Nicca Flash Unit from around 1953

As you may have guessed by now if you casually follow this blog that I also have a passion for collecting bits of camera gear made by and for the Nicca Camera Company. Nicca was acquired by Yashica in 1958 and that acquisition led directly to Yashica developing (with lots of help from Nicca designers) its first 35mm single-lens reflex camera the Pentamatic 35 by early 1960. Yashica was a bit slow to the marketplace with an SLR as Canon, Asahi Pentax and Canon (among others) had already introduced SLRs by then.

Because of this relationship, Nicca has always held a prominent spot in my collection and the Nicca 3-S remains one of my favorite 35mm rangefinders to shoot with. Recently I’ve added this wonderful flash set to my collection.

From the instruction booklet, it describes this as “an automatic rechargeable flash gun specifically designed for Nicca cameras”.

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Considering its age (1953) it’s in outstanding condition. Hey, it’s as old as me!

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All set to go. The Nicca B.C.B. flash unit attached to my Nicca 3-S.

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Viewed from above the pilot lamp is visible on the top center of the flash head. It lights up when the flash is ready to fire.

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The red-tipped bulb ejector button. You don’t want to handle a hot bulb.

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As part of the set, I received the original instruction booklet and a pamphlet for the flashbulbs which were made by West Electric Company of Tokyo and Osaka – later to become or at least partner with National-Matsushita.

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A closer look at the “Exposure Guide Numbers” card pictured in the previous image above.

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The reflector is about 5.5 inches across. The bulb looks tiny compared to the reflector but believe me, it puts out some light!

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Advertisement from late 1951 0r 1952.  The flash looks like it used a slightly different connector cord than the one in my set. Hinomaruya ( ひのまるや ) was the Domestic General Agent for Nicca in Japan.

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Details from the instruction booklet. Shown in this image is a capacitor and 22.5-volt battery to power the flash but it could also be powered by two “D” cell batteries or three “AA” penlight batteries with an adapter.

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Size comparison between the flash handle and two D-cell batteries. As can be seen, the optional add on handle extension would need to be used. 

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Front view without the reflector. My guess is that the “BC” means battery-capacitor and the “B” is for battery (I don’t know for sure about the last “B” at this point).

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Camera side view with the shutter cord connector and “L” bracket connector visible. The red-tipped bulb ejector button is also visible.

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Parts detail minus the reflector and the capacitor/battery.

Nicca only made 35mm rangefinder cameras (maybe a lens or two but unproven) during its existence so the flash unit was made by another company. It’s likely that the West Electric Company, Limited, of Osaka and Tokyo was the manufacturer although no part of the flash is marked with the name “West”. Only the included pamphlet mentioned West. As stated earlier in this post, it’s likely that West merged or partnered with National-Matsushita Electric to build additional models of flash units during the second half of the 1950s.

Thanks for stopping by! If you know what “B.C.B.” means please share it with me. – 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.

 

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Nicca 3-F Camera Case – first of its kind?

I know, this is not an overly exciting post – rather obscure actually.

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Nicca 3-F ‘Snap Shot Case’.

The Nicca 3-F was one of many well-built 35mm rangefinder cameras produced by Nicca Camera Company in the late 1950s. Nicca would be acquired by Yashica in early 1958 and some of the technology that Nicca possessed went to Yashica in the deal. The acquisition directly led to the development of Yashica’s first 35mm SLR, the Pentamatic in late 1959. I digress.

My good friend Paul Sokk (www.yashicatlr.com) recently shared this scan of an instruction booklet he acquired for his Nicca. What struck me as I translated (actually an app on my phone translated it) is how this camera case was constructed.

Here’s the translation: “The snap shot case uses a brown box skin and comes with a shoulder strap as an accessory. It is glued, and the case of the stringer does not use any adhesive. Moreover, it has sufficient strength against external force (especially the projection of the lens part). Recently, there are those who use the camera out of the case and naked, but since it is likely that the camera is often hurt, it is recommended to put it in the case and use it as much as possible”.

I hadn’t noticed Nicca cases before this one that did not use stitching. Why is that important? On most vintage (40-year-old or more) cases the stitching has long since failed and the case falls apart. It will be interesting to see if these glued cases stood the test of time and in better condition than their stitched cousins.

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A close-up view of a glued case.

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Typical stitched case.

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 Bits

I love finding “new” bits of vintage photo gear especially when you’ve been hunting for them for years.

These bits may seem like no big deal but if you collect hard to find items in their original boxes and cases it’s rewarding when it all comes together.

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Nicca-Hinomaruya Y2 filter and lens hood. Both are from at least 1955 but likely earlier.

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Hinomaruya was the exclusive distributor of Nicca cameras and accessories.

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Using a Y2 yellow filter is a must when shooting with black and white film. It will generally darken a blue sky and provide more contrast between the sky and clouds. It can also help add better definition when shooting landscapes where haze and light atmospheric fog is present. When using a Y2 filter on a camera such as this one you must compensate by a factor of two when taking your meter readings. If you’re using an SLR with TTL metering then the camera’s built-in meter will compensate for you.

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Nicca Type 33 sales brochure showing a slightly different box for the hood and for a color filter along with the older style filter box. The Type 33 was one of the last Nicca cameras produced by the company and was released in 1958 so this would represent the last style of filter and hood boxes. As with everything else, these items were distributed by Hinomaruya.

Studio Camera: Fujifilm X-A10

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.

 

Hinomaruya ひのまるや and Nicca Camera

Nicca camera made one of the better 35 mm rangefinder cameras in the 1950s. The style of camera is typically referred to as a Leica copy or Leica clone which is an unfair label to attach to the cameras of this design. One could argue that all cameras are copies of some previous camera – someone had to be first.

Here’s one of my favorite cameras in my collection – the Nicca 3-S rangefinder from about 1955.

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Seldom seen outside of Japan, here’s a nice lens hood with Nicca branding. It was distributed by Hinomaruya Co., Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan. The hood (or lens shade) was designed to be used with the Nikkor 50 mm f/2 lens and had a mount size of 40.5 mm.

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The attention to even the smallest details is what makes collecting these vintage bits of photo gear interesting and fun. The Yashica branded lens shades from this period look exactly the same so I will assume that the same manufacturer made them all. Could it have been Hinomaruya? No proof that they actually “made” things.

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The back of the leather case carries the Hinomaruya (in Japanese it’s ひのまるや) logo in a similar font as the Nicca logo (or at least close to it).

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Side view of the box – the translation is “Nicca Lens Hood”.

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There’s very little about the company Hinomaruya available on the web. It’s last known address was Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Muromachi 4-3 (which was just around the corner from Yashica). The company was the exclusive distributor of Nicca up until 1958 when Yashica acquired Nicca. They also distributed the rather cool Melcon 35 mm rangefinder camera and the Nikkor lenses used on both the Melcon and Nicca.

Hiromaruya in hiragana is ひのまるや

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Here’s a bag that has Nicca and Hinomaruya on it. Another direct link between the two of them.

I’m not sure if they made this slide projector or if they distributed it but this item is from about 1959 – interesting because it’s a year after the Yashica acquisition of Nicca.

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There are a few (very few) advertisements floating around on the web from Hinomaruya and I haven’t seen that name anywhere on paperwork from Nicca associated with the camera. It’s unknown if they handled warranty registrations and related paperwork for Nicca or Nikkor.

Thanks for stopping by and BTW, if you have additional information about Hinomaruya or Nicca please feel free to share it with me! Thanks – Chris

Studio Camera: Fujifilm X-A10

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.

Happy SUNday! – Rangefinders Rule

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A trio of 1950s Japanese 35mm rangefinder cameras. Starting from the top, the Yashica YE was made shortly after Yashica acquired Nicca in 1958. In the middle, the Nicca 3-S was one of the last cameras made with the Nicca name and last, the Tower Type-3 which was made by Nicca for the Sears, Roebuck and Company around 1951. All of these were considered to be excellent “copies” of the Leica rangefinder.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day! – Chris

By the way, I’m having a big after Christmas sale in my online camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com – stop by and see if something strikes your fancy! ^.^

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 © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Nicca 3-S vs. Nicca 3-F

Another look at these two classic cameras from Nicca.

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

We’ve always assumed that the Nicca cameras were pretty much the same size from one model to another. The early 1950s models look for the most part, the same as the 1958 models. Now that we have two Niccas in our collection it’s time to do some comparisons.

Nicca 3-F on the left and the Nicca 3-S on the right.

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First off, without the lenses attached, there is a slight difference in weight between the two with the 3-F weighing in at 445 grams and the 3-S weighing 432 grams.

There is however a difference in size which surprised us. The later model 3-F (left) is taller than the 3-S (right) by about 4mm.

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The 3-F is also longer than the 3-S by about 7mm.

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The 3-F is about 7mm longer and 1mm wider than the 3-S.

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The 3-F is the top body with the 3-S on the bottom.

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Since…

View original post 98 more words

Nicca & Tower Instruction Booklets

Not often seen, here’s a few instruction booklets for the classic Nicca and Nicca-Tower rangefinders. No dates on these but by the look of the cameras on the covers, I’d say the earliest is 1950.

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The Nicca Type III (Type-3) pictured above and below.

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The Nicca 3-S and Type 4 (below).

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The Tower Type III made by Nicca for Sears, Roebuck and Company (below).

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Do you have a Tower or Nicca instruction booklet? How about some early ads? We are interested buyers of anything relating to Nicca and the Tower rangefinder cameras of the 1950s. Let us know. Thanks – 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 © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Nicca 3-S with Nicca BC-III Flash Unit

Nice mid-1950s technology – an outstanding 35mm rangefinder camera paired with a cutting edge Nicca flash.

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Here the flash handle is attached to the leather camera case via the left side metal bracket on the case. It does put a bit of a strain on the case so probably not the best way to tote it around.

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Nice textured vinyl bag for the set.

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The case has held up nicely over the years. I’m missing the connector cord and of course the 22.5v Type 015 battery (they are still available). The cord will be difficult to find but that’s half the fun!

If you happen to have the connector cord please let me know – I’m a buyer!

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris