Mulix

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Japanese Six (6×6)
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
folding
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collapsible
Ehira Chrome Six | Minolta Six | Shinko Super | Weha Chrome Six
unknown
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Postwar models ->
Japanese 6×6 TLR, pseudo TLR and medium format SLR ->
Japanese Semi (4.5×6) and older 6×9 ->

The Mulix (マリックス)[1] is a Japanese 6×6 folding camera, made by Tanaka[2] and distributed by Kuwata Shōkai from 1940 to 1943.[3]

Contents

Description

The Mulix is an ordinary copy of the Ikonta 6×6, with a folding finder, a key at the top left to advance the film, strap lugs and a body release. The back is hinged to the right and has a single red window in the middle. The back leather is embossed MULIX vertically on the left and the case is also embossed MULIX.

The body is extremely similar to the Lyra Six III and Lyra Six F made by Fuji Kōgaku, which was perhaps a subcontractor. The folding struts and the red window cover are engraved KKS, initials found on other Kuwata products.

All the models are fitted with a front-cell focusing four-element Mulixar lens, made by Tanaka itself.[4]

Commercial life

Early version

The Mulix was first advertised in September 1940.[5] The October 1940 advertisement in Asahi Camera lists two versions (not distinguished by name in any way) and gives no price:[6]

  • Mulixar f/4.5 lens, T, B, 5–250 speeds;
  • Mulixar f/3.5 lens, B, 1–500 speeds.

In the advertising picture, the finder's front part is black and the shutter plate has a K.S. (or maybe K.K.S.) marking at the top.

The list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, has a "Mulix I" for ¥79 and a "Mulix II" for ¥110, with no further detail.[7]

Later version, with revised distance ring

Advertisements dated February and April 1941, January and July 1942, all show the same picture of a newer camera, with a new conical-shaped lens rim, partly hiding the shutter plate.[8] The distance scale is engraved on the conical part; this makes focusing possible even with a filter or a hood attached.[9] Another minor difference is that the finder's front part is now chrome plated. All the advertisements give Kuwata Shōkai as the sole company name. Three models are listed in that order:

  • Mulix II: f/3.5 lens, slow speeds to 1s (¥135 in 1941, ¥154 in 1942);
  • Mulix III: f/4.5 lens, slow speeds to 1s (¥110 in 1941, ¥125 in 1942);
  • Mulix I: f/4.5 lens, slow speeds to 1/5s (¥79 in 1941, ¥93 in 1942).

Various Mulix filters were offered to go with the camera, each at ¥5.80. Oddly, the model numbers don't follow a logical progression and the documents do not mention top speeds. It seems that the camera listed as a "Mulix II" in the January 1941 price list now appears as the Mulix III.

The April 1943 government inquiry on Japanese camera production mentions two versions of the Mulix, one with a Mulixar 75/4.5 lens and a KP III shutter (T, B, 1–200) made by Kinshō, and another with a Mulixar 75/3.5 lens and a Hydromatic Super (ハイヅロマチックスーパー) shutter (B, 1–500).[10]

Actual examples

The camera pictured in this page is the only example of the Mulix observed so far. It has a Mulixar 75mm f/3.5 lens, and 200–1, B, T speed settings engraved on the shutter plate in that order. The bottom of the shutter plate is curiously marked K.PRONTOR.S. The "K.S." initials probably correspond to Kinshō, and this shutter is certainly the KP III (perhaps for Kinshō Prontor III). Eastwestphoto 1/22/2014 Note: The shutter actually has a black face plate, with white lettering;stating, K.Prontor.3 with a circled K other side circled S. the D.O.F. conical front cell focus guide, is in red lettering for infinity and Meter (Mtr). My lens is as above No. 2750. The back stamped in leather is in a highly stylized script, That's frankly almost impossible to read normally," Mulix", so I can understand why this camera was over looked for so long.Four element lenses made in wartime Japan 1941-42 are not that common at all. The pop up optical two lens design is of high quality and presents a wide very sharp image for a view finder. Build quality is very high. I have No data Japanese or American reference books for this camera, the actual example I have and the one shown differ in lens serial number by 81 units. It's unknown how many of these cameras were actually made?

Notes

  1. The Japanese pronunciation is closer to "Malix", and Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.341, calls the camera "Malix" by mistake.
  2. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 90.
  3. Dates: advertisements mentioned in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.341.
  4. Four elements made by Tanaka: "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), lens items Lb36 and Lc26. Advertisements dated January and July 1942 (reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.94, and here at Gochamaze) also mention four-element lenses.
  5. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.341.
  6. Advertisement in Asahi Camera October 1940, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.95.
  7. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 4, sections 3 and 6A.
  8. Advertisement in Asahi Camera February 1941, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.77; advertisement in Asahi Camera April 1941, p.512; advertisement in Hōdō Shashin January 1942, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.94; advertisement in Asahi Graph 29 July 1942, reproduced at Gochamaze.
  9. Feature described in the advertisements dated January and July 1942.
  10. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943, items 90 and 99, shutter items 18-P-9 and 18-Q-7.

Bibliography

Original documents

Recent sources

The Mulix is not listed in Sugiyama.

Links

In Japanese:

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