreign magazine", in this page at and in this page at
  3. Sugiyama, item 5019.
  4. Yazawa, articles in Camera Collectors' News no.233 and 235.
  5. Example pictured in Yazawa, pp.12–5 of Camera Collectors' News no.233.
  6. Frame size: Yazawa, p.11 of Camera Collectors' News no.233, precisely measured 6.7×7.7mm.
  7. Dimensions and weight measured by Yazawa, p.12 of Camera Collectors' News no.233.
  8. Made of solid brass: Yazawa, p.12 of Camera Collectors' News no.233. The mention of an aluminium body for the Camera "A" No.1 in this page at is certainly wrong.
  9. Yazawa, p.12 of Camera Collectors' News no.233.
  10. Mention here at and here at
  11. Example pictured in Yazawa, p.18 of Camera Collectors' News no.235.
  12. See here at and here at
  13. Case pictured in Yazawa, p.19 of Camera Collectors' News no.235.
  14. Sugiyama, item 5019.
  15. Sugiyama, item 5019.
  16. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 5019.


  • 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 5019.
  • Yazawa Seiichirō (矢沢征一郎). "Renzu no hanashi (143) Kamera 'A'" (レンズの話[143]カメラ'A', Lens story [143] Camera 'A'). In Camera Collectors' News no.233 (November 1996). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. Pp.11–5.
  • Yazawa Seiichirō (矢沢征一郎). "Renzu no hanashi (145) Rōzen to Korigon" (レンズの話[145]ローゼンとコリゴン, Lens story [145] Rosen and Corygon). In Camera Collectors' News no.235 (January 1997). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. Pp.15–9.

The Camera "A" and Camera "B" are not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.


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