Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
Semi Ace | Semi Adler | Adler III | Adler A | Adler B | Adler C | Semi Ako | Ami | Bakyna | Semi Chrome | Semi Clover | Collex | Semi Condor | Semi Dymos | Semi Elega | Semi First | Auto Semi First | Baby Semi First | Gaica | Semi Gelto | Semi Germa | Hansa Semi Rollette | Heil | Hokoku | Hope | Kadera | Kankyu | Kelly | Kiko Semi | Semi Kinka | Semi Konter | Semi Kreis | Semi Kulax | Semi Lead | Semi Leotax | Semi Lester | Loyal | Semi Lucky | Semi Lyra | Semi Makinet | Semi Metax | Semi Minolta (I) and II | Auto Semi Minolta | Semi Miss | Mizuho | Semi Mulber | Semi National | New Gold | Okaco | Oko Semi | Semi Olympus | Semi Olympus II | Semi Osamo | Semi Pearl | Primo | Semi Prince | Semi Proud | Semi Prux | Roavic | Semi Rody | Rondex | Semi Rosen | Semi Rotte | Seica | Seves | Semi Shiks | Sintax | Semi Sixteenth | Semi Solon | Semi Sport | Star Semi | Semi-Tex | Tsubasa Kiko Three | Tsubasa Nettar | Tsubasa Super Semi | Ugein | Vester-Lette | Victor | Waltax | Wester | Zeitax
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 ->

See also the Semi Adler and Adler III (4.5×6cm), Adler A (4.5×6cm), Adler C (4.5×6cm), Adler Four (4×4cm), Adler Six (6×6cm) and Vest Adler (4×6.5cm).

The Adler B (アドラーB型)[1] is a 4.5×6cm folding camera sold from 1938 by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō and its parent company Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō (predecessor of Ricoh).


The camera is a copy of the 4.5×6 Ikonta, with the typical three-part folding struts. The folding optical finder is in the middle of the top plate, as seen by the photographer holding the camera horizontally. Its opening is coupled to the folding bed release by an external linkage. There is a body release on the left.

The back is hinged to the left and is locked by a latch on the right. The film is advanced by a key at the bottom right, and there is a tripod thread at the bottom left. The name Adler B is normally embossed in the leather covering at the front.


The Adler B is very similar to the Semi Kinka manufactured by Yamamoto Shashinki Kōsakusho, and to the first model of the Semi Mulber distributed by Kuwata Shōkai. All three cameras were certainly made by Yamamoto.


The camera appears in a catalogue by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō reproduced above, certainly dated 1938.[2] The document says that the Adler A and Adler B were introduced after the Adler III, to extend the range of Adler cameras.[3] The shutter has T, B, 150, 100, 50, 25 speed settings. Its front plate is marked SEMI ADLER at the top and has an illegible name at the bottom. The lens is described as a Ukas Anastigmat f/4.5, and the price is given as ¥58, case included. The description mentions chrome finish, and the picture shows metal-coloured body edges. Some illegible engraving is visible on the folding struts. The back is opened by a sliding button, and the latch is covered by a leather handle.

The advertisement in Shinkō Graph August 1938, reproduced on the right, lists the same features and shows the same picture.[4] Another document dated 1938 reportedly lists the Adler B for ¥65, with ten-month payment option.[5] The camera was also featured in the new products column of the October 1938 issue of Asahi Camera, with a Fiskus shutter and a Ukas f/4.5 lens.[6]

The Adler B appears for ¥74 in the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941.[7] It is also mentioned in the November 1941 official price list, where it is attributed to Riken.

Surviving examples[]

Various cameras are known that should correspond to the Adler B.[8] All have black-painted body edges and a newer back latch with a sliding bar and no handle. Only that pictured above still has its original leather covering, embossed Adler B. At least one camera seems to have the round AKK logo of Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō engraved on the folding struts.[9] All have a Perfekt shutter (5–250, B, T) by Neumann & Heilemann with the late shutter plate design (see Perfekt). The lens is an Adler Anastigmat 75mm f/4.5, when this data is available.


  1. The name "Adler" was clearly used to demonstrate Japan's alliance with Germany. During the war period, Riken often used such names (they also sold a Heil camera), or other "patriotic" names.
  2. Catalogue Olympic Products, c.1938, p.15.
  3. Catalogue Olympic Products, c.1938, p.14: 弊社では先にブローニー(½)判のアドラーⅢを発売しましたが、その好評嘖々たるに鑑み今回姉妹機としてアドラーA型及びB型を特に速写ケース付で発売致しました.
  4. Advertisement in Shinkō Graph August 1938, p.39.
  5. "Riken Konzern geppō" (理研コンツエルン月報), quoted in Tanaka, p.16 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
  6. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.334.
  7. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 3, section 4A.
  8. Example pictured in this article, example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1029 (where it is called "Adler Semi"), example pictured in McKeown, p.828, and example pictured in this page of the AJCC.
  9. Picture in this page of the AJCC.


Original documents[]

  • Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō. Olympic Products. Catalogue published c.1938 (date not indicated). Document reproduced in this Flickr set by Rebollo_fr.
  • "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō" (カメラの公定価格官報発表, Official announcement of the set prices of the cameras), November 1941. Extract of a table listing Japanese camera production and setting the retail prices, reproduced in "Bebī Semi Fāsuto 'Kore ha bebī wo nanotta semi-ki da'" (ベビーセミファースト"これはベビーを名乗ったセミ機だ", Baby Semi First, 'this is a Semi camera called Baby'), an article by Furukawa Yasuo (古川保男) in Camera Collectors' News no. 277 (July 2000). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. P. 27. Type 3, section 4A.
  • "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 4A.
  • Shinkō Graph (新光グラフ) August 1938. Advertisement by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō on p.39.

Recent sources[]


In Japanese:

Asahi Bussan and Riken prewar and wartime cameras (edit)
rigid or collapsible
Vest Adler | Gokoku | Semi Kinsi | Letix | Olympic | New Olympic | Regal Olympic | Semi Olympic | Super Olympic | Vest Olympic | Riken No.1 | Ricohl | Roico | Seica | Zessan
folders pseudo TLR TLR
Semi Adler | Adler III | Adler A | Adler B | Adler C | Adler Four | Adler Six | Gaica | Heil | Kinsi Chukon Ref Ricohflex | Ricohflex B