Sears Camera Catalog – 1952

Cute cover image for the Sears, Roebuck and Company Camera Catalog of 1952. The cover features the Nicca made Tower branded Type-3 (Type III) 35mm rangefinder camera of the early 1950s.

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A scan of the original cover of the catalog.

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From the Tower Type-3 instruction booklet – 1951

More “goodies” to follow from this exceptional camera set we recently acquired. – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Nicca & Tower Instruction Booklets

Not often seen, here’s a few instruction booklets for the classic Nicca and Nicca-Tower rangefinders. No dates on these but by the look of the cameras on the covers, I’d say the earliest is 1950.

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The Nicca Type III (Type-3) pictured above and below.

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The Nicca 3-S and Type 4 (below).

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The Tower Type III made by Nicca for Sears, Roebuck and Company (below).

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Do you have a Tower or Nicca instruction booklet? How about some early ads? We are interested buyers of anything relating to Nicca and the Tower rangefinder cameras of the 1950s. Let us know. Thanks – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Historic Advertising Flyer – 1958

I’ll say 1958 because it looks like it was produced shortly after Yashima-Yashica acquired the Nicca Camera Co., Ltd. in May 1958. As best as I can tell this is the one and only time that a piece of advertising contained all three key players in the Nicca III-L. Nicca, Nikkor (Nikon), and Yashica. The address at the bottom of the page matches the address that Yashica used in 1958-1959.

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My translation app has the address as 1-8 Nihonbashi, Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

The lenses for the Nicca cameras were almost exclusively supplied by Nikon and branded as Nikkor. Since this was a transition time (end of the line) for Nicca, this flyer clearly indicates that Yashica is the new player in the picture. Yashica would operate Nicca as Taiho Optical Company for a period of time with at least a few lenses getting produced with that brand name on the lens.

Yashica eventually (in well less than a year) started to supply lenses with the Yashinon name for these Nicca-Yashica crossover models. It’s not clear if these lenses were made for Yashica by an outside company such as Tomioka or that they may have been made by the newly acquired Nicca operating under their new name Taiho. There are at least a few Nicca branded lenses that I’ve seen so it’s not an impossible thought.

As always, thanks for your visit. Do you have something to add? I’d love to hear and see anything related to this dynamic period in Yashica’s history. – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Pentamatic Model – II

The Yashica Pentamatic Model – II instruction booklet – September 1960

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Front and back covers are scanned from the original hyper rare booklet.

If you look closely at the lower right corner of the booklet you’ll see that Yashica dated the book in the Showa style – 09S35 – that “translates” to 09/60. You add “25” to the Showa date to arrive at the Western date.

Thanks for stopping by! BTW, I am a very active buyer of Yashica gear especially Pentamatics. If you have one banging around in your closet please contact me and maybe we can put a deal together. – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Happy SUNday! – Vintage Cameras –

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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Close-up of the front group removed.

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Very similar to other Tomioka made lenses of the period.

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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.

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10 blade aperture.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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A beauty in black & white.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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).

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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.

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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)

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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

 

Yashica’s Ultra Rare “Yasinon” Lenses

Are these previously unknown lenses made by Zunow Optical?

My good friend Paul Sokk (www.yashicatlr.com) spotted a rather unique lens name in a Yashica catalog that I sent him. The catalog is from 1958.

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Look closely at the two boxes in the lower center part of the scan. Plainly marked is the name “Yasinon” and Yashica. Just to the right are two boxes made in the same style that displays the lens maker “Zunow”.

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From the same year Yashica catalog here’s a grouping of three 8mm movie camera lenses – two marked made by Zunow and one marked with the name “Yasinon”.

What’s the most interesting about this discovery is that the name Yasinon was unknown to us prior to seeing these catalogs.

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Yashica’s first 35mm camera – the Yashica 35. If you look closely at the camera lenses you’ll see that they’re marked with the Yasinon name.

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Yashica incorrectly labels the lenses as Yashinon in the banners even though the lenses in the pictures say Yasinon.

Shortly after the marketing people put these catalogs together someone made the decision to change from Yasinon to Yashinon. It appears that some of these lenses have made it into the marketplace as Paul has shared some findings of such from Japanese auction sites. Of course, Yashica stayed with the Yashinon name from this point onward. Does this make the lenses marked Yasinon rare? In my view it does. Does it mean these lenses were made for Yashica by Zunow? Yes, in my mind it does. Do I have solid proof? No, but the circumstantial evidence points strongly towards Zunow as being the manufacturer.

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Further proof as to how close Yashica’s relationship with Zunow was.

The box above in my mind is super unique – it places Zunow’s logo with Yashica’s logo on the same box – not something that was seen during the late 1950s in Japan.

Comments? Do you have a rare Zunow hiding in your closet? If you do let me know – I am actively looking to add some to my collection.

Thanks

Chris