Hit the Road 2016! Hello 2017!

Thank goodness 2016 is almost history! I’ve heard from friends in Australia that 2017 is going well (so far). Let’s not muck it up!

On a positive note – here on our blog, we’ve seen a significant increase in activity over last year (2015). Visitors to the site and views are through the roof! We (Carol and I) are thrilled that what started out as a repository of bits and tidbits of Yashima-Yashica information would gain the traction that it’s had. We thank you!

We enjoy the feedback we get and I can say that I’ve learned more than a few things from it. We’ve met some super talented people – photographers and bloggers that are out of this world amazing! We hope our readers got a little something special in return too. That was the goal of the ‘Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic’ -a sharing of knowledge about a silly camera that Yashica invented in 1959 that most people have never heard of.


This year’s favorite.

In looking through the hundreds of film and digital images that we shot in 2016, this one turns out to be our favorite. We believe that every vintage camera is worth preserving (in some way or another) – we think of cameras as holding the heartbeats of all who may have gazed through its lenses, pressed its buttons and then anxiously awaited the results. We can imagine the thousands of faces and smiles that were captured and the thousands of important events in people’s lives that were saved for the future. Classic cameras do that for us.

Don’t get us wrong… we love the  world of digital photography but we also embrace the beautiful, often awkward analog machines of our past. We hope that photographers in the future will remember (every now and then) to pick up a classic camera, load some film into it and then set out to capture images with a camera older than yourself. Enjoy!

Happy New Year… we wish only the best for all!

Chris and Carol ^.^


(Nicca) Tower Type-3 35 mm Rangefinder Camera… 1953

Nice little Tower Type-3 (or Type III) 35 mm rangefinder film camera from the early 1950s – made by Nicca Camera for the Sears, Roebuck and Company catalog. The build quality of the Tower branded cameras are no different from the quality of the Nicca camera as best as we can tell. It appears that Sears didn’t ask Nicca to lessen the quality like one might imagine – Sears was known for good value but not necessarily the best quality in our opinion.

By the way, these images were taken with our Sony Cyber-shot  (model DSC-W170) from 2008. It’s a basic point and shoot but sports a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens and 10.1 megapixels. It adds a nice “softness” to our studio shots especially of vintage gear and it’s fun (and simple) to use.


The Tower Type-3 (made by Nicca) is one of the best of the Japanese made Leica copies.

This camera appears to have been made in around 1953 – the serial number places it as a mid production model and the fact that the open-shut latch simply has ‘Made in Japan’ vice ‘Made in Occupied Japan’ engraved on it. The occupation of Japan ended with the adoption of the Peace Treaty signed in April 1952.


Open shut latch.

This camera works perfectly – the shutter appears to be spot on and the rangefinder-viewfinder is clear and accurate. We hope to be able to run a roll of film through it soon.


Super clean and free of significant signs of past use. A gem!


Designed to take the L39 screw-in lenses made by any number of lens manufacturers of the period.


Actually it’s an interesting logo – quite detailed and almost a retro look to it even for the early 1950s. 

As we’ve stated before, if you’re looking for a nice camera to experience the joy of using a vintage 35 mm rangefinder, then the Nicca and Tower cameras fit the bill nicely. Excellent fit and finish and they’re built like a tanks. You should be able to find well preserved models on various online auction sites for reasonable prices. If you see signs of corrosion or missing leatherette… run! Avoid these and buy the best you can afford. You’ll be happy you did.


Yashima Yashicaflex A-II… 1955 – A restoration like no other!


Restoration challenge! Six decades of dirt, grime, soot and corrosion have taken their toll on this once beautiful Yashicaflex. There isn’t a part that escaped the corrosion – except the workings. The glass is just fine, shutter works, aperture blades are problem free – film advance works as does the focus. 

I’m finally on the home stretch of this year plus project. My desire to re-imagine this camera into the modern age has been the biggest holdup. Actually I’m calling it an “interpretative restoration” – that allows the artist and designer in me to reconcile with the fussy photographer that I am.

Watch the blog over the next two weeks or so as I bring it all together for the final reveal.

Thanks – Chris

Wat Phra Kaew – Bangkok 1978

Give me lots of nearly cloudless blue sky, my Canon FD 24mm wide angle lens and some fresh Kodak Kodachrome 25 and I’m a happy guy!

This is just a few images from my port visit to Pattaya Beach, Thailand in December of 1978. I managed a couple of off days to make the crazy (back then) trip to Bangkok.

My “follow me everywhere” Canon F-1 (1978 version) loaded with Kodachrome 25 and my FD 24mm f/ 2.8 lens captured these images at Wat Phra Kaew in central Bangkok.


This guy always makes me smile.


Young monks taking a break.


Very shy ladies practicing their music.


Nothing like turning your 24mm lens for a tall vertical shot. The Kodachrome and Canon lens captured every detail.


Almost 40 year old Kodachrome. Still as brilliant as ever!


The F-1 metered this shot perfectly.


Gotta have at least one silhouette in the mix.

An amazing country to visit. The colors of everything just popped! Mid December sun angles were never a problem. Bright blue skies helped with capturing the details as I was able to stick with ASA 25 even when hand holding my FD 80-200mm lens.

Thanks for your visit!


Fuji… just Fuji


Mount Fuji from Yokohama.

That simple four letter word needs no other introduction. Known the world over for its beautiful conical  shape. We were lucky to live in the Naka Ward in Kanagawa Prefecture and would often have this view to our west on a clear evening. Carol and I never grew tired of looking for it whenever we traveled somewhere new – hoping to see it from a new vantage point. These images are but a few of the hundreds of images of Fuji. They are in no set order and all were taken from 1977 to late 1979. Primarily shot with a Canon F-1 (1978 version) and a Canon AE-1.


Our go to film while living in Yokohama. Kodachrome holds up well over the years when properly stored.


Freezing cold and crystal clear winter day near the base of Fuji.


Carol enjoying the view and freezing to death while doing so.


Canon F-1 with FD 80-200mm zoom lens at 200mm.


Road trip to Fuji-san.


A reminder that Fuji is an active volcano.


Fuji sunset as seen from the hill behind our home in Yokohama.

We never had the chance to climb Fuji while we were there. The constant deployments of my Navy ship kept me on an unpredictable schedule and made it impossible to find the time during the climbing months. Maybe we will have a chance – we are always hopeful.

Many thanks for your visit.

Chris and Carol

People Pics… Japan 1977-1980

These images were mostly taken in and around Yokohama and Tokyo with my Canon F-1 (1978 version). I used Kodak Kodachrome 25 and on occasion some Kodak Ektachrome 64 (I believe). They are in no particular order and will jump around quite a bit in both year taken and location. Enjoy!


Early morning commuter at the Yokohama train station.


Cute little spot of color at Ueno Zoo Tokyo.


Pigeon racing –  Ueno Zoo Tokyo.


In keeping with red clothing as the central theme, my lovely wife Carol at Sankei-en (Gardens) in Naka-ku Yokohama. The admission was about .45 cents US for an adult which made visiting Sankei-en a regular past time for us.


Motomachi shopping street Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture. A favorite spot for shopping. As always, the local police assisting lost citizens.


“You watchin’ me… I’m watchin’ YOU”! Watchful shop dog in Honmoku, Naka-ku.


Fast service at a local shopping “street”. A very small back street in Sugita just down the street from the then JNR station. Yokohama, Isogo Ward (Isogo-ku).


Daily shopping along the street in Sugita.


Lovely flower shop ladies in Honmoku (where we lived in Yokohama).


At Sankei-en in Honmoku. Fussing with his gear to capture the perfect sakura picture.


Young customer meets experienced toy vendor. I believe at Ueno Zoo Tokyo.


Yep, Mickey D’s in Yokohama.


Number 8 bus in Yokohama. The driver keeps his eye on me.


Iconic view in Japan. A professional bus driver and his clean white gloves.


On the road to Mt. Fuji. Taken by Carol with her Canon AE-1.

As always we thank you for your visit. We enjoy sharing some of our images from when we lived in Japan in the late 1970s.

Chris and Carol… and BTW, Merry Christmas!!! ^.^