Happy SUNday! – Vintage Cameras –

yashicaflex rookie set

Yashicaflex Rookie 1956

All of our ‘Rookie Stuff’ together for this display. As a Japanese domestic market only camera, the Rookie is a rather unique find outside of Japan.

Wonderfully fun camera to use… always gets strange looks whenever it’s out and about.

yashica a and rookie

1959 gray Yashica-A and 1956 Yashicaflex Rookie. Two wonderfully simple twin-lens reflex (TLR) cameras from Yashima-Yashica. These two have held up very nicely over these many years.

Probably one of the oddest names for a camera from Yashica (and they’ve had a bunch). If we use our western definition of the word “rookie” it would appear that Yashica was naming a simple to use camera that first-time photographers would be comfortable with. The Rookie was not available outside of Japan.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to see what we’ve added to our online store at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

Chris

The YK – a simple little gem from Yashica

Often overlooked and most likely an unknown 35mm rangefinder from Yashica. This example is an early version from June 1959. Very similar to Yashica’s first 35mm camera the Yashica 35 but with fewer features. It listed for $39.95 and the leather case could be had for an additional $7.95

DSCF8499 logo

Handsome camera from Yashica. It features a bright viewfinder, easy to operate controls and a high-quality Yashinon f/2.8 lens.

DSCF8501 logo

A view from above – simple layout and big easy to use controls. Note the distance scale is only in feet (typical of the time period) and the Copal-SV shutter ranged from “B” to 1/300

DSCF8500 logo

An ASA/DIN reminder dial, the eyepiece and the company name grace the back of the camera.

DSCF8490 logo

Side-by-side comparison with the Yashica 35 “F” (left). Yashica didn’t deviate much from the basic foundation of the 35 model which was first built in April 1958. The Yashica 35 pictured here is actually from December 1960 which puts this YK a full year and a half earlier than the 35.

DSCF8497 logo

If you’re interested in trying out an early Japanese rangefinder then the Yashica YK is certainly a worthy camera to go after (whenever you can find one). We were lucky to find this wonderful example recently as it makes a nice addition to our collection.

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris

 

Heavyweights 1954-1955

DSCF8482 logo

On the left is the Fujicaflex Automat by the Fuji Photo Film Company – Fuji’s first and only twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera. On the right is the Yashica Flex S (aka Yashicaflex S) by Yashima Kogaku Seiki Company.

Yashima (later to be known as Yashica) went on to build TLRs until 1986 producing thousands encompassing over thirty models.

The Fujicaflex was under development by Fuji since around 1948 and the direction they took was to build a high-quality camera geared to the serious amateur and semi-professional photographer. By all accounts, it was a bust in the marketplace (way too expensive) as Fuji never attempted to follow it up with a second model and ending production in just about a year.

The Fujicaflex is noticeably larger than the Yashica Flex S – the Fuji weighs 1,323 grams and the Yashica comes in at 1,117 grams. Both cameras were weighed with a roll of 120 film loaded.

DSCF8485 logo

The Yashica Flex S was the first ever TLR with an attached exposure meter. I imagine you could say built-in as the meter’s cells were located behind the nameplate flap and were connected to the meter on the camera’s left side via wires. The non-coupled selenium cell meter was built by Sekonic and was marked “Sekonic CB-1”.

We’ll continue to feature the Fujicaflex in upcoming posts and hopefully soon we’ll be able to post some images taken with it. I’ve got a roll of Fujichrome Velvia 100 in it now.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out some of our unique photo gear in our shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

Chris

The Yashica 35 – Yashima’s first 35mm camera – a visual tour.

DSCF8430

The Yashica 35 was produced starting in April 1958. This camera (above) is one of the last of the series to roll off the assembly line at Yashica’s factory in Shimosuwa, Nagano Prefecture, Japan in December 1960. Little changed from its original design – minor tweaks here and there but never anything major.

DSCF8431

The lens was made by Tomioka Optical and was produced in two models – the f/1.9 and f/2.8, 4.5cm fixed lens.

DSCF8425

Close-up of the front group removed.

DSCF8423

Very similar to other Tomioka made lenses of the period.

DSCF8428

With the front lens group removed we can see the Copal shutter assembly – here a mix of parts produced a hybrid. Is it an MXV or SV shutter? It would appear that Yashica was cleaning out its parts bins when this late model was built. Notice that the focus scale is in feet.

DSCF8421

10 blade aperture.

yas 635 logo 2

Original early sales brochure – the sharp-eyed will notice that the name on the lenses is “Yasinon” vice “Yashinon”. Changes were made even as the brochure went to press.

IMG_20180615_0005 logo

IMG_20180625_0001 logo

About $47.00 USD for the f/1.9 and $32.00 for the f/2.8 – add another $2.77 for the leather case.

DSCF8432

The 35 “F” variant. Not a new model just a changeover to a different style of serial numbers. The serial number decodes as follows: 6 = 1960, 12 = Dec, and 1150 = sequence number for that month’s production.

DSCF8434

From this point of view, it looks just like it did in April 1958.

DSCF8435

DSCF8436

A beauty in black & white.

DSCF8440

Yashica 35 & Yashica Pentamatic 35 – Yashica’s first rangefinder and first SLR.

The Yashica 35 is certainly a worthy addition to any early 35mm rangefinder collection. If you like to collect “firsts” then may I recommend that you check out the Yashima Pigeonflex, Yashimaflex, the Yashica 35 and the Yashica Pentamatic 35 – each of these wonderful cameras was a major milestone in the development of the Yashica Company.

So there you have it, a brief visual tour of the Yashica 35. If you would like to know more, much more, cruise on over to my good friend Paul’s website.

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris

 

Yashica’s Factory in the late 1950s – Shimosuwa, Nagano Prefecture

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 region 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 (www.yashicatlr.com), we’ve nailed down the location of Yashica’s second factory which was opened in 1956. I say second because Yashica’s (then Yashima) first factory was located across Lake Suwa in the town of Suwa – possibly established as early as the late 1940s. Yashica likely operated its first camera factory in Suwa – an early 1954 advertisement in English claims that the head office was located at 244, 4-Ku Ohwa, Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture, Telephone: Suwa 1350-4 (see scan below). My thinking is that is a less than an accurate translation of the Japanese to English. I’ve had more luck in finding the general area on today’s maps by using 2-4-4 Owa, Suwa which brings me very close to the present day Seiko-Epson headquarters.

yashima flex

Likely 1954 advertisement in an English language newspaper circulated in Japan. As best as I can tell it may be the first ad for the Yashima Flex in English.

My fear all along during this search was that since Yashica was bought out by Kyocera in 1983 that the fate of the factory in Shimosuwa would be lost in time since Kyocera’s current factory in Okaya is not related to the Shimosuwa factory.

With Paul’s sharp eyes, attention to detail, and sheer determination he was able to find Yashica’s old factory in present-day Shimosuwa.

yashica suwa 1956

Yashica’s “new” factory in Shimosuwa as it looked in late 1956 (at least to the artist). Lake Suwa and the distant shoreline can be seen in the distance.  Of note, this artists rendering is in no way even close to scale – many of the buildings are in the wrong location and the smokestacks seem to be placed for artistic “balance” vice accurate representation. Of course, this drawing may be more conceptional and not reflective of reality.

The image above is an artist’s rendering of the Shimosuwa factory complex before the addition of the massive gym structure (see below) and before the central administration building was built.

yashica suwa factory

Looking south across Yashica’s factory campus as it appeared in the mid-1960s. 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.

yashica suwa

The famous and easily identifiable Yashica factory administration building at night.

IMG_20180816_0001

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).

IMG_20180816_0002

This image is from a 1958 Yashica sales brochure. The distinctive Yashica factory administration building as it looked when new. At this point in time, it still had the covered parking area just to the building’s right – two modern full-sized “service” vehicles are parked underneath.

9

A view of the Yashica factory campus from around 1960. I would guess that the view is taken from the hillside that overlooks the grounds. Very similar view of the artist’s rendering from 1956. (Document scan courtesy of Paul Sokk)

yashica factory site Capture

Current view of the original site of Yashica’s first factory in Shimosuwa, Nagano Prefecture. The present use of this site is by Mutoh Industries, Ltd. – a maker of large-scale inkjet printers for commercial use and sold around the world.

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 have saved.

It’s been a long but enjoyable process searching for this site. For a Yashicaphile such as myself, I would love to be able to visit the site and tour the facilities. I would like to meet with previous employees of Yashica and speak with them about their experiences while working for Yashica. Maybe someone knows the exact location of Yashica’s first factory in Suwa. That would be neat. I’ve reached out to the Mutoh company and have inquired if they would be interested in acquiring any of my collected scans of the factory from its earliest days.

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris

 

Happy SUNday! New items in our shop and all made in the U.S.A. (a very long time ago)

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

DSCF7860

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.

DSCF7878

The flash unit is actually very well designed and has a few neat tricks hidden inside. Affectionally was known as “the Brick”.

DSCF7893

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.

DSCF7929

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.

DSCF7931

The Tourist takes eight exposures from 620 film each a big 2 1/4 by 3 1/4 inches (6 x 9 cm).

DSCF7953

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.

DSCF7963

Talk about old school movie making. This camera is 82 years old and runs perfectly.

DSCF7971

Beautiful “Hippie” style woven cloth camera strap from 1971. Far out man!

DSCF7986

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.

DSCF7833

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.

DSCF7838

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!

Chris