Semi Solon

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Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
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The Semi Solon (セミソロン) is a Japanese 4.5×6 folding camera, distributed by Ueda Shashinki-ten from late 1940.


The Semi Solon is a copy of the Nettar 4.5×6, with the same straight folding struts. There is a folding optical finder in the middle of the top plate. The body release is on the left — as seen by a photographer holding the camera horizontally — and the release for the front door is on the right. The film advance control is at the bottom. The back is hinged to the left, and locked by a sliding bar on the right. The name SOLON is embossed in the front leather.

Advertisements and other documents

Advertisements for the Semi Solon were published by Ueda Shashinki-ten in Asahi Camera from December 1940 to April 1941.[1] Those dated December 1940, January and April 1941 are quite similar, and show the Semi Solon among other models distributed by Ueda.[2] The camera is listed with a Solon Anastigmat f/4.5 lens and two shutter options, with speeds from 1/5 upwards (at ¥74) or from 1s upwards (at ¥88).[3] The top speed is not specified — one recent source says 1/200, perhaps after other advertisements.[1]

The list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, mentions a "Semi Solon IA" for ¥88 and a "Semi Solon IB" for ¥74, obviously corresponding to the two advertised versions.[4] A similar list dated November 1941 added a plain "Semi Solon" model.[5]

The Semi Solon IB was still mentioned in the government inquiry listing the Japanese camera production as of April 1943.[6] In this document, the maker's name is unfortunately missing but the lens is mentioned as a three-element Solon 75/4.5 made by Takahashi and the shutter as a Star Alpha (スターアルファー) giving T, B, 1–300 speeds and made by Takahashi too.[7] It is possible that the body was made by the same Takahashi company, which was also cited as the maker of the Star Semi 4.5×6 folder, also distributed by the Ueda company.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.337.
  2. Advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.72 and 77, and advertisement in Asahi Camera April 1941 reproduced in this page.
  3. The price is specified in the documents dated December 1940 and April 1941, but not in that dated January 1940.
  4. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 3, sections 4A and 6A.
  5. "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō", November 1941, type 3, sections 4A, 6A and 6B.
  6. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 60.
  7. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), lens item Lc13 and shutter item 18-Q-1.


  • Asahi Camera. Advertisement by Ueda Shashinki-ten in the April 1941 issue, no page number.
  • Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Item 136. (See also the advertisement for item 108.)
  • "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō" (カメラの公定価格官報発表, Official announcement of the set prices of the cameras), November 1941. Extract of a table listing Japanese camera production and setting the retail prices, reproduced in "Bebī Semi Fāsuto 'Kore ha bebī wo nanotta semi-ki da'" (ベビーセミファースト"これはベビーを名乗ったセミ機だ", Baby Semi First, 'this is a Semi camera called Baby'), an article by Furukawa Yasuo (古川保男) in Camera Collectors' News no. 277 (July 2000). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. P. 27. Type 3, sections 4A, 6A and 6B.
  • "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" (国産写真機ノ現状調査, Inquiry into Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943. Reproduced in Supuringu kamera de ikou: Zen 69 kishu no shōkai to tsukaikata (スプリングカメラでいこう: 全69機種の紹介と使い方, Let's try spring cameras: Presentation and use of 69 machines). Tokyo: Shashinkogyo Syuppan-sha, 2004. ISBN 4-87956-072-3. Pp.180–7. Item 60.
  • "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku" (国産写真機の公定価格, Set prices of the Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of October 25, 1940 and setting the retail prices from December 10, 1940. Published in Asahi Camera January 1941 and reproduced in Shōwa 10—40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10〜40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935—1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Pp.108—9. Type 3, sections 4A and 6A.

The Semi Solon is not listed in Sugiyama.