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1954: Press Van-120


The Press Van-120

unfolded ready to shoot


The camera in its folded position.

The Press Van-120 takes 120 film and shoots two different formats: 6x6cm and 6x4.5cm. Flaps in the back flip over the film plane to mask the image for the smaller format. The pressure plate revolves to reveal a red window in the centre of the camera back to read the 12 numbers on the film’s backing paper needed for 6x6cm pictures, or a second window above for the 16 numbers needed for the 6x4.5cm format.


The camera folds to a flat package 14x10x6cm, from which the lens panel extends on bellows and folding struts for shooting. Slightly unusual for a roll film camera, it has a built-in rangefinder coupled to the focusing. That’s controlled by a knob on the top plate which moves the lens backwards and forwards on the struts. The knob is surrounded by a depth of field scale.


The 75mm f/3.5 lens is an Asahi Takumar, a name more usually associated with Pentax 35mm single lens reflexes. Shutter speeds run 1 – 1/500 second.


Unless you know someone who bought one of these in Japan (as this one was), you stand little chance of seeing another Press Van-120 in the UK.


Inside the camera

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