Note small light leaks, and curved film plane. The Marvelous Man Who Invented the Holga. The Gray Mice Struggle Off to the Data Mines.
Yeah, yeah; here we go again. How much puff about one little toy camera can there possibly be? Is it really that good? はい!
Part of the mystique - me thinks - comes from its unavailability. The few that exist outside of Japan (apart from the odd EE) appear to come from perhaps just one source. Mint-in-box examples in Japan have been known to sell for over USD500. The Fujipet badge, money-box, and original 1950s Fujipet calendars also pop up sometimes. All we need now is the Fujipet t-shirt?Fuji Film - Minna no Camera, Fujipetto (Everyone's Camera). Asahi News. 1961.
A few different models exist; the classic `Thunderbird` version in two series (early and late), the EE (with selenium cell activated aperture), and a 35mm version called the Pet 35. Fujipet straps, cases, bags and dedicated filters were also available. Super rare editions with gold lettering, and Mighty Atom (Astro Boy) logos have also been spotted.Rare green / gold combo with bag and manuals.Garden Variety Brown.
All are very well built, from quality moldings (over a metal chassis), with well-plated metal parts, and nicely machined aluminum. Some Thunderbirds have plastic lenses, others glass. All EEs and Pet 35s have glass lenses. The Thunderbird and the Pet 35 come in a range of colors, including gray, red, yellow and green. EEs are to be found only in black.1959 red Fujipet, box, manual and strap.1960 green Fujipet.
When I first discovered the red one in an old camera shop in Nagano, I was enthralled by the looks. Those fins! That viewfinder! How can something that dinky be a camera? With a lot of vintage cameras being obscure 127 or 620 format, the Pet`s readily available 120 was immediately attractive.
Original 'Y' Filter. This one cost me JPY300, and guess which frames above were shot with it?
Using one itself is of course great fun; loading is easy, though lending character, the 1-2 operation requires you to remember to cock the shutter before attempting to catch that one-in-a-million opportunity. Two shutter speeds, and limited apertures do lend some element of control to the process too.
Sometimes they come with original film too:Cutest toy camera ever made?
As well as being as cool as cool, fun to use, the results too please; none of that sometimes over-the-top Holgaesque vignette or fragile Diana feel. Just nice soft focus, subtle vignette, and an ever-so-slight curve to the film plane. The occasional lightleak pops up sometimes too, just enough to keep it interesting.Nishi-Funabashi. Fujipet. Kodak BW400CN.
Children of the late 1950s and early 1960s often stop me in the street to tell me they had a Fujipet. With over a million made, there must be many more laying un-loved in asoko
across Japan. More information can of course be found at the only English Fujipet site (CLICK HERE
), and more Fujipet photographs in the monthly 'Grabs' section on filmwasters. ありがとうございます。
Super-duper rare green / red Pet 35:
If you are lucky, you may even discover one of these:
Courtesy of The Mijonju Show
Next month: The Ninja QL17. Have fun.