Yashima Optical Industries Company, Limited (Yashima) released their first 35mm rangefinder camera in April 1958. The camera was in development for at least a year (no proof of that but it seems reasonable to assume that an established TLR camera maker didn’t just pull this camera out of thin air). It could have been developed totally in-house as there is only speculation that Yashima received outside assistance in its development.
Here’s my earliest example of this historic camera. Note that the lens is marked “Yasinon” vice “Yashinon”. Yashima released at least two months of cameras (April and May 1958) with those markings before changing to what we now know as Yashinon.
After some initial cleaning of the exterior (see below) with a bunch of Q-tips and some Windex, the camera is looking a whole lot better.
I use Q-tips and a bit of Windex to gently clean the surfaces of the camera. The Windex leaves no residue and doesn’t harm the leatherette, metal or glass (I’ve safely used that for years). I use the super soft toothbrush to gently clean those hard to reach crevices and to polish the surfaces to a nice sheen.
This is one of the earliest examples of this fine camera having been built sometime in April 1958. Yashima used quality materials and production techniques as the fit and feel of the camera are of a much more expensive camera.
If you look closely, the lens is described as a Yashinon F1.9 even though the lens says Yasinon. Yashima was in the process of changing over or was it them catching a mistake?
By the way, it’s generally believed that these two lenses were made for Yashima by Tomioka Optical. Yashima did have a relationship with Zunow Optical by there’s no proof that these lenses are from Zunow.
Thanks for stopping by! – Chris
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