Sociedad Ibero-Americana de la Historia de la Fotografia Museo Fotográfico y Archivo Historico "Adolfo Alexander"
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Translation from

by L. Paracampo

 From: Hayata Camera Laboratory

Zunow camera with Zunow lens 50mmF1.8


Zunow Pamphlet



Photographing type:
ズノー ズノ - 50mmF1.8
Zunow Zunow 50mmF1.8

Photographing data:
Asakusa temple F8 1/250
フジ G100
Street scene F4 1/125
フジ G100




Photograph explanation

We had decided in 2005 to start and finish successfully a  Zunow ズノー repair.

The Zunow is the camera that occupies a special position in the numerous Japanese single-lens reflex cameras. It is an historical camera which name remains eternally in camera history. It was the first Japanese camera to have complete automatic diaphragm mechanism in a body with interchangeable lenses. This automatic diaphragm mechanism has been also linked to a quick return mirror operation.
In addition, the shutter speed dial was of non- rotary system, and a full speed intermediate values were possible, the quick rewind by the smooth crank and winding system by the lever gives an extreme softness, making it a serious top class camera,
although its squarish forms turn it not very attractive by modern standards.

The former Imperial Optical Laboratory of Zunow, started lens production prior to World War 2. It turned to be very famous as lens manufacturer after the war in 1953, when they produced the top class 50mmF1.1 lens for the Leica mount, at that time the proudest example of the Japanese optical industry, being the most luminous lens the world. In 1955 these lenses were improved, in 2 types variants, Those type 1 and  type 2. They are presently very rare and expensive. In addition they made the Zunow-Light lens with in-built automatic exposure meter  who had received a high appraisal as interchangeable lens for the 8mm movie cameras.

Zunow beyond the 58mmF1.2 and 50mmF1.8 normal lenses, which were epoch-making large aperture lens at that time, prepared the Zunow 100mmF2 telephoto lens  and the Zunow 35mmF2.8 wide angle lens,  and was planned, the sale the 200mm and 400mm also a macro 50mmF4.5 etc.

The Zunow camera began to be sold in August of 1958, but its apparent quality was not really found in the camera, and breakdown occurred frequently, and many of them were returned. By this reason production was discontinued in the following year of 1959. The production quantity was under 500 units, and because many of them returned with no more interest from the buyers, today, the numbers of surviving examples are extremely few. Really at that era several other single-lens reflex were offered and Zunow was no more a special model. In addition to its rarity in the market, was its selling price, which was surprisingly expensive, due excessive adjustments that could only be done by expert hands. In the collector market however, the Zunow camera does not loose its big charm.

Well, because everything here in exposed, Zunow camera is a kind of camera which needs much care, and one can take only a limited number of photographs: furthermore this camera needs periodical revisions and repairs.

After repairing the Zunow camera I took a photograph of a street scene.
Looking at the photograph, one can see that the Zunow 50mmF1.8 lens has a high resolving power and extreme beauty results. Seeing its photos inspires splendid dreams. It became my desired camera.

Furthermore, repair costs are In the ceiling band even in our repairing company, (above 20 ten thousand Yen). In addition, a repair cycle each several months is necessary. Several parts were necessary to recreate. They no more exist. In addition after the repairing, heavy use is no more possible. But you have an operational Zunow that can take astonishing photographs, "I am also a worldwide single-lens reflex collector", repair and know my cameras.

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