Miniature Box cameras

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Miniature Box cameras

Yen Baby Camera

Eho Baby Box

Georges Paris Gap Fotobaby

List number 97050 12865 131926
Brand Baby Camera Kenkyujo Eho Altissa Georges Paris
Format Cut 3*4.5 127 127
Model Baby Camera Eho Box 3×4, baby box GAP Fotobaby Black
Introduced 1935 1930 1955
AKA
Country Japan DDR France
Qty made 0
Initial price
Currency
Type Yen Box Box Box
Body material Cardboard Metal Metal
Mode Manual Manual Manual
Weight 75 gr,  Body with lens 195 gr,  Body with lens 237 gr,  Body with lens
Class average weight 75 gr,  Body with lens 216 gr,  Body with lens 216 gr,  Body with lens
ASA range N/A N/A N/A
Kit lens Plain glass
Lens make N/A Duplar
Filter size N/A N/A N/A
Lens mount Fixed lens Fixed lens Fixed lens
Mount size N/A N/A N/A
Aperture ? 5.6, 11
shutter Meniscus Meniscus Meniscus
Light meter None None None
Winder N/A Wing nut Knob
Lock No No No
Speeds B Instantaneous, B Instantaneous, B
DOF preview No No No
Exposure lock No No No
Exposure compensation No No No
Shoe No No No
External sync No No No
Sync speed NA NA NA
Timer No No No
Battery N/A N/A N/A
Integral flash None None None

Yen Baby Camera

Current value

Good luck to anybody looking online for this camera. There are baby cameras, as in cameras for babies, and how. 4,970,000,000 per Google. Trying ‘Baby Box’ returns the Zeiss models. Not as many, but a lot.

My database calls this a ‘Yen’ camera, and so does McKeown. It was so named as they were sold in Japan in the 1930s for one Yen. Not sure how much it was, but as it was a paper note seems it had some value. Online search yields app US$ .50.

The camera is a featherlight, tiny box made of cardboard, nicely covered with decorative paper. Bulb speed only, with a guillotine shutter over a plain glass lens. Later models added an instantaneous speed as well. Similar cameras were sold under Kamarette and Camarette, Yen-Kame and Super Camera, Congo (!), and perhaps more. The back is mat glass, supposedly for composition, and above that, there is a slot for media. I can figure out how to drop in the film and remove the protective paper, but not sure how to remove it after exposure.

There is an article about it in Collectors Weekly, which I quote:

  • This is a Japanese “No Darkroom” box camera, also generically known as a “Yen camera.” I’ve added a quarter in the photo to show just how small this camera is.
    These Yen cameras were very popular in Japan in the 1930s and 40s. They came with a developing kit (this one did not) and they used single sheets of special film in stiff paper holders. The film sheets would be slid into the narrow opening on the top back part of the camera. After exposure, the film could be developed in daylight by dipping the entire holder in a red solution. The negative was then fixed by dipping the entire thing in a green solution. After it was dunked in water to remove the lingering chemicals. These were very cheap cameras and the results weren’t as promising. Many different versions of these cameras were made. This one has a large viewing window that could be used for seeing your subject before taking the shot.

 

Eho Baby Box

Current value

Slightly smaller than the Baby Camera but much heavier, made of punched metal. Two side flaps to open the body. The top flap changes the aperture by sliding a flat arm with two holes in front of the lens. A lever on the side triggers an instantaneous shutter and has a remote thread next to it Speed changes to B by pulling a flap below it. I think the designer had a soft spot for flaps. Two viewers, top and side, and a winding wing nut complete the choices. Interesting that eBay prices on this model are from $13 to $130, with an average in the middle. There may be a cult following this tiny thing. Besides several units offered for sale, there is no online write-up about this model.

  

Georges Paris Gap Fotobaby

Current value

Sized a notch up over the Eho, is the GAP Fotobaby. Nothing to do with leisure clothing. French-made, it is an elegant box camera. The only worthwhile reference I found is in Bernard Vial’s slim booklet, where he describes the GAP models as post-war copies of the Zeiss Baby Box. McKeowon list a slew of models, which seem to differ only by front pattern. This camera was also sold under other brands.

The body is made of punched metal, slightly lighter than the Eho. The camera is covered with a paper-like skin, save for the back, which is shiny metal. A viewer on top is connected to a hinged flap that holds the hinged back cover. An octagonal, relatively large winding knob protrudes from the right side. On the same side, towards the front, a trigger lever at the bottom is governed by a lock. Above, another lever toggles between instantaneous and B. Two side-mounted catches for carrying strap. The film here is loaded into the body, unlike the Eho where the film mount pops out by removing the back box-like cover. As with the other baby cameras, online searching returns baby clothes by GAP.

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