The Dale is a subminiature camera that fits into the spy camera class that was manufactured in Japan for export. The Dale is part of a family of cameras that all took a 17.5mm film. The 17.5mm film was developed in the 1930’s to show movies in rural environments without having to build a theater or transport heavy 35mm projectors. With film stock being smaller, it allowed the cameras to be miniaturised.
In the Dale family there were 451 different models produced, each with a different name, though most looking like a small copy of a leica. The first Dale was designed after the “HIT” camera. This camera produced square negatives. The body is constructed of stamped metal and plastic. It has a simple viewfinder with no focus control. It features a fixed lens, due to size and technology available. Most Dale’s have a fixed shutter speed, however some “HIT” style cameras had some external control. The most common settings being the addition of shutter speed control. Allowing for Bulb, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100. At the peak of design some “HIT” cameras had full manual control. This particular Dale features a fixed shutter speed and aperture.
Measuring 2 x 1 ⅓ x 1 ⅓ the Dale will easily hide in any pocket. Or conveniently in a prize machine in your local arcade, which is where most of them were purchased for twenty-five cents. The “HIT” style cameras have had a long life, being made in Japan from the mid-1930’s and still in production in Hong Kong. They are a unique piece of photographic history. If you would like to see this one for yourself, visit the museum at Richmond Camera on Paterson Ave. This camera is on permanent display and is not for sale.