Roll Light Ref
The Roll Light Ref (ロールライトレフ) is a Japanese 4.5×6 camera shaped like a TLR, made by Ōhashi Kōki Seisakusho in 1937. It is called Roll Light Ref in advertising documents but the camera itself is only marked "Roll Light".
The Roll Light Ref has a metal body, with a large hexagonal front plate, meant to look like the first model of the Ikoflex. There is an advance knob on the top right of the body and three other knobs holding the film spools on both ends. The camera body seems to have some similarity with the Union Ref and Hansa Rollette Ref, but it is difficult to say more without a closer examination of the cameras.
Two models of the camera have been observed. In both cases, it is not entirely clear if the camera is a real TLR or a pseudo TLR. It seems that the name ROLL LIGHT is embossed in the leather below the taking lens on all the models.
In the first model, the nameplate is written Roll Light and is partly hidden by the hexagonal front standard, and the viewing hood has an X-shaped rib.
It seems that focusing is done by a lever protruding from the side of the front standard and actioned by the user's left hand, while the shutter release is directly mounted on the shutter housing. It also seems that the taking lens and shutter assembly is attached to the front standard and that the whole plate moves back and forth when focusing. An original leaflet states that the camera has helical focusing (ヘリコイド, as opposed to front-cell focusing) to one metre. It is not clear if the viewing lens moves for focusing too or if it is attached to the body, thus making the camera a pseudo TLR. No distance scale is visible and it is not known how the focus is controlled.
|Roll Light Ref in a leaflet by Ōhashi, with mention of the 50% clearance sale. Click on the image for a translation. (Image rights)|
- Genira Special f/6.3 lens, Genira shutter, 25, 50, 100, B speeds (¥25);
- Genira Anastigmat f/4.5 lens, Light C shutter, 25, 50, 100, T, B speeds (¥43);
- Genira Anastigmat f/4.5 lens, Light B shutter, 5–250, T, B speeds (¥49).
The leaflet only mentions the first two versions, and it also says that the company was clearing the stocks and applying a 50% discount to the Baby Light and Roll Light Ref. In both documents, the advertising pictures show the variant with f/6.3 lens. The shutter plate is marked GENIRA–SHUTTER at the top and OKS at the bottom. ("OKS" probably stands for Ohashi Koki Seisakusho.)
One example of this version has been observed, again with the f/6.3 lens. It is similar to the advertising pictures, except that the shutter has a T setting and that the shutter plate has a white rim and is only marked GENIRA at the top.
The second model has a different viewing hood, with a square portion that is slightly higher than the rest and a logo in the middle reading EIN.
It seems that the hexagonal front standard is now fixed and that only the shutter and taking lens are moved for focusing. It seems that a hole is cut in the front standard around the viewing lens, which perhaps moves together with the taking lens. However Sugiyama says that the viewing lens is fixed.
One example of this version has been observed with a nameplate marked ROLL LIGHT in capital letters. This nameplate is different from the nameplate of the previous model, and it is shaped so that the marking is always visible. The shutter is a Gelmer, reportedly giving T, B, 25–150 speeds. The shutter plate is marked GELMER at the top and perhaps GELMER Mfr at the bottom. (A similar shutter is known on the Semi Shiks.) The lens is reported as a Gelmer Anastigmat 75/4.5.
Another example has been observed with no nameplate at all. It has the same Genira 75/6.3 lens and Genira O.K.S shutter (T, B, 25–100) as described for the previous model.
- Date: the advertisements mentioned in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.342, run from January to July 1937.
- Undated Ōhashi leaflet, presenting the Ōhashi range.
- Advertisement in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.100.
- The same markings are visible on the version of the Baby Light pictured in the same documents.
- Example observed for sale by a Japanese dealer.
- The name "Ein Camera Works" (アイン・カメラ・ウオークス) is visible in a November 1937 advertisement for the Neure Six, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.81. It is not known if there is a relation.
- Sugiyama, items 2024–5. McKeown, p.743, repeats the same.
- Sugiyama, item 2025. Picture reproduced in this page of the JCII collection. McKeown, p.743, certainly describes the camera pictured in Sugiyama, under the name "Roll Light (f4.5)".
- Sugiyama, item 2024. McKeown, p.743, certainly describes the camera pictured in Sugiyama, under the name "Roll Light (f6.3)".
- 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 289.
- 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.54 (brief mention only).
- 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.743.
- Ōhashi Takeji Shōten (大橋武治商店). Leaflet for the Hope, Seves, Baby Light, Roll Light Ref, Bosch enlarging lens, Cross filters and Riken hood. Date not indicated. Document partly reproduced in this Flickr album by Rebollo_fr.
- 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. Items 2024–5.