Semi Lester

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Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
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Semi Kinsi | Lord | Lyrax | Nippon | New Olympic | Semi Olympic | Semi Renky | Auto Victor | Well Super
Sun Stereo
Semi Elka | Semi Keef | Napoleon
Postwar models ->
Japanese SLR, TLR, pseudo TLR and stereo ->
Japanese 3×4, 4×4, 4×5, 4×6.5, 6×6 and 6×9 ->

The Semi Lester (セミレスター) is a Japanese 4.5×6 folding camera, made by the company Motodori in 1937.[1] It was succeeded at the end of the year by the nearly identical Victor.


The Semi Lester is a copy of the large Baldax model, with the typical folding struts. It has a folding optical finder, whose front part folds above the rear part. There is no body release, and the folding bed release is to the right of the viewfinder, as seen by the photographer holding the camera horizontally. The advance knob is at the bottom right. The back is hinged to the left and the back latch is covered by a leather handle. Film advance is controlled by two red windows, protected by a common sliding cover. The name Lester is embossed in the front leather in cursive style.


The Semi Lester was advertised from January 1937.[2] In the April 1937 issue of Camera Club,[3] it was offered with a Rulex shutter by Neumann & Heilemann, in four versions:

In other advertisements dated April and July 1937,[5] the following variant was added, called popular edition (大衆版) in the April document:

It is reported that a version with a Radionar f/3.5 lens and a Rulex A shutter appeared in the May 1937 issue of Asahi Camera, and that a version with a Lester f/2.9 lens appeared in the June issue of the same magazine.[6]


  1. Date: advertisements listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.343. It is called "Semi Lester-A" and attributed to Motojima Camera Works in Sugiyama, item 1161, and in McKeown, p.701, certainly because of a confusion of the translator between 本鳥 (Motodori) and 本島 (Motojima or Motoshima).
  2. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.343.
  3. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.104.
  4. This version is pictured in Sugiyama, item 1161, and has been observed in an online auction.
  5. April 1937: advertisement published in Asahi Graph (21 April 1937) formerly reproduced in the Gochamaze (archived) website. July 1937: advertisement published in Sunday Mainichi (25 July 1937) formerly reproduced in the same website.
  6. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.343.