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Semi Masmy

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Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
Postwar models (edit)
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Prewar and wartime models ->
Japanese SLR, TLR, pseudo TLR and stereo models ->
Japanese 3×4 and 4×4, 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6 and older 6×9 ->

The Semi Masmy (セミマスミー)[1] is a series of Japanese 4.5×6 folders, made by Takagawa between 1951 and 1953. All the models are vertical folders with straight diagonal struts.

The Semi Masmy and Semi Masmy II Edit

The original model is a copy of the Nettar and looks quite outdated for a model offered in 1951 and 1952. It has a folding optical finder in the middle of the top plate, a body release on the left and a folding bed release on the right. Film advance is by a key at the bottom right. The back is hinged to the left and has two red windows near the top, protected by a horizontally sliding common cover. The back latch consists of a long sliding bar. The name MASMY is embossed in the front leather. The plate supporting the shutter assembly has a protruding angle, probaby to attach a brilliant finder.

The camera was released in late 1951.[2] An advertisement in the October 1951 issue of the magazine Camera Fan[3] pictures the camera with a front-cell focusing C. Wester Anastigmat 7.5cm f/3.5 lens (made by Nishida) and an NKS shutter. The latter has B, 1–200 speeds, a self-timer and a synch connector consisting of two pins at the bottom of the shutter housing. The price was ¥10,000. The advertisement does not mention the maker's name, only the distributor Hinomaruya.

An actual example is pictured in Sugiyama with the same C. Wester 7.5cm f/3.5 and a Wester shutter made by Nishida too (B, 1–200, self-timer) synchronized via a single pin at the bottom.[4] The shutter plate is inscribed WESTER at the top and the speed ring is engraved N.K.K. at the bottom. Another example has been observed with an ASA synch post and a shutter reported as an NKS.[5]

The Semi Masmy II, dated mid-1952,[6] is a cheaper version with a front-cell focusing C. Masmy Anastigmat 75mm f/3.5 lens, a limited speed range (B, 10–200) and no self-timer.[7] The shutter is said to be an NKS[8] but it is unmarked on the two examples observed. One of them has no synch post and the other has a single pin at the bottom.[9] The synch connector does not look exactly the same as that mentioned above, it seems that there is no self-timer and the aperture index seems modified.

The original box for the Semi Masmy is red, has the name Masmy and a triangular logo with letters that might be T, S, V in a circle.[10]

Pictures Edit

The Semi Masmy IIIA and IIIB Edit

The Semi Masmy III, released in late 1952,[11] has a different body with rounded ends. The viewfinder is contained in a top housing, placed to the right when the camera is held vertically by the photographer, the reverse of the previous arrangement. There is an accessory shoe in the middle of the top housing, above the finder. There is a knob at each extremity; one of them must be the advance knob and the other may be a dummy. The body release is on the right and the folding bed release on the left. The back is hinged to the right.

The May 1953 advertisement in Asahi Camera[12] offers two versions, both having a coated 75/3.5 lens whose name is unclear,[13] and differing by the shutter:

  • Semi Masmy IIIA with B, 2–200 speeds and a self-timer (¥9,800);
  • Semi Masmy IIIB with B, 10–200 speeds (¥8,000).

Both shutters are synchronized and are called Conquer.[14] The camera illustrated has an ASA bayonet synch connector. The distributor is still Hinomaruya, and the maker is confirmed to be Takagawa.

The June 1955 special issue of Photo Art contains an advertisement by Masmy Kōki Seisaku, the new name of Takagawa, showing a picture of a Semi Masmy III to illustrate the listing of the Masmy Kin adapter for 35mm film.

No surviving example of the Semi Masmy III has been observed so far.[15]

Notes Edit

  1. Lewis's "Semi Masumy" is a mistake. The name is pronounced rather like English "mass me", with an s sound, not a z.
  2. The earliest advertisements and articles listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.365, are dated October 1951.
  3. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.183.
  4. Sugiyama, item 1341. The camera is misidentified as a "Semi Masmy IIIA" and the lens is wrongly reported as a "C. Westar Anastigmat". These mistakes are reproduced in McKeown, p.912.
  5. Example observed in an online auction.
  6. The advertisements listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.365, are dated July to September 1952.
  7. Definition as a Semi Masmy II: Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.365.
  8. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.365.
  9. No synch post: example pictured in this page. Single pin synch: example observed in an online auction.
  10. Box pictured in an online auction, together with a Semi Masmy II.
  11. The earliest advertisements and articles listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.365, are dated October 1952.
  12. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.183.
  13. It is written in katakana: トリバー. In roman letters this might be "Tribal", "Tribber", "Tri-Bar", "Tolliver", etc.
  14. Inferred from the katakana コンカー and the Conquer shutter reported on a Masmy Flex II in McKeown, p.912.
  15. The camera pictured as a "Semi Masmy IIIA" in Sugiyama, item 1341, is actually an original Semi Masmy.

Bibliography Edit

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