I’ve been on a rather long quest to discover Yashica’s roots during their earliest days as a start-up in the tech-savvy hotbed along the shores of Lake Suwa – also known as the Switzerland of the Orient.
With the help of my good friend Paul Sokk from Australia, we’ve nailed down the location of Yashica’s very first factory. Our fear all along was that since Yashica was bought out by Kyocera in 1983 that there would be no way of knowing the fate of the original factory since Kyocera’s current factory in Nagano Prefecture is not related to Yashica’s factory.
With Paul’s sharp eyes and attention to detail, he was able to find Yashica’s factory in present-day Shimosuwa.
Yashica’s factory as it looked in late 1956. Lake Suwa can be seen in the distance. The southern edge of the factory complex was about one mile from the lake.
The image above is an artist’s rendering of the factory complex before the addition of the massive gym structure (see below) and before the administration building was built.
Looking south across Yashica’s factory campus as it appeared in the late 1950s. The large building on the bottom center in this picture is Yashica’s gym and auditorium. The administration building is shown about centered in this scan.
The famous and easily identifiable Yashica factory administration building at night.
Aerial view of the Yashica factory campus from around 1959 or so. The gym building is on the extreme upper left in this picture. The factory administration building with the large verticle “Yashica” on it can be seen from behind (from the south looking north).
This image is from a 1958 Yashica sales brochure. The distinctive Yashica factory administration building as it looked when new.
Current view from above of the original site of Yashica’s first factory in Suwa, Nagano Prefecture. The present use of this site is by Mutoh Industries, Ltd.
In the above capture, Yashica’s gym building (large silver roof structure in the upper left portion of the highlighted area) can still be seen. Most of the original buildings appear to still be standing.
It’s been a long but enjoyable process searching for the original site of the factory. For a Yashicaphile such as myself, I would love to be able to visit the site and tour the facilities. It would also be neat to meet with previous employees of the Yashica and find out if any were able to collect little bits of history from the company and the wonderful cameras that they built there.
Thanks for stopping by!
Happy Sunday everyone! Here are some interesting items we’ve added to our shop over this past week – you can see them in more detail at http://www.ccstudio2380.com
Argus C3 Match-Matic 35mm film camera from the 1800s – just kidding, 1960s. It has such a distinctive style it’s sure to get some looks when you’re out and about with it. Made in Michigan.
The flash unit is actually very well designed and has a few neat tricks hidden inside. Affectionally was known as “the Brick”.
From 1958 the Wollensak Eye-Matic Model 46 (C-46) 8mm movie camera. Featuring a three lens turret with a normal, wide-angle, and telephoto lens. Direct from Chicago to the world.
Classic Kodak Tourist 620 roll film medium format camera from the late 1940s. Proudly made by the good folks of Rochester, New York. You can still buy 620 film in both black and white and color.
The Tourist takes eight exposures from 620 film each a big 2 1/4 by 3 1/4 inches (6 x 9 cm).
Made in Boston in 1936. The Keystone Model K-8. This fully functioning 8mm movie camera is a real classic – it features a Wollensak f3.5 Cine Velostigmat lens with a rare Bell & Howell yellow filter.
Talk about old school movie making. This camera is 82 years old and runs perfectly.
Beautiful “Hippie” style woven cloth camera strap from 1971. Far out man!
From 1972 – a classic from Polaroid. The Model 420 features a 2 element, 114mm f/8.8 lens and Polaroid Focused Flash (a GE flashcube in a louvered box). This Polaroid uses Fujifilm FP-100C film (2 1/4 by 3 1/4 inch) which is still available (although no longer made) so supplies will eventually run out.
Not made in the U.S.A. but sold by Montgomery Ward in 1955. Made by what was to become the Beauty Camera Company of Tokyo.
The Ward 35 was the same camera as the popular Beauty 35 sold in Japan. A simple 35mm viewfinder camera with a fast f/2.8 45mm lens.
So there you have it – all new in our online store this week. You can find them at https://www.ccstudio2380.com
It’s a great way to get into film photography or add to your collection of vintage cameras at very affordable prices.
Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit our shop!
Nice mid-1950s technology – an outstanding 35mm rangefinder camera paired with a cutting edge Nicca flash.
Here the flash handle is attached to the leather camera case via the left side metal bracket on the case. It does put a bit of a strain on the case so probably not the best way to tote it around.
Nice textured vinyl bag for the set.
The case has held up nicely over the years. I’m missing the connector cord and of course the 22.5v Type 015 battery (they are still available). The cord will be difficult to find but that’s half the fun!
If you happen to have the connector cord please let me know – I’m a buyer!
Thanks for stopping by!
Unique – Odd – Quirky – Ugly – Gorgeous – Cool – Modern – Sexy – Sophisticated – Clunky – a failure?
Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. – Tokyo
Fuji’s first 35mm SLR
Originally released as the Fujicarex in 1962 and sold only in Japan (it listed for ¥25,000). An updated model was released in the United States in July 1964 (in Chicago) as the Fujicarex SLR 35 and for other overseas markets as the Fujicarex II. It listed for around $150 USD without a case. It came with a Fujinon-S f/1.9 5cm lens with an additional f/4 35mm wide angle lens and a f/2.8 80mm portrait lens available.
Billed (advertised) as the “World’s easiest-to-use SLR 35mm camera” – Electric Eye with Cluster Control!
What do you think of its design?
According to a very reliable Japanese source, the Fujicarex II was available in Japan as a replacement to the original model and that the model II was destined for other overseas markets beyond the U.S. (like Europe). This would lead one to believe that the Fujicarex SLR 35 was only available in America. I haven’t been able to verify that as I’ve never seen the “plain” Fujicaflex logo.
So was it a failure? Well, it got Fuji Photo moving in the right direction but I think overall it was just overdesigned and a bit hard to use. A bit like the Yashica Pentamatics – neat cameras that didn’t catch on. From what I understand it was only sold for about three years or so. The next 35mm SLR from Fuji didn’t appear until 1971.
No matter what, this unique camera is seldom seen in today’s collector marketplaces. It would make a wonderful addition to any vintage Japanese SLR collection since it was Fuji’s first SLR. Thanks for stopping by!
I’m thinking that this is the original Fujicarex logo (close to the cold shoe).
This should be the U.S. Fujicarex SLR 35 as there isn’t the “II” under the “Fujicarex”.
Check out our new site – we’ll be adding more from our classic record collection soon. Reverb LP is the place to go to find almost any album you can think of.
It’s a work in progress. You can find us at http://www.lp.reverb.com/amelias-vintage-vinyl/listings
*Reverb LP is a site that we have listed some of our records for purchase.
Thanks for stopping by!
Chris and Carol
Nothing like a warm summer wave!
Have a great day!
Round 1 – The Introduction
The Yashica-Kyocera L AF from 1986 and the Kyocera T Scope (Japanese name, T3 elsewhere). The L AF was assembled in Hong Kong with parts made in Japan and the T Scope was made in Japan.
Key feature – waterproof (more like weatherproof) – not a dive camera.
N.A. Scope = “New Angle Scope”
The scope is just like a waist-level finder – pretty cool actually.
I’ll be doing a side by side field test of these two cameras shortly. Is the T3 really worth the extra money over the Yashica? The T Scope features a Carl Zeiss T* Series Tessar f/2.8 35mm lens against the Yashica (Tomioka?) f/3.5 32mm lens. I have a hunch that the Yashica’s lens was also made by Zeiss at the Tomioka factory in Tokyo. We’ll see if the vaunted T* coating makes a noticeable difference.
Not often seen outside of Japan – the Kyocera T Scope box. Not one mention of Yashica!
Thanks for stopping by!