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Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
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The Vester-Lette (ベスターレット) is a Japanese 4.5×6 folding camera made by Ginrei from 1937.[1]

Description Edit

The Vester-Lette is a vertical folding camera, with three-part folding struts inspired from the Ikonta. The folding optical finder is in the middle of the top plate, and its front part folds above the rear one. The folding bed release is to the right if the viewfinder — as seen by a photographer holding the camera horizontally — and there is no body release. There are thick film flanges at both ends of the top plate. The advance knob is at the bottom right, and there is a tripod thread at the bottom left.

The back is hinged to the left for film loading and contains two red windows at the top. It is locked by a sliding bar on the right.

The GRC logo of Ginrei is engraved on the folding struts, and the name VESTER-LETTE is embossed in the leather covering at the front.

Original documents Edit

The camera was first announced in the May 1937 issue of Camera Club.[2] It is also featured in the new products column of the September 1937 issue of Asahi Camera, reproduced on the left.[3] The document attributes the camera to Ginrei, and mentions a Venner f/4.5 lens and a Vester 1 shutter (T, B, 25, 50, 100).[4] It also gives the price of ¥45.

Actual examples Edit

Various surviving examples of the Vester-Lette have been observed.[5] They have an Anastigmat Venner 75mm f/4.5 lens and a Vester.1 shutter giving 200–10, B, T speeds (the range of speeds quoted in Asahi Camera was perhaps wrong). The front plate is black and is marked G.R.C. Co at the top and VESTER. 1 at the bottom.

Notes Edit

  1. The camera is wrongly attributed to Kyokutō in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.340–1, Sugiyama, item 1260, and McKeown, p.592. The Vester-Lette was perhaps confused with the Kyokutō Semi-Tex, which is described on the same page of Asahi Camera September 1937.
  2. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.340–1.
  3. Column in Asahi Camera September 1937, p.524.
  4. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.340–1, mistakenly says that the shutter is called Venner.
  5. Examples pictured in Sugiyama, item 1260, in this page at Itō Sadanobu's camera collection, and observed in an online auction.

Bibliography Edit

Links Edit

In Japanese:

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