Super 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 Super (スーパー) and Special Super (スペッシャルスーパー) are Japanese 6.5×9 folding cameras taking film plates. They were distributed by Kikōdō from about 1934 to 1936.[1] One source says that the manufacturer was Yamamoto Shashinki Kōsakusho, but this is unconfirmed.[2]

The Super and Special Super have a metal body and true double extension bellows. There is a small focusing wheel on the photographer's right driving a rack-and-pinion, and a distance scale on the left. There is a brilliant finder, a wireframe finder and vertical movement ability.

Advertisements for the Super are known in Ars Camera January 1934, in Asahi Camera March 1935 and in the June 1st, 1935 issue of Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin (where it is priced from ¥20 to ¥80).[3] The Super and Special Super are advertised together in the December 1935 issue of Photo-Times.[4] The pictures seem to indicate that the Special Super adds lateral movement ability and a bubble level to the regular Super. The text mentions "chrome plating" for the Special Super only, but the meaning of this is unclear. The following lens and shutter combinations are listed:

body version Super Special Super
lens and shutter
Trionar[5] f/6.3, Elka ¥30[6] ¥45
Heliostar f/4.5, Koilos ¥37[6] ¥50
Tenar[7] f/4.5, Rulex D ¥40 ¥53
Radionar f/4.5, Rulex B ¥50 ¥65
Radionar f/4.5, Rulex A ¥55 ¥70
Radionar f/4.5, Auto Compur ¥80 ¥98
Meyer f/4.5,[8] Auto Compur ¥85 ¥105
body only ¥20 ¥32

The Special Super was also featured in the new products column of Asahi Camera in June 1936; this is the last reported mention of the Super plate folders.[9]

One surviving example of the Super is known with a dial-set Vario shutter (25, 50, 100, B, T) and a Modelar Anastigmat 10.5cm f/6.3 lens imported by Sone Shunsuidō.[10] The Modelar lens was mounted on Sone cameras in the late 1920s, and this equipment is probably not original.


  1. Dates: Lewis, p.48, ambiguously mentions the Super as released in 1933 or 1934 (the camera is called "Super Venus", probably because the translator confused the Super and the Venus). Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.337, lists advertisements and articles dated 1935 and 1936.
  2. Made by Yamamoto Shashinki Kōsakusho: Yazawa, p.11 of Camera Collectors' News no.171. The manufacturer is not the Umemoto company which later made the Super Makinet Six and Super Flex Baby distributed by Kikōdō, according to a private communication to User:Rebollo_fr by Umemoto Akio, the grandson of Umemoto Kinzaburō, founder of Umemoto.
  3. Ars Camera January 1934: advertisement partly reproduced in Yazawa, p.13 of Camera Collectors' News no.171. Asahi Camera March 1935: Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.337. Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin June 1st, 1935: advertisement reproduced on p.25 of Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku.
  4. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.74.
  5. Inferred from the katakana トリオナー.
  6. 6.0 6.1 This version was perhaps already listed for the same price in the January 1934 advertisement in Ars Camera, partly reproduced in Yazawa, p.13 of Camera Collectors' News no.171.
  7. Inferred from the katakana テーナー.
  8. The maximal aperture is barely legible and could be f/3.5, but Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.337, says f/4.5.
  9. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.337.
  10. Example pictured in Yazawa, p.12 of Camera Collectors' News no.171.


  • 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. Items 124–5.
  • 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.48 (brief mention only). The camera called "Super Venus" certainly corresponds to two different models: the Super and the Venus.
  • Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin (日本写真興業通信). Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku (百号ごと十回の記録, Ten records, every hundred issues). Tokyo: Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin Sha (日本写真興業通信社), 1967. No ISBN number. Advertisement on p.25, corresponding to p.7 of the June 1st, 1935 issue.
  • Yazawa Seiichirō (矢沢征一郎). "Renzu no hanashi (88) Modelā" (レンズの話[88]モデラー, Lens story [88] The Modelar). In Camera Collectors' News no.171 (September 1991). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. Pp.11–3.

These cameras are not listed in Sugiyama.