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Tsubasa Semi

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Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
Postwar models (edit)
folding
Apollo | Semi Blond | Semi Crystar | Daido Semi | Doris | Semi Frank | Semi Gelto | Semi Golder | Karoron | Karoron RF | Kely | Kiko Semi | Korin | Kuri | BB Kuri | Lark | Semi Leotax | Semi Leotax DL / R | Lo Ruby | Semi Lord | Luck | Semi Lyra | Semi Masmy | Middl 120 | Semi Mihama | Mikado | Million Proud | Semi Minolta III | Semi Minolta P | Semi Oscon | Semi Pearl | Pearl I–III | Pearl IV | Petri | Petri RF | Petri Super | Pioneer | Semi Proud | Semi Rocket | Rocky Semi | Rosen | Ruby | Shinkoh Rabbit | Semi Sport | Tsubasa Semi | Union Semi | Union Model U | Walcon Semi | Waltax | Semi Wester | Zenobia
rigid or collapsible
Semi Dak | Semi Hobix | Super Semi Plum | Rocket Camera | Tomy
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 Tsubasa Semi is a Japanese 4.5×6 folder made by Kigawa Kōgaku between 1950 and 1952.[1] The postwar Rosen seems to share many parts with the Tsubasa Semi, and is probably related.

Description Edit

The body of the Tsubasa Semi is copied from the Ikonta 4.5×6, but there is a top housing containing the viewfinder. It is placed on the right, as seen by a photographer holding the camera vertically, so that the body release is tripped by the right hand. It is the reverse of the usual arrangement. The advance knob is at the left end of the top housing. To the left of the finder there is an accessory shoe and the folding bed release.

The back is hinged to the left and has a single red window at the top, protected by a horizontally sliding cover, to control film advance. The lens is always a 75/3.5 with front-cell focusing, and the aperture is set by an index on top of the shutter housing.

Most of the markings are common to all models. The body serial number is engraved in the film flange at the right end of the top housing. A red KKK logo is engraved above the viewfinder together with the company name KIGAWA KōGAKU in black. A KIKO TSUBASA logo is engraved in the folding struts, and the word TSUBASA is also embossed in the front leather, in a slightly different shape depending on the model.

The Tsubasa Semi Edit

The original Tsubasa Semi has a hexagonal trim around the finder window and a Tsubasa marking in front of the top housing. In the front TSUBASA embossing, the "T" is higher than the rest of the word.

In advertisements dated December 1950[2] and March 1951[3], the Tsubasa Semi is offered in two variants, both with a Tsubasa 75/3.5 coated lens and a synchronized shutter:

  • Tsubasa Semi I: B, 25–200 speeds;
  • Tsubasa Semi II: B, 1–250 speeds.

Advertisements dated May[4] and June[5] 1951 list other variants, all with a synchronized shutter and a coated f/3.5 lens whose name is not given:

  • Tsubasa Semi I: T, B, 25–100 speeds;
  • Tsubasa Semi II: B, 10–200 speeds;
  • Tsubasa Semi III: B, 1–200 speeds, self-timer.[6]

An example has been observed with T, B, 25–150 speeds and a lens engraved TSUBASA Anastigmat 1:3.5 f=75mm.[7] The speed range given for the model I is perhaps a typo.

In an advertisement dated November 1951[8], the variant names have changed again, and the lens is a coated Bessel 75/3.5:

  • Tsubasa Semi I: B, 10–200 speeds;
  • Tsubasa Semi II: B, 1–250 speeds, self-timer.

At the time, Kigawa was beginning to use brand names referring to pioneers of optics, like Daguerre or Carl (obviously for Carl Zeiss).[9] The Bessel lens has only been observed on the later Tsubasa Semi F body, with a black lens bezel.

The Tsubasa Semi F Edit

The Tsubasa Semi F has no hexagonal trim around the finder and the Tsubasa marking in front of the top housing is replaced by two black lines extending on both sides of the finder window. This design is obviously styled after the Pearl I–III by Konishiroku.

Advertisements dated January 1952[10] list three variants, all having the Bessel 75/3.5 coated lens and a KKK synchronized shutter with ASA bayonet connector:

  • Tsubasa Semi F1: B, 10–200 speeds;
  • Tsubasa Semi F2: B, 10–200 speeds, self-timer;
  • Tsubasa Semi F3: B, 1–200 speeds, self-timer.

The shutter rim is engraved K.K.K. and the lens is simply engraved BESSEL 1:3,5 f=75mm. One example has been observed with a shutter having B, 10–200 speeds and a self-timer, probably engraved K.O.C. in the speed rim, like the shutter of the Carl Six.[11]

Notes Edit

  1. Dates: advertisements mentioned in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.355.
  2. Advertisement in Ars Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.148.
  3. Published in Ars Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.148.
  4. Advertisement in Photo Art, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.149.
  5. Published in Photo Art, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.148.
  6. The May advertisement says that only the model I has a self-timer, but this is certainly a typo, corrected the next month.
  7. Example pictured in this page at ksmt.com.
  8. Advertisement in Ars Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.148.
  9. Bessel is the name of a German astronomer and mathematician who lived in the 19th century. There is a method called Bessel's method to determine the focal length of a given lens, see for example here. It is unknown if the lens name is related.
  10. Advertisement for the Tsubasa Semi F1, F2 and F3, published in the January 1952 issue of Ars Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, item 606. — Advertisement for the Tsubasa Semi F1, F2 and F3 and Grace Flex I and II, published in the January 1952 issue of Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, item 503.
  11. Example sold by a Japanese dealer, only the two first letters of the engraving are visible in the pictures.

Bibliography Edit

Links Edit

In Japanese:

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