Petri (Semi)

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The Petri is a folding camera for 4.5x6cm pictures on 120 film, made by Kuribayashi in 1948. It was the first time Kuribayashi used the name Petri for a camera[1] (the company was later to be renamed Petri in 1962, having used the name for many cameras). It has an uncoupled rangefinder built into the top housing. It also has a small telescopic viewfinder that pops up from the same housing, and a small top-view brilliant finder, also built into the housing. According to McKeown, the lens is an f/3.5 Petri Anastigmat, but the advertisement pictured right describes the lens as an Orikon Standard in a rim-set Petri or Wester shutter giving speeds from 1-1/200 second, plus 'B' and 'T'. The film winding knob is on the 'bottom' of the camera (i.e. not on the top housing).

It was the first of a series of similar cameras:

  • Petri (1948)
  • Petri II (1948-51). Changed by replacing the pop-up viewfinder with a simpler built-in one, in favor of mounting an accessory shoe over the finder, maybe because flash sync. was added.
  • Petri III (1948-51). According to McKeown, the lens was replaced for the III, with an f/3.5 75mm Orikon Standardize Four, a Tessar type; however, the advertisement below describes the model II with an Orikon, and the III with a coated Orikon (オリコンコーテッド) lens. The Petri III pictured below right still has a Petri anastigmat, though in a synchronised shutter.
  • Petri RF (1952). The camera was made more compact, by doing away with the brilliant finder. The film winding knob is now in its place (so the direction of travel of the film is reversed). According to McKeown, this model is identical to both the Karoron RF and Karoron S-II.
  • Petri RF 120 (1955). Improved with a coupled rangefinder (still with its eyepiece separate from the viewfinder).
  • Petri Super (1955). Coupled RF, now combined with the viewfinder.
  • Petri Super V (1956).

Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
Postwar models (edit)
Apollo | Semi Blond | Semi Crystar | Daido Semi | Doris | Semi Frank | Semi Gelto | Semi Golder | Karoron | Karoron RF | Kely | Kiko Semi | Korin | Kuri | BB Kuri | Lark | Semi Leotax | Semi Leotax DL / R | Lo Ruby | Semi Lord | Luck | Semi Lyra | Semi Masmy | Middl 120 | Semi Mihama | Mikado | Million Proud | Semi Minolta III | Semi Minolta P | Semi Oscon | Semi Pearl | Pearl I–III | Pearl IV | Petri | Petri RF | Petri Super | Pioneer | Semi Proud | Semi Rocket | Rocky Semi | Rosen | Ruby | Shinkoh Rabbit | Semi Sport | Tsubasa Semi | Union Semi | Union Model U | Walcon Semi | Waltax | Semi Wester | Zenobia
rigid or collapsible
Semi Dak | Semi Hobix | Super Semi Plum | Rocket Camera | Tomy
Prewar and wartime models ->
Japanese SLR, TLR, pseudo TLR and stereo models ->
Japanese 3×4 and 4×4, 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6 and older 6×9 ->


  1. McKeown 12th Ed., p.578.
  2. Usually, a red-dotted additional lever on the lens barrel of a bellows camera is a self-timer cocking lever.


  • 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 804–7. (See also the advertisement for items 467–8.)
  • Baird, John R. Collectors guide to Kuribayashi-Petri Cameras. Grantsburg, WI (USA): Centennial Photo Service, 1991. ISBN 0-931838-16-9. Pp.21–2, 25–6, 29–30 and 116–22.
  • 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.63 (brief mention only).
  • 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.578.
  • Omoide no supuringu-kamera-ten (思い出のスプリングカメラ展, Exhibition of beloved self-erecting cameras). Tokyo: JCII Camera Museum, 1992. (Exhibition catalogue, no ISBN number.) P.21.
  • 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. Items 1393–5.


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