SEM Kim / Baby SEM
Sometimes I feel I have to find another hobby. Looking for camera information online yields either an avalanche of primarily copy-and-paste information or hardly anything of value. Some years ago, I searched for Taron cameras, which coincided with the release of a movie starring a certain Taron Egerton. Any helpful information was deep drowned. Case in point, looking for information on ‘Weekend Bob‘, yes, a real camera name, there were pages upon pages referring to weekends and Bobs, nothing camera.
The cameras I look at now are siblings, the SEM Kim Classique and Baby SEM. SEM was a short-lived French camera maker, where its founder worked for Cornu and branched out on his own in the mid-1940’s, offering a modest model selection till its demise in the 1970s.
The early models were simple Cornu models, assumingly made under license, later branching into a series of well-accepted TLR cameras under Semflex. The naming convention is beyond me, as names were haphazardly used where similar models carried different names and vice versa.
The SEM Kim, yes, after that Kim, is a small 35mm viewfinder made of cast aluminum, somewhat roughly finished. The baby Sem is very similar, save for the absence of a top-mounted trigger and a slight change of control levers arrangement. Both models strongly resemble the Cornu Reyna Cross models and the elusive Weekend Bob.
The Kim was sold by Photo-Hall as well, under the same name. The Baby came in two variations, shutter speeds of 1-300 or 25-100. Both bodies are identical, having the same cast number and marks.
Both cameras are straightforward to use, with no odd settings. On the back, both carry a shooting guide table, well-meant but rigid, referring to conditions at months of the year. Early days of photography. The lens barrel is fixed, although at first look it seems to be a wind-out lens, as was common it that era.
The units I have are not in great shape. One I got as an add-on with another camera I bought in an auction, and the other I picked up in a camera show. Neither shutter performs well, but I think ill leave it as is, just a shelf decoration.
For collectors, it is an excellent representation of mid last century compact cameras, French flavoured. I would recommend having them, more so at their modest cost
|Baby SEM Early
|Photo Hall Baby SEM
|Simulated leather embossing
|Clay like finish
|340 gr, Body with lens
|350 gr, Body with lens
|Class average weight
|361 gr, Body with lens
|361 gr, Body with lens
|On the body top and on the lens barrel
|On the lens barrel
|Cog turned by film’s perforation
|Lever on lens barrel