The Fujica Six, a 6×6 folding viewfinder camera, was the very first camera to be produced by Fuji Photo Film. The first version came out in 1948, the last in 1953.
There were three main styles, of which the first and third came in a number of varieties.
The Fujica Six I, of which there were six acknowledged models, is a very simply designed camera. A single button serves to open both the front and the viewfinder, which consists of two metal-framed lenses. Film is inserted on the right and advanced to the left. Film advance requires use of the red window. There is only one of these: there is no provision for 4.5×6cm exposures.
Thanks to the folding finder, this camera is particularly light and compact.
Within the name, "A" seems to have referred to the f4.5 lens, "B" to f3.5, "C" to export, and "S" to flash synchronization. The three variants of the IIBS were not labeled in any way; our use of "a", "b" and "c" is merely arbitrary and for the reader's convenience.
|release||April 1948||August 1948||June 1949||August 1949||1949||1950|
|price in Japan||¥5,250||¥6,200||[export]||¥5,250||[export]||¥6,200|
In the table here, "S.R." stands for Seikosha-Rapid, and "PC" (then regarded as "German") is what is now (2006) the standard flash terminal.
| Fujica Six I|
image by Bryan Olinger (Image rights)
In November 1950, Fuji released the Fujica Six IIBS. Based on what we have called variant "c" of the IBS (see table above), this had the innovation of a small, rigid viewfinder protruding from the otherwise flat top plate of the camera. One of a symmetrical pair of buttons around the finder served as a shutter release, the other to open the front.
Most examples of the IIBS were exported or sold in Japan via US military retail channels (the "PX") to US military personnel. A few were sold to the Japanese public, for around ¥10,000.
The Fujica Six IIC, of which two models were acknowledged, was radically redesigned. Most obviously, the diecast body had a smooth top. This curved over an enlarged viewfinder, which was moved slightly to the right (as seen by the photographer), thus making space for an accessory shoe to the left. The front was opened by a button on the front rather than the top.
Optically too the IIC was superior: the Rectar lens (itself soon to be replaced) of the earliest variant of the IICS was improved from its predecessor. The camera was unit-focusing: the entire lens assembly, and not just the frontmost element, moved for focusing.
The camera sold for ¥18,000.
The three variants of the IICS were not labeled in any way; our use of "a", "b" and "c" is merely arbitrary and for the reader's convenience. Meanwhile, "S" seems to have stood for Seikosha and "R" for Rectus. In the table, "PC" is what is now (2006) the standard flash terminal.
| Fujica Six model IICS, variant a, Rectar lens|
images by Geoff Harrisson (Image rights)
Sources / further reading
- 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. Items 760–3.
- Koyasu Yoshinobu (子安栄信). "Fuji Shashin Firumu no kamera no subete" (富士写真フィルムのカメラのすべて All the cameras of Fuji Photo Film). 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.44, December 1997. ISBN 4-257-13013-X. Tokushū: Fuji Shashin Firumu no kamera (特集：富士写真フィルムのカメラ, special issue on the cameras of Fuji Photo Film). Koyasu deals with the Fujica Six on pp.18–21.