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Semi Mihama

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Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
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The Semi Mihama (セミ・ミハマ)[1] is a Japanese 4.5×6 folding camera, produced by Mihama (or Suruga) between about 1952 and 1954.[2] There are at least two models, differing by the shape of the top, of which one has three versions. The Korin, Semi Crystar U and Union Model U are extremely similar to the first model, of which they are probably name variants. The Daido Semi is said to have a body based on that of the Semi Mihama.

General description Edit

The Semi Mihama are vertical folders, with no rangefinder and controlling film advance by red window. The folding struts are copied on the Ikonta, and the body casting and folding struts look very similar to the Semi Frank. The viewfinder and controls are to the right (as seen by a photographer holding the camera vertically), the reverse of the majority of the 4.5×6 folders. The body release is tripped by the right hand; the folding bed release, accessory shoe and advance knob are to the left of the viewfinder. The back is hinged to the right and contains a red window at the top right, protected by a vertically sliding cover.

All the models have a C. Mihama Anastigmat 75mm f/3.5 coated lens. (Mihama does not seem to have been a lens maker, and "Mihama" lenses can be presumed to have been a mere matter of branding.)

First model Edit

The first model has no top housing, only a top plate which supports the tubular finder and the other controls. The advance knob is engraved with a red arrow to indicate the winding direction. The name Mihama is embossed in the front leather, inside an oval.

An advertisement dated May 1952[3] by Mihama Seikō showed the Semi Mihama as a cheaper alternative to the Mihama Six. Three versions were advertised, differing by the shutter:

  • Model I, MHS shutter (B, 25–150);
  • Model II, MHS shutter (B, 10–200);
  • Model III, NKS shutter (B, 1–200, with self timer).

The distributor name was King Shōkai and no price was indicated.

Examples of the Semi Mihama are known with an MSK shutter made by Shibayama, in two different speed ranges: B, 10–150 and B, 1–200.[4] In the advertisement, "MHS" is perhaps a typo for "MSK" (no MHS shutter has yet been observed on any camera).

Second model Edit

The second model has a top housing containing the finder and supporting the accessory shoe and shutter release. This top housing stops just at the right of the advance knob.

This model is known from an advertisement in the January 1954 issue of the Japanese magazine Shashin Salon[5] by Mihama's successor Suruga Seiki. The shutter is an NKS (B, 1–200, with self timer). No model name was given beyond simply "Semi Mihama", and no price was indicated. No surviving example has been observed so far.

Notes Edit

  1. It is called "Mihama Semi" in Sugiyama, items 1343–4, and in McKeown, p. 908, but not in the advertisements observed.
  2. Dates: Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 370, mentions advertisements dated 1952 and 1954.
  3. Advertisement published in Camera Fan, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 199.
  4. B, 10–150: example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1343, and example observed in an online auction. B, 1–200: example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1344.
  5. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 199.

Sources / further reading Edit

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