Fuji Kogaku Baby Lyra c1941

Tomei Collection


 

This is a rare wartime Japanese camera produced by Fuji Kogaku.  Depending on the source of historical information, the Baby Lyra was produced some time after 1936 through 1941.  It is described on camerapedia.org as having been produced between 1936 and 1938.  However, McKeown 12th edition indicates c1941.  The English Fujimura translation of Nihon Camera No Rekishi makes no mention at all (see The History of the Japanese Camera edited by Gordon Lewis).  Consequently, my research continues.

 

This camera in my collection was photographed several years ago using an old Toshiba P&S, so the quality isn't great.  However, the camera is an important part of the Pre-WWII and WWII Japanese cameras, so I have included these in this exhibit.

 

Although it may sound odd to Westerners, the Japanese Baby format referred to a specific film format based upon type 127 film.  The first Baby format camera was introduced in 1934 with the Baby Pearl by Minolta and was based on the German Zeiss Baby Ikonta.  Fuji Kogaku had introduced the Lyrax in 1938 with its uncoupled rangefinder.  About this same time the Baby Lyra appeared in advertising.  The last time it appeared in any ads, according to my sources, was January 1941.

 

 

This camera has a rimset Picco shutter with B, 25, 50 and 100 speeds.  The lens is a focusing Fuji-ko f/4.5 50mm Anastigmat Terionar that could be stopped down to f/32.

The camera shown here is complete and original with Fuji Kogaku appearing on each folding arm.  The bellows are intact and (amazingly) light tight although I have not used the camera.

This ad accompanied the camera when it was found several years ago and is believed to date from 1940.  As can be seen, several variations were available, this particular model cost 32 Yen.  According to Fujimura, camera production fell precipitously after 1941 and taxes on cameras was raised to 80% in wartime Japan.