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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

Nicca Type 33 Brochure – 1958

One of the last cameras made by Nicca just before the takeover by Yashica was this simple 35mm rangefinder camera – the Nicca Type 33

Nicca Type33 Logo

The Nicca Type 33. Released around May 1958 just as Yashica was taking over the company. As best as I can tell, Yashica had no part in the design of this camera or the first-ever Nicca lens.

Although the top plate isn’t engraved “Type 33” there are markings inside on the bottom plate that identifies it as the Type 33. If you look closely at the lens pictured it’s marked as a Nicca f/2.8 50mm lens with an interesting serial number of No. 8002. The first-ever Nicca branded lens of any type. Origins of this lens are not known as Nicca had never produced a lens on their own.

Nicca 33 Bro Logo

The front and back covers of this rather rare brochure.

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The inside of the brochure showing the available accessories.

The Nicca Type 33 is a worthy addition to any collection that features Japanese made 35mm rangefinder cameras – it’s not often available for sale outside of Japan and it can be rather hard to find (in good condition) on Japanese online auctions. Finding one in collector condition and with its original Nicca lens and box would be an interesting challenge and would test your collecting skills.

Thanks for stopping by! – 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.

 

 

Nicca 3-F Brochure – 1957

Here is a very nice brochure for the popular Nicca 3-F (lever) 35mm rangefinder camera – a sophisticated Leica inspired camera from Japan.

Nicca 3-F Bro

An inside view of the brochure. The serial number on the camera is No. 151144

Analysis of the serial numbers indicates that about 6,000 cameras were made. This assumes that there were no breaks in production and that the numbers were assigned consecutively.

Nicca 3-F Bro Cover

The front and back cover of the brochure. Hinomaruya ひのまるや (upper left corner) was the sole distributor for Nicca in Japan – I’m not sure if they handled distribution outside of Japan.

Nicca 3-F Bro Logo

Nice assortment of available accessories for the Nicca 3-F

This brochure has survived in near mint condition – it’s obvious collectors have handled it carefully over the years.

Thanks for stopping by! – 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.

Nicca Type-5 35mm Rangefinder Camera – 1955

The Nicca Camera Company was well known during the 1950s as producing high-quality Leica inspired 35mm rangefinder cameras often of better quality than what Leica produced.

The Nicca Type-5 was released in March 1955 and it was the first Nicca camera to feature a rear film door that opened from a hinge on the right side of the body. This made it easier to load film as the film path was accessible directly from the rear. It was the only Nicca to open this way until a top-hinged model was introduced with the release of the Nicca 5-L (the L added a film winding lever vice dial shown here).

Nicca Type 5

Another feature of this Nicca is the added high-speed shutter which has a top speed of 1/1000 of a second.

The film back (rear cover) is side-hinged which is a unique feature of the Nicca Type-5.

Nicca T 5

From the front, an easy way to identify the Type-5 is by the black band that runs around the body just above the leatherette.

Nicca Ty 5

The film cassette is inserted on the left side of the camera and the film leader is drawn across the shutter curtain and is wound around the take-up spool on the right side. When the rear cover is closed the film pressure plate will keep the film flat. In the above picture, the bottom plate is reversed from its mounted position.

Nicca T5 apart

Another feature of the Type-5 is that the film door can be removed for even better access to the camera’s interior to facilitate film loading. The film take-up spool is on the far right.

The Type-5 is not a common Nicca today although it appears that nearly 6,500 were made during its run based on the thought that the serial numbers ran consecutively with no breaks in production. The earliest serial found is 125001 which is the camera depicted in the instruction book and the latest serial number found in the wild is 131531. My camera depicted here has a serial number of 130109.

Here’s an ad from May 1955 for the Type-5.

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The advertisement is dated May 1955 which is a few months after the initially reported release date of March 1955. The distributor’s name is Hinomaruya ひのまるや which can be seen just below the Nicca name on the lower right of the ad. Scan courtesy of Paul Sokk.

For more, much more, please check out my good friend Paul Sokk’s wonderful site. 

Thanks for stopping by and please visit our camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com – 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.

 

 

Nicca Camera Box – 1953

Most of our camera collection revolves around, no surprise, cameras and lenses. However, collecting camera boxes can be just as fun (and infinitely more difficult). Here’s a rather rare box from Nicca for the Type 3-S and Type 4 35mm rangefinder cameras.

Nicca Type 3-S Box

From 1953 – the top design on the box is the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens elements and groups.

Nicca Type 3-S Box 2

The inside of the box is lined with fabric.

Nicca Box with Camera

The camera (Type 3-S) safely tucked inside.

Thanks for stopping by! – 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.

New In the Shop – 10.10.2019

Lots of goodies were added to my camera shop this week as I continue to list items from my personal collection and some recent acquisitions from other collectors.

My shop is always open and can be found at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

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The Sony tripod is in mint condition and it’s rather cool – it features a built-in remote control right in the handle! The Nikon F book is from 1971 and it’s also in mint condition – these are getting much harder to find this nice after all these years.

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The Fujifilm Fuji DL-7 is awesome as it’s still brand new in the box – never used! The Fuji Zoom Cardia is as close to an SLR slayer that you can get in a 35mm compact point and shoot camera. How about the Minolta Six medium format camera from around 1936! It’s the very first one to carry the Minolta name.

Lots more to see in the shop so pop on over to http://www.ccstudio2380.com

Thanks for stopping by! – 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.

 

Sears Tower 35 – 1952 Catalog

Tower Ad Page Logo

Beautiful 35mm camera made for Sears by Nicca Camera Company, Tokyo.

Certainly an expensive camera set but compared to the Leica that inspired it a definite bargain. The Nicca-Tower camera’s fit and finish and the performance of the Nikkor lenses were the equal of the Leica. How about that complete outfit at $652.95? Big bucks in 1952 (still big bucks today).

Tower T3 Close Logo

The Nicca version is the Nicca Type-3 (Type III).

Sears Catalog with Logo

Colorful cover of the Sears Fall 1952 – Spring 1953 camera catalog.

Thanks for stopping by! – 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.

Another Time, Another Place – Sears Tower Camera Manual 1950

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Sears, Roebuck and Company sold an extensive line of cameras and photo accessories under the Tower name. Here’s a scan from an instruction booklet from around 1950.

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Sears refers to the camera as the TOWER 35 but the camera’s top plate is engraved with Tower Type-3. The booklet also calls the camera the TYPE III. The camera was made for Sears by the Nicca Camera Company of Tokyo starting in the late 1940s through at least 1952 or so. Nicca also sold the same camera under their own name as the Nicca Type-3 or simply the Type III. They’re beautiful examples of craftsmanship that survive today as not only awesome cameras but works of industrial art.

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The Tower logo as it appears on the lid of the camera box. It’s a super cool design.

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A gorgeous early example of this wonderful camera.

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The cover of an original Nicca Type-3 instruction booklet – 1950

If you’re looking to collect an early example of these wonderful cameras they are readily available on various online auction sites both here in the United States and in Japan. Be advised that if you plan of actually taking pictures with it most if not all will require a complete service by a qualified technician (about $200 to $300). If you’re just looking to add one to your collection then expect to spend in the vicinity of $200 for one that shows well.

Thanks for stopping by! – 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.

 

 

In the Shop – Rare Fuji Photo & More!

New in the shop this week at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

listings 8.16.19

Stop by my camera and photo gear shop hosted by Etsy for some really interesting items. I ship almost anywhere in the world quickly and securely. Give my shop a look! Thanks

listings 8.16.2019

If there’s something you don’t see that you have been looking for give me a shout – I may already have it in my collection or I know where to get it. Email me at ccphotographyai@gmail.com

Thanks, Chris