More Yashicaflex Rookie

The Yashicaflex Rookie holds a rather unique position among the Yashima-Yashica line-up of twin-lens reflex (TLR) cameras during the decade of the 1950s. As discussed elsewhere here in our blog, Yashima-Yashica sold more TLRs during the 1950s than any other manufacturer in the world, Japan and Germany included.

The Yashica Rookie as it is more commonly known, was designed (we think) for purchase only within the domestic market of Japan. The focusing scale is in meters… not feet and meters as most export models were. There is plenty of advertising associated with it in 1956 and 1957 but everything we’ve seen is in Japanese including the instruction booklet. The price was an attractive ¥6,800… with leather case and lens cap included!

Rookies are not commonly found outside of Japan but are rather common on Japanese auction sites (1-3 per month). Due to the often harsh climate across Japan (hot, humid summers and brutally cold winters) and lack of modern climate controlled living spaces, many Rookies suffer from corrosion, mold, lens fungus and leatherette peeling to be blunt. Finding one that works and does not have these issues is a challenge.


This Rookie is from late 1956 as best as we can tell based on the serial number on the body. Here it’s presented with a Heiland ‘Tilt-A-Mite’ flash unit (from 1959) and age appropriate flashbulbs. If you look closely at the camera’s left side you can see a slight ‘bulge’ in the leatherette covering. Many Rookies lose their ‘face’ leatherette as the painted smooth surface underneath is not the best for holding glue for 60 years or so.


A close-up view of the Heiland flash as mounted on the Rookie.

yashica rookie manual

Scan of the Rookie instruction booklet cover (1956).

yashica rookie warranty

Yashicaflex Model R (Rookie) service (warranty) certificate from Yashima Optical Industry Co., Ltd.


Three Rookies from 1956.


Rather hard to find Rookie lens cap. 

Lots of stuff about this unique Yashica. Many thanks for your visit and feel free to ask questions or correct us if we are incorrect. Chris & Carol


2 thoughts on “More Yashicaflex Rookie

  1. Hi! Chris, I have 12 Yashica TLR’s, 3 D’s, 2 LM meter on side, 1 Yashicaflex new model 2, which is really a D, two 12’s, and 1 124G. Plus 2 44’s, whoops l forgot my pristine Yashica model A built in 1957 per the serial no. 66490. I have not paid any more than $87.00 for any of one them including shipping. My first Yashica a “D” I bought 28 yrs ago at a garage sale for $2.50 took hundreds of pictures with it. Getting ready to send to Mark Hanna for an overhaul, so it can be used other 40-50 years. These cameras are built like tanks and keep going like one. Any how, I’m trying to find the whole restoration of your “Rookie” really inspiring. Really enjoying your blog. Dave


    1. Thanks, Dave! I appreciate your comments and observations. Wow, that’s a nice collection of Yashica TLRs you have. Congratulations on having such a fine stable of cameras at amazing prices! Please let me know about Mr. Hama’s service… I’ve never used him before. Chris


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