Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
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The Seves (セベス)[1] is a Japanese 4.5×6 folding camera made around 1936 by Ginrei.


The camera is a strut-folder, with scissor struts on each side of the front standard. The folding optical finder is in the middle of the top plate and its front part folds above the rear one. There is a small button on the left of the viewfinder — as seen by the photographer — used to release the front standard.

The entire top plate is removable for film loading. It is locked by a knob on the right of the viewfinder, with Open/Lock indications, and retained by a metal latch at the other end. The back does not open.

The advance knob is at the left end of the top plate, and has an arrow engraved at the top to indicate the winding direction. Film advance is manually controlled via two uncovered red windows at the bottom of the back. There is a handle at the left end of the camera, and a tripod thread under the camera, on the advance side.

The name Seves is embossed in the leather covering of the back, and Ginrei's GRC logo is embossed at the front left.

The lens is fixed-focus and has two elements.[2] Its maximal aperture was advertised as f/8, but may be closer to f/11.[3] It was made by the optical section of Ginrei.[4]

The shutter only has Bulb and Instant settings.[5] The shutter plate is marked G.R.C. Ordinary at the top and Seves at the bottom.[6]

Commercial life and actual examples[]

The Seves was advertised by GRC Gōmei-gaisha in the July 1936 issue of Shashin Salon.[7] It was announced as a new product and the price was ¥17.

The Seves also appears in a leaflet published by the distributor Ōhashi Takeji Shōten (pictured in this page), presenting various products sold or made by the company, including the Hope, Baby Light and Roll Light Ref cameras.[8]

Only two surviving examples have been observed so far, including that pictured above.[9]


  1. The camera is called "Seves Semi" in Sugiyama, item 4068, but this is not the name used in the original documents found so far.
  2. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.77.
  3. The undated Ōhashi leaflet says f/8. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.337, and Sugiyama, item 4068, say f/11, perhaps after measuring the front element's actual diameter.
  4. The advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.77, says that "the lens is a meniscus made by the optical section of GRC" (レンズはGRC光学部自慢の単玉付).
  5. Undated Ōhashi leaflet.
  6. The shutter is called "GRC Original" in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.337, for an unknown reason.
  7. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.77. It is the only advertisement mentioned by Kokusan kamera no rekishi.
  8. Undated Ōhashi leaflet.
  9. Examples pictured in this page, and in Sugiyama, item 4068.