Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
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Japanese SLR, TLR, pseudo TLR and stereo ->
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The Sintax (シンタックス) cameras are Japanese 4.5×6 folders. There are at least two models, one is a rebadged Collex and the other is a Baldax copy, perhaps a rebadged New Semi Condor.

Rebadged Collex[]

The first model is a rebadged version of the Collex (see the corresponding page for a full description). The name SINTAX is embossed in the leather covering at the front. The lens is a Collie Anastigmat 7.5cm or 75mm f/3.5 and the shutter is a Koho (1–200, B, T) made by Takachiho, of the second version as mounted on the late Semi Olympus II (see Koho). This version of the Koho is not designed for a body release, and a linkage was added behind the shutter from the body release to the top-mounted release lever. The shutter plate is marked OLYMPUS-TOKYO-N at the top, the aperture scale is at the bottom and the speed rim is engraved KOHO.

The camera pictured in this page has lens no.26359, with focal length in centimetres. The only other surviving example seen so far is pictured in an exhibition catalogue of the JCII museum, and seems to have its focal length in millimetres. In the catalogue, it is dated 1940 and attributed to "Kotani Shōji", perhaps a mistake for Kotani Shōten (see below).[1]

The official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941 has a "Sintax", for ¥160, with no further detail.[2] A similar price list dated November 1941 again has a Sintax, attributed to Kotani Shōten, which was certainly the distributor.[3] It is not known if these documents refer to the rebadged Collex or to the later Baldax copy.

Baldax copy[]

The second model is a copy of the Baldax. It seems identical to the New Semi Condor (see the corresponding page for a full description). The front leather is embossed SINTAX and the same name appears at the bottom of the shutter plate.

The Sintax was advertisement in Japanese magazines in 1942 and 1943.[4] The Baldax copy is pictured in advertisements by Tōkyō Shashin Shōkai dated March and April 1942,[5] offering the Sintax for ¥140, together with the Ami (an Ikonta copy) as a less expensive alternative. The Collie lens and Koho shutter have the same features as on the previous model. The pictured camera seems to have the third version of the Koho, with the release lever directly coupled to the body release. The aperture scale above the shutter housing, and the name SINTAX is visible at the bottom of the shutter plate.

The only surviving example of the Baldax copy observed so far is pictured in Sugiyama, where it is attributed to "Kotani Trading".[6] It has a Tessar 7.5cm f/4.5 lens and a Compur shutter giving T, B, 1–250 speeds. It seems that German lenses and shutters were no more imported in Japan in the early 1940s, and this equipment is perhaps not original.


  1. Omoide no supuringu-kamera-ten, p.19.
  2. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 3, section 7B.
  3. "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō", November 1941, type 3, section 7B.
  4. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.337, mentions advertisements dated March 1942 to June 1943.
  5. Advertisements published in Hōdō Shashin, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.58 and 74. These advertisements briefly mention Olympus cameras and binoculars.
  6. Sugiyama, item 1247. The same information is repeated in McKeown, p.546.


Original documents[]

  • "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 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 7B.

Recent sources[]