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The Nicca Camera Co. Ltd. started as the optical workshop Kōgaku Seiki-sha (光学精機社, meaning Optics and Precision Co.) in 1940, founded by former employees of Seiki Kōgaku (the predecessor of Canon). It was based in Tokyo, Honjo.[1] Its first camera, the Nippon, a close copy of the Leica rangefinder camera, was produced in 1942.

In 1948, the company changed its name to the Nippon Camera Works, and a year later, to the Nicca Camera Works. It continued to build Leica-type rangefinder cameras, adding such features as flash synchronization, lever wind, a hinged film back, and projected viewfinder framing. Nicca also made cameras for Sears under the Tower name.

In 1958, the company was acquired by Yashica, which manufactured and re-labeled the Nicca-33 and III-L as the Yashica YE and YF respectively.

Camera list

  • Nippon
  • Nicca (original)
  • Nicca III or Nicca Type-3
  • Tower Type-3 (Leica III-copy for Sears & Roebuck, 1949)
  • Nicca IIIA (Leica III-copy, 1951)
  • Nicca IIIB (Leica III-copy, 1951)
  • Nicca IIIS (Leica III-copy, 1952)
  • Nicca 3-S
  • Nicca 4
  • Nicca 5
  • Nicca 5L
  • Nicca 3-F
  • Nicca 33
  • Nicca III-L
  • Peerless 35
  • Snider 35
  • Yashica YE
  • Yashica YF (Leica M3-copy)


  1. Its address in 1943 was Tōkyō-to Honjo-ku Higashi-Ryōgoku 3–10 (東京都本所区東両国3–10). Source: "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), listing the Japanese camera production as of April 1943.


  • "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" (国産写真機ノ現状調査, Inquiry into Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943. Reproduced in Supuringu kamera de ikou: Zen 69 kishu no shōkai to tsukaikata (スプリングカメラでいこう: 全69機種の紹介と使い方, Let's try spring cameras: Presentation and use of 69 machines). Tokyo: Shashinkogyo Syuppan-sha, 2004. ISBN 4-87956-072-3. Pp.180–7.
  • DECHERT, Peter. The Contax Connection. Historical Camera Publications, 2007. Available for download in PDF at Peter Dechert's Corner (includes relevant informacion about Nicca cameras]