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Thread: Can anyone help identify this 5x7 Japanese camera?

  1. #1

    Can anyone help identify this 5x7 Japanese camera?

    Can anyone help identify this 5x7 camera? I bought it used about 35 years and recently did a full functional restoration but have no idea who made it or anything about it. For some reason, the name Tanakaishi (sp?) sticks in mind.

    It's triple extension and capable of at least 18" extension. It appears to use metal hardware appropriate for that era. Although it had an older style rotating metal base for three wooden tripod legs, I've replaced that original base with a plate and Arca-Swiss QR plate. The wood seems to be mahogany. Construction is not particularly robust but the wood joinery does seem competent and everything is aligned and angled correctly.

    The camera is very light, a bit over 3.5 pounds, and folds very compactly similar to a Nagaoka. It uses what appears to be a proprietary lens board that is a rather narrow vertically oriented rectangle that is 1/8" thick and is held in place by a spring pushing downward from the top of the lens mount. Hardware appears to be chrome/nickel plated but the back has inset 90 degree brass corner reinforcements.

    I've done every possible online search that I can think of and found two apparent images, one pointing to a 2004 thread on Photo.net that ended without any identification and the other, on Flickr, pointed to a 404 page not found.

    There is no identifying information but a few anomalies that might help. It is stamped "Made in Japan" in English only, from which I surmise that it is post-WWII.

    The ground glass back registers properly for 5x7 film holder depth to septum (.217") and a standard 5x7 film holder fits in and seats properly for the long 7" length, but the GG back film holder width is 6.25 inches +/-, which is about 3/8" wider than a standard 5x7 holder. If the 5x7 holder is inserted and centered equally top and bottom, the photograph is fine and without light leaks.

    Any assistance and expertise is appreciated.

    Thank you

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  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Can anyone help identify this 5x7 Japanese camera?

    I think the story is, there were many Japanese wood cameras makers using universal made in Japan metal bits.

    Some one person only.

    I have several with the same bits, and variation in format.
    where is the monolith

  3. #3

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    Re: Can anyone help identify this 5x7 Japanese camera?

    Ikeda Anba - or similar? As Tin Can says - a lot of smaller makers putting out basically the same style camera.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  4. #4

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    Re: Can anyone help identify this 5x7 Japanese camera?

    I think many, if not most, Japanese camera makers used standardized metal parts, and consequently, they look very similar to each other. The wooden parts also look similar. I have also been told that there was a thriving parts supplier industry, much like the automobile industry today.

    Kumar

  5. #5

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    Re: Can anyone help identify this 5x7 Japanese camera?

    I have a similar camera with the original legs.
    Are your lensboards secured by pushing up into the spring-loaded channel similar to a Graflex SLR?
    Closest I could find in searching was an MSK Osaka.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/479323...posted-public/

  6. #6

    Re: Can anyone help identify this 5x7 Japanese camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by choiliefan View Post
    I have a similar camera with the original legs.
    Are your lensboards secured by pushing up into the spring-loaded channel similar to a Graflex SLR?
    Closest I could find in searching was an MSK Osaka.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/479323...posted-public/

    Yes, the lens board is pushed upward into the channel and then a spring pushes the lens board downward to lock it in place

    One thing that I thought out of the ordinary was that the area where the film holder seats fits perfectly on the 7" width but there is an additional 3/8" total space on the 5" height such that the film holder has to be positioned and centered manually in this dimension.

  7. #7
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Can anyone help identify this 5x7 Japanese camera?

    Consider this

    These are pics of 3 holders. One is standard plastic 5X7 film made in USA

    One is 1/2 Plate Book Style bought from Japan with a matching camera

    Last is the LN bought from Japan FILM 1/2 plate sized holder made to fit the same old Plate camera with the special wood alignment edges you can see in the pics

    It IS 3/8" wider and would fit your camera...perhaps!

    Really nice design and fits well even when worn like the Book Style

    5-7 vs Half Plate top by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr

    5-7 vs Half Plate edges by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr
    where is the monolith

  8. #8

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    Re: Can anyone help identify this 5x7 Japanese camera?

    I was lucky to get three original plate holders with film sheaths with the camera.
    Indeed, they are wider than standard 5X7 holders.
    You could glue strips of wood on both sides for a tighter fit.

  9. #9

    Re: Can anyone help identify this 5x7 Japanese camera?

    I had a suspicion that the extra height in the film holder area suggested that it was originally a plate-size camera. As centering a standard 5x7 film holder works OK without light leaks, I'll probably just continue doing that.

    Thank you to everyone for the insights and help.

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