The Romax (ロマックス) 6×6 folding camera was made in Japan in 1941 and 1942, certainly by Kōsoku Kikan, and distributed by Itō Shōkai. (The name Romax or Lomax (ロマックス) was also used at an earlier date for plate folders distributed by Misuzu Shōkai. See the Lomax and the Romax plate folder.)
The Romax is a horizontal folding camera. The body has round edges and the back is hinged to the right. The folding struts are inspired from the Ikonta 6×6 and are engraved with the initials K L. There is a large advance knob at the left end of the top plate, a folding optical finder in the middle and a film retaining flange at the right end. The body release is on the right; the folding bed release is on the left and probably also opens the viewfinder.
Documents and variants
|Extract of a leaflet by Kankyū Hyakkaten.|
Click on the image for a translation. (Image rights)
The Romax was already listed in the official price list compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, under the names "Romax I" (¥62), "Romax II" (¥60), "Romax III" (¥79), "Romax IV" (¥128) and "Romax V" (¥160), but no detail is known about these variants. The camera was also featured in a column of the October 1941 issue of Asahi Camera. The "Romax III" was mentioned in the official price list dated November 1941, perhaps together with other versions. In this document, it is attributed to Kōsoku Kikan.
An undated leaflet by Kankyū Hyakkaten offered the camera for ¥120 (official set price). Both in the text and in the picture, the lens is a Romax Anastigmat 75/3.5, the shutter gives 200–1, B, T speeds and there is a self-timer.
The Romax was advertised again in the March 1942 issue of Hōdō Shashin, where the company Itō Shōkai was mentioned as the distributor (発売元) and Misuzu Shōkai and Ōmiya Shashin-yōhin as authorized dealers. The lens was given as a three-element Romax Anastigmat 75/3.5 and there was a choice of two shutter options:
- K.L. Kōsoku II, T, B, 1–200 speeds, self-timer (¥140);
- Kōsoku II, T, B, 5–200 speeds, no self-timer (¥92).
In the picture, the shutter plate is inscribed K L at the top and PLEASE II at the bottom.
No surviving example has been observed so far.
- "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 3, section 3A and type 4, sections 2, 3, 5B and 6B.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.344.
- "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō", November 1941, type 4, section 3.
- The company name is barely legible.
- Leaflet by Kankyū Hyakkaten reproduced in this page.
- Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.107.
- "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō" (カメラの公定価格官報発表, Official announcement of the set prices of the cameras), November 1941. Extract of a table listing Japanese camera production and setting the retail prices, reproduced in "Bebī Semi Fāsuto 'Kore ha bebī wo nanotta semi-ki da'" (ベビーセミファースト"これはベビーを名乗ったセミ機だ", Baby Semi First, 'this is a Semi camera called Baby'), an article by Furukawa Yasuo (古川保男) in Camera Collectors' News no. 277 (July 2000). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. P. 27. Type 4, section 3.
- Kankyū Hyakkaten. Leaflet for the New Midget II, Romax, Semi Leotax and Well Standard. Date not indicated, perhaps c.1941. Document reproduced in this Flickr album by Rebollo_fr.
- "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku" (国産写真機の公定価格, Set prices of the Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of October 25, 1940 and setting the retail prices from December 10, 1940. Published in Asahi Camera January 1941 and reproduced in 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. Pp.108—9. Type 3, section 3A; type 4, sections 2, 3, 5B and 6B.
- 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 343.
This camera is not listed in Sugiyama.