Japanese Baby (3×4) and Four (4×4) (edit)
3×4 Baby Balnet | Doris | Baby Doris | Baby Germa | Kinsi | Baby Leotax | Loren | Baby Lyra | Baby Pearl | Baby Pilot | Baby Rosen | Baby Suzuka | Walz
4×4 Adler Four | Rosen Four
rigid or collapsible
3×4 Baika | Baby Chrome | Comet | Cyclon | Gelto | Baby Germa | Gokoku | Hamond | Baby Hawk | Kinka Lucky | Lausar | Light | Baby Light | Molby | Mulber | Olympic | Baby Ōso | Peacock | Picny | Ricohl | Rorox | Shinko Baby | Slick | Baby Sport | Tsubasa Arawashi | Baby Uirus | Zessan
3.5×4 Kenko 35
4×4 Alma Four | Andes Four | Anny 44 | Arsen | Balnet Four | Bonny Four | Freude | Kalimar 44 | Auto Keef | Kraft | Letix | Mykey-4 | Olympic Four | Roico | Royal Senior | Seica | Terra Junior | Vero Four | Welmy 44 | Yashica Future 127
Baby First | Baby Lyra Flex
Japanese SLR, TLR, pseudo TLR and stereo models ->
Japanese 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6, 6×6 and 6×9 ->

The Kinsi (キンシ) is a 3×4 strut folding camera, made by Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō (now Ricoh) from 1941 to c.1943.[1] It was produced in Riken's Ōji plant.[2]

See also the Semi Kinsi, a 4.5×6 bakelite camera, variant of the New Olympic II.


The name Kinsi (pronounced kinshi) can be written 金鵄, then meaning "golden kite".[3] Sugiyama says that the name comes from the Kinshi kunshō (金鵄勲章) or "Order of the Golden Kite", a Japanese military award.[4] Riken used many such "patriotic" names at the time.[5] In all the advertisements observed, the name is written in katakana: キンシ. On the camera itself, it is written "Kinsi".[6]


The Kinsi is a strut folding camera, inspired by the Dolly 3×4 camera made by the German company Certo.[7] The camera has a folding optical finder in the middle of the top plate, and the advance knob is on the left, as seen by the photographer. The front standard is opened by a button on the right of the viewfinder, easily confused for a shutter release. There is a folding leg, allowing the camera to stand vertically on a table. The name Kinsi is embossed in the front leather. The back is hinged to the left and retained by a sliding button on the right. It contains two uncovered red windows to control the film advance.

The shutter is an everset Licht, made by Seikōsha, providing 25, 50, 100, B, T speeds. This variant of the Licht shutter has a thread and needle release device (a crude replacement for a self-timer). The lens is a front-cell focusing Kinsi Anastigmat 5cm f/4.5. It has three elements and was made by Riken.[8] Lens numbers are known with five digits; they are mostly in the 10xxx to 16xxx range, but at least one example perhaps has a number in the 20xxx range.[9]

Advertisements and other documents[]

The Kinsi was announced in advertisements for the Olympic Four dated March and April 1940, together with the Gaica and Roico.[10] In these documents, the camera is only announced for future release (予告); no price is indicated and no picture is provided.

The camera appears in the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and in January 1941, under the name "Kinsi I" (¥48).[11] Pictures of the Kinsi are displayed in advertisements dated January and February 1941 for the Riken camera range, with no further detail.[12]

In advertisements dated February and April 1941, the camera is described as Kinsi I (キンシⅠ型), and offered for ¥48 (case ¥5.70 extra).[13] Advertisements dated March, October and November 1942, show the higher price of ¥56.80.[14]

The camera still appears in the April 1943 government inquiry on Japanese camera production, again under the name "Kinsi I".[15] There is no record of a Kinsi II.



  1. Made by Riken: "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 165. This page of the Ricoh official website says otherwise, certainly by mistake.
  2. Arimura, p.6 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
  3. This page of the Ricoh official website gives the word 金鴉 (read kin'a), certainly by mistake.
  4. Sugiyama, p.11. For a description of the military award, see this Japanese Wikipedia page and this English Wikipedia page.
  5. See this article of the Ricoh official website.
  6. The camera is called "Baby Kinshi" by mistake in Sugiyama, item 1076 and in McKeown, p.828.
  7. This page of the Ricoh official website says that the Kinsi was a copy of the Zeh Goldi, that is obviously not true, the Goldi being of the folding bed type. Tanaka, p.18 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14 and this page at Asacame say that it is a copy of the Dolly.
  8. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), lens item Jc11.
  9. Examples observed in online auctions, and in the links and printed sources listed below.
  10. Advertisement in Asahi Camera March 1940, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.104, and advertisement in Asahi Camera April 1940, p.A86, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.64.
  11. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 1, section 4B.
  12. Advertisement in Gakusei no Kagaku January 1941 and advertisement in Gakusei no Kagaku February 1941, reproduced in the Gochamaze website.
  13. Advertisement in Asahi Camera February 1941, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.104; advertisement in Asahi Camera April 1941, p.509; advertisement in Gakusei no Kagaku April 1941, reproduced in the Gochamaze website.
  14. Advertisement in Shashin Bunka March 1942, reproduced in Tanaka, p.10 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14; advertisement in Shashin Bunka October 1942, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.58; advertisement in Asahi Graph, 18 November 1942, reproduced in the Gochamaze website.
  15. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 165.


Original documents[]

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