The Olympus Six is a 120 film folding rangefinder camera, 6x6 and 4.5x6
format, first issued in 1940 by Takachiho, later Olmpus Co.,Tokyo, as
Olympus Six. The diecast models were launched in 1948 as Olympus Chrome
Six. They were built until 1956 and there are plenty of different models,
from I to V and the RII. Only the IV and the RII are (uncoupled)
shown is the model RII, first issued in 1955. RII most probably refers to
"second rangefinder model". There were three variants, the first or A
shown in late 1955, the second or B model first shown in early 1956 and
the third or C variant in late 1956. This is an early B variant. All RII
cameras have an automatic film advance via a lever for 6x6 format, but the
film has to be advanced to the first photo via the red window.
(mm): 137 x 104 x 45
Weight: 774 g
Lens: Olympus D Zuiko F.C., 3.5/75, closest focus 0.95 m
Shutter: Copal, B, 1 - 1/200, F 3.5 - 22
Finder: uncoupled rangefinder
Film advance: automatic for 6x6
Here are some photos of the camera. There is a short introduction to the
use of it and how it feels at the bottom of the page.
Camera front closed. Top: shutter release button, rangefinder window,
opening button on the bed, viewfinder window, film advance release.
Seen from the back. Near top: film advance lever, viewer, format mask
lever, rangefinder wheel. Red windows.
Seen from the bottom. Tripod socket.
Seen from above. Exposure counter, advance release, accessory shoe,
shutter release and rangefinder wheel.
Camera front open. Speed setting ring around the lens.
Seen from above, camera open. On the lens barrel from front: Distance
setting, closer focus moves the lens out, shutter cocking lever,
Left side, camera open. Cable release socket on the lens barrel.
Right side, camera open. On the body: Back opening tab. On the lens
barrel: PC flash socket.
The lens. under the speed settings, depth of field scale. To le left, near
the hinge, self timer.
Viewfinder mask for the 4.5x6 format slid into place. Unfortunately the
film masks are not hinged, it's a metal mask to be clipsed into the film
plane which mostly gets lost.
Handling a Olympus Six is easy, it's like other folding rangefinders.
Loading film is as usual. Open the camera back and put the film roll into
its place, the knob on the bottom retracts the spool shaft. Same procedure
for the take-up spool. Insert the film paper backing into the spool and
advance it using lever until it's well engaged. Close the camera
back. Open the red window and action the lever further until "1"shows in
the red window.
Open the camera (put the side of your thumbon the tab and press firmly) .
Cock the shutter, set speed and aperture. Set focus via the rangefinder
and tranfer the result to the lens. Press the shutter release button.
That's it. Action the little lever to unlock before film advance. To close
the camera, press the hinges of the struts as usual, it will fold easily.
The Olympus Six is a very nice and sturdy camera, easy to use. The RII
model is a very good choice, it's quite modern as it has an uncoupled
rangefinder and automatic film advance..