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Semi Sixteenth

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Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
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The Semi Sixteenth (セミシックステンス) are Japanese 4.5×6 folders made in the late 1930s and early 1940s, certainly by Kigawa. The Semi Shiks (セミシックス) was a name variant. The camera was perhaps a successor of the Semi Chrome A announced in early 1937.

Description Edit

The Semi Sixteenth is a vertical folder. The folding struts are styled after the Ikonta, they are reportedly made of thin metal and quite flimsy.[1] There is a folding optical finder and no body release. The folding bed release is to the right of the finder, as seen by the photographer holding the camera horizontally. The advance control is at the bottom right and the back is hinged to the left.

The initials K.A are engraved in the folding struts; it is said that they correspond to Kigawa Association (木川アソシェーション).[2]

Documents Edit

The only original document found so far mentioning the Semi Sixteenth is the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, where the camera is called "Sixteenth" and priced at ¥62.[3] According to Furukawa, there might also be an allusion to the Semi Shiks in the March 1940 issue of Asahi Camera.[4]

Surviving examples Edit

Four surviving examples of the camera are known. Three of them correspond to the early model and one to the late model.

Early model Edit

The presumably early model has an advance knob, with an arrow indicating the winding direction, an old type of viewfinder, whose front part folds above the rear part, and an old type of back latch covered by a leather handle.

One example has the name Semi Shiks embossed in the front leather;[5] this might be the name originally used for the camera, or this might be a mistake from a subcontractor or employee who made the lot of embossed leather. This camera reportedly has no red window cover,[6] and it thus corresponds to the earliest version. The lens is a Lucomar Anastigmat 75/4.5; the distance scale is engraved at the front of the lens rim. The shutter is a Gelmer giving T, B, 150, 100, 50, 25 speeds; the shutter plate is inscribed GELMER at the top and GELMER Mfr. at the bottom. (A similar shutter is also known on the Roll Light Ref).

The other two examples have the name Semi Sixteenth in the front leather. At least one of them reportedly has red window covers.[7] It seems to have a Felix shutter and perhaps a Ceronar Anastigmat lens, but the pictures are barely legible. (This lens and shutter combination is known on the Semi Kinka.) The other has a Lucomar Anastigmat 75mm f/4.5 lens, whose distance scale is engraved on the side of the lens rim, and a Wing Anchor shutter (T, B, 150, 100, 50, 25).[8] The shutter plate is inscribed WING ANCHOR at the top, MADE IN JAPAN at the bottom and has an NE logo on the right.

Late model Edit

The presumably late model has an advance key, a newer type of viewfinder, whose rear part folds above the front one, and a newer type of back latch, consisting of a long sliding bar with no handle. Only one surviving example is known, pictured in Furukawa.[9] It has the same Lucomar lens and Wing Anchor shutter as described on the early model.

Notes Edit

  1. Extract of Kamera no ayumi, reproduced in Furukawa, p.5 of Camera Collectors' News no.261.
  2. Furukawa, p.7 of Camera Collectors' News no.261.
  3. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 3, section 3A.
  4. Extract of the magazine reproduced in Furukawa, p.7 of Camera Collectors' News no.261, perhaps the price list of some retailer, mentioning a セミシックス.
  5. Example pictured in Furukawa, pp.7–9 of Camera Collectors' News no.261.
  6. Furukawa, p.9 of Camera Collectors' News no.261.
  7. Example pictured in Furukawa, pp.5–9 of Camera Collectors' News no.261.
  8. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1248 and in Kamera no ayumi, belonging to the Pentax Gallery.
  9. Example pictured in Furukawa, pp.5–9 of Camera Collectors' News no.261.

Bibliography Edit

The Semi Sixteenth is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.

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