The Palma (パルマー) or S.Y.K Palma are Japanese folding cameras taking film plates. They were distributed and perhaps made by Kyūreidō in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The initials S.Y.K, found in other Kyūreidō products, have an unknown meaning; this was perhaps the name of the manufacturing branch of the company. The Palma exist in three formats: the larger model is in tefuda size (8×10.5cm), the middle model is inconsistently advertised as meishi or daimeishi, and is certainly in 6.5×9cm format, and the smaller model is in atom size (4.5×6cm). All the models have double extension bellows. No surviving example is known so far.
Picture of the Palma in the February 1927 advertisement. (Image rights)
The Palma was advertised in the February 1927 issue of Ars Camera. The small picture shows little details: the camera seems to have a screw for vertical movements, a brilliant finder and a dial-set shutter. The Palma is listed in atom size, with either an Anticomar f/4.5 lens, at ¥98, or an Anticomar f/6.3, at ¥60, and in meishi size, with an f/6.8 lens of unknown origin called Special Puraineru (スペシャルプライネル), at ¥55. It seems that the company Kyūreidō was using the names meishi and daimeishi indiscriminately at the time: later 1929 advertisements show price lists of used cameras classified as meishi whereas they are clearly in 6.5×9cm format.
Left: 4.5×6cm Palma (Nov. 1927 to May 1929). Right 6.5×9cm Palma (Nov. 1927). (Image rights)
The November 1927 advertisement in Ars Camera shows illustrations of the atom and meishi models. Both have a focusing wheel on the photographer's right, a distance scale on the left, a screw for vertical movements, a square brilliant finder with an attached bubble level, a folding finder on the side of the body, certainly of the Newton type, and a handle at the top. The folding struts differ from those visible in the February 1927 advertisement. A nameplate inscribed SYK is visible inside the folding bed, between the focusing rails. The following models were available, supplied with six single-sided plate holders and one film pack holder:
The February and May 1929 advertisements in Asahi Camera are similar looking, and again show the same illustration of the atom model. In the February advertisement, the middle model is mentioned as daimeishi, and the list of versions is as follows:
It is not known if the aperture of the cheaper Welka lens switched from f/6.8 to f/6.3, or if the mention of f/6.8 in the March 1928 advertisement was a typo. In the May 1929 advertisement, the middle model is again mentioned as meishi. The price of the atom size with f/4.5 lens was lowered to ¥68, and the options for the meishi model were modified as follows:
The advertisements in Asahi Camera July, August and September 1929 are extremely similar. The illustration probably shows a larger model than before, with different folding struts and a dial-set Compur shutter. The rest of the features is unchanged. The list of versions is the same in the three advertisements, and is the same as in May, but for significantly lower prices:
The advertisement in Asahi Camera February 1930 shows the same picture and has the same price list, except for the f/6.3 atom model, whose price was lowered to ¥36.
In addition to the versions cited above, one source also mentions Unifocal lenses. The origin of the Welka lens is unknown. One advertisement, published at an unknown date, has Wekar (ウェーカー) instead of Welka, but this is probably a typo.
↑ The Roman spelling "Palma" is unconfirmed. It is found in Lewis, p.44 but this source is not very reliable for Roman names. The katakana パルマー could as well correspond to "Palmer" or "Palmar", "Parma" or another variation.