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Thread: "Proxy" buying in Japan?

  1. #1

    "Proxy" buying in Japan?

    Has anybody experience buying photo stuff in Japan through this site photojpn.org/istore/proxy.php ? Is this reliable? (He requires payment in advance). Or another option?

    Background: I have bought a 6x9 Nagaoka, which is an early design with very limited movements and a back designed for plates only. The amount of restoration it will need is not yet clear (camera is on its way to Richard Ritter for evaluation.) When I bought it, I believed it could not be had new any more, and therefore I was willing to stretch far to get it in good working condition. Now I have learned that Nagaoka is still in production. So I might be better off buying a new one - if I can.

    According to the list of vendors found on photojpn.org, Gin-ichi www.ginichi.com/ seems to be the sole exporter for Nagaoka. Unfortunately, they have not responded to my e-mail.

    Thank you for your answers.
    Hening

  2. #2
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    "Proxy" buying in Japan?

    Hening -

    Nagaoka is still in business. But if you want to deal with them you need to have a local representative; they won't deal directly with anyone overseas. This is actually true of the vast majority of Japanese camera dealers too - I guess between logistical and language issues they just feel it's more hassle than it's worth.

    I suspect the Gin-ichi arrangement expired a long time ago. Why don't you just go ahead and contact Philbert Ono and find out directly from him what the story is? Tell him specifically what you want to accomplish, any concerns you have, and see what he has to say.

    Also think carefully about whether you really want a 6x9 Nagaoka. I love Nagaokas, but rigidity is not their strong point, and slop in the standards is a much bigger deal in 6x9 than it is in larger formats. In a 6x9 wooden camera I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be with anything short of a really well-made camera like an Ebony.

  3. #3

    "Proxy" buying in Japan?

    Hi Oren,

    thank you for your fast reply. I have mailed Philbert Ono.

    As to the choice of the Nagaoka: I look for a very light weight camera for skiing. The closest competition is the Century Graphic 6x9, which I have, and which weighs 1050 gr. when stripped for the range-finder and view-finder. The Ebony 6x9 weighs 2.0 kg according to Ebony's web site - that's only 100 gr. less than my pre-1984 Arca Swiss 6x9! (in a configuration that gives me 58 cm of bellows extension!) In this weight range, I am looking for a Wisner Pocket Expedition, which weighs 1788 gr. according to a posting in Kerry's "Actual Camera Weights"-thread - meaning it weighs over 300 gr. less than my Arca, offering 48 cm of bellows, and the 4x5" option. I just hope that it is rigid enough also at this extension.

    The used Nagaoka I have played with weighs 680 grams, with an unoriginal metal back. And of course, it is neither an Ebony nor an Arca. Everything is tiny and delicate. But the play in the rear standart I could see was due to a deformed metal part, which Richard Ritter says can be fixed. I feel (hope?) that the camera in top shape will be just stable enough for lightweight lenses. If not, I'll return to the Century, but I want to give it a try. I'm old and weak, and I have to watch the weight.

    Thanks again for your answer!
    Hening

  4. #4
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    "Proxy" buying in Japan?

    Hening, the one critical thing to watch out for in the Nagaoka is whether and how far the rear standard flexes when you load a roll holder on it. The Horseman 6x9 holder weighs something in the neighborhood of 450g, which is a substantial fraction of the weight of the entire camera. If the rear standard holds tight when you mount the holder, I think you should be OK.

    Taking the weight of your Century as a limit, there are several other ultralight Japanese cameras that take 6x9 rollbacks that you might consider. The Jitto 21 weighs 520g, the Fotox 6789 weighs 550g, the Fotox wide weighs 540g, the current Nagaoka Woody 69 weighs 820g, and the Whiz 69 Handy weighs 420g.

    Yup, except for the Nagaoka I'm sure you've never heard of any of those. I've never seen them here in the US. But Mr. Ono might be able to track them down.

  5. #5

    "Proxy" buying in Japan?

    Hi again

    Jeez! that gives some quite new perspectives! So the Nagi is not the lightest of them all at all...I'll hurry to mail Philbert Ono again. - Where do YOU have all this information from-??

    Good to know what to look for as the critical point. Yes of course - the holder is more than twice the weight of the
    heaviest lens I would use.

    Kind regards -
    Hening

  6. #6

    "Proxy" buying in Japan?

    Hi again

    Phil Ono has already answered: These manufacturers have no web sites, so he is unable to check models and prices. He says he might be able to obtain a new Nagaoka for me.

    Oren, how do YOU get your information about these cameras? and wolud you be willing to share it? If it is a matter of reading japanese sources, I might have them translated here. Do you have any pictures?

    Kind regards -
    Hening

  7. #7
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    "Proxy" buying in Japan?

    You'd figure he could pick up the phone. Or look in his copy of the Nippon Camera annual, like I do. Assuming he has a copy of the Nippon Camera annual, that is - unlike me, he doesn't even need to pay an inflated exchange rate and airmail postage to get one...

  8. #8
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    "Proxy" buying in Japan?

    Hening, if you can wait a little while and have someone locally who can help you read Japanese, contact me off-line and we can figure out how I might get some information to you.

  9. #9

    "Proxy" buying in Japan?

    Hi Oren

    I have tried to contact you off-line, but the mail address given through the link on this site has returned the "warning: could not send message for past 12 hours."

    Kind regards -
    Hening

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