Photos: eBay

For you collectors out there, a very rare piece of photographic equipment just popped up on eBay. Officially dubbed the Rokuoh-Sha Type 89 "Machine Gun" Military Training Camera, this camera was made by Konishoruko (which later became Konica) for training Japanese airplane gunners during World War II.

According to International Military Antiques and Photo Gear-Heads, these cameras would be mounted in airplanes instead of the real thing as a way to train new gunners. When the trigger is pressed, the camera would begin snapping 18x24mm pictures on 35mm cine film loaded in 2.5m strips. The photos captured whatever the "gun" was aimed at, while an optical stopwatch (placed in the yellow tube up top) was recorded onto the photos using a prism. These images would be examined later to help improve the gunner's accuracy.

The piece is highly prized by collectors, and there's a nearly identical model in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, which would make this a Model 2 with (possibly) the same 75mm Hexar lens.

Photos: eBay

The version on eBay looks a bit more beat up than the Smithsonian's camera, but still in great shape. The seller, Westborn Camera Co, claims the camera "is in overall excellent condition, especially considering it was used during war-time," and still works as far as they can tell. In the listing, Westborn writes:

This has been tested to my best ability, and everything seems to check out good: The winder holds firm tension and releases when fired. The shutter can be heard -AND- film transport responds properly.

The camera is going for a Buy It Now price of $4,500, which seems a tiny bit high based on the limited research we've done. Then again, the price varies a great deal. Closed eBay listings from the past few years went for anywhere between $795 and $4,100, and a similar model auctioned in 2014 went for 1,600 Euro (~$2,100 USD by the average 2014 exchange rate).

To find out more about this crazy camera, or if you wanna go ahead and pick up a very rare piece of military and photographic memorabilia, head on over to the eBay auction. And if you have more information about this very interesting bit of kit, drop us a line in the comments.