Rare Tower Type-3 35mm Rangefinder Camera made by Nicca

Made by Nicca for the Sears, Roebuck and Company for sale in the United States and Canada under the Tower brand. This beautiful camera set is from 1951.

Collectors “Dream Set”.

NiccaTower T3 Logo

The Tower Type-3 is a 35mm rangefinder camera made by Nicca in 1951. The design is based on the original camera from Leica Many people call these types of cameras “Leica Clones or Leica Copies” but I like to refer to them as Leica inspired as many of the cameras made by Nicca were equal to if not superior to the Leica.

The camera is fully working at all speeds and the rangefinder is bright and accurate. There’s no dents, no marks, and no corrosion. It’s nearly perfect even after all these years.


The camera body accepts all M39 / L39 screw-in mount lenses. This camera is fitted with its original Nikkor-H.C f/ 2 5cm lens made by Nippon Kogaku.


The camera features a clean simple design on the top plate. The shutter’s top speed is 1/500th of a second.


Cameras made in Japan prior to April 1952 were required to be marked “Made In Occupied Japan” somewhere on the baseplate. This camera is properly marked.


Not many presentation boxes from the early 1950s still exist and few exist in such good condition as this one. A nice find and its the proper box for the camera.

Below is another amazing survivor from the early 1950s – the original leather camera case and strap. I can’t begin to explain just how rare it is to find an intact leather case from Japan made over 65 years ago. Usually, they come apart at the stitching and the leather separates at the joints. This case looks as though it was just made. A beauty.


The original instruction booklet and guarantee-registration card are included with this amazing set. 



The aperture blades look great – they function smoothly and show little wear. The optics are also free of distracting marks such as scratches or cleaning marks. The rear element does have some whitish fungus which means the lens would need to be cleaned in order to use it fully.

Below is a test picture that I took using the lens on my Fujifilm mirrorless digital camera. You can clearly see the “haze” from the fungus but you can see that it’s not a total loss either. I believe the fungus can be cleaned if you know how to service these types of lenses or if a professional camera repair facility does the work.


Test image taken with the Nikkor lens mounted on my Fujifilm X-A10 mirrorless digital camera.

Thanks for stopping by! If you’re interested in my set it’s available in my online camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com which is hosted by Etsy. – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “Rare Tower Type-3 35mm Rangefinder Camera made by Nicca

  1. Thanks, Tony! I appreciate your comment. I still have my dad’s “go-to” camera that he used when I was growing up. What I love most about it is that I can remember taking a picture with it of my mom and dad. My dad passed away when I was only ten (I know that you just recently had your dad pass) so holding onto his Polaroid Pathfinder is very special to me. I also have my mom’s favorite camera too. She used a Kodak Six-20 Junior that she bought new in 1939ish. Many of the pictures that mean the most to me are the ones she took with her camera. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you and your family!


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