The camera is a rebadged version of the Collex. Its actual manufacturer is unknown. It has scissor struts inspired by the Zeh Goldi (a German 3×4cm camera), a tubular optical finder and two red windows in the back, protected by individual sliding covers. (See the page on the Collex for a full description.)
The name Adler A is normally embossed in the leather covering, at the front of the camera.
|Adler A in a catalogue by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō, c.1938. (Image rights)|
The camera appears in a catalogue by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō reproduced above, certainly dated 1938. The document says that the Adler A and Adler B were introduced after the Adler III, to extend the range of Adler cameras. The shutter is a Peerless (T, B, 5–200), marked PEERLESS at the bottom, with the round AKK logo of Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō on the right. On the pictured camera, it has a setting lever and a release arm at the front. In the text, the lens is described as a Ukas Anastigmat f/3.5, but the picture shows an Adler Anastigmat marking, with lens number 1007. The price is given as ¥85, case included.
|Advertisement in Shinkō Graph August 1938. (Image rights)|
The advertisement in Shinkō Graph August 1938, reproduced on the right, lists the same features and shows the same picture. Another document dated 1938 reportedly lists the Adler A for ¥90, with ten-month payment option. The camera was also featured in the new products column of the October 1938 issue of Asahi Camera.
Finally, the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941 mentions the Adler A (¥85), and has an "Adler AII" at two places (¥85 and ¥98), with no further detail.
Various surviving examples of the Adler A have been observed. The camera pictured in an article by Tanaka has a Peerless shutter, slightly different from that pictured in the original documents: It has no setting lever, the shape of the release arm is different, and the speeds appear in the order 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 200, B, T. The camera has a 7.5cm f/3.5 lens, reportedly called Adler Anastigmat, with the focusing scale on the side of the lens rim. The advance knob has a key-shaped part added at the top, which is probably not original.
The camera pictured in the AJCC website has a Rulex shutter by Neumann & Heilemann, with the late front plate design (see the Rulex page). The shutter features and controls are exactly the same as on the Peerless mounted on the previous example — this similarity might indicate that the Peerless was a rebadged version of the Rulex. The camera has an Adler Anastigmat f/3.5 lens (no.1048), with the focusing scale at the front of the lens rim.
Finally, the camera pictured in this page (archived) at Japan Family Camera differs by the addition of a release button on the front door, near the hinge. (This might correspond to the Adler AII mentioned in the January 1941 price list.) The shutter is a Rulex (5–200, B, T) with setting lever. The lens is the same Adler Anastigmat f/3.5 as on the other cameras, with the focusing scale on the side.
- The name "Adler" was clearly used to demonstrate Japan's alliance with Germany. During the war period, Riken often used such names (they also sold a Heil camera), or other "patriotic" names.
- Catalogue Olympic Products, c.1938, pp.5 and 14.
- Catalogue Olympic Products, c.1938, p.14: 弊社では先にブローニー(½)判のアドラーⅢを発売しましたが、その好評嘖々たるに鑑み今回姉妹機としてアドラーA型及びB型を特に速写ケース付で発売致しました.
- Advertisement in Shinkō Graph August 1938, p.39.
- "Riken Konzern geppō" (理研コンツエルン月報), quoted in Tanaka, p.16 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.334.
- "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 3, sections 5A and 7A.
- Example pictured in Tanaka, p.17 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14, and in this page of the Ricoh official website.
- Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1028, where it is called "Adler Semi". The leather covering has no marking, and is probably not original.
- Example pictured in this page (archived) at Japan Family Camera, where it is called "Adler B" by mistake. The original leather covering went missing and was replaced.
- Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō. Olympic Products. Catalogue published c.1938 (date not indicated). Document reproduced in this Flickr set by Rebollo_fr.
- "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku" (国産写真機の公定価格, Set prices of the Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of October 25, 1940 and setting the retail prices from December 10, 1940. Published in Asahi Camera January 1941 and reproduced in 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. Pp.108—9. Type 3, sections 5A and 7A.
- Shinkō Graph (新光グラフ) August 1938. Advertisement by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō on p.39.
- 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 4.
- 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). P.828.
- 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 1028.
- Tanaka Masao (田中政雄). "Senzen no kamera 2: Supuringu kamera" (戦前のカメラ2・スプリングカメラ, Prewar cameras 2: folding cameras). 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.14, October 1989. No ISBN number. Rikō kamera no subete (リコーカメラのすべて, special issue on Ricoh). Pp.16–9.
The Adler A is not listed in Sugiyama.
- Adler A in a page of the AJCC website
- Adler A in the Ricoh camera list of the Ricoh official website (the page gives the wrong impression that the Adler B is similar to the Adler A)
|Asahi Bussan and Riken prewar and wartime cameras ( )|
|rigid or collapsible|
|Vest Adler | Gokoku | Semi Kinsi | Letix | Olympic | New Olympic | Regal Olympic | Semi Olympic | Super Olympic | Vest Olympic | Riken No.1 | Ricohl | Roico | Seica | Zessan|
|Semi Adler | Adler III | Adler A | Adler B | Adler C | Adler Four | Adler Six | Gaica | Heil | Kinsi||Chukon Ref||Ricohflex | Ricohflex B|