Saica, Kiku 16, Gem 16 and Halmat
The Kiku 16, Gem 16, Saica and Halmat are Japanese subminiature cameras, taking 17.5mm film.
All the models share the same body, and take ten 14×14mm exposures on a roll of 17.5mm film. The camera is comparable in size and style to the Toyoca 16 by Tougodo. The design is more angular and larger than regular Hit-type cameras, and is inspired by contemporary 35mm viewfinder cameras.
The back is removable together with the bottom plate for film loading. It is locked by a key situated under the camera. The film is advanced by a knob at the top right, as seen by the photographer. Its position is controlled via a green-coloured window in the middle of the back. There is a fake rewind knob at the top left, mimicking that of 35mm cameras.
The shutter is tripped by a button on the top cover, next to the viewfinder, a rare feature on Hit-type cameras. It only gives Bulb and Instant exposures, selected by a knob at the front, reminding the slow-speed dial of the Leica III and of various Leica copies.
The lens barrel is silver finished and has various fake rings, imitating the chrome lenses of 35mm rangefinder cameras. The lens has a fixed focus and a small fixed aperture, even if the large diameter of the front element tries to deceive the potential buyer.
The Kiku 16, Gem 16 and Saica share a common design of the top plate, with a low profile and a protrusion for the viewfinder. The Halmat has a different design.
Kiku 16 Model I
The top plate has a low profile, with a protrusion for the viewfinder. The shutter is self-cocking, and the film advance window is uncovered. The name Kiku16 Model I is engraved above the viewfinder.
Kiku 16 Model II
The Kiku 16 Model II was featured in the April 1957 issue of Shashin Salon, where it is attributed to Morita Shōkai too. The main difference with the Model I is the addition of a shutter cocking lever under the speed selector. The name Kiku 16 Model II is engraved above the viewfinder too.
Gem 16 Model II
The Gem 16 Model II is exactly similar to the Kiku 16 Model II, except for the name GEM 16 MODEL II engraved on the top plate.
- 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. Items 1207–8.
- McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). Pp.376 and 700.
- Pritchard, Michael and St. Denny, Douglas. Spy Cameras — A century of detective and subminiature cameras. London: Classic Collection Publications, 1993. ISBN 1-874485-00-3. Pp.75, 77 and 79 (the Halmat is spelled "Kalmet" and "Kalmat" by mistake).
- 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. Items 5038, 5047 and 5129.
- Pages at Submin.com:
- Past auctions by Westlicht Photographica Auction
- Gem 16 among other subminiature cameras at the Subminiature site of Gary Sivertsen
- Kiku 16 in Nigel Richards' website
- Kiku 16 at Benbojo's Classic Cameras