The Mikuni or Mikuni Camera (ミクニカメラ) is a Japanese 6.5×9cm plate folder, distributed by Saneidō and Minagawa in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and probably made by Kuribayashi.
The Mikuni has double extension bellows driven by a focusing wheel on the photographer's right. The split folding struts were perhaps copied on Contessa-Nettel designs, such as the Adoro. There is a distance scale on the left, a swiveling brilliant finder and a wireframe finder. The front standard allows vertical movements controlled by a wheel on the right, and perhaps horizontal movements as well. Some advertisements say that the camera has an all-metal body but the illustrations seem to show a wooden body instead.
|Advertisement by Saneidō in Asahi Camera March 1928. (Image rights)|
The advertisement by Saneidō Honten in Asahi Camera March 1928 presents the Mikuni as the "latest model" (最新型). It shows a drawing of the Mikuni with a dial-set Compur shutter. The Speed Reflex, also made by Kuribayashi, is presented on the next page. The Mikuni was supplied with three plate holders and one film pack holder. Two versions were available, both having a Wekar lens by Kenngott:
|Advertisements by Minagawa in Asahi Camera May and July 1929. (Image rights)|
The advertisements by Minagawa Kamera-ten in Asahi Camera May and July 1929 say that the Mikuni received the first prize for "excellent Japanese products" at the Tokyo Fair. The same prize was mentioned for the Speed Reflex in an advertisement by Saneidō in May 1929. It was probably granted to the Kuribayashi company as a whole. The following options were available in May:
- Wekar f/6.3, Vario, ¥39.50;
- Wekar f/4.5, Ibsor, ¥60;
- Meyer Trioplan f/6.3, Ibsor, ¥50;
- Meyer Trioplan f/4.5, Compur, ¥70.
In July, the Wekar f/4.5 and Ibsor option was no longer offered and the price of the Meyer f/6.3 and Ibsor option was lowered to ¥48. In the most expensive option, the Trioplan f/4.5 lens could be replaced by a Trimar f/4.5 lens. The picture is the same in the two advertisements; it curiously shows the words Contessa-Nettel on the speed setting wheel of the Compur shutter, probably because the drawer copied a picture of a Contessa-Nettel camera to draw the shutter.
|Advertisement by Minagawa in Asahi Camera February 1930. (Image rights)|
The advertisement by Minagawa Kamera-ten in Asahi Camera February 1930 presents the Mikuni along with the First. The same illustration is provided, again reading Contessa-Nettel on the speed setting wheel. The following versions are listed:
- Trimar f/6.3, unknown shutter, ¥40;
- Trimar f/4.5, unknown shutter, ¥48;
- Trimar f/4.5, Compur shutter, ¥65.
Surviving examples and other sources
|Mikuni by Kuribayashi|
images by Petri@wiki (Image rights)
At the time Baird wrote his book on Kuribayashi cameras, no Mikuni camera was known to exist. The drawing of the Mikuni in Baird and McKeown strongly differs from those found in the original advertisements reproduced above, and its aspect is closer to the Kokka cameras. It is not known if this drawing was found in some other original document and shows a different version of the Mikuni, or if it was a modern reconstitution of the supposed aspect of the camera.
In addition to the lens and shutter combinations cited above, Lewis and Baird mention the Tessar f/4.5 and the Welka f/4.5 (however Welka might be a typo for Wekar); Lewis also adds the Amigo f/4.5.
One 6.5×9cm plate folder is presented as a Mikuni in this page at Handmade and Classic Camera. It has an Amigo-Anastigmat 10.5cm f/4.5 and a rim-set Compur shutter. It is not known if the identification as a Mikuni is confirmed by a marking on the camera itself or if this is a mere guess. The body significantly differs from the illustrations in the original advertisements reproduced above. It is very similar to the Romax plate folder attributed to Kuribayashi in Baird and McKeown: it has the same folding struts and focusing rails, and the front standard has strong similarities.
- ↑ Made by Kuribayashi: Baird, pp.14–6 and 46–7, Lewis, p.44, McKeown, p.575.
- ↑ All-metal body: advertisements in Asahi Camera May 1929, p.A30, and July 1929, p.A28. Baird, p.46, says that the camera is made of wood.
- ↑ Advertisement in Asahi Camera March 1928, p.A20.
- ↑ Advertisement in Asahi Camera March 1928, p.A21.
- ↑ Advertisements in Asahi Camera May 1929, p.A30, and July 1929, p.A28: 東京博覧会ニ於テ最高賞優良国産賞受賞シ日本カメラ界ノ面目ヲ施セリ.
- ↑ Advertisement in Asahi Camera May 1929, p.A31: 於御大礼記念東京博覧会第一位優良国産賞受領.
- ↑ Baird, p.47.
- ↑ Baird, p.46; McKeown, p.575.
- ↑ Baird, p.46, Lewis, p.44.
- ↑ Romax pictured in Baird, p.59, and in McKeown, p.576.
- Asahi Camera. Advertisements by Saneidō Honten in March 1928 (p.A20), and by Minagawa Kamera-ten in May 1929 (p.A30), July 1929 (p.A28), February 1930 (p.A36).
- Baird, John R. Collectors guide to Kuribayashi-Petri Cameras. Grantsburg, WI (USA): Centennial Photo Service, 1991. ISBN 0-931838-16-9. Pp.14–6 and 46–7.
- Lewis, Gordon, ed. The History of the Japanese Camera. Rochester, N.Y.: George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography & Film, 1991. ISBN 0-935398-17-1 (paper), 0-935398-16-3 (hard). P.44.
- 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.575.
The Mikuni is not listed in Sugiyama.
- Mikuni or Romax camera with Amigo lens and Compur shutter, at Handmade and Classic Camera
- A picture of Mikuni Camera, shown in All Japan Classic Camera Club Meetings May, 2013
|Kuribayashi prewar and wartime cameras ( )|
|Eagle | Speed Pocket | First Roll | First Center | Semi First | First Six | Baby Semi First | Semi Rotte | Hokoku | Mizuho|
|Mikuni | First | First Etui | Kokka | Romax | Tokiwa||Molby||Speed Reflex||First Reflex||Baby First|