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Handheld Aerial Camera 25cm Nedinsco type

The first aerial camera used by the Japanese air forces in some quantity was the Nedinsco FK I.[1] (Nedinsco was a Dutch branch of Carl Zeiss, and "FK" resolves to Fliegerkamera.)

The design was adopted by the Japanese Army as the 25cm Aerial Camera (二十五糎航空写真機),[1] named after its 25cm focal length. It was also used by the Navy as the Handheld Aerial Camera 25cm (手持式航空写真機二五糎).[2] The Nedinsco 25cm camera was made from 1924 (or 1925) to the mid 1930s.[3] While it is likely that initially direct imports were used, the Nedinsco design was copied and units were later produced in Japan by Rokuoh-sha,[1] perhaps after an official license was bought or as an unauthorized copy. Cameras made in the 1930s have a Hexar Ser.1 25cm f/4.5 lens. They were mostly retired from use when the Pacific War broke out[4] and had been replaced by the Navy Handheld Aerial Camera 25cm F-8 type and by the Army Type 96 Small Aerial Camera respectively.

Surviving Examples

The camera takes 13×18cm film plates. The rigid body is made of wood, with a characteristic octagonal front section, covered by a cap. There is a built-in grip on the left and a separate wooden handle on the right.

The focal-plane shutter is a separate unit,[5] which can be slid out of the body for maintenance or repair. It would appears that spare shutter units were carried aboard reconnaissance planes for exchange in mid-air if required.[1] The shutter has vertically travelling curtains, and the range of speeds is 1/90, 1/180, 1/375 and 1/750.[1][2]

The aperture is set by an index at the top of the camera, in front of the identification plate, with f/4.5, f/6.3 and f/9 positions.[6] There is an articulated mechanism placed around the lens, holding two filters (UV and Yellow) controlled by external knobs on either side of the body.

If we accept the 1924 or 1925 release date given by some Japanese sources,[7] the early examples made until the early 1930s certainly had an imported German lens.

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 25cm Aerial Camera (Nedinsco type) at Wetwing Aerial Camera.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Handheld Aerial Camera 25cm at Kore Nāni.
  3. 1924 to 1938: Aerial camera types at Wetwing Aerial Camera. 1925 to 1938: Iwama, pp.55 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  4. Japanese Naval Photography, p.12, where the camera is described as the "25cm Hand-Held Oblique Camera".
  5. 露出機, roshutsuki
  6. Pictures in this page at Kore Nāni.
  7. see above


Navy Handheld Aerial Camera 25cm F-8 type

The Handheld Aerial Camera 25cm F-8 type (手持式航空写真機25cm F-8型) was made for the Japanese Navy by Rokuoh-sha, later Konishiroku.[1][2][3] The aerial camera was essentially a copy of the American Fairchild F-8. Additionally, original Fairchild F-8 cameras reputedly also found use by the Japanese Navy.[4]

Recent Japanese sources claim that the camera was made from 1924 (or 1925) to 1938.[5] This is most likely a result of the confusion of the various types of 25cm cameras used by the Japanese armed forces. The early models, introduced in 1924/5 were the Handheld Aerial Camera 25cm Nedinsco type cameras. In the mid-1930s, after the Fairchild F-8 had entered the market (in 1930), these units were also copied replacing the Nedinsco types. During World War II, the Fairchild-type F-8 was replaced by a home-grown version. A report from the U.S. Naval Technical Mission to Japan, written in December 1945, gives detailed production figures for the Konishiroku F-8 in the 1941–1945 period (table 1). Earlier production data are not available.

Table 1 Production volume of Navy Handheld Aerial Camera 25cm F-8 type for the period 1941-1945[1]

Year 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Total
Ordered 400 500 640 1044 1080 3664
Delivered 286 403 698 787 142 2316

The F-8 type takes 13×18cm exposures. The 1945 American report says that the early examples were taking six glass plates within a magazine, but the camera was modified to use rollfilm "early in the war".[6] All the surviving examples known so far take 18cm wide film rolls.[2][3] The rolls were normally 3.7m long, allowing for 25 frames,[2] but double-length 7.5m rolls were manufactured in 1943 and 1944.[7][8]

The camera body is made of metal. The shutter is of the focal-plane type, with 1/60, 1/100, 1/160, 1/200, 1/300 and 1/400 speeds.[2] When rotated, the right handle advances the film, winds the shutter and advances the exposure counter in a single movement.[3] There is a folding frame finder at the top, of which variations are known.

The December 1945 American report says that attempts were made to use the F-8 type as a vertical camera, and about 25 mounts were produced for the C6N Saiun (Myrt) reconnaissance plane, but the trials were not satisfactory and the camera was only used hand-held.[6]


Surviving examples

Surviving examples have been observed in two main variants.

Early Models (Fairchild-type)

The first variant[9] has a large black identification plate, with the camera's official name in Japanese characters (手持手持式航空寫眞機25cm F-8型), a serial number, the year and month of manufacture, and the words Tokyo (東京) and Rokuoh-sha (六櫻社). There is a small housing on the left side, behind the left handle. There are no control levers above the camera, and the aperture is directly controlled by turning the internal sleeve of the lens cone.[10] Finally, there are four screw threads at the front of the main body, probably provided to attach the camera to a fixed aircraft mount.

Lenses: The examples found today normally have a Hexar Ser.1 25cm f/4.5 in a helical focussing mount.

check this and add to description based in example in hand

Late Models

The second variant[11] is later. It has a small white plate with Rokuoh-sha or Konishiroku's logo (the character roku 六 inside a stylized cherry blossom) and a serial number. Two levers are visible at the top, in front of the frame finder. The front lever controls the aperture and has three positions: 4.5, 6.3 and 9. The second lever was used to compensate for proper focus with infra-red film.[6] The small housing on the left side and the four screw threads at the front are no longer present.

Lenses: The examples found today normally have a Hexar Ser.1 25cm f/4.5 set in a barrel, (same as mounted on the Nedinsco type), sometimes with abbreviated markings Hexar.1 4.5 25.

check this and add to description based in example in hand

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Japanese Naval Photography. Compiled by Lt W.D.Hedden, USNR, with LtCdr G.Z.Dimitroff USNR and Lt(jg) W.A. Seymour, USNR. Intelligence Targets Japan (DNI) of 4 September 1945. Facicle A-1, Target A-39. U.S. Naval Technical Mission to Japan. December 1945. pp.8-9.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Aerial camera types at Wetwing Aerial Camera.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Iwama, pp.55 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  4. Japanese Naval Photography, p.7.
  5. 1924 to 1938: Aerial camera types at Wetwing Aerial Camera. 1925 to 1938: Iwama, pp.55 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Japanese Naval Photography, p.10, repeated in this page at Airrecce
  7. Japanese Naval Photography, p.18.
  8. Iwama, p.55 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, says 6m, but this is certainly a confusion with the 18cm × 6m rolls used in some Army cameras, see Japanese Naval Photography, p.18.
  9. Examples pictured in this WorthPoint entry (with Rokuoh-sha Tokyo Hexar Ser.1 25cm f/4.5 lens no.5382), and in this page and this page at Wetwing Aerial Camera (with serial no.1176).
  10. In the same fashion as with the Fairchild F-8.
  11. Examples pictured in this page at Airrecce, and in F-8 this page of the NASM.

Army Type 100 Small Aerial Camera (SK-100)

The Army Type 100 Small Aerial Camera (SK-100) (陸軍 –oo式 小航空写真機) is a hand-held aerial camera, introduced in 1940.[1] It seems that it was mainly produced by Konishiroku. The US report already cited above gives detailed production figures for the cameras built by Konishiroku in the 1941–1945 period (table 1).

Table 1 Army Type 100 Small Aerial Cameras for the period 1941-1945[2]

Year 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Total
Ordered 233 400 2500 1400 1600 6133
Delivered 30 306 1456 2212 265 4269

At least some SK-100 cameras were also produced by Chiyoda Kōgaku,[3] Katsura Seisakusho.[4][5] and also by Nippon Kogaku[6] Some sources insist in attributing the SK-100 to Chiyoda altogether, but it rather seems that the camera was developed by Konishiroku,[7] drawing on its longer experience of aerial cameras, and that the other manufacturers played a secondary role to boost production output.

The SK-100 takes fourty 11.5×16cm pictures[8][9] on special rollfilm, 18cm wide and 6m long.[2] The camera is much larger than the GSK-99 — its dimensions are 38×29×35cm, and it weighs 6.9kg.[8] There is a built-in focal-plane shutter, giving 1/200, 1/300 and 1/400 speeds.[8][9][3]

The camera has a folding frame finder at the top, and large handles on both sides of the body. There is a retractable bubble level, for vertical photography.[10] The main release is a trigger, falling under the right-hand index.

The shutter is of the focal-plane type, with vertically running curtains. It gives 1/200, 1/300 and 1/400 speeds,[8][9][3] set by a small button placed at the bottom right of the camera. On some cameras, the selected speed is displayed in a small window on the rear, behind this button, with the indication 露出速度 ("exposure speed").[10] The slit between the two shutter curtains has a fixed width, and the speed button actually modifies the tension of the main springs.[11] It is said that the slit is constantly open, and that a light shield is raised behind the lens after each exposure, in order not to fog the film.[5]

The camera's back is removable for film loading. The supply spool is inserted at the bottom, and the film runs from bottom to top.[11] There is a glass plate inside the exposure chamber, behind the shutter curtains, to improve the film flatness. The film is advanced and the shutter is wound by turning a large knob on the right. The frame number is displayed on the rear, behind the knob, sometimes with the indication 撮影枚數 ("frame number").[10]

There is an electrical connector on the side of the front barrel, to supply electrical power to two heating resistors built inside the camera, to prevent freezing at high altitude.[11]

Lenses

The SK-100 takes interchangeable lenses via a large bayonet mount with three lugs. The cameras were packed in transport cases, with the lens kits carried in a separate case with shoulder straps; the kits contained a 20cm and a 40cm lens, as well as two filters.

20cm

On record are:

40cm

Filters

All the lenses for the SK-100 have three prongs at the front, to attach a filter. Various filter types exist; most are engraved SK 100 on the rim.

Notes

  1. "Type 100" (–oo式) stands for year 2600 in the Japanese imperial calendar, i.e. 1940. While the Imperial Japanese Army sued the full term, the Imperial Japanese Navy abbreviated Type 100 to 'Type 0'.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Japanese Naval Photography. Compiled by Lt W.D.Hedden, USNR, with LtCdr G.Z.Dimitroff USNR and Lt(jg) W.A. Seymour, USNR. Intelligence Targets Japan (DNI) of 4 September 1945. Facicle A-1, Target A-39. U.S. Naval Technical Mission to Japan. December 1945. pp.8-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Sugiyama, item 6013.
  4. Seen in an online auction.
  5. 5.0 5.1 This page of the Topcon Club.
  6. Westlcht 28 May 2011 Lot 467
  7. Aerial camera types at Wetwing Aerial Camera.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.12, p.18.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Francesch, p.253.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Pictures in Type 100 Small Aerial Camera at Kore Nāni.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Type 100 Small Aerial Camera at Kore Nāni.
  12. Lower serial numbers
  13. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 6013.
  14. Examples pictured in this article.
  15. Photographica Collection Dirk HR Spennemann.
  16. Lower serial numbers
  17. These lenses lack the manufacturer name. They also omit the 'no' before the serial number.
  18. Examples pictured in this article.
  19. Various sources mention a Rokkor 50cm f/5.6 instead of the 40cm f/5.6, but this is perhaps a confusion The Rokkor 50cm f/5.6 is mentioned in Sugiyama, item 6013, in Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.12, p.18, in Francesch, p.253, and in this page by Dennis Lohmann. All these sources list two lenses only for the SK-100: the 20cm f/4.5 and the "50cm" f/5.6, and none mentions the 40cm f/5.6.

Navy Field Camera

The Navy Field Camera (21cm & 36cm) (¶¶¶) was produced for the Japanese Navy by Rokuoh-sha( (六桜社) ) / Konishiroku) (小西六)[1]

f/4.5 21cm or 36cm , plate size 12 x 16.5 (nominally)

discuss relationship to Army camera

A report from the U.S. Naval Technical Mission to Japan, written in December 1945, gives detailed production figures (Table 1), showing that the camera was introduced in 1942.[1] The dramatic drop of actual deliveries compared or orders in 1945 shows the impact of the Allied bombing on specialised camera production.

Table 1 Production volume of Navy Field Cameras for the period 1941-1945[1]

Year 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Total
21cm model
Ordered 150 150 300 300 900
Delivered 127 28 293 20 468
36cm model
Ordered 80 100 120 120 420
Delivered 55 124 3 182

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Japanese Naval Photography. Compiled by Lt W.D.Hedden, USNR, with LtCdr G.Z.Dimitroff USNR and Lt(jg) W.A. Seymour, USNR. Intelligence Targets Japan (DNI) of 4 September 1945. Facicle A-1, Target A-39. U.S. Naval Technical Mission to Japan. December 1945. pp.8-9

Army Type B Field Camera

The Army Type B Field Camera (21cm) (¶¶¶) was produced for the Japanese Army by Rokuoh-sha( (六桜社) ) / Konishiroku) (小西六)[1]

discuss relationship to Navy camera

A report from the U.S. Naval Technical Mission to Japan, written in December 1945, gives detailed production figures (Table 1), showing that the camera was introduced in 1941.[1] f/4.5 21cm , plate size 12 x 16.5 (nominally)

Table 1 Production volume of Army Type B Field Camera for the period 1941-1945[1]

Year 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Total
Ordered 75 125 50 50 300
Delivered 50 100 100 250


Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Japanese Naval Photography. Compiled by Lt W.D.Hedden, USNR, with LtCdr G.Z.Dimitroff USNR and Lt(jg) W.A. Seymour, USNR. Intelligence Targets Japan (DNI) of 4 September 1945. Facicle A-1, Target A-39. U.S. Naval Technical Mission to Japan. December 1945. pp.9


Navy Type 99 Aerial Camera Sets

As was custom with all Japanese military camera gear, the the Type 99 Handheld Aerial Cameras (15cm) (九九式航空写真機十五糎) were supplied as a set complete with all the required paraphernalia (such as filters, additional magazines etc).

Storage Boxes

Table 1 Shape of boxes

Type Manufacturer
(of camera)
Serial number (range)
Date (if known)
Material Dimensions (L x B x H) External View Internal View
Type 1 Fuji Shashin Film 62 Plywood
with leather covering
Type 2 Fuji Shashin Film sn#122[1] Wood
Type 3 Rokuoh-sha sn#393 Plywood
with leather covering


images by Dirk HR Spennemann (Image rights)


 

Packaging Lists

To ensure that store personnel could account for the contents of the sets, camera manufacturers affixed content labels on the insides of the storage boxes. These labels were made of aluminum, printed paper or (cheaper) duplication by mimeograph or Whiteprint.

Table 2 Packing Labels (Lists of Contents)

Type Manufacturer of Camera Serial number (range) Material Date (if known)
Type 1 Fuji Shashin Film 62 Aluminium
Type 2 Fuji Shashin Film Paper, printed
Type-set Kanji Characters
Type 3 Fuji Shashin Film 122 Paper, mimeographed[2]
Hand-written Kanji Characters
Type 4 Rokuoh-sha Paper, printed
Type-set Kanji Characters
Type 5 Rokuoh-sha 393 Paper, Whiteprint ('diazo')[3]
Hand-written Kanji Characters
1944 (May)
images by Dirk HR Spennemann (Image rights)

Notes

  1. The camera that came with the case is a Rokuoh-sha-built unit sn#1257, but the paper label in the lid shows that the box belonged to a Fuji Shashin Film-built unit sn#122.
  2. See this Wikipedia entry for the duplication technique.
  3. See this Wikipedia entry for the duplication technique.
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