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Kuribayashi, later Petri, was a Japanese camera maker.


Early period

Most sources say that the company was founded as Kuribayashi Seisakusho(栗林製作所) in 1907 by Kuribayashi Yōji (栗林庸二), manufacturing tripods and dark boxes.[1] Its first camera was the Speed Reflex, supposedly released in 1919.[2] However, a Petri catalogue dated August 1981 reportedly says that the company was founded in 1918 and that the Speed Reflex was introduced in 1922.[3]


The company became Gōshi-gaisha Kuribayashi Shashin Kikai Seisakusho (㈾栗林写真機械製作所) in 1930.[4] From 1929 to the war many cameras made by the company were called First and advertised as "made by First Camera Works". These First cameras were distributed by Minagawa Shōten, and it seems that "First Camera Works" was nothing more than a name and logo forged by Minagawa for advertising purpose (see the discussion about the Camera Works endings).[5] (The "First Camera Works" name and logo were used again after the war for the First Six and Firstflex cameras made by Tokiwa Seiki and again distributed by Minagawa.)[6]

The Kuribayashi company had an address in Adachi (Tokyo) in 1943.[7] It is said that this was only the second factory, the offices and main building being in Shitaya (Tokyo), and that this Shitaya building was destroyed by an aerial bombing in 1945.[8]

Postwar period

The company changed status in 1949 and became K.K. Kuribayashi Shashin Kikai Seisakusho (㈱栗林写真機械製作所) in 1949.[9] At that time the headquarters were in Chiyoda (Tokyo), and the plant in the Adachi factory mentioned above.[10] The company did not renew its cooperation with Minagawa (owner of the name "First"). It had to look for another brand name and finally settled on Karoron and Petri. Kuribayashi made a range of 4.5×6 folders under these names and a single 6×6 TLR model called Petriflex. Its first 35mm camera was released in 1954 and its first 35mm SLR in 1959. The company became Kuribayashi Shashin Kōgyō K.K. (栗林写真工業㈱) in 1956.[11] In 1962, it took the name of its products and became Petri Camera K.K. (ペトリカメラ㈱). In 1968, it released the Petri Color 35, a very compact camera said to be inspired by the Rollei 35.

Petri Camera went bankrupt in 1977 or 1978. It was revived as Petri Kōgyō K.K. (ペトリ工業㈱) but it abandoned camera production some time thereafter. It seems that the company still exists (2009) and makes telescopes.[12]

The company seems unrelated to the current Kuribayashi Seisakusho Co., Ltd. founded in 1944.[13]

35mm film cameras

Rangefinder, fixed lens

Viewfinder, 24×36mm

Viewfinder, 18×24mm



From the post-1977 era, with Pentax K-mount lenses.[14]

120 film cameras

4.5×6cm folder

6×6cm folder

6×9cm folder

6×6cm TLR

127 film cameras

Plate film cameras

  • Kokka (6.5×9cm folder)
  • Romax (6.5×9cm folder, the attribution to Kuribayashi is unsure)
  • Tokiwa (6.5×9cm folder, the attribution to Kuribayashi is unsure)



The brand name for for Kuribayashi lenses was Orikon, as for example fitted to the Karoron RF and Petri RF folders. Also on record are barrel lenses, such as

  • Kuribayashi Camera Orikon f/6.3 210mm[15]

Petri's lenses were named Petri Orikkor or simply Petri, for example

  • A.C. Petri Orikkor 1:2 f=55mm


  • Petri 1:1.8/55


  1. Baird, p.11, Lewis, p.184 and this page of the Japan Memory website (archived).
  2. Baird, pp.13 and 40–2. Lewis, p.36.
  3. See this page by Sumida Petri-dō.
  4. Date: Baird, p.15. Baird gives Shashin instead of Shashin Kikai.
  5. Baird, p.15, suggests that First Camera Works was a manufacturing company jointly owned by Kuribayashi and Minagawa, but it seems that no actual company had this name.
  6. See the First Six and Firstflex leaflet reproduced in's Orphan Camera website.
  7. This address was Tōkyō-to Adachi-ku Ueda-machi 1807 (東京都足立区上田町1807). Source: "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras").
  8. Baird, p.28.
  9. Transition visible between two advertisements dated 1949 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.178. Baird, p.30, omits the word "Kikai" by mistake.
  10. The address of the office was Tōkyō-to Chiyoda-ku Kanda Nishiki-chō 3–16 (東京都千代田区神田錦町3の16). The plant was at the same place as before, but the address was now Tōkyō-to Adachi-ku Umejima-chō 1807 (東京都足立区梅島町1807). Source: advertisements dated 1949 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.178.
  11. Dates: Baird, p.32.
  12. It is listed in this page, dated 1 June 2009, of the Japan Telescope Manufacturers Association. (archived)
  13. See the chronology of the company's website.
  14. McKeown states that "Cosina has acquired the rights to the Petri name in 1978." Pg. 583, 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).
  15. Seen in an online auction, Yahoo Japan



In English:

In French:

In Japanese:

Kuribayashi prewar and wartime cameras (edit)
rollfilm folders
Eagle | Speed Pocket | First Roll | First Center | Semi First | First Six | Baby Semi First | Semi Rotte | Hokoku | Mizuho
plate folders rigid SLR TLR unknown
Mikuni | First | First Etui | Kokka | Romax | Tokiwa Molby Speed Reflex First Reflex Baby First