Yashima Sales Brochure… 1956

In just 3 short years, Yashima beat the odds and became a Japanese camera company that lasted long enough to produce multiple models. In the case of this sales brochure from 1956 – the Yashica Flex B, A and Yashica-Mat twin-lens reflex cameras.


Well designed sales brochure from the little company that became Yashica.

Not that we’ve seen a ton of sales brochures from other Japanese camera manufacturers from this era, but we think this was rather provocative for the mid 1950s (at least in the US we would think). This brochure was intended for the home market and the culture of Japan is a tad less uptight about things like this.


Lovely model on the back cover of the brochure.

The first page inside the brochure in packed with information not typically found in a brochure. Yashima was, in our opinion, marketing itself beyond what such a young company would normally look like. These series of Yashica Flex Photography books were excellent creations that went far beyond a simple owner’s guide.


You’ve got the year (1956), two examples of the Yashica Flex Photography books and some prices of the cameras.


Last inside page of the brochure depicting Yashima’s new modern factory in Suwa, Nagano Prefecture, Japan.

Yashima was a very proud company and they were eager to show how much they grew since 1953.

Thanks so much for your visit. The goal of our blog is to stimulate discussion and further the knowledge of all things Yashima-Yashica. Please share your comments with us… we’d be happy to read them. One final thought, we share our brochures with others and ask that you do not copy or post our images into your blog or post without permission. Thanks!

Chris & Carol

1954… Yashica Flex Model S

When Yashima started making twin-lens reflex cameras in a small factory along the shores of Lake Suwa in Nagano Prefecture, they were but one of hundreds of “start-ups” entering the already crowded Japanese camera manufacturing business. Many would fail – and fail quickly they did. But little Yashima, with two brothers from Nagano at the helm, managed to take a big step – to make a second and then third camera.

The first was the Pigeonflex (great name but how do you grow with a name like that), then came the Yashima Flex and Yashica Flex B. In 1954 (late) they built the now famous Yashica Flex Model S. The first TLR in the world with an attached exposure meter! Yep, in the world! None of the already established players had produced one like that. The meter was supplied by Sekonic and screwed to the side of the body and hidden light sensors under the name flap sent electricity to the meter. Bingo. Meter and camera merged! 1954


Cropped scan from a rather rare (in the US) Yashima sales flyer for the Yashica Flex Model S. It’s one of the earliest pamphlets around for this camera.

The light sensing cells were built-in under the flap that was the nameplate. You would open the flap and the maximum amount of light would strike the cells and send an electrical signal to the meter  (#1 above). You then used # 2, 3, 4, and 5 to “compute” your exposure settings. Simple except that you needed the eyesight of an eagle to actually see the numbers on the scale. It it was real sunny out, you didn’t need to lift the flap to get an accurate reading – there were 12 holes in the flap that would let in enough light to set the exposure.

In a testament to the designers, many of these early exposure meters still function even after 6 decades of use. But, many have fail too mostly caused by a failure of the wire to meter connection. The cells are fine (no batteries, sun powered).

As always we appreciate your visit. We’re glad to share some of our collection of early sales material and of course to chat up our Yashima-Yashicas. In the spirit of fair play, we ask that you do not copy or post our images in your blog or post without our permission. Thanks.

Chris & Carol

Super Rare Yashica Flex S Brochure… 1954

We’ve recently acquired a super rare (here in the US) Yashima sales flyer (pamphlet) that covers one of Yashima’s most advanced cameras at the time. The Yashica Flex S was the first TLR with an attached exposure meter in the world! The meter was made and supplied by Sekonic. And if you had great eyesight and were good with sliding scales, you could actually set the proper aperture and shutter speed for your film. Cool! Yashima-Yashica was the first to do it! One of our Yashica Flex S models has a working exposure meter even after six decades! Double cool!


From 1954.

The next scan is the reverse side of the flyer and featured a contest!


Out of 3,200 entrants these ladies were chosen to vie for the title of “Miss Yashima”. All you had to do was vote at your favorite trading company (camera store). We chose Miss Kimiko Yamaguchi (front left) as our Miss Yashima.

We hope you enjoyed these glimpses into Yashima-Yashica’s past. We like that we can share them. In the spirit of all things fair, we ask that you do not copy them or use them in another blog or post without asking for permission first.

Many thanks for your visit! Chris & Carol

Fujica ST701 Part 2… getting closer!

Definitely on our “to shoot with” list – and in the very near future we will! Now that the atmosphere in Florida has transitioned from nuclear hot to just a pleasant warmth, time to dust off the collection and put them to work.

Here’s a nice ST701 from the Fuji Photo Film Company of Tokyo – no battery for the meter but on a nice sunny day who needs one! Seals are a bit of a mess so we’ll keep the bottom half of the case on for a little extra light tight security.


Our ST701 from 1971. About to get some field testing.

We’ve heard good things about the Fujinon 55mm – of course the fact that it’s a M42 mount helps too. Since we’re such big fans of everything Yashica, we naturally collect Fujifilm too because of the M42 connection. My very humble digital camera is a Fujifilm FinePix S9900W – it’s not going to blow the socks off the big boys but with 16 mp and a killer long-ass zoom it does pretty well.

Another Fuji friend is our Instax Wide 300 instant camera. We occasionally enjoy a instant picture or two and we choose the Wide 300 for the extra image size over the credit card sized mini format. We’re waiting to see if Fujifilm will bring out some black and white Instax film for the Wide 300 especially since the B&W Instax mini format has been so well received.


Fujifilm Instax Wide 300. Lots of plastic but it gets the job done.

I’m (Chris) still spinning my wheels a bit with close-ups with the Wide 300 – so far the Fuji is 0 for 4 in that department. I’ll have to start using the close-up attachment and see what happens. The autofocus for close-ups needs full sun otherwise it defaults to what looks like infinity. I’ll get it.

Off to use some film…  ^.^

Thanks for your visit! C&C

Yashica-D Sales Brochure

One of the most frustrating things about researching the history of Yashica is that the company did not put dates on their sales brochures or instruction booklets – at least not regularly. Often we’re left with magnifying glass in hand to hunt for impossible to read serial numbers on camera bodies and on lenses. The brochure below is a perfect example.


Scan of the cover and back page of a four page sales brochure for the Yashica-D. 

Yashica has used this same brochure in the past but with different babies and whenever new versions of the long running models (A and D) were introduced. The serial number on the viewing lens (top lens) is 734467. The lens is an 80mm Yashikor. Armed with this knowledge, that puts the cover camera as manufactured in 1967. Hey we’re off to a great start! This brochure is from 1967 or later. The D actually ran until 1972!

Turning our attention to the inside.


Classic Yashica. Now the Yashica-D pictured inside is a totally different version from the 1967 cover model. Why would they do that?

As you can see in the scan above, this version of the Yashica-D is totally different from the cover. The only readable serial number in this image is the number on the taking lens (bottom lens). It reads, 209055 and it’s a Yashikor 80mm. With that info it places this camera in 1964. The Yashica-A on the left is from 1961. The visible serial number is on the taking lens, 739743. The lens is the standard 80mm Yashikor. What’s crazy about all this is since the Yashica-D is from 1964, why isn’t the Yashica-A from 1964? Why use a previous version from three years prior? For that matter, why is the cover camera from 1967 and the inside cameras from totally different years? The Yashica-A lasted until 1969.

Okay. We know – this is only important to a researcher, right? Well maybe not. If you own a nice Yashica TLR or Yashica SLR then you might be interested to know exactly when your camera was made. So, knowing when the cameras depicted in sales brochures were made, sometimes can help with dating your gear.

One final thought…


Yashica-D with serial number 3890005.

Here’s the camera depicted on the back cover of the brochure. It is a Yashica-D. The body serial number of 3890005 puts the camera in 1959! Go figure!

Thanks for your visit! Comments are always welcomed.

Chris and Carol

A little Fujicolor to brighten our day!

I’ve always been a fan of Kodak film. Living in the United States it was hard to find anything else to buy at the corner stores – even in New York. Every now and again I’d pick up a roll of Fujifilm and was always impressed with the results.  I’ve always liked the little green boxes too… they catch my eye.

While our main collecting focus has been Yashima-Yashica cameras and gear, there’s always been a little offshoot into the world of Fuji. Partly because we lived in Japan – Yokohama to be exact, and Fujifilm was more available and there were labs nearby to process the film. Kodak processing was via handy but slow mail back to Palo Alto, California if I remember correctly.

So on this end of the week Friday, we thought a little Fujicolor was in order.


We’re thinking of a color. Can you guess?

The 12 exposure Fujicolor 100 rolls are all expired (2010) but they usually produce good results if you treat them like they’re ASA50. The Acros 100 is a fresh roll and you can’t beat it for good looking black and white prints. The little XP100 is our go to all weather camera. It has a bright screen (for the beach) and is great in the surf for some wave pics. 1080p video and stereo sound too.

We’ve added a nice Fujica ST701 and Fujipet to our collection but I think were done. Oh, I almost forgot – my primary digital camera is a Fujifilm FinePix S9900W so that’s another Fuji. Oh and I bought my daughter a Fujifilm XP too. Okay, but that’s it. No more Fuji Photo Film Company cameras for us die hard Yashica fans. Well except for a nice Fujicaflex TLR, and the Fuji Photo GS6x9 sure looks great. I’d better stop now!

Thanks for your visit! Comments and likes are always appreciated.

Chris & Carol

‘Found Film’… are there ghosts in my camera?

In all my years of collecting vintage (well they weren’t always considered vintage) cameras, I’ve come across my fair share of ‘found film’. I enjoy finding a roll of film left behind by the previous owner of the camera – from a collectors viewpoint it’s a great way to add some vintage film cartridges or 120 rolls to your collection of film. It’s fun to see if you can guess (from the brand and design) the what and when the roll was purchased and then the why didn’t they finish it… and of course, the who took the pictures? The who took the pictures really didn’t interest me. Sounds strange to write that being a photographer, but I’m more about the subject and not the picture taker.

I’ve never been tempted to have the film developed – why spend good money to look at things and people I don’t know? But there’s always been a slight twinge of curiosity inside me… very slight. Until recently. Money be damned! I’m lookin’!


The ‘Found Film’ from the 1960s? Maybe late 1960s.

The camera is a Yashica model A twin-lens reflex (TLR) from 1961. The film could be from the late 1960s or early 1970s but the camera is in mint “new” condition and doesn’t look like it had any previous use. So in reality, it could be from 1962 or so. Just guesses here on my part. So I spent the nearly $20 to send the film off and waited to see what developed (sorry about that). But then Carol (my wife) and I discussed if it was right to look at other people’s pictures. You know, privacy and all that. I reminded her that the pictures could be nearly 50 years old – no privacy issues there. But what about… ghosts? You know if there’s pictures of people they may be dead now and you know, they’d be ghosts. Not everyone becomes a ghost I reasoned. Just looking at them doesn’t mean they’re even dead. If they’re young people they might still be around and they might even want to see the pictures. It would be hard to find them I thought. All we knew is where the camera was from… not a small place by the way. Maybe a landmark or two would help.

Panic! Wrong time to panic. What if there were, “bad” pictures in the camera? Oh crap! Wrong time to think of that after the film was sent off! I’d call them. Call the company that was about to develop the film and explain that it wasn’t really my film and if there was something “bad” on them not to accuse me! We didn’t call – we took a deep breath and decided to wait and see what happens. We promised not to send other people’s film off ever again.

Since it was Kodacolor II negative film and was nearly 50 or 60 years old we didn’t expect much. The lab did the best they could. We did tell them ahead of time that the film was really old. Everything had a strong blueish tone so I’ve converted them to black and white using a red filter. Check it out!


Image 1… ghosts? I hope not! Mom and daughter?


Image 2… nice garden. Nice couple. Hmmm. Mom and husband?


Image 3… a Wisconsin garden. Nice.


Image 4… ghost?   


Image 5… awesome double exposure!

Well no known ghosts were found real or imagined. The remainder of the exposures didn’t come out. Was it worth the $20? No – but it was still fun!

Comments? Have you ever developed found film?

Thanks for your visit! Chris and Carol

Pentamatic S and friends…

We’ve recently found a nice looking friend for our collection… well, friends. Like almost all collections, ours doesn’t need more friends – more space maybe, but no new friends. This flash came as an accessory to a recent purchase of a Yashica twin-lens reflex camera (from 1956). After a quick cleaning we attached it to our S to see how they would look together – smashing we think! The Kodak Kodachrome is from 1959 and adds a nice touch to the set up. We’ve always loved the bright yellow and red metal film cans from Kodak.


We put our Pentamatic S, from early 1961 or so, and the Zeiss Ikon Ikoblitz 4 (late 1950s?) together. Sadly the flash takes a now defunct battery and has a capacitor so not much we can do except enjoy the view.


They make for a handsome display. All are age appropriate too.


With the flash tucked away in its hard plastic shell it takes on an interesting look.

Hope you enjoyed your visit and if you care to, please leave a comment or suggestion for us. Of course if you know more about the Zeiss Ikon flash or want to contribute something about the Pentamatic, please do so!

Many thanks again… Chris and Carol

You can find us on flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/127540935@N08/

Yashica’s Little Gems


Pentamatic’35’ and J-3.

They couldn’t be more different – the Yashica Pentamatic was Yashica’s first 35mm single-lens reflex (SLR) camera and the J-3 was Yashica’s first SLR with a built-in exposure meter. In this example, the black J-3 was Yashica’s first SLR in what we call ‘Pro-Black’ finish – all black body with matching black lens.


Lovely little gem from Yashica – the J-3 in Pro-Black. Made in limited quantities and came with the matching black Auto Yashinon lens.


The Pentamatic’s clean simple lines makes it one of the most attractive cameras of the early 1960s in our opinion.

As was the case during the early 1960s, both cameras would be quickly replaced with upgraded models with more advanced features and a wider array of available lenses. Not all of these changes were for the better… in the case of the Pentamatic, the model II and the model S, the changes did little to attract more buyers as their upgrades were too few and too late.

In the case of the J-3, it was the building block to Yashica’s success throught the mid 1960s and beyond. The ‘J’ series of SLRs, which included the J-5, J-4 and finally the J-7, were respected cameras with excellent optics at a great price which sold in the ten’s of thousands. Quantity meant that Yashica could afford to advance its technology and deliver some groundbreaking SLRs by 1968 and beyond.

As always, thanks for your visit and your comments are appreciated. To see more about Yashica, stop by our flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/127540935@N08/


Chris and Carol Photography