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Hansa Semi Rollette

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Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
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The Hansa Semi Rollette[1] (ハンザ・セミ・ローレット) is a Japanese 4.5×6 folding camera, sold in 1936 and 1937.[2] It was distributed by Ōmiya Shashin-yōhin, the owner of the "Hansa" brand.[3]

Maker Edit

The Hansa Semi Rollette was certainly a name variant of the Semi Dymos, as suggested by the camera's general aspect and by the lens and shutter equipment. At least one author has suggested that the Semi Dymos was made by Mori,[4] but this is unconfirmed.

The Hansa Semi Rollette was advertised side by side with the Hansa Rollette Ref, a name variant of the Union Ref.[5] The Semi Dymos and Union Ref were also advertised together in another context, and were perhaps produced by the same company.[6]

Description Edit

The Hansa Semi Rollette is an Ikonta copy, with the typical Ikonta struts. There is a folding optical finder in the middle of the top plate. It is certainly of the Newton type, and its front part folds on top of the back one.

The camera has no body release. The folding bed release on the right — as seen by the photographer holding the camera horizontally. It simultaneously opens the viewfinder.[7]

The back is hinged to the left and the back latch is covered by a leather handle. The brand name HANSA is embossed in the front leather.

The lens is a Tomioka Lausar f/4.5, and the shutter is an F Light (T, B, 5–150).

Commercial life Edit

The Hansa Semi Rollette was featured in the new products column of the November 1936 issue of Asahi Camera, reproduced above.[7] The price is mentioned as ¥63, with Lausar f/4.5 lens and F Light shutter. In the document, the lens is described as a German product, certainly by mistake.

The camera also appears in the catalogue of Yamashita Yūjirō Shōten dated April 20, 1937, together with the Hansa Rollette Ref 4.5×6 pseudo TLR.[8] The document gives the same price and lens option, and says nothing of the shutter.

For some reason, the camera was featured again in the new products column of Asahi Camera dated September 1937.[9] The camera now has an upgraded Light shutter (5–250), certainly corresponding to the Light B mounted on the Semi Dymos. The price and lens option are unchanged.

The camera was certainly sold in limited quantities, and no surviving example has been observed so far.

Notes Edit

  1. The name is spelled "Hanza Semi Rollette" in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.339, but this is a typo.
  2. Dates: articles and advertisements listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.339.
  3. Column in Asahi Camera September 1937, p.524.
  4. Tanaka, p.132 of Nigan-refu no hanashi (zenpen).
  5. Extract of the catalogue of Yamashita Yūjirō Shōten dated April 20, 1937, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.84.
  6. Undated leaflet for the Victory, Semi Dymos, Reex, Baby Ref, Union Ref and Baby Chrome, published by an unknown company.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Column in Asahi Camera November 1936, p.861.
  8. Extract of the catalogue reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.84.
  9. Column in Asahi Camera September 1937, p.524. For some reason, this document is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.339.

Bibliography Edit

Original documents Edit

  • Asahi Camera November 1936. "Atarashii kikai to zairyō" (新しい機械と材料, New equipment and machinery). P.861.
  • Asahi Camera September 1937. "Atarashii kikai to zairyō" (新しい機械と材料, New equipment and machinery). P.524.

Recent sources Edit

  • Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Item 182.
  • Tanaka Masao (田中政雄). Nigan-refu no hanashi (zenpen) (二眼レフのはなし[前編], TLR stories [first part]). Gendai Kamera Shinsho (現代カメラ新書) no.68. Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1980. No ISBN number. P.132. (The book attributes the Semi Dymos to Mori, and does not mention the Hansa Semi Rollette.)

The Hansa Semi Rollette is not listed in Sugiyama.

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