The Crite (クリテ) is a Japanese folding plate camera taking 6.5×9cm pictures, distributed by Ueda Shashinki-ten in the mid-1930s.
The Crite plate folders are mainly known from a catalogue by Ueda dated c.1935, which lists five models, called G, Z, K, L, S in decreasing price order (see below). It seems that all the models have a metal body, and were supplied with three plate holders and a film-pack adapter.
According to the price list, all the cameras have a 105mm (or 10.5cm) lens: the Xenar f/4.5 supplied by Schneider, the Radionar f/4.5 or f/6.3 by Schneider or perhaps Neumann & Heilemann, the Vidar f/4.5 by Ludwig, and the Sternar f/4.5 by an unknown manufacturer. The shutter is either a Condor A or B supplied by Neumann & Heilemann (perhaps a name variant of the Rulex), or a Crite Z of unknown specification.
The catalogue shows a single picture of the more expensive Crite G. It has a Condor shutter, whose range of speeds may be 1–100, B, T or 1–200, B, T (the top speed is hardly legible); it presumably corresponds to the Condor A, the Condor B certainly having 1/5 low speed. The front plate is engraved NEUMANN & HEILEMANN and PATENTS PENDING at the top, and CONDOR at the bottom, with the NH logo on the right.
The lens mounted on the pictured camera is not mentioned in the price list; the marking seems to read Optinar 1:4.5 f=10.5cm Kenngott Stuttgart Nr 457369. (The Optinar brand name is otherwise unknown in such a context.)
|Extract of an Ueda catalogue, listing the Crite G, Z, K, L and S. (Image rights)|
The Crite G (クリテG型) is the most expensive model. It has double extension bellows, a brilliant finder and a wireframe finder, a bubble level, and vertical and horizontal movements. Three versions are listed in the catalogue:
- Crite G.A.X., Condor A shutter, Xenar f/4.5 lens, ¥78;
- Crite G.A.R., Condor A shutter, Radionar f/4.5 lens, ¥65;
- Crite G.B.R., Condor B shutter, Radionar f/4.5 lens, ¥58.
The Crite Z (クリテZ型) has similar features but has horizontal movement only. It is listed in four versions:
- Crite Z.A.X., Condor A shutter, Xenar f/4.5 lens, ¥70;
- Crite Z.B.R., Condor B shutter, Radionar f/4.5 lens, ¥53;
- Crite Z.Z.R., Crite Z shutter, Radionar f/4.5 lens, ¥45;
- Crite Z.Z.S., Crite Z shutter, Sternar f/4.5 lens, ¥40.
The Crite K (クリテK型) certainly has no movement ability and no bubble level. The same four versions appear:
- Crite K.A.X., Condor A shutter, Xenar f/4.5 lens, ¥55;
- Crite K.B.R., Condor B shutter, Radionar f/4.5 lens, ¥48;
- Crite K.Z.R., Crite Z shutter, Radionar f/4.5 lens, ¥40;
- Crite K.Z.S., Crite Z shutter, Sternar f/4.5 lens, ¥38.
The Crite L (クリテK型) has one-and-a-half extension only. It is offered with the Crite Z shutter only, and the naming system does not distinguish between the f/4.5 and f/6.3 versions:
- Crite L.Z.R., Crite Z shutter, Radionar f/4.5 lens, ¥38;
- Crite L.Z.V., Crite Z shutter, Vidar f/4.5 lens, ¥35;
- Crite L.Z.R., Crite Z shutter, Radionar f/6.3 lens, ¥28.
The Crite S (クリテS型) has single extension, and lacks the wireframe finder. A single version exists:
- Crite S.Z.R., Crite Z shutter, Radionar f/6.3 lens, ¥24.
A single Crite camera has been observed so far. It is identified by the name CRITE embossed in the leather handle at the top. It has no movement ability, and seems to have one-and-a-half extension bellows, i.e. single extension driven by a wheel on the side, therefore corresponding to a model L. Its front standard differs from that pictured in the catalogue, with pulling handles instead of the two cylindrical posts. Its wireframe finder is different too, with indents at the top corner (for the brilliant finder) and at the bottom (for the pulling handles). Its rear eyepiece consists of a simple bead, hinged to the front. That particular example is lacking the lens and brilliant finder, and was adapted at some time with a postwar shutter.
- ↑ The pronunciation is kurite (although the first syllable is unstressed, so perhaps more like k'rite); the last two syllables are rather like those of English "re-test". (The name does not rhyme with English "right".) The Japanese place or personal name "Kurite" is imaginable but not attested. Possibly "Crite" was inspired by the English word "criterion".
- ↑ Catalogue by Ueda Shashinki-ten, dated c.1935, reproduced in this Flickr album by Rebollo_fr.
- ↑ The name "Sternar" is tentatively inferred from the katakana ステルナー; but the Roman spelling might be Stelnar, Stellnar, etc.
- ↑ Example observed in an online auction.
- Ueda Shashinki-ten. Saishin kogata kamera (最新小型カメラ, Latest small cameras). Catalogue published c.1935, date not indicated. Document reproduced in this Flickr album by Rebollo_fr.
The Crite is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi or Sugiyama.