Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
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See also the Semi Adler and Adler III (4.5×6cm), Adler B (4.5×6cm), Adler C (4.5×6cm), Adler Four (4×4cm), Adler Six (6×6cm) and Vest Adler (4×6.5cm).

The Adler A (アドラーA型)[1] is a 4.5×6cm folding camera sold from 1938 by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō and its parent company Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō (predecessor of Ricoh).


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.


The camera appears in a catalogue by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō reproduced above, certainly dated 1938.[2] The document says that the Adler A and Adler B were introduced after the Adler III, to extend the range of Adler cameras.[3] 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.

The advertisement in Shinkō Graph August 1938, reproduced on the right, lists the same features and shows the same picture.[4] Another document dated 1938 reportedly lists the Adler A for ¥90, with ten-month payment option.[5] The camera was also featured in the new products column of the October 1938 issue of Asahi Camera.[6]

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.[7]

Z99 Adler-A 1938 folding camera RARE 001

Adler-A 75mm F:3.5 adler Anastigmat no. 1410

Z99 Adler-A 1938 folding camera RARE 002

Rear of Adler-A

Z99 Adler-A 1938 folding camera RARE lens

Peerless shutter & Adler Anastigmat 75mm F:3.5 lens. Note red markings!

Surviving examples[]

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.[8] 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.

Eastwestphoto example of the Adler A Camera 2-25-2013,,, Peerless shutter in Art - Deco black & High chrome stencil.  Akk in small circle ( Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō ), Nickel speed ring, T,B, 5,10,25,50,100,200 shutter speeds. F:stops are 3.5,4.5,6.3,9,12,18. Distance scale in meters, marked Mtr in red and infinity in red, all distances on the front of the cell focus ring, with black lines. Two locking releases on the lens sides for the  High chromed scissor struts. Winding knob on bottom Nickel 24mmx7mm with four concentric circle black circles etched in it! Two red windows on the back with sliding covers. Tubular black enameled optical finder on top on left side, of good image quality, 0.65x magnified. Very good surviving quality sample, with stenciled Adler-A case.

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.

The camera pictured in Sugiyama has a similar lens (no.1303) and focusing scale, and has an Automat shutter (5–150, B, T), inscribed PATENT PENDING at the top and Automat at the bottom.[9]

Finally, the camera pictured in this page at Japan Family Camera differs by the addition of a release button on the front door, near the hinge.[10] (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.


  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. Catalogue Olympic Products, c.1938, pp.5 and 14.
  3. 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.
  4. Advertisement in Shinkō Graph August 1938, p.39.
  5. "Riken Konzern geppō" (理研コンツエルン月報), quoted in Tanaka, p.16 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
  6. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.334.
  7. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 3, sections 5A and 7A.
  8. Example pictured in Tanaka, p.17 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14, and in this page of the Ricoh official website.
  9. Example pictured in Sugiyama, item 1028, where it is called "Adler Semi". The leather covering has no marking, and is probably not original.
  10. Example pictured in this page and this page at Japan Family Camera, where it is called "Adler B" by mistake. The original leather covering went missing and was replaced.


Original documents[]

Recent sources[]

The Adler A 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