The Semi Hobix is a Japanese 4.5×6 camera, made in 1953 and 1954 by Tougodo. It has a rigid body and the lens and shutter are mounted on a metal tube. There is a massive metal ring at the base of the tube, engraved SEMI HOBIX. This configuration is reminiscent of prewar cameras like the New Semi Renky.
The first version has no body release and no accessory shoe. The top plate is flat, in chrome finish, with a centered tubular finder. The advance knob is at the left end and there is a smaller knob at the right end, that probably lifts up to insert the film spool. It seems that the tube supporting the lens and shutter is telescopic. There is a button on the right of the finder, that is meant to look like a body release but is probably a release for the spring-loaded tube. The back is hinged to the right. The lens is a Hobi Anastigmat 7.5cm f/3.5. The shutter has B, 10, 25, 50, 100, 150 speeds and it is synchronized via an ASA bayonet connector. An advertisement in the June 1953 issue of Asahi Camera offers this version for ¥4,500. The company name is Toyohashi Tōgō-dō (豊橋・東郷堂).
The second version has a body release and an accessory shoe. There is a metal plate screwed in front of the body to accomodate the body release linkage. This plate is engraved with a TG logo (presumably for Tōgō-dō). A moving pin protrudes from this plate to attain the release lever on the shutter housing. The finder is slightly offset to the left to leave space for the accessory shoe. Advertisements dated July and August 1953 offers this version for ¥4,500, the same price as before. The lens is now advertised as coated. The shutter is called TKM but its characteristics are unchanged. The camera is simply called Semi Hobix, with no particular model name, and it has no engraving on the top plate.
The third version has a short top housing between the two end knobs, containing the viewfinder and supporting the accessory shoe. The other characteristics are the same. An advertisement in the February 1954 issue of Asahi Camera offers this version for the same price of ¥4,500. The company name is Toyohashi Y.K. Tōgō-dō (豊橋 有限会社 東郷堂).
An example of the third version has been observed with a Tri-Lausar Anastigmat C 7.5cm f/3.5 lens. The top housing is engraved SEMI HOBIX and MODEL-SHII. The serial number is also engraved in front of the accessory shoe. It is unknown if the Model SHII designation applies only to the variant equipped with a Tri-Lausar or to all the examples of the third version.
- Reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 182.
- The address is Toyohashi-shi Komoguchi-chō Tsubura 30 (豊橋市菰口町津夫良30).
- Advertisements published in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp. 166 and 182. See also the advertisement reproduced in Nostalgic Camera, a page of old Japanese advertisements by Toshio Inamura.
- Reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.182.
- The address is still in Toyohashi-shi Komoguchi-chō, now 3-chōme 95, maybe after a local reorganization of the address names (豊橋市菰口町3丁目95).
- Example observed in an online auction.
- Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. 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. Items 837–8. (See also the advertisement for items 724 and 835.)