Semi Lyra (postwar)

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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 ->

For the prewar and wartime models made by Fuji Kōgaku, see Semi Lyra.

The Semi Lyra are Japanese 4.5×6 folders. There are two distinct generations: this page describes the postwar models, made in 1955 and 1956 by Katsuma Kōgaku.[1] The Semi Lyra A is a viewfinder model, of which the Semi Golder is perhaps a predecessor. The Semi Lyra SR is an uncoupled rangefinder model. The Pioneer folder is development of the Semi Lyra, sharing the same body casting.

The Semi Lyra A and Semi Golder

The Semi Lyra A (セミライラーA型) is a viewfinder-only model. It is a vertical folder with straight folding struts. The viewfinder is enclosed in a top housing, with an accessory shoe on the left. The advance knob is on the left end, together with the shutter release. The folding bed release is on the right, together with a film retaining flange. There is a frame surrounding the viewfinder window, attached to the top housing by two screws. The back is hinged to the left and the film advance is certainly controlled by a red window.

The name Semi Lyra is engraved above the viewfinder, probably together with the serial number. It seems that there is also a LYRA KATUMA logo engraved in front of the accessory shoe. The front leather is embossed LYRA in capital letters.

The camera has a front-cell focusing Terionar 7.5cm f/3.5 lens with three elements[2] and a Lyra-U shutter (B, 1–200, self-timer), synchronized via a PC post. The speed rim is engraved LYRA–U at the bottom. The lens is engraved KATUMA OPT. CO., "Katuma" being an alternative writing of Katsuma. The focusing ring is surrounded by a black ring with depth-of-field markings.

Advertisements dated June and December 1955[3] offered this model for ¥6,800. In June, the viewfinder model was called Semi Lyra A whereas it was simply called "Semi Lira" in December (with a typo).

The only actual example observed so far is pictured in Sugiyama.[4] The same source also pictures a "Semi Golder II", nearly identical to the Semi Lyra A.[5] The film retaining flange at the right end of the top plate is different. The name Golder is embossed in the front leather, and the top plate is perhaps inscribed GOLDAR Model II. The lens is a front-cell focusing Goldar Anastigmat 75mm f/3.5 (no. 2082), and there is no depth-of-field scale. The shutter gives B, 1–200 speeds and is reported as a T.K.K.[6] It is synchronized via an ASA bayonet post. Some features of the Semi Golder, like the ASA synch and absence of depth-of-field indication, probably indicate that it predates the Semi Lyra A.

The Semi Lyra SR

The Semi Lyra SR (セミライラーSR型) is an uncoupled rangefinder version. It has a different top housing with a squarer shape. The viewfinder window is rectangular and has no surrounding frame, while the rangefinder window is round. The advance knob has moved to the right end of the top plate, and it seems that the folding bed release is under the body. The shutter release is still at the left of the top plate and next to it is a large flat knob. The position of the distance setting of the uncoupled rangefinder is unknown. The top housing is simply engraved Lyra in cursive style and the front leather is embossed the same.

The camera was offered in the June 1955 advertisement cited above,[7] with a three-element Terionar 75/3.2 lens and a Lyra SU shutter. The body release is described as having a "security device" (安全装置), perhaps double exposure prevention. The shutter name "Lyra SU" might be a typo: the features are the same as for the Lyra U, and the rim engraving is LYRA–U in the advertising picture of the Semi Lyra SR. In the advertisement dated December 1955,[8] the name was mistyped "Semi Lira SR" and no detail was given. The price was ¥9,500 in both advertisents.


  1. Dates: Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 371.
  2. Advertisements dated June 1955 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 204.
  3. Advertisements published in Sankei Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 204.
  4. Sugiyama, item 1324.
  5. Sugiyama, item 1314.
  6. Sugiyama, item 1314.
  7. Advertisement published in Sankei Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 204.
  8. Advertisement published in Sankei Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 204.



In Japanese:

Fuji Kōgaku cameras (edit)
prewar and wartime models postwar models
3×4 4×6.5 subminiature 4×4 subminiature
Baby Lyra | Baby Lyra Flex | Baby Balnet Dianette | Pionette Lyravit Balnet Four Comex
4.5×6 6×6 6×9 4.5×6 6×6
Bakyna | Semi Lyra | Lyrax Lyra Six | Lyra Flex Lyra (6×9) Semi Lyra | Pioneer Lyra Six | Lyraflex