‘Faked’ Yashica J-5 in Pro-Black Body

Some time ago we purchased (through auction) what was listed as a rare black body Yashica J-5. The camera was sold by a well known camera dealer with a long ‘track record’ of prior excellent sales. We know from our research and hands-on experience that Yashica’s first ‘Pro-Black’ 35mm SLR was the J-3 as we own two of them and have sold others that were in our collection.

I (Chris) knew that there was about a 99% chance that this J-5 was faked and I don’t have a problem with buying modified or restored cameras as long as it is disclosed as such. But I took a chance on this one even though there were numerous red flags about its originality. The bidding was through an online auction site in another country and my desire to own this ‘rare’ camera got the best of me. My purchase bid went for much more than a typical J-5 should go for and I actually paid more for it (not including the over-the-top shipping fees) than one would pay for a genuine Pro-Black body (from the Yashica factory) J-3.

After looking at my new fake for some two years now, I’ve decided to remove the still fresh black enamel paint and reveal the satin chrome body underneath its black mask.

At this point the camera will get what I call an ‘interpretive restoration’ and will be reassembled in a way fitting a mid 1960s Yashica classic.

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As you can now plainly see, the original satin chrome (silver) body is now exposed and in this image the ‘orange peel’ black enamel paint is obvious especially around the ‘YASHICA’. The leatherette has been removed and the residual adhesive remains visible at this point.

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Upon closer inspection (now that the black is gone) it appears that the original satin chrome (silver) factory finish was heavily sanded almost to the point of the brass showing through. The enamel black comes off super easy with 91% isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab. For some strange reason the factory etching of the J-5 logo was filled-in with white paint before it was buried under the black. Silver body Yashicas were filled-in with black.

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Another view (right rear of the body) of the original factory finish underneath the faked black top coat.

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It will take a bunch of cotton swabs and plenty of isopropyl alcohol to rid this J-5 of its black top-coat.

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So lesson learned for me… only trust in what you know exists… if it’s not documented elsewhere as existing then it’s been faked. But, and it’s a big but (pardon the pun), Yashica has never mentioned that they made a black body J-3 in 1963. I know they exist from the factory as I’ve studied it extensively and know they are real.

Watch as we reimagine this camera and give it a new life!

Many thanks, Chris and Carol

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