The Mica Automat (ミカオートマット) is a Japanese subminiature camera using 16mm film, made by Konan in the late 1940s.
The Mica Automat was developed just after World War II by Nishimura Gakan (西村雅貫), with financial support from Hanaya Kanbei (ハナヤ勘兵衛). Nishimura was an engineer who worked during the war on spy cameras, disguised as cigarette packs or matchboxes. Hanaya was a photographer who owned a camera shop with darkroom service before the war, and who wanted to produce a subminiature camera taking 16mm film. The camera was manufactured by the Kōnan Kamera Kenkyūjo (Konan Camera Laboratory), which was founded by Nishimura in 1947, with the funds provided by Hanaya.
It is said that the camera was sold in limited quantities around 1947. However the camera only appeared in the press in the new products column of the January 1949 issue of Kohga Gekkan, where it is attributed to Hanaya Kanbei, apparently with no mention of Nishimura and Kōnan. The initial funds soon dried out, and Kōnan sought support from Chiyoda Kōgaku Seikō (maker of the Minolta cameras), which bought the patents and arranged serial production as the Konan-16 Automat. (Cooperation between Kōnan and Chiyoda possibly began early on, to develop the Kōnan-Rapid shutter of the Semi Minolta III.)
The Mica Automat is extremely similar to its successor the Konan-16 Automat.
- Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Item 886.
- Kubota Seiichirō (久保田盛一郎). "Nishimura Gakan shi to Mika Ōtomatto" (西村雅貫氏とミカオートマット, Nishimura Gakan and the Mica Automat). In Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.53, December 1999. ISBN 4-257-13026-1. Tokushū: 50-nin no korekutā ni kiku watakushi no ichi-dai (特集:50人のコレクターに聞く私の1題, 50 stories told by camera collectors). Pp.32–3. The author personally knew Nishimura and his wife.
- Lewis, Gordon, ed. The History of the Japanese Camera. Rochester, N.Y.: George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography & Film, 1991. ISBN 0-935398-17-1 (paper), 0-935398-16-3 (hard). P.72. (The camera is called "Mika Automat", and Nishimura Gakan is called "Nishimura Masanuki" by mistake.)
- Saeki Kakugorō (佐伯恪五郎). "Tashima Gizō-shi ni kiku" (田嶋義三氏に聞く, "Asking Tashima Gizō"). Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.12, October 1988. No ISBN number. Minoruta kamera no subete (ミノルタカメラのすべて, special issue on Minolta). Pp.76–9.
- Sugiyama, Kōichi (杉山浩一); Naoi, Hiroaki (直井浩明); Bullock, John R. The Collector's Guide to Japanese Cameras. 国産カメラ図鑑 (Kokusan kamera zukan). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1985. ISBN 4-257-03187-5. Item 5064 and p.280.
- Mica Automat (text only) at Submin.com
- Mica Automat (text only) among 16mm film cameras at Subclub.org