Nikon 16

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The Nikon 16 is a prototype subminiature camera made by Nippon Kōgaku around 1959. It is only known from a book by Rotoloni on Nikon rangefinder cameras.[1] The camera's actual name is uncertain, and the name "Nikon 16" is perhaps a recent invention.


The camera has the shape of a bar, and satin metal finish all around. It was quite inspired by the Gami 16. It is said to take 10×14mm exposures on perforated 16mm film.[2] The cassettes are the same as on the Gami,[2] but the two systems are not fully compatible, because the original Gami takes unperforated film.

The camera can be used in the vertical and horizontal direction, and there is no real notion of top and bottom. There is an eye-level viewfinder at one end, reportedly combined with a rangefinder.[2] The back door is hinged next to the finder eyepiece, and reveals a focal plane shutter, apparently with curved metal curtains.[3]

It is said that the film is advanced by a spring motor,[2] but an advance lever is visible on one side, perhaps to wind the spring. The exposure counter and release button are on the opposite side. The release side also has a large disc, certainly used to set the shutter speed, reportedly from 1/2 to 1/500s.[2]

The lens is a Nikkor 25/1.4, focused by a ring half-sunken at the front of the camera. There are depth-of-field indications on the release side, and the NIKKOR 1.4/25 lens name on the other. There is also a NIPPON KOGAKU TOKYO JAPAN logo on the advance side, next to the finder eyepiece.


It is said that the camera was developed on the initiative of Joseph Ehrenreich, CEO of Nikon Inc. and exclusive distributor of the Nippon Kōgaku products in the USA.[2] Two functional prototypes were made around 1959: one was kept by the company and the other was dispatched to Ehrenreich.[2] The project was finally abandoned, certainly because the market was not deemed large enough for a new participant to enter.


  1. Rotoloni, pp.192–3.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Rotoloni, p.192.
  3. Picture in Rotoloni, p.193.


  • Rotoloni, Robert. Nikon Rangefinder Camera. Hove, East Sussex: Hove Foto Books, 1983 (second edition). ISBN 1-874707-07-3. Pp.192–3.