Semi Sixteenth

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Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
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The Semi Sixteenth (セミシックステンス) are Japanese 4.5×6 folders made in the late 1930s and early 1940s, certainly by Kigawa. The Semi Shiks (セミシックス) was a name variant. The camera was perhaps a successor of the Semi Chrome A announced in early 1937.


The Semi Sixteenth is a vertical folder. The folding struts are styled after the Ikonta, they are reportedly made of thin metal and quite flimsy.[1] There is a folding optical finder and no body release. The folding bed release is to the right of the finder, as seen by the photographer holding the camera horizontally. The advance control is at the bottom right and the back is hinged to the left.

The initials K.A are engraved in the folding struts; it is said that they correspond to Kigawa Association (木川アソシェーション).[2]


The only original document found so far mentioning the Semi Sixteenth is the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, where the camera is called "Sixteenth" and priced at ¥62.[3] According to Furukawa, there might also be an allusion to the Semi Shiks in the March 1940 issue of Asahi Camera.[4]

Surviving examples

Four surviving examples of the camera are known. Three of them correspond to the early model and one to the late model.

Early model

The presumably early model has an advance knob, with an arrow indicating the winding direction, an old type of viewfinder, whose front part folds above the rear part, and an old type of back latch covered by a leather handle.

One example has the name Semi Shiks embossed in the front leather;[5] this might be the name originally used for the camera, or this might be a mistake from a subcontractor or employee who made the lot of embossed leather. This camera reportedly has no red window cover,[6] and it thus corresponds to the earliest version. The lens is a Lucomar Anastigmat 75/4.5; the distance scale is engraved at the front of the lens rim. The shutter is a Gelmer giving T, B, 150, 100, 50, 25 speeds; the shutter plate is inscribed GELMER at the top and GELMER Mfr. at the bottom. (A similar shutter is also known on the Roll Light Ref).

The other two examples have the name Semi Sixteenth in the front leather. At least one of them reportedly has red window covers.[7] It seems to have a Felix shutter and perhaps a Ceronar Anastigmat lens, but the pictures are barely legible. (This lens and shutter combination is known on the Semi Kinka.) The other has a Lucomar Anastigmat 75mm f/4.5 lens, whose distance scale is engraved on the side of the lens rim, and a Wing Anchor shutter (T, B, 150, 100, 50, 25).[8] The shutter plate is inscribed WING ANCHOR at the top, MADE IN JAPAN at the bottom and has an NE logo on the right.

Late model

The presumably late model has an advance key, a newer type of viewfinder, whose rear part folds above the front one, and a newer type of back latch, consisting of a long sliding bar with no handle. Only one surviving example is known, pictured in Furukawa.[9] It has the same Lucomar lens and Wing Anchor shutter as described on the early model.


  1. Extract of Kamera no ayumi, reproduced in Furukawa, p.5 of Camera Collectors' News no.261.
  2. Furukawa, p.7 of Camera Collectors' News no.261.
  3. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 3, section 3A.
  4. Extract of the magazine reproduced in Furukawa, p.7 of Camera Collectors' News no.261, perhaps the price list of some retailer, mentioning a セミシックス.
  5. Example pictured in Furukawa, pp.7–9 of Camera Collectors' News no.261.
  6. Furukawa, p.9 of Camera Collectors' News no.261.
  7. Example pictured in Furukawa, pp.5–9 of Camera Collectors' News no.261.
  8. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1248 and in Kamera no ayumi, belonging to the Pentax Gallery.
  9. Example pictured in Furukawa, pp.5–9 of Camera Collectors' News no.261.


  • Furukawa Haruo (古川保男). "Semi Sixteenth '16×2=32, 16×3=48'". In Camera Collectors' News no.261 (March 1999). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. Pp.5–9.
  • "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku" (国産写真機の公定価格, Set prices of the Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of October 25, 1940 and setting the retail prices from December 10, 1940. Published in Asahi Camera January 1941 and reproduced in 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. Pp.108—9. Type 3, section 3A.
  • 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.464.
  • 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. Item 1248.

The Semi Sixteenth is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.