Shinano Camera Company Ltd. – Pigeon Model III

From around 1953 or late 1952.

35mm viewfinder camera with non-interchangeable lenses.

Asahi53_Page_38 pigeon 35 III

Asahi Camera magazine advertisement from 1953. Download courtesy of Paul Sokk


A very clean and streamlined design gives this camera a rather modern look even by today’s standards.


The standard lens is a Tomioka Optical Company Tri-Lausar f/3.5 4.5cm


A simple top plate features a film advance lever (far right) tucked into the upper right corner of the backplate. Maybe a first for a Japanese made 35mm camera.


A closer view of the film advance lever. Advancing the film did not charge the shutter.


Below is a scan of the original instruction sheet supplied with the Model III.




Pigeon Model III

pigeon 2

My Pigeon Model IIA from 1952. This gorgeous camera is no longer in my collection.

These Shinano Pigeon 35 cameras are an interesting collectible but so far after owning two of them I’ve yet to be able to shoot a roll of film. The Model IIA pictured above had a non-functioning focus lever that somehow became detached internally. I didn’t catch that it wasn’t right until after I sold it. The Model II that I recently acquired at auction has two major problems. Again the focus lever did not work as it was frozen in the infinity position probably from lack of use and the second problem was that although the film advance lever moved it did not advance the film. That might have been a simple fix but since the focus lever wasn’t working I won’t try to get it repaired. The Tomioka lenses on both cameras were clean and clear and the shutters sounded accurate.

My advice is to proceed with caution before purchasing these early cameras as they are approaching nearly 70 years since they were made. Things happen over time and unless you’re a talented repairperson expect these to simply look good in a collection of early Japanese 35mm cameras.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit my camera shop at – Chris

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Here is a cleaned-up version of the leaflet courtesy of a reader. Thanks to ‘Bambi’.
Here is a translation (maybe a rough translation) of the leaflet provided by the reader ‘Bambi’. Thanks