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Semi Chrome

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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 SLR, TLR, pseudo TLR and stereo ->
Japanese 3×4, 4×4, 4×5, 4×6.5, 6×6 and 6×9 ->

The Semi Chrome (セミクローム) are Japanese 4.5×6 folders made in 1937 and 1938 by Optochrom. Two very different versions were announced, but the first one was perhaps never sold.

The Semi Chrome A Edit

Description Edit

The Semi Chrome A is a vertical folder. It has a folding optical finder on one side. The advance key is at the bottom right, as seen by the photographer holding the camera horizontally. The back is hinged to the left and the back latch is covered by a leather handle.

Documents Edit

The only known advertisement is in the February 1937 issue of Camera Art.[1] The shutter has T, B, 5–150 speeds, and is probably a Rulex: on the picture, the shutter plate is marked Semi Chrome at the top and perhaps RULEX at the bottom, with a logo on the right which is probably the NH logo of Neumann & Heilemann. The lens aperture is f/4.5, and two lens options are mentioned: New Gold or Lausar.[2] No price is indicated, and the Semi Chrome A was probably never sold. It was perhaps succeeded by the Semi Sixteenth.

The Semi Chrome B Edit

Description Edit

The Semi Chrome B[3] is a strut folding camera. It has a folding optical finder, apparently similar to the finder of the Semi Chrome A. There is a button on the left of the viewfinder (as seen by the photographer); it looks like a body release but it is actually the release of the front standard. There is an advance knob, whose location varies (see below). The back is hinged to the left and the back latch is covered by a leather handle, the same as on the Semi Chrome A.

Documents Edit

The Semi Chrome B was announced in the advertisement cited above, dated February 1937.[1] It was priced at ¥38 with a New Gold f/4.5 lens and an everset shutter giving T, B, 100, 50, 25 speeds. In the picture, the advance knob seems to be at the top left, next to the folding bed release. The name inscribed in the front leather reads SEMI–CHROME, but this might result from a picture retouch. The shutter plate has an illegible inscription at the top and is perhaps marked New Gold in cursive style at the bottom.

In an advertisement dated August 1937,[4] the Semi Chrome B is offered with the New Gold lens for the same price, or with a Lausar f/4.5 lens for ¥45 (case ¥5 extra). The pictured camera has the advance knob at the bottom right, near the back latch, and the front leather is simply embossed CHROME. The shutter has the same speeds; the shutter plate has a thin silver strip on each side and is certainly marked OPTOCHROM SHUTTER at the top — with an NE logo between both words — and NEW GOLD at the bottom.

Advertisements for the camera were placed until January 1938.[5]

Surviving cameras Edit

Three surviving cameras are known so far, showing minor variations. The presumably older example is similar to that pictured in the August 1937 advertisement, with the same advance knob and shutter plate.[6] It has a Maintain Anastigmat 7.5cm f/4.5, focusing to 5 feet, with serial number 1008. It has two red windows in the back, protected by a common slider moving under a black striated casing.

The example pictured in this page has an advance key in place of the knob. Its lens is a Lucomar Anastigmat 75mm f/4.5, focusing to 1 metre, with serial number 1905. Its shutter is identical to that of the previous example. The red windows are protected by an internal flap, controlled by a thumb wheel.

The third example, pictured in Sugiyama, is certainly later. It has the advance knob again, and a Lucomar Anastigmat 75mm f/4.5 lens, with a serial number in the 2xxx range. The new shutter plate has a new design with three silver strips on each side; it is inscribed TSUBASA SHUTTER at the top — with the NE logo — and NEW GOLD at the bottom.

Notes Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi in two parts, pp.61 (items 34 and 91) and 70 (items 89–90).
  2. The advertisement has ニユーゴールド on one line and ローザー付F4.5 on the following line. This certainly corresponds to two lens options.
  3. This model is called "Semi Tsubasa Chrome" in Sugiyama, item 1255, and in McKeown, p.464.
  4. Advertisement in Asahi Camera August 1937, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.78.
  5. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.336.
  6. Example observed in an online auction.

Bibliography Edit

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