Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

Meguro Optical Melcon (Original)

The Melcon is basically a copy of the Leica III (feature-wise), with a few improvements. It had a top speed of 1/500, although the speeds split from the slow dial to the fast dial at 1/25.The eyepieces were spaced far apart like the Leica III and IIIa. The camera did have an opening back, not for conveneince in loading, but to prevent film chips from being trapped inside and fouling the mechanism (a common problem with bottom load Leicas). It also had flash synch for FP bulbs on the faster speeds, and electronic flash on the X setting. In addition, the tollerance of film to flange distance was much higher than most Leica copies, at +/- 0.01 instead of the standard +/- 0.02. This would allow more precise focusing, especially with fast lenses shot wide open. And yet, it lacked strap lugs.

The camera was offered with Nikkor lenses form Nippon Kogaku (which was then currently marketing their own camera, the Nikon), although they were in Leica thread mount instead of the bayonet mount found on the Nikon.

The Melcon was introduced in July 1955, and was in production until 1956. The serial numbers all start with either 55 or 56, and are all five digit numbers. It may be that the first two digits indicate the year of production. Numbers seen range from 550001 (which has soe differences tha most examples and may be apre-production camera) to 56776. This suggests that if the serial numbers started at 550001 and were nubered sequentially, a probable minimum production of at least about 1800 cameras. If they were not, and were prefaced with the year, then perhaps a bit lower than that. Although with serial numbers 55497 and 56776, it would suggest at least about 1300.

The Melcon Original with a 50mm Nikkor lens.