Adler Six

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Japanese Six (6×6)
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
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Postwar models ->
Japanese 6×6 TLR, pseudo TLR and medium format SLR ->
Japanese Semi (4.5×6) and older 6×9 ->

See also the Semi Adler and Adler III (4.5×6cm), Adler A (4.5×6cm), Adler B (4.5×6cm), Adler C (4.5×6cm), Adler Four (4×4cm), and Vest Adler (4×6.5cm).

The Adler Six[1] (アドラーシックス) are 6×6 folding cameras, sold by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō and its parent company Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō (predecessor of Ricoh), from 1938 to the early 1940s.

Adler VI (1938)


A 6×6cm Adler camera was announced in the August 1938 issue of Shinkō Graph.[2] In the document, it is merely described as a bellows camera, with no further detail. The name is given as "Adler IV" (アドラーIV), an obvious mistake. (The true Adler Four was a 4×4cm folding camera, announced in the same issue of the magazine.)

Another 1938 document reportedly has an Adler VI (アドラーVI型), certainly the same camera, priced at ¥90 with f/4.5 lens and ¥100 with f/3.5 lens.[3] The document lists various other Adler cameras, and offers ten-month payment plans.[4]

Possible surviving example

This early Adler VI, for which no original picture is available, is surely different from the horizontal folding camera that was sold in the early 1940s. It probably corresponds to a rebadged version of the First Six by Kuribayashi. One surviving Adler 6×6cm camera, clearly based on the First Six, is pictured in an article by Tanaka.[5] It has the name Adler embossed in the leather covering at the front, and a folding optical finder for square exposures. Its shutter is a Peerless (5–150, B, T), marked PEERLESS at the bottom, with the round AKK logo of Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō on the right. The lens is an Adler Anastigmat f/4.5.

Adler Six (early 1940s)


The Adler Six sold in the early 1940s is a horizontal folding camera, copy of the Ikonta 6×6. There is a folding optical finder in the middle of the top plate. The film is advanced by a key at the left end — as seen by the photographer. The body release is on the right and the folding bed release is on the left, next to the viewfinder. There are strap lugs at both ends of the body. The back is hinged to the right, and locked by a sliding bar on the left.

The shutter is a Roico I (T, B, 5–200) with setting lever.[6] The rim is engraved ROICO I at the bottom and the speed settings are inscribed T, B, 200, 100, 50, 25, 10, 5 in that order.

The camera exists in two versions: the Adler Six I with a Ricoh Anastigmat 75/4.5 lens, and the Adler Six II with a three-element[7] Ricoh Anastigmat 75/3.5 lens.

Advertisements and other documents

The official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941 has an "Adler Six" for ¥79 and an "Adler Six II" for ¥94.[8] It is not known for sure if they correspond to the camera advertised in 1942 or if they are a continuation of the 1938 model mentioned above.

An advertisement dated July 1942 lists the Adler Six I for ¥93 and the Adler Six II for ¥111.[9] An October 1942 advertisement in Shashin Bunka lists the model II alone, at an unchanged price.[10]

The Adler Six still appears in the government inquiry listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943, with the Ricoh f/3.5 lens only.[11]

Surviving example

The only surviving example known so far is an Adler Six II, pictured in an article by Tanaka and in the Ricoh official website.[12] It has the Ricoh Anastigmat 7.5cm f/3.5 lens no.10668.


  1. 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.
  2. Column in Shinkō Graph August 1938, p.37.
  3. "Riken Konzern geppō" (理研コンツエルン月報), quoted in Tanaka, p.16 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
  4. Tanaka, p.16 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
  5. Example pictured in Tanaka, p.17 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14. The picture is reproduced in this page of the Ricoh official website, where the camera is wrongly described as an Adler III.
  6. This page of the Ricoh official website says that the shutter is a Roico II with B, 10–200 speeds, but this is probably a mistake.
  7. Three elements: "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), lens item Lb14. Tanaka, p.19 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14, and this page of the Ricoh website say four elements but this is probably a mistake.
  8. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 4, sections 3 and 4.
  9. Advertisement in Asahi Graph (15 July 1942), formerly reproduced at Gochamaze (archived).
  10. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.58.
  11. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 93.
  12. Example pictured in Tanaka, p.18 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14, and in this page of the Ricoh website.


Original documents

  • "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. Item 93.
  • "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 4, sections 3 and 4.
  • Shinkō Graph (新光グラフ) August 1938. "Orinpikku kamera nyūsu" (オリンピックカメラニュース, Olympic camera news). P.37.

Recent sources

The Adler Six is not listed in Sugiyama.


In Japanese:

Asahi Bussan and Riken prewar and wartime cameras (edit)
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
folders pseudo TLR TLR
Semi Adler | Adler III | Adler A | Adler B | Adler C | Adler Four | Adler Six | Gaica | Heil | Kinsi Chukon Ref Ricohflex | Ricohflex B