Nicca 3-S 1954

Tomei Collection

Originally Kogaku Seiki Co. produced Leica clones from 1942 through 1947.  The early models were obviously copies of the German Leica and come from the very close German collaboration of which the Pre-WWI and WWII Japanese camera industry took full advantage.  For a very brief period in 1948 they were known as the Nippon Camera Works but the name was changed again to Nicca Camera Works.  In late 1951, the name of the company changed once again, this time to Nicca Camera Company, Ltd.  In 1958 they were absorbed into Yashica although the Nicca model designation persisted for a short time thereafter. 


The Nicca 3-S was introduced in 1954 and is the first model incorporating then newly standardized geometric shutter speed progression.  It was basically a Nicca 4 (introduced the previous year) but with a maximum shutter speed of 1/500 sec.  The example shown here is No. 61561 and is equipped with an optional seven element coated Nikkor-SC f/1.4 5cm lens of similar production date.  The standard lens for this model had been the five element f/3.5 Nikkor-QC.  According to some sources, the 3-S was the most popular model Nicca camera, approximately 10,000 having been produced.


Accessories include the original lens hood, UV filter and a Tower universal viewfinder.


This is my favorite camera to carry around to shoot on various trips.  It is reliable and the f/1.4 Nikkor-S lens is sharp, contrasty and generally a pleasure to use. It has viewfinder diopter adjustment, slow speeds and flash synch terminals. It's only limitations are the 1/500 maximum shutter speed and the persistent Leica-style bottom film loading.