The Semi Lead (セミ・リード) is a Japanese 4.5×6 folding camera, distributed in the early 1940s by the company Misuzu Shōkai.
The Semi Lead is a vertical folder inspired from the Nettar, with straight diagonal struts and what looks like a die-cast body. There is a folding optical finder in the middle of the top plate, a body release on the left and the folding bed release button on the right, as seen by a photographer holding the camera horizontally. The advance knob or key is at the bottom right. The back is hinged to the left.
The Semi Lead is not mentioned in the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, but it appears in a later official price list dated November 1941, where it is attributed to the distributor Misuzu Shōkai.
The camera is also mentioned in the April 1943 government inquiry, in two versions. The maker's name is unfortunately missing from the document. Both versions have a 75/3.5 three-element lens made by Yoshino Kōgaku and perhaps called Jilona or Jilonar (ジロナー). One of them has a Lead-Rapid shutter giving T, B, 1–500 speeds and made by Yamato, and the shutter mounted on the other is unknown.
An advertisement dated February 1944 gives the price of ¥219.20 with an f/3.5 lens and T, B, 1–500 speeds. Another advertisement dated May 1944 shows the same picture and gives the higher price of ¥258.66.
- It is the name used by Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.343, but there is no definite evidence that it was written that way. There is no name visible on the camera pictured in the advertisement reproduced, p.102, and the text of the advertisement is only written in katakana: セミ・リード.
- "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku".
- "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō", November 1941, type 3, section 7B.
- "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), items 40–1.
- "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), lens item Lb3.
- "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), shutter item 18-R-6.
- Advertisement on the back cover of Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin, February 15, 1944, reproduced on p.78 of Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku.
- Advertisement in Shashin Kagaku May 1944, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.102.
- 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. Item 308.
- "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 7B.
- "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" (国産写真機ノ現状調査, Inquiry into Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943. Reproduced in Supuringu kamera de ikou: Zen 69 kishu no shōkai to tsukaikata (スプリングカメラでいこう: 全69機種の紹介と使い方, Let's try spring cameras: Presentation and use of 69 machines). Tokyo: Shashinkogyo Syuppan-sha, 2004. ISBN 4-87956-072-3. Pp.180–7. Items 40–1.
- "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. The Semi Lead does not appear in this list.
- Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin (日本写真興業通信). Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku (百号ごと十回の記録, Ten records, every hundred issues). Tokyo: Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin Sha (日本写真興業通信社), 1967. No ISBN number. Advertisement on p.78, corresponding to the back cover of the February 15, 1944 issue.
The Semi Lead is not listed in Sugiyama.