1965 Japan Camera Show Catalog

Review | I recently received a gift of a 1965 Japan Camera Show catalog. Let’s imagine you are in Tokyo in 1965, and in the market for a new camera. You attend a camera show featuring numerous offerings from numerous Japanese camera manufacturers, and have this catalog in hand as you navigate the show. What was a useful tool then for the consumer is now, 53 years later, an interesting and useful guide for the enthusiast and collector.  

… imagine it is 1965 in Japan and you want a new camera or film projector.

Numbering 64 pages, the catalog is for the Spring 1965 show and is Volume 20, which means the first show happened in the last days of World War II. That fact alone is interesting as consumer camera production then was barely starting up again. Numerous camera manufacturers’ products are featured, including Asahi Pentax, Canon, Fujica, Konica, Mamiya, Minolta, Miranda, Nikon, Olympus, Ricoh, Taron, Topcon, and Yashica. Different models of cameras and lenses from each manufacturer are shown and prices are given as well. As an example of pricing, a standard Nikon F with non-meter prism and (iconic) 50mm f1.4 lens is offered at 68,500 yen, which in 1965 equaled $190.28, at $1 U.S. equal to 360 yen.

In addition to camera bodies and lenses, light meters, tripods, movie film cameras, and reel-to-reel projectors are shown and described. The ads are particularly wonderful, featuring such obscure-to-unknown products as Sakura 100 color film and Copal shutter-testing equipment.

This is a wonderful source of information, albeit in Japanese, because the photos tell quite a nice story of the consumer camera industry in 1965 Japan. So yes, imagine it is 1965 in Japan and you want a new camera or film projector. Good thing you have this catalog in hand, then ... and nice to leaf through it now.

–Bob Rogen