120folder.com          (Super) Zenobia SR

The (Super) Zenobia SR is a 120 film folding rangefinder camera, 4.5 x 6 format, first issued in 1955 by Daiichi Kōgaku, later Zenobia Kōgaku, Tokyo. It was built until 1957 and there are several variants.

The camera shown is a late model of the SR series, most probably the intermediate Super Zenobia model from 1956. It has the Daiichi Rapid shutter from the SR I, it's marked "Super-Zenobia" on the focus ring and has all the other features from the latest Zenobia SR. It's one of the smallest and lightest rangefinder cameras for 120 film and it's quite rare.

Size (mm): 122 x 100 x 48
Weight: 580 g
Lens: Neo-Hesper 3,5/75, closest focus 0.9 m
Shutter: Daiichi Rapid, B, 1 - 1/500, F 3.5 - 22 variant: Copal MX
Finder: coupled rangefinder
Film advance: red window

Here are some photos of the camera. As it's a 4.5 x 6, you have to turn the camera by 90 for ordinary landscape format. In consequence it unfolds sideways. There is a short introduction to the use of it and how it feels at the bottom of the page.

Camera front closed. Top: viewfinder window, rangefinder window, shutter release button and film wind knob.

Seen from the back. Film wind and viewer on top.

Seen from the bottom. Opening button and ripod socket.

Seen from above.

Camera front open. Focusing ring first, then speed setting ring around the lens. Focusing ring just turns, movements are inside the lens.

Seen from above of the camera bed, camera open. From front: focusing ring, s
peed setting ring, shutter cocking lever and aperture control.

Seen from the bottom, camera open.

Seen from the top, camera open.

Camera back open.

Genuine leather case, closed. The little pouch contains a shade and a filter.

Leather case open.

Just to show how small it is:

A roll of film.

With one of the smallest ultra-compact 135 film cameras.

Handling a Super Zenobia is very easy, it's just like other folding rangefinders, everything is where it should be. Loading film is as usual. Open the camera back and put the film roll into its place, just retract the spool shaft at the bottom of the camera. Same procedure for the take-up spool. Insert the film paper backing into the spool and advance it using the knob, until it's well engaged. Close the camera back. Then move the film via the red window to "1".

Open the camera. Cock the shutter, set speed and aperture. Set focus by turning the focus ring, it has a kind of knob, easy to use. Press the shutter release on the camera top. That's it. Advance film with the help of the red window to the next number. To close the camera, press the hinges of the struts as usual, it will fold easily.

The Super Zenobia is a very nice, very small, but sturdy camera, easy to use. It's one of the tiniest 120 film cameras and one of the lightest with rangefinder. Unfortunately it lacks automatic film advance which I find very useful.
It fits easily into your coat or suit pocket, which makes it easier to carry around than most of the other 120 film folders.

Super Zenobia580122 x 100 x 48CRWNeo-Hesper 3,5/75 | 0,9Daiichi Rapid, B 1 - 1/500 | 22

I also own two Zenobia C models, which I bought before I could put my hands on a Super Zenobia and a Pearl III, both very rare. They are simpler and quite common. They have a good Hesper 3.5/75 lens, a very good shutter and, as far as I know, they are very reliable. In my opinion they are a very good value. They are a copy of the famous Ikonta A, but with a better viewer, more modern shutters and very good lenses as well. They are fun to use.

Zenobia560123 x 103 x 50NoRWHesper 3,5/75 | 0,9D.O.C. Rapid, B 1 - 1/500 | 22