Yashima Pigeonflex – my oldest Yashica

Confusing title to be sure.

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Before Yashica there was Yashima and before that, there was a Pigeonflex. Yashima 1953. That’s 65 years of Japanese dirt, dust, and fuzz – purchased from a collector from Sapporo, Japan. In my eyes… it’s beautiful! The Tomioka lenses are clean and clear. The camera works great too! Made by the wonderful craftspeople of Yashima / Yashica in beautiful Nagano Prefecture along the shores of Lake Suwa.

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The original Pigeonflex on the left and the first ever TLR to bear the Yashima Flex name on the right. The Pigeonflex has been left in its “as found” condition… proudly showing its 65 plus years of dirt and grime. The Yashima Flex is also in its “as found” condition but it has lived a more protected life. Basically, these are the first two cameras that Yashica (as it has come to be known) manufactured.

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Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com as you may see something that strikes your fancy! – 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 © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

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Yashica-Mat 124G Box – 1985

Just a quick post to share with you what Yashica’s last TLR box design looked like. After a long run that lasted from 1953 to 1986, this was the end of the road for Yashica (thanks to new owners the Kyocera Corporation).

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Here is the earliest box in my collection – from 1954

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Back when Yashica was Yashima Kogaku Seiki Co., Ltd.

Kyocera purchased Yashica on a dark day in 1983. This box obviously is from very near the end of the run for the Mat 124G and puts it post-takeover. By serial number, I estimate that my 124G (SN224XXX) puts my camera at being made in 1985.

This is likely the last version of the instruction booklet for the 124G.

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This one is dated 8506 (Jun 1985) 3rd printing. Notice that Yashica is now just a division of Kyocera and they were forced from their longtime head office in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.

OK, enough Yashica trivia for one day! Thanks for sticking around! – Chris

BTW, I’ve listed a few more new items in my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com – see you there!

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 © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Yashica-Mat 124G

The Yashica-Mat 124G was Yashica’s last TLR in a long line of twin-lens reflex cameras dating back to 1953. The likely end date for the 124G was 1986. That’s a phenomenal run for a TLR.

Think about the cameras that were being marketed in the 1980s – the Canon New F-1N, the Canon T90 and EOS 650, a gem from Nikon like the F3, autofocus and autoexposure 35s from Fujifilm, Canon, Olympus and a host of others. TLRs were dinosaurs in a George Jetson world but there was Yashica plodding away building 124Gs for a world that didn’t need or want them.

To be fair, Yashica was also making some modern cameras too during this period that were very well received building on the successes of their pioneering electronic cameras from the late 1960s and the 1970s. But all was not well for Yashica. 1983 saw the takeover by Kyocera and except for a few surprising winners now and then, Kyocera was not committed to advancing the Yashica brand.

I believe that the Yashica-Mat 124G during this period did not suffer from its association with Kyocera. Early 1980, 1981 and 1982 124s look and feel just as good as the later 124Gs that were made during the later Kyocera years.

The “G” in the 124G indicates that Yashica used gold plated contacts in their electronic CdS light meter connections implying that it was a better way to make a more reliable connection.

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With the viewfinder hood closed power to the light meter was shut off conserving battery power. Here the shutter speed is set at 1/250 and the aperture at f16. The red meter needle is deflected to the left.

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With the hood opened, the meter is now powered and with the shutter set at 1/30th and the aperture opened up to f3.5 the red meter needle is deflected to the right. The ASA is set a 400.

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In my opinion, there’s nothing cheap about the Yashica-Mat 124G. I think it’s actually quite modern looking given that a TLR is far from advanced design and technology. Yes, Yashica switched from using chrome metal trim items in favor of black plastic pieces but have you ever looked closely at Canon’s T90 and EOS 650? Even the F3 uses plastic – done well there’s nothing wrong with it. The weight difference between my venerable mid-1960s Yashica-Mat EM and my 124G is about one ounce.

In summary, if you want to experience medium format photography at its best you can’t go wrong with either a classic from Yashica like the Yashica D, EM or Mat or this modern classic the Yashica-Mat 124G. The Tomioka made optics are sharp, the Copal shutters are accurate and the build quality from Yashica was second to none (millions made).

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit my shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

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 © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Sometimes silly is just silly – collecting Yashica stuff 101.1

Carol and I have been Yashica fanatics since the early 1970s and over the years we’ve collected some pretty silly stuff related to Yashica.

In 1962 the Yashica marketing guys and gals came up with a cute little fellow to act as a marketing mascot of sorts to promote Yashica’s extensive new line of SLRs and the next generation of 35mm rangefinder cameras. Yashica’s ‘Sailor Boy’ (never officially named) was born courtesy of a design executed by Modern Plastics of Japan.

The ‘Sailor Boy’ appeared in Yashica’s sales brochures and occasionally in a few instruction booklets. Here he’s pictured in an early flyer for the Minimatic-S (1963).

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This is the larger dealer display ‘Sailor Boy’ – about 20cm tall.

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Here’s the dealer display ‘Sailor Boy’ helping to promote the new (1962) J-3.

Anyway, here’s where the real silliness comes in. When you start to discover all of the different ways that Yashica employed their little mascot it’s a fun challenge to find him on some pretty unlikely things. Here he’s promoting the release of the Electro 35 – the world’s first electronic 35mm camera (1966).

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Of course he’d be on a couple of beach bags – he’s Yashica’s ‘Sailor Boy’.

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Whether riding a smiling dolphin or dancing in a grass skirt on a remote island, the ‘Sailor Boy’ was always there to remind you to take your non-waterproof Yashica Electro 35 along for the fun!

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

BTW, there’s some neat new stuff (cameras and gear) over in our shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com – there’s always a few classic cameras to pick from as well as a nice collection of lenses.

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 © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

New in the Shop – Yashica-Mat 124G

Perfectly operating Yashica-Mat 124G twin-lens reflex (TLR) 6×6 cm medium format film camera. Whew!

The last TLR in a very long line of innovative and quality made cameras by Yashica. The last 124G rolled off the assembly line at the Okaya factory in 1986 (Kyocera was in “control” and was about to kill off the Yashica name. Yashica’s first TLRs? The Pigeonflex and then the Yashima Flex (1953, 1954).

This model’s serial number is 164216 (roughly 1983) and it’s never been offered for sale before. I purchased it directly from the original owner who kept it unused as part of his collection. It’s been thoroughly tested – the light meter is spot on (I’ve installed a new battery), the shutter is accurate at all speeds, the lenses are crystal clear, and the aperture blades are snappy and oil free. I see only the slightest specs of dust on the reflex mirror inside which is typical (even straight from the factory there was dust as the mirror chamber is not sealed). It’s a joy to use and all controls operate as they should – smooth and precise. I’ve installed new light seals after carefully cleaning away the old ones. The CdS meter is built-in and coupled. BTW, these later model 124Gs are built as rugged as any of Yashica’s previous models – you get the benefits of a newer TLR with a fresher CdS meter with gold contacts. You should be able to use this camera with proper care for another 30 years or more!

It’s available for purchase in my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com or you can buy it directly from here by clicking on the PayPal payment button and get free USA shipping!

Vintage 1983 Yashica-Mat 124G Twin-lens Reflex (TLR) Medium Format Camera (120 or 220 Roll Film) Producing 6×6 cm Negatives & Slides

Nearly new Yashica-Mat 124G TLR that's been completely tested and is in 100% fully operational condition. Open the box, load some film and you're a medium format square shooter! I've installed a new battery and new light seals. It comes with the original plastic Yashica lens cap (correct for this model). This camera is perfect for the discriminating collector or an active photographer. They don't come nicer than this well cared for beauty. It will ship FOR FREE within the USA via USPS Priority Mail and I'll mail it worldwide with some exceptions. Please contact me first for a quote. Thanks, Chris

$475.00

The Yashica YE & YF – a definitive history

My good friend Paul Sokk would argue that nothing about the history of Yashica could ever be “definitive”. Yashica no longer exists and its previous owners (Kyocera) could care less about the history of the company that it killed off back in the late 1980s. But that’s where Paul really shines – he’s always researching and searching for that extra crumb of information that leads to the next crumb that eventually leads you to the cake.

The cake, in this case, is the latest addition to his amazing website. Paul deftly guides us through the complicated maze that was Yashica and details its relationship with the Nicca Camera Company and the wonderful Leica copies that were produced during the 1950s. Many of the conclusions that Paul describes are found nowhere else on the web and to his credit, no detail is too small or unimportant to look at.

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The family – Yashica YE, Nicca 3-F, Tower Type-3 (top to bottom)

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The Yashica-Nicca YF (the lens is not the standard lens for this body)

Please stroll on over to Paul’s site (be sure to bookmark it) for everything you ever wanted to know about the early days of the Yashica-Nicca collaboration. Paul quickly puts to rest many bits of intentional and unintentional misinformation that’s been floating around the web about this subject.

Paul’s site can be reached here.

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Be sure to visit the “gift shop” before you leave today for some great deals on some vintage cameras and equipment – http://www.ccstudio2380.com

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 © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

 

 

a man, a watch, a camera

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Mr. David Yulee as seen in downtown Fernandina Beach

Yashica Pentamatic S 35mm SLR mated with the sharp 5.8cm f/1.7 lens which I believe was designed by Zunow. No direct written evidence to support that claim but the design cues are clearly more Zunow than Tomioka. The camera is from 1961 and the lens is from 1960.

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Yashica Pentamatic S with attached exposure meter.

Yashica’s first SLRs represented a steep learning curve for the company.

The original Pentamatic ’35’ was co-designed with Nicca Camera starting in 1958. The camera was groundbreaking for Yashica to be sure but a miss overall against the competition (think Nikon F). Yashica’s best was yet to come. I happen to appreciate the rock-solid construction of this often overlooked camera. The lens was only in production for six months and disappeared from Yashica’s lineup at the same time as Zunow’s demise (January 1961). It was the standard lens for the Pentamatic II. This was not the lens that was supplied with the S – Yashica went back to the 5.5cm, f/1.8

Shot with my Samsung Galaxy S4 – January 2015

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com for some great 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 © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

 

Yashica-Mat EM… on assignment… update 12.9.2016

Another look at one of my favorite Yashicas to use – my Yashica-Mat EM is still going strong (since 1964) and the meter is as accurate as ever. Take a peek at the original post – if you please.

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

This month’s assignment (actually from September) is to load some Fujifilm into our Yashica-Mat EM and enjoy the benefits that only medium format film photography can fulfill.

Oh the joys of composing 6 x 6 cm images through a pop-up viewing hood in bright sunlight. What I do find nice is that the focusing dial is on the camera’s left side… a natural place for it to me. The EM has a built-in exposure meter and a ‘computer’, slide rule actually, to adjust the aperture and shutter speeds which you then set by using the two thumb wheels. I’ve learned over the years to use the guess method of focusing – I’ve learned how to judge distances by eye and then I set the focus on the marked dial. If you’re shooting in bright light and use the smallest apertures then the dept of field will cover most inaccuracies in…

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Happy SUNday! – Have you been flashed lately?

It’s easy to forget that at one time getting the right amount of light on your subject was no easy task…

Every one of us with a smartphone carries around a powerful “photo machine” in our pockets or purses. Not that long ago, well really a long time ago now when you think about it, these monsters were the epitome of high tech flash units and cameras in the 1950s and 1960s.

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Yashica Mat EM – 1964

Pictured above are a fully functional Yashica-Mat EM and Yashica PRO 40 Quick-Lite electronic flash. This was “as-simple-as-it-gets” with a medium format camera in that era. The EM has a built-in exposure meter (not a thru-the-lens type) and the PRO 40 was a straight forward light machine. Both units together with the 8 AA batteries and a roll of 120 film weigh in at nearly 4 pounds! Yikes!

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A close-up view of the exposure meter and scales on the Yashica Mat EM.

Going even further back in time, this Yashica Flex S is mated with a Minicam flash unit.

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Yashica Flex S – 1956 with Minicam flash. Powered by two “D” cell batteries.

The Yashica Flex model S also has a built-in selenium cell light meter made by Sekonic (that little thingy attached to the side of the camera). The cells are located behind the nameplate flap which can be opened to gather more light in low-light situations.

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The attached light meter made by Sekonic for Yashica. Here pictured on a Yashica AS-II camera.

The Minicam flash advertised itself as “sunlight at night”! If you can remember back to the days that these types of flash units were used you can agree – they did make “sunlight at night” as you were often blinded for quite some time afterward.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com for some great vintage 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 © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.