Emi K 35

Emi K 35
Emi K 35


The Emi K 35 was made by the Oshiro Optical Works in Japan in 1956.  It is quite an attractive and well made little camera but basic in the facilities it offers.


lens:  Fujiyama Eminent Color
focal length:  50 mm
apertures: 2.8 to 16
focus range: 3 feet to infinity
lens fitting: fixed
shutter:  own make
speeds: 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/300
flash: PC connector, X synch
film size: 35 mm
The camera is heavy, being made from die cast metal (presumably aluminium alloy) including the hinged back.  It measures 125 mm by 70 mm by 80 mm tall.  The main body is covered in black leatherette and the top and bottom plates are satin stainless steel.
The shutter release button is next to a raised part of the top plate and with my large hands it is a bit awkward to get my finger on it.  Film advance is by a lever.  In my camera, the spring that returns the film advance lever to its rest position is broken so it is necessary to put it back in place manually. However, the lever still advances the film and cocks the shutter, so this camera is quite usable.
The viewfinder is small, but no smaller than Voigtlander were offering at the same time.  There are no frame lines in the viewfinder, so I assume the total image is what will be recorded on the film. On taking the camera apart to look at the broken film advance spring, I saw a square cut-out in the front of the top plate that is normally masked by the ‘Emi K’ logo on the front of the camera.  This suggests that a rangefinder was considered at some point in the design – either to be offered on another model or abandoned for this model.
One the left of the top plate is the film rewind which is a small crank (very small!) which is fairly difficult to use.  This crank pulls up to release the cassette for removal.  The only other thing on the top plate is an accessory shoe – a ‘cold’ shoe in flash terms.  For flash, there is a PC connector at the bottom of the shutter housing.
The lens is a Fujiyama Eminent Color lens.  There is a red ‘C’ on the lens bezel which I am sure indicates that the lens is coated (just about normal for 1956).  The whole shutter housing/lens assembly seems to be well designed and well made but feels a bit plasticky compared to Prontor shutters. Actually, the shutter housing is plastic which is not actually a bad thing so long as it is used thoughtfully.
The inside is as you would expect – a recess for the film cassette, machined guides for the film, a sprocket wheel to advance the film and a fixed take-up spool.  I am very much in favour of fixed take-up spools.  Zeiss Ikon and Ihagee both used removable spools and I spend too much of my time on my hands and knees retrieving the spool when using those cameras.  The camera back has the expected pressure plate (generously sized) and ‘Zeiss bumps’ in the leatherette.  ‘Zeiss bumps’ are formed when the rivets holding components together react chemically with the metals used.  The back is aluminium alloy and I suspect the rWhitworthñ steel.

The base of the camera has a central tripod boss – 1/4 inch Whitworth.  There are no strap lugs on this camera – the manufacturers will have expected the user to use the ‘ever-ready’ case that will have been supplied with the camera.

Test photos

I was aware when I started that the return spring in the film advance lever was broken, but the mechanism itself seemed to work OK. As I used the camera it became apparent that the lever was not engaging with the internal mechanism properly and sometimes it took several sweeps to advance one frame.

Using this camera reminded me very much of using my Zeiss Ikon Contina Ic. They have a very similar size, shape and weight – I suspect Emi had the Contina in mind when designing the Emi K. Controls are minimal and are placed on the lens/shutter barrel. The viewfinder is nice and large and centrally placed. However, there are no bright lines for accurate composition.
The only problem I have had using this camera stems from the fact that the return spring  in the film advance lever is broken (as mentioned above). I initially thought that this would mean that I would have to return the lever by hand after winding on the film and otherwise all would be well. in fact, the film advance lever interacts with two sub-systems in the camera – the double exposure prevention mechanism and the missed frame prevention mechanism. Sometimes I would turn the film advance lever and nothing would happen, sometimes I could not turn it at all without pressing the shutter release a second time – this did not fire the shutter, it just freed the mechanism. I was never confident that the film was advancing properly. Although the rewind knob turned as I advanced the film – a sign that the film is moving – it did not turn smoothly. Looking at the prints, it is apparent that the film was not entirely moving as it should – there is slight overlap of frames – but the problem is not severe, just annoying.
Exposure of the film is fine, indicating that the shutter speeds are, at the least, close to the supposed values. I only actually used the faster speeds so I cannot vouch for the slower speeds – it is usually the slower speeds that play up first with old cameras.
Emi K 35
Framing not quite right


Emi K 35
Emi K 35
Emi K 35
Double exposure


Emi K 35
This one is OK


Emi K 35
Slight frame overlap

Author: John Margetts

I am a keen photographer who also collects cameras. I am retired with about 50 years photography experience.

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