Shinano Lacon C Camera
I was looking online for Shinano when information poured down at a rate I did not expect for a seventy-year-old, likely defunct, camera factory. It took a while to realize that the elves in Google corrected my search term to Shimano, the bicycle and fishing parts maker, which oddly also has a camera.
Back to Shinano. There is not much information other than several mentions of the Pigeon models. The lowly Lacon models merit a handful of pages, hardly any valuable data.
I gather that Shinano’s Lacon brand was a secondary line. It is unclear whether Shinano sold it directly or via a distributor named Lacon. A brand named National Camera was mentioned on the fly as well. McKeown lists the cameras under Lacon, suggesting an independent brand. My camera is imperial marked, so it was either meant to be sold to the GI contingent in post-war Japan or for US export.
Shinano made four Lacon models: the viewfinders Lacon 35, Lacon C and Lacon J; and the rangefinder Lacon R. The viewfinders were introduced in 1954 and the rangefinder in 1955. A Lacon C look-alike was seen in Australia under Saga Thirty Five, it could be a name used there.
I have three other Shinano Pigeon cameras, different versions, and the Lacon C resembles neither. If at all, it looks like a dialled-down, economy model compared to the heft of the well-made Pigeons. From online pictures, the Lacon J seems to resemble the original Pigeon. The only common issue with the Shinano cameras, Lacon or Pigeon, is that they all fall on their nose.
There is a Shinano Camera in Japan today, but it has nothing to do with this, making inspection cameras.
The Lacon C is a typical Japanese post-war camera, tending to the low end. It offers the bare minimum for a camera at that class, a modest speed selection and a lazy lens. The manual I scanned is red on yellow, so while it is readable, it is not required to operate the camera.
The winder does not cock the shutter, which is done via a lever on top of the lens barrel. There is no lens-mounted trigger, as was common on cameras of that crop. Aperture settings are under the lens; I guess it takes getting used to. Markings are easy to read. There are two mounting threads at the bottom, which is uncommon. The back is fully removable, not showing much underneath. A good feature is the dual cog film guide on the film path. The winder on my camera does not stop after each frame; I assume it is faulty.
Few Lacon viewfinder models are offered on eBay, all at (very) low prices, with no takers. The Lacon R, when offered for sale, finds takers. It means that this can be a welcomed addition for a period collector, while a wild card collector could safely pass.
One I could not resist – the fictional Sir Oliver Lacon is the Undersecretary In Charge of The Circus. Salute to John le Carre.
|575 gr, Body with lens
|Class average weight
|471 gr, Body with lens
|Service / repair links