The Ranger 35 is a Japanese 35mm viewfinder camera made c.1956. It is a derivative of the Nescon 35, made by Nihon Seiki, itself an evolution of the Aruba 35 II. (One source attributes the Ranger 35 to Yamato, but this is implausible.)
The Ranger 35 has a body that is similar to the Nescon 35 II New with detachable back. The back and the bottom plate are identical. The top housing is integral with the top plate, whereas they are distinct parts on the Nescon. The rewind knob is mounted on a small step and it is a bit smaller. The exposure counter is also flatter than on the Nescon. The viewfinder is contained in the top housing, offset to the left. The name RANGER 35 is engraved above. The release button and the rewind unlock button are not the same as on the Nescon.
The shutter and lens barrel are unchanged from the Nescon. The shutter gives B, 25–200 speeds, selected by a lever with the 25, B, 50, 100, 200 positions in that order. It is synchronized for flash via a PC connector at the bottom. The lens is a 40mm f/3.5 on all the cameras, and none has a serial number. The lens cap is engraved RANGER 35.
|Ranger 35 with Nescor lens |
images by Dan Cuny (Image rights)
Among these, the presumably older cameras have a Nihon Seiki Nescor lens and the serial number engraved above the viewfinder. The lens name "Nescor" is specific to the Ranger 35, the Nescon 35 having a Nihon Seiki Nescon lens.
Others have a lens that is simply engraved Gendis, with no mention of the manufacturer. The actual lens is certainly unchanged. The name probably belongs to some distributor, and is reminiscent of the Gendis-I and Gendis-II TLR cameras made by Crystar.
These cameras with Gendis lens have instructions engraved on all the main controls and the serial number engraved in the accessory shoe. Here is the list:
- IDENTITY VIEW FINDER above the viewfinder;
- TURN TO ADVANCE FILM above the advance knob;
- PRESS WHILE REWINDING next to the rewind unlock button;
- TURN TO REWIND FILM above the rewind knob.
At least one example has leather covering all over the front side, and a different advance knob, which is both larger and lower. It seems to have all the instructions engravings, except on the advance knob.
The Micronta 35 is a name variant of the Ranger 35, known only from McKeown. It is exactly similar to the early Ranger 35, with the S-shaped plate on the front, the small advance knob and the Nihon Seiki Nescor lens. The camera is engraved MICRONTA 35 above the top housing, the serial number is above the viewfinder and there are no instruction engravings.
Another Micronta 35 camera exists, name variant of the Cosmo 35, very different from the Ranger 35.
A very similar camera was sold by Haking as the Halina 35X, with name variants such as the Sunscope 35X and Micronta 35X. It is not known if Nihon Seiki sold the design to Haking or if Haking plainly copied the camera. It is not known if the common name Micronta was owned by one of the two companies or if it belonged to the distributor.
- Attribution to Yamato: Sugiyama, item 3686.
- Examples pictured in McKeown, p.721 and observed elsewhere.
- Example with Nihon Seiki Nescor pictured in McKeown, p.721.
- See the Crystar page at tlr-cameras.com and this user manual at butkus.org.
- All the engravings are clearly visible in this page of the Pentax digital forum at PhotoXP.
- Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 3686.
- McKeown, p.721.
- 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.721.
- 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 3686.
This camera is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.