The Tsubasa Spring is a vertical folder, with incurved folding struts. It has a small top housing on the top plate, supporting an accessory shoe and containing the viewfinder. There are two lines in the viewfinder to indicate the field of view for 3×4cm exposures. There is a large button on the right to release the folding bed and a smaller shutter release on the left. The advance key is at the bottom right and the back is hinged to the left. The front leather is embossed TSUBASA.
The lens is a Lucomar Anastigmat 75/4.5. The shutter is a Tsubasa with T, B, 25–100 speeds and a body release. The shutter plate is marked TSUBASA SHUTTER at the top and NEW GOLD at the bottom with a NE logo on the right.
In the various advertising pictures, the lens rim is thin and no focusing control is apparent. However the only pictures of a surviving example observed so far show a front-cell focusing lens.
Advertisements and original documents
The camera was advertised in a variety of names: "Tsubasa Spring A", "Tsubasa Spring", "Tsubasa Spring Camera", "Tsubasa A Chrome", "Tsubasa A Spring". Despite the successive names, no change is visible in the features or in the advertising pictures.
The camera was first advertised in early 1938 as the "Tsubasa Spring A" (ツバサスプリングA), and it was featured as such in the new products column of the June 1938 issue of Asahi Camera. In the June 1938 advertisement in Asahi Camera, the camera is listed as the "Tsubasa Spring" (ツバサスプリング), priced at ¥34. It is pictured with a Tsubasa accessory rangefinder, offered separately for ¥14. In advertisements dated September 1938 and February 1939, the model is called "Tsubasa Spring Camera" (ツバサ・スプリング・カメラ) and priced the same, and the price of the rangefinder is now ¥15. In an advertisement dated April 1939, the camera is called "Tsubasa A Chrome" (ツバサＡ型クローム) and priced at ¥38, and the rangefinder is at ¥16. In a December 1939 advertisement, the name is "Tsubasa A Spring" (ツバサAスプリング), the price of the camera is the same and the rangefinder is no longer mentioned.
The camera appears in the list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, under the name "Tsubasa Spring B" (¥45), with no further detail.
- Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1252, and lens and shutter pictured in Fujishima, p.22 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.8, perhaps from the same camera.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.337 (item 145).
- Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.78. Eight authorized dealers are mentioned: Asanuma Shōkai, Hagi Kōgyō Bōeki, Misuzu Shōkai, Mizuno Shashinki-ten, Yamashita Yūjirō Shōten, Eikōdō, Matsuzaki Shashinki-ten and Ueda Shashinki-ten.
- Advertisement in Asahi Camera September 1938, reproduced in the Gochamaze website. Advertisement in Asahi Camera February 1939, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.78.
- Advertisement in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.79.
- Advertisement on p.18 of Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin, December 15, 1939, reproduced on p.52 of Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku.
- "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 2, section 6A.
- 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 145–7. (See also the advertisement for item 144.)
- Fujishima Kōichi (藤島広一). "Shattā ni yoru nendai shibetsu" (シャッターによる年代識別, Dating a camera from its shutter). Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.8, September 1986. No ISBN number. Supuringu kamera (スプリングカメラ, special issue on spring cameras). Pp.21–4.
- "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 2, section 6A.
- 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.465.
- Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin (日本写真興業通信). Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku (百号ごと十回の記録, Ten records, every hundred issues). Tokyo: Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin Sha (日本写真興業通信社), 1967. No ISBN number. Advertisement on p.52, corresponding to p.18 of the December 15, 1939 issue.
- 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 1252.