Yashica 35 YL – 1959 Rangefinder

A classic 35mm rangefinder film camera from Yashica. This one was built in November 1959. I like the feel of this camera – it’s a tad heavy at just over 700 grams with no film loaded and it feels “heavy” in your hands. It’s “chunky” design with the prominent black top plate is either a love it or hate it feature. I will say this, the view through the large viewfinder is outstanding. Bright and clear with an easy to focus double image focusing spot.

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I kinda like the feel of the odd and different black plastic rectanglar shutter release button – it has a nice touch. The film advance lever is silky smooth and it’s easy to load a film cartridge – lots of space in there for chunky fingers.

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If you’re looking to get into using a late 1950s Japanese made rangefinder I highly recommend the YL or its similar cousin the Yashica 35 YK.

Thanks for stopping by! – 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! Collecting

Part of the fun of collecting older film cameras is all of the neat “bits” that often come from finding the actual camera. There’s boxes, cases, instruction booklets, caps, auxiliary lenses, silica packs, brochures, ads and dozens of other silly stuff that adds depth to the find. I enjoy restoring and preserving the original boxes that the camera was sold with – often these items were simply tossed away after the camera was put into use. Boxes are actually harder to find and collect than the camera in many cases.

Here’s an example of a recent find – a nice Yashica 35 YL rangefinder set that I purchased from England.

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The image on the left is from the seller’s listing. The box has some obvious damage and serious staining but was overall still very solid. This camera set was made in November 1959 so it’s seen its share of shelf time and it shows. On the right is my first run in the process of restoring (preserving) the box. I gave it a good cleaning – yes, cleaning a paperboard box. I use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and gently scrub away nearly 60 years worth of soot, dirt and DNA from the surfaces of the paper. I can’t stress enough how careful you need to be with the eraser. Just a little bit of moisture and the right amount of pressure will do the trick. Let the paper tell you when you’re about to go “too far”. Let the box dry (it’s not really wet) before moving on to the next steps.

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The next steps in the process of restoring a box are to carefully glue down any loose bits of the paper covering to prevent further damage and loss of details. In the image above, the box has been cleaned, loose paper secured and the bare edges where given a color coat with an alcohol marker in colors close to the original box colors. It’s a process of layering the color coats and blending them to achieve the desired results. I use these types of markers because of the wide variety of colors that are available and the fact that they apply a super thin layer of color without hiding details.

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The box is much brighter and in my opinion, appealing. There’s still some additional coloring to be done but I’m happy with the results. The deep gouge shown in the upper left picture will be filled in with a mixture of colored paper and glue. It’s a bit of work but enjoyable.

Thanks for stopping by! – 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.

Fungus Among Us – “Is that a snow globe in your lens”?

A nice Nikkor lens from around 1951. When a lens is stored improperly you get a snow globe.

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I’m calling it fungus but I don’t see the typical filaments associated with fungus. Mold tends to be spotty. Haze is, well hazy. This whiteout is on the surface of the last internal lens element and is not reachable without a teardown of the lens. I’m sending this one off to a professional camera and lens repair service shortly. No promises made but for $90 its worth a try. The lens is in nearly mint condition otherwise.

The seller did offer a refund of $40 on my purchase to help with the repair costs which was appreciated. A lot of problems could be averted by simply shining a bright LED light through a lens before listing it. But this lens is on a rangefinder camera so simply looking through the range/viewfinder wouldn’t have spotted these issues.

Below is a scan of a page from the Sears Camera Catalog from Fall 1952. It goes into an extensive background of the Nikkor lenses that were available for the Tower 35 – aka Nicca Type-3.

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I’ll let you know how it looks when it’s back from service. Thanks for stopping by! – 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.

Rolleicord Ia Type 3 – 1938

This is my first and likely last Rollei – it’s not a camera that I’ve been after for my collection. I tend to collect and appreciate cameras that came from Japan with a favorite Kodak and Polaroid thrown in for fun.

It’s a twin-lens reflex (TLR) medium-format 120 film camera made in Germany. It’s also known as the Rolleicord Ia version 3.

Surprisingly I haven’t found much about this camera other than what’s been repeated over and over on the web. It was made between early 1938 maybe even late 1937 to late 1947 with about 12,150 produced with little indication that there were much in the way of changes made to the design during that period. I believe that I’m spoiled by sites such as Paul Sokk’s that provide a plethora of well-researched info about Yashica and the wonderful cameras that they produced and at this moment, I haven’t found an equivalent site for the Rolleicord.

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My new to me Rolleicord – likely a domestic model not intended for export.

It’s a wonderfully simple camera with a straightforward placement of the operating controls. This particular camera hasn’t been used in years so at the moment everything is a bit stiff from sitting around. On the plus side, the shutter does fire and the speeds sound correct… always a good thing. The taking lens (the bottom lens) looks to be free of significant issues – no mold, fungus or cleaning marks.

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The original leatherette covering is complete and with the exception of a few areas remains well attached. The metalwork is free of corrosion which is amazing since the camera was made over 80-years-ago. There are a few spots of missing paint from use but no large-scale loss or failure of the factory applied paint.

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The exposure guide is in German. I’m guessing that an English version was produced for export prior to the start of WWII (see below).

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Exposure guide in English around the timeframe of my camera (1938-1940). (detail from a larger web image)

The winds of war were blowing across Europe in 1938. While not fully engaged in the World War yet, I’m sure many manufacturing companies in Germany were seeing an uptick in production for the military which meant less production for civilian uses. I’m guessing that production of Rolleicords might have taken a big hit in the ensuing war years. I imagine the only way to tell a war era Rolleicord Ia from a post-war model is by the change from “DRP and DRGM” on the nameplate to “DBP and DBGM” which occurred after the war (see images below).

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“Pre-war” and war era Rolleicord nameplate with “DRP and DRGM”. The Ia type 3 differs from the original Rolleicords as it’s the first with a cast nameplate and recessed logo.

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The change to the post-war nameplate. (detail from a larger web image)

It’s a lightweight camera – this one weighs just 748 grams without film or a take-up spool installed. It’s reported on various sites that the weight of this model is 730 grams. Maybe mine has a few extra grams of dirt inside as I’ve yet to remove the viewing hood and tackle the inside below the focusing screen. By contrast, the first Yashima (later Yashica) twin lens reflex made in 1953 weighs 857 grams empty.

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On the cameras right side, the focus knob distance scale and depth-of-field scales share the look of the Rolleicord Ia version 2 which was made in the previous year – the distance scale and DOF scales are in black with white engravings. Most Ia type 3 models have a chrome scale with black engravings. Mine may have received the older knob and scale only to use up parts from the previous version.

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“Typical” Rolleicord Ia Type 3 focus knob and scales. This may also be an export model with the “Made in Germany” details on the knob. (detail from a larger web image)

My next step is the removal of the viewing hood for that good internal cleaning. I’m not sure if I’ll run a roll of film through it but I know I should. How often do you get to shoot with an 80-year-old camera?

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Eighty years of dirt, dust, debris, and degradation to the original factory installed reflex mirror.

Thanks for stopping by! – 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.

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.

Tower 10 – Made by Olympus for Sears, Roebuck and Company

This one (a later model) is from 1959 or so. It’s a fun little camera that weighs a ton especially given its small size (lots of metal and glass).

It’s an Olympus 35-S II that’s co-branded with Tower which I think is a bit odd. Nowhere on the body is it marked “Tower 10” – the only clue can be found in the instruction booklet. The model with the E. Zuiko f2.8 lens is the Model 10.

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My camera is in surprisingly good operating condition considering it’s been sitting in a little vinyl camera case in a shed for more than a few years! Only three issues with it – “bulb” does not work, what appears to be typical for this model, there’s “brassing/corrosion” around the film advance lever, and lastly, the rangefinder/viewfinder windows had become detached from inside the camera and were misaligned. Oh, and it was a tad bit dirty.

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No self-timer on my later model.

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It was pretty straightforward taking the top plate off from the body. A minimum of parts to remove and the viewfinder window was easy to get to and repair with some fresh glue and a steady hand. The viewfinder was actually very clean and thank goodness there was no mold or fungus to deal with.

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As best as I can figure, the “Luminous Frame Window” (center) helps to bring more light into the viewfinder to aid in focusing. The view is impressive. It’s bright, clear and sharp inside that thingy.

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It’s a rather simple camera – I like that! The three windows identify that this is the 35-S II vice the original 35-S

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The corrosion around the film advance lever gives the camera some character – or that’s the story I’m sticking with! The lens, as described by Olympus, is a “fast” f2.8 made up of 5 elements in 4 groups (4.8cm).

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Thanks for stopping by! If you can find a nice Tower/Olympus 35-S II I think you’ll find it a fun little camera to own. – 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.

Tower Type-3 35mm Rangefinder – Made by Nicca for Sears

One of the better made Leica type of 35mm rangefinder cameras from the early 1950s. This one dates back to the period during the occupation of Japan following WWII. The occupation formally ended in April 1952.

I believe the Nicca-Towers are extremely attractive in their design and some (like this gem) have aged very well (1951 on this one).

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The Tower brand was made by Nicca Camera Company for Sears, Roebuck and Company for sale in the United States through their stores and in their catalogs.

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Nippon Kogaku Nikkor – H.C f2 5cm lens from my Nicca s-3

These cameras accept all L39 screw-in (Leica type) lenses made by a ton of manufacturers – Canon, Nikkor, Leitz and more than I care to think about. Oh yeah, Nicca even made one with their own name and Yashica made a few too. Happy hunting!

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.

 

Yashica’s First 35mm Cameras – 1958-59

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From a rather hard to find (OK, kinda rare) sales brochure (above) from late 1960 or early 1961.

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The Yashica 35 YK (identified here simply as the “K type”) is the least expensive of the cameras and was produced in large numbers starting in June 1959. The camera is marked with the “YK” on the front right of the body in gold while the top has Yashica engraved in it next to the serial number (pictured below).

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Yashica 35 K type – aka the YK

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The Yashica 35 (above) was the first 35mm rangefinder camera from Yashica. In this brochure, the marketing department has added an “S” as part of the description of the camera (f2.8 lens). It appears from my translation that the “S” may have to do with something about the lens – either a new coating or some other design feature(s) which makes it new. Of course, it may be simple marketing hype as the 35 was getting on in years by this time.

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The Yashica 35 Fair-Way (YF) is the only one in this series that was given a name that I’m aware of. It’s also the only one marked Yashica and Nicca. It was a transition camera as Yashica had just acquired Nicca in 1958. It’s one of the most expensive in this series to acquire as sellers recognize the relative rarity of the model especially in mint or excellent condition.

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Yashica’s first interchangeable lens 35mm rangefinder camera – basically a Nicca in Yashica cladding.

The Yashica 35 E type (above) is also known as the Yashica YE which is engraved in the top plate. Here again, it’s a case of the marketing department manipulating the name of the camera – either to make it appear as a new model of it may be that the Japanese market tends to simplify the names of cameras. I believe that the unifying theme here is that Yashica wanted each of these cameras to feel connected to one another. By using the common name Yashica 35 “X” type the cameras couldn’t be mistaken for anything but a 35mm camera from a company known for TLRs and 8mm movie cameras.

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My one and only Yashica YE

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Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit my shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com for some classic collectible cameras and photo gear. – 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.