Japan 1947 – Subminiature – 16 mm – Very Rare.
The Steky is a beautiful subminiature camera produced by the Asahi Musen Company starting 1947. It was then taken over by the Riken Optical Company (Ricoh) in 1950.
At the time, film and processing costs were expensive so 16 mm cameras were very popular. But when most were of low-quality and not much more than toys, the Steky came with interchangeable lenses, variable shutter and aperture speeds and was in fact a very robust camera. It was a very popular spy and private-eye camera because of its size and accessible price.
In the Japanese subminiature family, the Steky holds a very special spot, because when most of the subminiatures were designed to look like miniatures of larger cameras (typically the beautiful Kiku or Snappy), the Steky took a more radical approach. The various elements (finders, dials) were redistributed around the camera body to optimize accessibility despite its small dimensions. Giving the Steky a distinctive vertical aspect. The original cameras were finished in nickel, later ones in brushed aluminium.
With all its pocket-sized and beautifully crafted accessories, the Steky became an incredible collectible.