Shinsei Monte 35
The Monte 35 was made by Shinsei Optical, one of many Japanese post-ear camera makers of whom there is hardly any information. On the camera body, the name is marked as Monte35 or Monte-35. Per McKeown, there are two models, one with the trigger on the lens barrel and the other with the trigger on top. I have not seen any of the first type, online or otherwise. The Japanese Collector’s Guide mentions only a Monte 35 A, with an image to match. Another model by this maker is the Monte-S, which is not seen or discussed online.
The limited information about the Monte cameras suggests different introduction dates, anywhere between 1950 and 1955. It does not make any difference to the collector; it just shows how fluid information is.
The camera bears a strong resemblance to the Meopta Etareta, which is often mentioned, see both side to side. The Etareta was introduced in 1946, so if at all, the Monte 35 is the copy. I have not dissected either, so I cannot comment further. There is a note about it in Endoscopy repair notes.
The camera is a typical Japanese post-war compact viewfinder with modest specifications, a speed of up to 200 and a 3.5/50 lens, source unknown. When fully extended, a retractable lens engages with the shutter trigger, resembling a similar arrangement on the Bencini Comet II. Dials are well positioned and easy to read, not often so in that generation’s cameras. The body is nicely machined and plated, and the skin is well preserved.
On top are equally sized oversized knobs, wind and rewind, with a finger-friendly frame counter in between. A lever in the back, by the winder, allows for rewind, and a fin at the front does something, I assume, only I don’t know what. In the camera I have, the lens retracts only halfway, so the said fin may be in use when the lens is fully extruded. I will work on it when time allows. A prominent synch adapter and a timer lever are at the lens barrel’s bottom.
|Monte 35 A
|520 gr, Body with lens
|Class average weight
|450 gr, Body with lens
|fixed retractable lens
|Service / repair links