Star plate folders

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Japanese plate cameras, folding bed (edit)
No.0 (4×5cm) Alpha | Sweet | Pony Sweet | Taishō-shiki
atom (4.5×6cm) Monarch | Need | Palma
meishi (5.5×8cm) Eagle | Idea A | Idea B | Idea Snap | Idea No.1 | Iris | Lily (horizontal) | Pearl No.3 | Special Camera | Venis | X
daimeishi (6.5×9cm) Apollo | Arcadia | Crite | Special East | Eaton | Elliotte | First | First Etui | Gold | Happy | Hope | Idea No.1 | Idea (metal) | Kinka | Kokka | Lily (horizontal) | Lily (metal) | Tropical Lily | Lloyd | Lomax | Masnette | Mikuni | Need | Nifca Klapp | Nifca Sport | Ohca | Palma | Peter | Prince | Prince Peerless | Proud | Romax | Rosen | Rubies | Sirius | Sun | Super | Tokiwa | Venus | Weha Idea | Weha Light
tefuda (8×10.5cm) Eagle | Idea A | Idea B | Idea No.1 | Idea (metal) | Iris | Lily (original) | Lily (horizontal) | Lily (metal) | Palma | Pearl No.3, No.4 | Minimum Pearl | Special Pearl | Sakura Palace | Sakura Pocket Prano | Star | Tokiwa | Weha
nimaigake (8×12cm) Eagle | Idea | Idea Binocular | Sakura Prano | Sakura Binocular Prano | Star Premo
hagaki (8×14cm) Eagle | Noble | Pearl No.3, No.4 | Star
kabine (12×16.5cm) Idea | Noble | Sakura Prano | Star Premo
Japanese plate film: monocular, box, strut-folding and SLR ->
3×4 and 4×4, 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6, 6×6 and 6×9 ->

The Star are Japanese plate folders made and sold by Ueda Shashinki-ten in the late 1900s and early 1910s.[1]

Original documents

An advertisement by Ueda Shashinki-ten presents the Star Premo and Star Poco cameras.[2] The Star Premo is mentioned in nimaigake (8×12cm) and kabine (12×16.5cm) formats. The format of the Star Poco is not given, but one source says that it is tefuda-size (8×10.5cm).[3] The following models are listed in the advertisement:

  • Star Poco, RR lens, Simple Auto shutter, ¥15;
  • Star Premo No.2, nimaigake-size, RR lens, Simple Auto shutter, ¥28;
  • Star Premo No.3, nimaigake-size, RR lens, Simple Auto shutter, ¥35;
  • Star Premo No.4, nimaigake-size, vertical and horizontal movements, RR lens, Double Auto shutter, ¥43;
  • Star Premo No.4, kabine-size, vertical and horizontal movements, RR lens, Double Auto shutter, ¥65.

The camera was supplied with a case and three double-sided plate holders.

The names were obviously reminiscent of the Premo and Poco made by the Rochester company, and the Ueda cameras were perhaps made under license instead of merely copied on their Western equivalents. From the end of the XIXth century, a camera called "Star Premo" was made in the US by Rochester itself, and continued from 1907 by the Rochester division of Kodak.[4]

The illustration shows a Star Premo No.4, recognized by the movement ability. It has double extension bellows, probably driven by a small wheel on the photographer's right. The straight folding struts are maintained in position by a screw. The front standard consists of various parts assembled to form a rectangle, and allows vertical and horizontal movements. The brilliant finder is attached to the folding bed on the photographer's right, and has a small hood.

The camera looks very much like the Rochester Pony Premo, and the Sakura Prano sold by Konishi at the same period is very similar too.

The April 1908 catalogue by Ueda Shashinki-ten mentions the Star Premo in two formats: tefuda (8×10.5cm) and nimaigake (8×12cm).[5] Both have an Auto shutter, certainly by Wollensak, a Planatograph lens by Bausch & Lomb, nickel-plated metal parts and a case.[6]

Other mentions

Lewis also mentions a Star camera in tefuda-size (8×10.5cm) patterned after the Goerz Manufoc-Tenax, a postcard-size (8×14cm) camera and a 5×7in camera.[7] It however seems that 5×7in format was not used in Japan at the time, and the larger model is perhaps actually a kabine-size (4¾×6½″, approx. 12×16.5cm) camera, maybe corresponding to the Star Premo No.4.

The only surviving example of a Star plate folder observed so far is pictured in Sugiyama.[8] It reportedly takes tefuda-size (8×10.5cm) pictures. It shows some differences from the model pictured in the advertisement cited above, and was certainly made some years later. It seems to have single extension bellows only, driven by a small wheel on the photographer's right. The front standard allows vertical and horizontal movements, and is very similar to that of the original Lily Portable Camera or of the Pocket Idea A1. The brilliant finder is perched atop the left-hand branch of the front standard. There is a leather handle above the main body, and an oval nameplate is attached to the left side. The particular example reportedly has a Bausch & Lomb shutter (1–100, B, T) and an Aldis Anastigmat f/7.7 lens.[9]


  1. Ueda Shashinki-ten is mentioned as the manufacturer (製作所) in an advertisement reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha (around the middle). Date: Sugiyama, item 1245, and McKeown, p.943, say 1911 but the Star Premo appears in the price list by Ueda Shashinki-ten dated April 1908 reproduced at the bottom of the same page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha.
  2. Advertisement reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha (around the middle).
  3. Star Poco in tefuda-size: Lewis, p.27.
  4. McKeown, pp.516 and 842, and an advertisement dated 1904 formerly reproduced at the Ad Art Gallery. A Star Premo dated 1893–4 used by Edith Irvine was formerly shown in Edith's Cameras.
  5. Catalogue extract reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha (around the middle).
  6. The name "Auto" is inferred from the katakana ヲート (wōto). The name "Planatograph" is written プラトナグラフ (puratonagurafu) with a typo.
  7. Lewis, p.27.
  8. Sugiyama, item 1245.
  9. Sugiyama, item 1245.


  • Lewis, Gordon, ed. The History of the Japanese Camera. Rochester, N.Y.: George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography & Film, 1991. ISBN 0-935398-17-1 (paper), 0-935398-16-3 (hard). P.27.
  • McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). P.943.
  • Sugiyama, Kōichi (杉山浩一); Naoi, Hiroaki (直井浩明); Bullock, John R. The Collector's Guide to Japanese Cameras. 国産カメラ図鑑 (Kokusan kamera zukan). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1985. ISBN 4-257-03187-5. Item 1245.


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