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Welmy 44

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The Welmy 44 (ウエルミー44) is a Japanese coupled-rangefinder camera taking 4×4cm exposures on 127 film. It was made by Taisei Kōki in 1959, during the short-lived fashion revival of 4×4cm format, also called "superslides".

Description Edit

The Welmy 44 has a diecast body, said to be the same as on the Welmy Wide.[1] There is a coupled rangefinder, combined with the viewfinder. The advance knob is at the right end of the top plate; it is inscribed TAISEI KOKI CO., LTD. and has an arrow to indicate the turning direction. The film is wound and the shutter is cocked in the same movement, a feature called "self-cocking" shutter at the time.[2] However there is no auto-stop device,[3] and the film advance is controlled via a red window at the top of the back. Double exposure prevention is implied by the "self-cocking" shutter, and voluntary multiple exposures are possible by actuating the external cocking linkage visible on the shutter casing.

The release button is at the usual place next to the advance knob, and there is an accessory shoe on the left, above the viewfinder. The back is hinged to the right for film loading, and is retained by a sliding bar on the left. The name Welmy 44 is engraved on a nameplate attached to the top cover, and a red plate inscribed 44 is attached to the front leather.

The Welmy Terionon 50mm f/3.5 lens is unit-focused by a large focusing ring. It is mounted in a Welmy leaf shutter (B, 5–300). The 50mm focal length gives a wider angle than the 60mm lenses mounted on most other 4×4cm "superslide" cameras.

Commercial life Edit

The Welmy 44 was announced in Japanese camera magazines dated February and March 1959, and was advertised from February to May of the same year. It seems that the company Taisei Kōki disappeared shortly after that date.[4] The price of the Welmy 44 was ¥7,900, and the case cost extra ¥700.[5]

Notes Edit

  1. Sugawara, p.2 of Camera Collectors' News no.266.
  2. Advertisement in Nihon Camera February 1959, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.223.
  3. Sugawara, p.2 of Camera Collectors' News no.266.
  4. The advertisements by Taisei Kōki listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.378, abruptly stop after May 1959. Sugawara, p.3 of Camera Collectors' News no.266, says that Taisei Kōki became dependent of Konica in August 1960.
  5. Advertisement in Nihon Camera February 1959, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.223; advertisement published in the 1959 camera annual by Nihon Camera, reproduced in Sugawara, p.9 of Camera Collectors' News no.266.

Bibliography Edit

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