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

img_20161129_0004

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!

img_20161129_0014

From 1954.

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

img_20161129_0012

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