Tanzer “smile” – 47/99

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Japan 1950 – Reflex TLR – Bolta film – Rare.

The Tanzer was produced in the early 50s in Japan by the Nomura optical company.

Not much is known about the Nomura company, which apparently only produced this camera in two versions (with and without flash synchronisation) and did not leave a notable mark.

The camera itself, the Tanzer, on the other hand is quite rare and surprisingly interesting.

The Tanzer is probably the only TLR using a Bolta film, a variety of unperforated 35mm film with paper backing that was quite popular in Japan until well into the 1950s. It is a very well built subminiature camera, mostly in black bakelite with very interesting pocket size proportions and a flippable lens cover.

But what makes the Tanzer unique and gives it a spot of choice in a collector’s eye, is its very unique design with a “smile” shutter arming mechanism. Seen from the front, the Tanzer unmistakably looks like a winky smiling face.

It is not clear if it was designed on purpose, but the Tanzer is one of the few cameras that smiles back when you look at it.

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