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National and Ugein

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Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
folding
Semi Ace | Semi Adler | Adler III | Adler A | Adler B | Adler C | Semi Ako | Ami | Bakyna | Semi Chrome | Semi Clover | Collex | Semi Condor | Semi Dymos | Semi Elega | Semi First | Auto Semi First | Baby Semi First | Gaica | Semi Gelto | Semi Germa | Hansa Semi Rollette | Heil | Hokoku | Hope | Kadera | Kankyu | Kelly | Kiko Semi | Semi Kinka | Semi Konter | Semi Kreis | Semi Kulax | Semi Lead | Semi Leotax | Semi Lester | Loyal | Semi Lucky | Semi Lyra | Semi Makinet | Semi Metax | Semi Minolta (I) and II | Auto Semi Minolta | Semi Miss | Mizuho | Semi Mulber | Semi National | New Gold | Okaco | Oko Semi | Semi Olympus | Semi Olympus II | Semi Osamo | Semi Pearl | Primo | Semi Prince | Semi Proud | Semi Prux | Roavic | Semi Rody | Rondex | Semi Rosen | Semi Rotte | Seica | Seves | Semi Shiks | Sintax | Semi Sixteenth | Semi Solon | Semi Sport | Star Semi | Semi-Tex | Tsubasa Kiko Three | Tsubasa Nettar | Tsubasa Super Semi | Ugein | Vester-Lette | Victor | Waltax | Wester | Zeitax
collapsible
Semi Kinsi | Lord | Lyrax | Nippon | New Olympic | Semi Olympic | Semi Renky | Auto Victor | Well Super
stereo
Sun Stereo
unknown
Semi Elka | Semi Keef | Napoleon
Postwar models ->
Japanese Six (6×6)
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
folding
Adler Six | Bonny Six | Clover-Six | Condor Six | First Six | Gelto Six | Gotex | Green | Lyra Six | Super Makinet Six | Mamiya Six | Miyako Six | Mulber Six | Mulix | National Six | Neure Six | Oko Six | Olympus Six | Pilot Six | Romax | Ugein | Vester-Six | Victor Six | Weha Six
collapsible
Ehira Chrome Six | Minolta Six | Shinko Super | Weha Chrome Six
unknown
Freude Six | Heart Camera | Konter Six | Tsubasa Six
Postwar models ->

See also the National (4×6.5) folder.

The Semi National (セミ・ナショナル) and National Six (ナショナル・シックス) are Japanese folders, made by Tōa Kōki and distributed by Eikōdō from late 1937 to 1940, continued as the Ugein (ユーゲン) from 1941 to 1944.[1] All the models share the same horizontal body, with folding struts inspired from the Balda folders and a back hinged to the left. The same camera was revived after the war as the Ruvinal, usually attributed to Shōei Kōgaku or Shōei Sangyō.

Semi National and National Six Edit

The original National models have a folding optical finder in the middle of the top plate and no body release. The folding bed release is immediately to the right of the viewfinder. There is a big advance knob at the right end, which has a hinged part and can be used as a key. The name National is embossed in the front leather.

The Semi National appeared first. It was advertised as a new model in the December 1937 issue of Asahi Camera.[2] The following versions were offered, all with a Rulex shutter by Neumann & Heilemann:

  • Rulex D (25, 50, 100, T, B), f/4.5 lens (¥50);
  • Rulex B (5–200, T, B), f/4.5 lens (¥60);
  • Rulex B (5–200, T, B), f/3.5 lens (¥70);
  • Rulex A (1–200, T, B), f/4.5 lens (¥65);
  • Rulex A (1–200, T, B), f/3.5 lens (¥78).

The advertisement mentions "National Camera Works" (ナショナルカメラウオークス), but this was probably not the name of any actual company (see Camera Works). In the advertising picture, the Rulex has the old type of shutter plate (as described in the Rulex page). The Rulex D normally has 25, 50, 100, 150, T, B, speeds, and the advertisement is probably mistaken.

The National Six seemingly differs only by the picture format, finder size and presumably red window position. Both models were offered for the exact same price. In an advertisement dated June 1938,[3] the versions with f/3.5 lens and Rulex shutter had disappeared and the two following were offered instead:

  • Super Rapid shutter (1–300, T, B, self-timer), f/4.5 lens (¥70);
  • Super Rapid shutter (1–300, T, B, self-timer), f/3.5 lens (¥80).

The version with Rulex D is now listed with 25–200, T, B speeds, probably a mistake again. On all the range, a body release was offered as an option for extra ¥7. The advertising picture shows a model with a body release, placed closer to the viewfinder than on the later model II. It seems that the shutter was not yet adapted for this device, and the release linkage looks rather clumsy.

No surviving example of the original models has been observed so far.

Semi National II and National Six II Edit

The Semi National II and National Six II have a body release, placed very close to the advance knob. It seems that the advance knob is of a new type, with no hinged part. In an advertisement dated June 1939,[4] both models were offered for the same price in the following versions:

  • Rulex B shutter (5–200, T, B), National f/4.5 lens (¥70);
  • Rulex A shutter (1–200, T, B), National f/4.5 lens (¥75);
  • Super Rapid shutter (1–250, T, B, self-timer), National f/4.5 lens (¥85);
  • Rulex A shutter (1–200, T, B), National f/3.5 lens (¥90).

It is said that the National lens has 80mm focal length.[5] A U.L.L. lens was available as an option for extra ¥5. Notice that the most expensive (f/3.5) lens was not associated with the most expensive shutter, and that the top speed of the Super Rapid was lower than the year before. The advertising picture shows a National Six II with a Super Rapid shutter: the shutter plate is marked TOYO NEW at the top and SUPER RAPID at the bottom. (The Super Rapid shutter might have been made by Tōyō Kōki, which later made the Orient A shutter.)

An advertisement published in the October 1939 of Asahi Camera is visible in this page of the Heiki Seikatsu website (third advertisement from the top). The list of versions and prices seems to be the same as above.

Two examples of the National Six II are pictured in Sugiyama. One has a U.L.L. Anastigmat 7.5cm f/4.5 lens and a Rulex A shutter, reportedly with 1/200 top speed.[6] The other has a National Anastigmat 80mm f/4.5 lens and a Rulex A shutter, reportedly with 1/250 top speed.[7] (The top speed of the Rulex shutter was gradually enhanced during its long production.) Both Rulex shutters have the new type of shutter plate (as described in the Rulex page).

One example of the National Six II is known with the advance knob and folding bed release moved to the left end of the top plate, the same as on later Ugein models.[8] It has a Northter Model-I shutter (T, B, 1–200) and a Wester Anastigmat 75mm f/3.5 lens, both made by Nishida.

Semi National III and National Six III Edit

The Semi National III and National Six III have a short top housing containing a direct vision finder on the left and a brilliant finder on the right. The layout was meant to look like a rangefinder camera from a distance. There is an accessory shoe between the two finders, and the folding bed release is in front of the shoe.

In an advertisement dated February 1940,[9] both models were offered for the same price in the following versions:

  • Rulex B shutter (5–200, T, B), National f/4.5 lens (¥85);[10]
  • Rulex A shutter (1–250, T, B), National f/4.5 lens (¥89);
  • Rulex A shutter (1–250, T, B), National f/3.5 lens (¥105);
  • Compur shutter (1–300, T, B), National f/3.5 lens (¥170).

A U.L.L. lens was available as an option for extra ¥5.

The National Six III pictured above has a Koho shutter (1–200, B, T) and a National Anastigmat 80mm f/4.5 lens. The Koho was made by Takachiho (predecessor of Olympus); the version fitted on the camera has the release lever at the top, and a linkage to the body release is added behind the shutter casing. The camera has a small National MODEL III marking at the front of the viewfinder casing.

An example of the Semi National III is pictured in McKeown with a National Anastigmat 75mm f/4.5 lens and a Sport shutter (1–300, B, T),[11] This shutter was made by Fujimoto;[12] its front plate is marked SPORT at the bottom and has the FT logo of Fujimoto on the right. The camera has no marking in front of the viewfinder casing, unlike the previous example.

The official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941 has four versions of the Semi National and four of the National Six, called "Semi National I" (¥100), "Semi National II" (¥120), "Semi National III" (¥121), "Semi National IV" (¥160), "National Six I" (¥79), "National Six II" (¥94), "National Six III" (¥128) and "National Six IV" (¥160).[13] The naming and price differences between the Semi and Six models are quite incoherent, and no further detail is given.

Ugein (dual finder) Edit

The National III was renamed Ugein III (ユーゲンⅢ型), at first with no other change. There are still two versions, one for 4.5×6 pictures and the other for 6×6, but their name is the same. It seems that the lens name became Ugein too.[14]

In an advertisement dated March 1941,[15] the camera was offered as the Ugein III, "new name of the National" (ナショナルカメラ改称). In the advertising picture, the camera still has a National embossing. The following versions are listed:

  • Rulex B shutter (5–250), f/4.5 lens (4.5×6: ¥85, 6×6: ¥79);
  • Rulex B shutter (5–250), f/3.5 lens (4.5×6: ¥95, 6×6: ¥94);
  • Rulex A shutter (1–300), f/4.5 lens (4.5×6 and 6×6: ¥100);
  • Rulex A shutter (1–300), f/3.5 lens (4.5×6: ¥105, 6×6: ¥112);
  • Koho shutter by Takachiho (1–150, self-timer), f/4.5 lens (4.5×6: ¥110, 6×6: ¥128);
  • Koho shutter (1–150, self-timer), f/3.5 lens (4.5×6: ¥130, 6×6: ¥140).

The prices are officially set (公定価格), according to the format, lens and shutter equipment. This explains the strange price differences between the 4.5×6 and 6×6 models.

The official list of set prices dated November 1941 mentions the "Semi Ugein III, IV, V and VI" (attributed to Eikōdō).[16]

In an advertisement dated February 1942,[17] the shutter names are not given but they can be guessed as follows:

  • Rulex A shutter (1–300), f/4.5 lens (4.5×6 and 6×6: ¥118);
  • Rulex A shutter (1–300), f/3.5 lens (4.5×6: ¥124, 6×6: ¥133);
  • Koho shutter (1–200, self-timer), f/4.5 lens (4.5×6: ¥130, 6×6: ¥151);
  • Koho shutter (1–200, self-timer), f/3.5 lens (4.5×6: ¥154, 6×6: ¥166).

The advertising picture shows an example equipped with the Koho shutter. The speed rim is engraved KOHO and the shutter plate is marked OLYMPUS-TOKYO-N at the top and UGEIN at the bottom.

One surviving example of the dual-finder Ugein is pictured in this page. It has 6×6 format and differs from the advertising picture by the position of the advance knob, moved to the left end of the top plate. The lens is a U.K.K. Ugein Anastigmat 8cm f/3.5 lens no.2906. (The name "U.K.K." evokes the "N.K.K." Nishida lenses and "U.L.L." Miyoshi lenses.) The shutter is the second version of the Koho (1–200, B, T, self-timer); it has the same release linkage as on the National Six III pictured earlier in this page. The bottom of the shutter plate has the aperture scale (from 3.5 to 22) instead of the UGEIN marking visible in the advertisement.

The government inquiry dated April 1943 has two versions of the Ugein, attributed to Tōa Kōki.[18] It is not known if they correspond to the dual-finder model or to the single finder model described below. They have a three-element Ugein 80/3.5 lens made by Tōa Kōki.[19] One version has a Wester II shutter (T, B, 1–200, self-timer) made by Nishida and the other has a Sport shutter (T, B, 1–300) made by Fujimoto.[20]

Ugein (single finder) Edit

The dual-finder Ugein was replaced in mid-1943[21] by a newer model. It has a top housing covering all the top plate, and containing a single finder in the middle. The brilliant finder has disappeared and the advance knob has moved to the left end. The accessory shoe and folding bed release are to the left of the viewfinder.

In an advertisement dated October 1943,[22] the camera was simply called Ugein (ユーゲン) and was offered with an f/3.5 lens for ¥191.56. The advertisement says this model is dual-format, taking both 4.5×6 and 6×6 exposures. The shutter is equipped with a self-timer, but its name and speeds are not given. The maker is given as "Tōkyō Tōa Kōki-sha" (東京東亜光機社), the Tokyo-based Tōa Kōki company which also made the Gelto. Other advertisements are reported until May 1944.[23]

It seems that some examples are dual-format and others are single-format, taking only 6×6cm exposures. One example is known for sure to be dual-format.[24] It has verical lines in the finder, indicating the field of view for 4.5×6cm pictures, and two round red windows in the back, one for each size, protected by horizontally sliding covers. The name UGEIN CAMERA is embossed in the back leather, under the red windows. The top housing is engraved UGEIN MOD. IIIA and NO. 814. The bellows is maroon-coloured but it is perhaps not original. The lens is a U.K.K. Ugein Anastigmat 8cm f/3.5 (no.2860). The shutter is a Koho by Takachiho, giving 1–200, B, T speeds with a self-timer. The linkage to the body release and the release button itself are missing. The shutter plate is inscribed OLYMPUS-TOKYO-N at the top and has the aperture scale at the bottom.

Another dual-format example is pictured in Sugiyama as a "Ugein Model-III A", it is probably engraved the same as above.[25] It has verical lines in the finder. The lens is an N.K.K. Ugein Anastigmat 80mm f/3.5 (no.2182) and the shutter is a Wester II giving 1–200, B, T speeds. Both the lens and shutter were made by Nishida, as is the case for all the other observed examples.

One example is known with the name UGEIN MOD. III engraved above the top housing, together with the serial number (N°1038).[26] The name Ugein is also inscribed on a nameplate riveted to the front of the body. It has a Wester Anastigmat 75mm f/3.5 lens (no.13045) and a Northter shutter giving T, B, 1–200 speeds. The finder's front glass is missing and it is not known if the camera is dual-format or not.

One example is pictured in McKeown as a "Ugein Model III", with the Ugein riveted nameplate.[27] It has no lines in the finder and is reported as a single-format (6×6) camera. The lens is a Wester Anastigmat 75mm f/3.5 and the shutter is a Wester, reportedly giving T, B, 1–200 speeds. The shutter plate is marked WESTER at the bottom and the speed rim is engraved NKK.

After the war Edit

The dual-format Ugein appeared again in 1950 or 1951 in a minimally altered version called Ruvinal. It seems that it was first announced in late 1949 as the Ugein Six (see the Ruvinal).

Notes Edit

  1. Made by Tōa Kōki: "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), items 84–5, and advertisement in Shashin Bunka October 1943 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.100. The advertisement in Asahi Camera December 1937, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.81, mentions "National Camera Works" but this was certainly a dummy name (see Camera Works).
  2. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.81.
  3. Advertisement published in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.81.
  4. Advertisement published in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.81.
  5. 80mm focal length: Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.338, and McKeown, p.261.
  6. Sugiyama, item 1210.
  7. Sugiyama, item 1211.
  8. Example pictured in this page.
  9. Advertisement in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.81.
  10. This version of the Semi National III has been observed in an online auction.
  11. Example pictured in McKeown, p.261.
  12. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), shutter item 24-Q-2.
  13. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 3, sections 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B; type 4, sections 3, 4, 5B, 6B.
  14. Ugein lens name: Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.342.
  15. Advertisement in Shashin Bunka, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.99.
  16. "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō", November 1941, type 3, sections 6B and 7B.
  17. Advertisement in Shashin Bunka, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.100.
  18. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), items 84–5.
  19. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), lens item M1.
  20. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), shutter items 24-P-3 and 24-Q-2.
  21. Date: advertisements listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.342.
  22. Advertisement in Shashin Bunka, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.100.
  23. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.342.
  24. Example pictured here in maedeldiehl's Webshots album.
  25. Sugiyama, item 1257. The same example is pictured in Fujishima, p.23 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.8.
  26. Example pictured in this page.
  27. Example pictured in McKeown, p.261.

Bibliography Edit

Links Edit

In English:

  • Ugein IIIA (dual-format, single finder) in maedeldiehl's Webshots album, other pictures are available in the album

In Japanese:

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