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Japanese Baby (3×4) and Four (4×4) (edit)
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rigid or collapsible
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3.5×4 Kenko 35
4×4 Alma Four | Andes Four | Anny 44 | Arsen | Balnet Four | Bonny Four | Freude | Kalimar 44 | Auto Keef | Kraft | Letix | Mykey-4 | Olympic Four | Roico | Royal Senior | Seica | Terra Junior | Vero Four | Welmy 44 | Yashica Future 127
Baby First | Baby Lyra Flex
Japanese SLR, TLR, pseudo TLR and stereo models ->
Japanese 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6, 6×6 and 6×9 ->

The Freude[1] is a Japanese camera taking 4×4cm exposures on 127 film, made in the first half of the 1940s, certainly by the company Kōsoku-sha.[2]

See also the Freude Six.


The camera is sometimes called "Vanguard" by mistake,[3] because of the shutter marking and because the name Freude is not written anywhere on the camera itself. However the case is marked FREUDE in two places, thus confirming the name.

The name "Freude" itself obviously comes from the German word freude (i.e. joy). It might have been an allusion to the first words of the Ode to Joy ("Freude, schöner Götterfunken") written by Friedrich Schiller and musically adapted by Ludwig van Beethoven's in his Ninth Symphony.


The Freude has an all metal body and a telescopic tube supporting the lens and shutter assembly.

There is a top housing containing the viewfinder in the middle and supporting an accessory shoe to the right. The advance knob is at the left end, with a black arrow engraved to indicate the winding direction. Next to it is an exposure counter window. There are levers or buttons that are probably used to reset the exposure counter and to unlock film advance after each exposure.

Film is loaded through the bottom plate, that is locked in place by a rotating button in the middle, with L and O positions (surely for Lock and Open). There is a film flange on each side of the bottom plate . The back contains a single red window at the middle right, protected by a horizontally sliding cover. It is used to set the first exposure.

The lens is a Freude Anastigmat 60mm f/3.5 and the aperture is set by an index placed above the shutter housing.

The shutter is said to be a Vanguard A.[4] It gives 300–1, B, T speeds engraved in that order. The release lever is situated on the shutter housing. The shutter plate is marked VANGUARD at the bottom, EXTRA CORONIAL[5] at the top and there is a logo on the right, formed by the letters VG inside a large D letter, presumably for V G D.


The Freude appears in the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, under the names "Freude I" (¥125) and "Freude II" (¥92), with no further detail.[6] The camera is also featured in a column of the April 1942 issue of Asahi Camera,[7] but no other information is available.

The camera pictured in this page is presumably an early example. The exposure counter window is close to the viewfinder. There are levers on the rear of the top cover, perhaps to unlock the film advance and to reset the exposure counter. The film flanges at the bottom are black and have a low profile. The red window is offset to the right of the back. Finally, the lens bezel has a hollow shape.

Presumably late cameras have an exposure counter window placed closer to the advance knob.[8] There is a button on the rear of the top cover, near the advance knob, certainly to unlock the film advance. Another button is visible at the top, on the viewfinder's left (as seen by the photographer), perhaps to reset the frame counter. The film flanges at the bottom are chrome finished and have a higher profile. The lens bezel sometimes has a flat shape. At least one such camera is known with the red window in the middle of the back, but this is perhaps because the red window cover has been dismantled and remounted in the wrong position.[9]


  1. The camera is called "Freude Camera J" (フロイドカメラJ) in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.340, probably after a column in the April 1942 issue of Asahi Camera.
  2. Attribution to Kōsoku-sha: Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.340, and this page at Asacame.
  3. McKeown, p.944, calls the camera "Vanguard" and does not mention the name of a maker.
  4. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.340.
  5. It seems that "Coronial" is a typo for "Colonial", made likely by the fact that the "r" and "l" sounds are not distinguished in the Japanese phonology.
  6. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 1, section 10 and type 2, section 7.
  7. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.340.
  8. Example pictured in McKeown, p.944, and examples observed in online auctions.
  9. Example observed in an online auction.


  • 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 233. (Unlike most other entries in this book, no advertisement is reproduced and no picture is given.)
  • "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, section 10; type 2, section 7.
  • 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.944.

The Freude is not listed in Sugiyama.


In Japanese: