Beauty LightOmatic II [1960]

The LightOmatic II incorporated a number of new features while retaining other tried and tested components such as the lens and shutter.


This updated Beauty gained a bright-frame viewfinder to replace the old Albada-style bright-line, the difference being frame lines are projected via an illumination window rather than reflected back from the viewfinder objective lens (note that the viewfinder objective lens was not mirrored).

 

The new bright-frame illumination window further allowed the projection of a viewfinder meter needle image, so exposure could be set while simultaneously observing the subject to be photographed. All three illumination, rangefinder and viewfinder windows were given a single glass cover (which, as I've previously mentioned when writing about the Beaumat, was all the rage in 1960).  


The top-plate meter window's shape was changed from circular to rectangular. The camera also got a standard cable release thread added to the shutter release, and the rewind lever was restyled.


The horrible graphic and film type reminder next to the needle-pointer window on the top plate was also changed to a table showing film speed setting parameters in-between the setting dial graduations (e.g. a setting of 100 ASA accommodated film speeds between 75 - 120 ASA).


The lens became a Biokor-S (probably made by Tomioka but still with 6 elements, as described on the Beaumat page) in place of the Beauty-S.

 

In my opinion, the II was the best of the Lightomatics, since those that followed failed to add design features that were significant improvements, and were built using cheaper materials.

 

Sales


Based on known serial numbers, I believe around 25,000 LightOmatic IIs were made.

 

The LightOmatic II  was priced at £38/19s/6d in the UK, and the distributor was Rosley Products Ltd (31 Wembley Hill Road, Wembly, Middx.) It's an uncommon model today, but can still be found for sale.

 

A Japanese advertising leaflet (right) suggests that Beauty were using a third party to sell in their home market: Hayashi Shokai Co Ltd in Nihonbashi (also known for selling the Condor IIIS and Shinkoh Rabbit). What I find curious is Camera-wiki claims that, based on magazine advertising, the Beauty Camera Company changed its address several times between late 1957 and 1962, which is stated to have been in Nihonbashi between 1958 and 1959. I wonder whether these details have been incorrectly observed, and actually reflect who was selling Beauty cameras? 

 

My LightOmatic II was bought for £18.99 (plus p&p) in October 2017. Everything sort-of works, but the meter appears inaccurate, and the rangefinder alignment is well off. In September 2021, I obtained a second camera with a stiff focus and other problems for £10.00 (plus p&p). This camera features on the Lightomatic II repair page.

 

Follow this link to view the instruction manual for the Beauty LightOmatic II.

Known serial numbers

R2544, R3980, R4079, R4770, R5639, R6171, R7801, R8294, R9338, R10421, R10527, R11013, R11062, R12793, R13697, R13967, R14673, R15784, R15861, R16789, R18351, R19135, R21642, R23472, R23851, R24076, R24109, R26171, R26536, R26947

Below: a few views of the Lightomatic II.

Beauty Lightomatic II
Beauty Lightomatic II
Beauty Lightomatic II top-plate

Below: click to enlarge = Japanese advertising leaflet showing a price of Y18,500..

japlm2.jpg

Below: a suprise inside. This is an internal resistor in the meter circuit, and clearly marked "Riken", which was the pre-1963 name used by "Ricoh".

riken.jpg

A Copal shutter, a Sekonic light meter, a Tomioka lens, and a Riken (Ricoh) resistor may not be the full extent of the Beauty Camera Company's collaboration with other manufacturers. While searching archived publications for adverting literature, I came across the 1960 "Gazette of India's" list of patents, which details three applications made jointly by the Beauty Camera Company, and Nippon Kogaku Kogyo Kabushikigaisha  (i.e. Nikon