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Japanese Vest (4×5 and 4×6.5) (edit)
4×4.5 Orient
4×5 Minion
4×6.5 Clover Vest | Dianette | Eagle | Friend | Kooa | National | New Vest | Nifcarette | Pearlette | B Pearlette | Special Pearlette | Pionette | Pocket Prince | Sirius Bebe | Speed Pocket | Tsubasa Spring | Victory
rigid or collapsible
4×5 Alfax | Olympus Standard | Sakura (bakelite) | Well Standard
4×6.5 Vest Adler | Vest Alex | Kowa Kid | Light | Light Super | Baby Minolta | Minolta Vest | Regal Olympic | Vest Olympic | Tsubasa Chrome | Zen-99
4×6.5 Baby Clover | Sakura (box) | Spirit
4×5 Vesten
4×6.5 Victor Vest
unknown Meiro
Japanese 3×4 and 4×4, 4.5×6, 6×6 and 6×9 ->

The Victory (ビクトリー) is a Japanese folding camera taking both 4×6.5 and 3×4 pictures on 127 film.

Description of the Victory A

The Victory A (ビクトリーカメラA型) is known from a leaflet published around 1937 and from pictures of some surviving examples.[1] In the leaflet, it is called "Victory Gō Camera" (ビクトリー號カメラ) on one place, with the Japanese character 號 meaning "number" or "type".

The camera has a bakelite body. The folding struts have a complicated arrangement, copied from Kodak designs such as the Pocket Kodak Junior.

There is a folding optical finder in the middle of the top plate and no body release. The advance knob is at the right end and there is a spool holder at the left end. The latter can be pulled out only after it is turned counter-clockwise. The back is hinged to the left and the text says that it contains three red windows, the middle one being used for 4×6.5 exposures and the other ones for 3×4.

The shutter is everset and gives B, 25, 50 speeds. The release lever is attached to the front of the shutter housing. The model name Victory Go is engraved at the top of the shutter plate. ("Go" is probably the Japanese character 號 told above.) The marking on the right reads STRAIT SHUTTER, probably the shutter name; on the left there is the brand name EAGLE CAMERA. The model year is indicated at the bottom, and the words MADE IN JAPAN are engraved below. The leaflet reads TYPE 1935 or perhaps 1936, some surviving examples have TYPE 1936 and one has TYPE 1937. Despite the different model years, no other change is visible.

The lens is fixed-focus and the rim is engraved VICTORY GO ANASTIGMAT 1:9.5 F 6.3. On most lenses, "1:9.5" would indicate the maximum aperture and the focal length would be written "F=6.3" with an indication of a unit, for example centimetres. In the case of the Victory Go, F 6.3 stands for the maximum aperture, as indicated by the aperture scale going from 6.3 to 25, and the meaning of 1:9.5 is unclear.

Advertisements and other documents

In the leaflet cited above, the Victory A was offered for ¥18 including the portrait attachment. The text says that the "large aperture" of the lens equipping the Victory A only makes pictures possible from the infinity down to 10 feet, and that the attachment is needed to take closer pictures, down to 5 feet.

The official price list compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941 also has a camera called "Victory", listed for ¥23 with no further detail.[2] There is no indication of the company which made or sold the camera.

Other versions

Sugiyama does not show the Victory A but two other models.[3] None of them has folding struts, and the lens standard is manually pulled out on two rails after opening the folding bed. The folding finder is different too, with the rear part folding over the front one.

In both cases, the shutter plate is marked Victory at the top and has a logo at the bottom, perhaps the letter "Y" inside a circle. The only speed settings are 25 and B.

The lens is fixed-focus and the aperture scale goes from 8 to 32 on both cameras. One camera[4] has no lens engraving and certainly a single-element lens. The other[5] has a lens engraving similar to the Victory A, with VICTORY GO ANASTIGMAT and perhaps 1:5.5 F 8. The meaning of 5.5 is again unclear. This example has the top of the advance knob finished in black.


  1. Leaflet: undated leaflet for the Victory, Semi Dymos, Reex, Baby Ref, Union Ref and Baby Chrome. Surviving examples: example formerly pictured on a page on AEI Collectibles, and examples observed in online auctions.
  2. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 2, section 2.
  3. Sugiyama, items 4103–4.
  4. Sugiyama, item 4103.
  5. Sugiyama, item 4104.


Original documents

  • Anonymous company. Leaflet for the Victory, Semi Dymos, Reex, Baby Ref, Union Ref and Baby Chrome. Date not indicated. 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 2, section 2.

Recent sources

  • 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 4103–4.

The Victory is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.