The Ikegami HK 312 series was manufactured from 1976 to 1981 in several configurations, including Triax and Multicore models. It came out around the same time RCA was introducing its first tiltable viewfinder model, the TK46, and still two years ahead of the TK47.
The first time I ever saw one was at ABC in New York around 1987, on the set of the Regis and Kathie Lee show. I lived in Miami for 20 years, and my friend Alex and I went on vacation. We went to the Smithsonian, and then on to New York to visit his brother Manny, a cameraman who worked on this show at WABC.
Above, Manny and his trusty Iki. Below, that day’s guest Elke Sommer with Regis and Kathie Lee.
I have a picture of us all after the show standing in front of one of the cameras, and I keep it in the viewfinder of this camera. (It may even be the one we’re standing in front of!)
Below is a close up of the photo. From left to right: Manny Rodriguez, Regis Philbin, Alex Rodriguez and me. I had been wondering what happened to Manny when he left ABC and New York; all I knew was that he moved to LA. One day, out of the blue, I was contacted through the sites email by a guy who had a spare TK47 and wanted to know if I knew anyone that was looking for one. It was signed “Manny.” I replied immediately. You can guess the rest, but not even I could have guessed what he was doing now.
After moving to LA, Manny also moved into directing. He’s worked with Ellen DeGeneres, The Talk, and much more. Manny has an HK 312 in his home office to remind him of his days in New York. I knew my friend John Bolin in Concord, California was looking for a TK47, so I put them in touch. Six degrees of separation strikes again: John’s school buddy Bruce Oldham, who works on Conan, is good friends with Manny. They met in his early days in LA and had done a lot of sessions together.
Like all my other cameras, my HK 312 is dressed to honor an era. To salute the Roone Arledge era of exceptional growth in the sports division, and his reign as network president, I’ve used the black-backed ABC color logo on this camera. It’s also a salute to Jim McKay, a great ABC sports broadcaster. In my camera room is a large 6-by-6 Wide World of Sports banner that hung behind McKay for a whole season. On the tripod hangs a Wide World of Sports jacket that belonged to McKay. The Houston Fearless tripod came from WPIX and was used almost exclusively at Yankee Stadium, so it’s a sportsman, too.
Below is one of several ABC property tags on the camera and lens. I have three more HK 312s and four more big Canon lenses.