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.

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.

Fujifilm GF670 Professional

Fujifilm GF670 Sales Brochure

Super hard to find sales brochure from Fujifilm for the popular and desirable GF670 Professional 6x6 / 6x7 medium format film camera. Full color large format about 21x30 cm. All specs, features and accessories. In mint new condition with only the slightest bend on the lower right cover. Add this beautiful brochure to your photographic collection. Mails to the USA for free! International buyers please request a quote for shipping.

$25.00

One of Fujifilm’s most popular (and expensive) modern film cameras. This rare brochure will enhance any photographic library and make a nice addition to your Fujifilm GF670 collection.

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We have a rather large collection of photographic sales brochures. Let us know if there’s one we can find for you.

Thanks,

Chris

Yashica Arrivals – Pentamatic S & 635

As if the collection needed more Yashica anything – but collections are dynamic things and as such, something “new” arrives which paves the way for a duplicate(s) to go.

Although we have some very nice Pentamatic-S models in the family, this one is close to mint new and is in fully working condition (including the “no name” exposure meter). So we’ll take a hard look at the others and decide which will be listed for sale in our online store.

The Yashica-635 is another story.

The first one we acquired (about a year ago) looked perfect – new in fact – but it had a fatal flaw – the shutter was jammed because the “M-X” lever was in the wrong position when someone tried to use the self-timer. That one was sold for parts. This one came to us from England and was likely purchased new in Singapore in the late 1950s. A guess on our part but there’s a cleaning cloth with it from a camera store in Changi Village, Singapore which was located right outside the gates of the RAF Changi airbase. This 635 is super clean and works! It even came with the hard to find large Yashica-635 carry case in excellent condition. We can’t wait to try the 35mm feature on it.

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The Yashica-635 is a dual format TLR which was released in 1958 (this model) and the Yashica Pentamatic-S came out in early 1961 – possibly January (this one September 1961).

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Much more to come on the Yashica-635. We hope to restore the large leather carry case that came with it and we’ll do a complete feature on the dual formats. The ability to shoot 12 6x6cm negatives with 120 roll film and with a few easy change outs inside, switch to shooting a roll of 35mm film with the same camera. Cool.

Thanks for stopping by!

Studio Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

Chris

 

Yashica-A: Collecting 101*

*Or how to run out of space for it all real quick!

As much as Carol and I would love to go on collecting camera sets, the cameras will eventually win out! Even when we narrow our collecting to let’s say only twin-lens reflex cameras made in the mid 1950s, and only made by Yashima-Yashica, we’d still run out of space and money. There were just too many made (obviously) to be able to collect all the different models and all the different variations. Yashima-Yashica was, by far, the most prolific TLR maker – ever! I believe they finally stopped by 1986 which was long after TLRs fell from favor!

So we’ve reached the point they sing about in that Disney movie – “Let it Go”! 

Collecting Yashima-Yashica cameras is a very satisfying endeavor. We’ve been at it for decades, we know. There’s enough of them around so the choices are plenty – but since Yashicas were built well but built for the masses, they weren’t collected when they were new. Most that are available are well used. They’re still very functional, but well used nonetheless. So if you’re trying to collect complete sets just as they came from the factory, and you want them to work and be in mint (or near mint) condition, good luck! It’s not like collecting Leicas, Nikons, Canons or Rolleis where when you google “nikon mint box” you end up with hundreds to pick from from all across the web. Google “mint yashica box” and you’ll see maybe a dozen of Yashica’s last TLR – the Mat 124G. A great camera but it’s common. The early stuff from Yashima-Yashica, well that’s a whole different ballgame, and that ballgame is fun!

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This one is from 1957,  made by Yashima Optical – the Yashica-A

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Solidly built and well maintained.

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All the factory goodies.

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“Fall out of bed” easy to operate – shoot 6x6cm negatives or color slide film soon after loading it. Great optics, accurate shutter and bright viewing screen.

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Yashimar f/ 3.5, 80mm lenses made by Tomioka Optical.

The Yashica-A is a great medium format camera. Simple to use and produces super sharp, large images that you’ll be amazed came from your hands. Why is the A the best? This one is 6 decades old and works perfectly. Why? Virtually nothing on it to break or jam. Simple winding knob, no self-timer and black yarn light seals that never fail. No built-in light meter (use a phone app) or use a vintage hand held meter or guess at the exposure or learn the “Sunny-16” rule. You almost have to try to make a bad image with a camera like this. Worried about the reversed image in the viewing hood? You’ll get over it quickly and you’ll soon love composing and shooting in the square format (6 x 6).

This model A (remember, “Let it Go”) is available for purchase. If you have an interest, contact us at chriscarol@ccstudio2380.com or visit us at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

If there’s something that you’re looking for maybe we have it or can find one for you. You never know!

Thanks for stopping by!

Studio Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

Chris

 

 

Yashica Flex AS-II by Yashima Optical

One of the original group of 6 cameras that Yashica (Yashima Optical Industries Company, Ltd.) made in the early to mid 1950s. This AS-II was introduced in 1954 and featured a built-in (well, attached) light meter. They’re solid cameras these early Yashica TLRs, and in our opinion, had some underrated features as well as great lenses. The light meter was made by Sekonic by the way.

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Yashica Flex AS-II with built-in light meter (just visible on the camera’s left side). The light meter’s cells were located under the nameplate and were exposed by lifting up the nameplate flap.

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The AS-II featured Yashimar lenses that were made by Tomioka Optical for Yashica. A Copal shutter with a blazing fast 1/200 top speed!

If you’re in the market for a vintage Yashica TLR then the AS-II should be on your list. Be advised that most will not have a working light meter – if you get one with one it’s a bonus. They are a bit hard to find – 63 year old cameras don’t often look this good or work perfectly. We were lucky as we were able to purchase this one from a collector in the US for a reasonable price.

Taken on the US Post Office steps in downtown Fernandina Beach, Florida. The post office dates to 1911.

Camera: Samsung Galaxy S4

Chris

Fujifilm Neopan Acros 100 & Fujica GW690

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Testing our Fujica GW690 medium format camera and Fujifilm Neopan Acros 100 film. Captures the details, grays, shadows and textures nicely on this 130 year old brick wall on Centre Street.

Processing:  The Darkroom

Scanner:  Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II

Film:  Fujifilm Neopan Acros 100

Camera:  Fuji Photo Film Fujica GW690 ca.1978

Fujica GW690… Fuji Photo Film’s Venerable Workhorse

Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. – Tokyo

Fujica GW690 Professional – 1978 version. Yes it’s big. Yes it’s a bit heavy too. But who doesn’t love big 6x9cm negatives! We had an Asahi Pentax 6×7 SLR for a while in our active collection and thoroughly enjoyed the images it produced. The 6×7 and 6×9 in our opinion are great formats. We still shoot in squares though – it’s fun to compose a 6×6 frame on a twin-lens reflex. If anything will slow your photography down it’s that.

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This camera arrived yesterday and it’s all cleaned up and ready to go. This is a heavily used (think venerable workhorse) GW690 with all sorts of dings, dents and scrapes to show for it’s almost four decades of use. We imagine it’s seen more than a few tour groups in its time – now it’s time to slow down a bit. We purchased it to be a user camera for some fine art prints we want to create and sell on our online site. We normally print on 8.5 x 11 inch Canon paper with an occasional bump to 13 x 19 inches and the 6×9 format is perfect.

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We’re big fans of Fuji cameras and this one will earn its keep in our studio. I’m headed out this afternoon with a roll of Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros loaded to test it out.

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It’s a simple camera – completely analog. No onboard exposure meter, no auto film advance, no auto focus – just what we wanted.

We chose the GW690 vice the “newer” models (II and III) because I’m not a big fan of the built-in lens hood on the later models (gets in the way). The shutter settings (leaf shutter) and aperture settings are right next to one another which makes it super easy to see the relationship each has on the other. Focusing is quick on this model and the rangefinder window is bright and easy to see.

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A 35mm box of film gives you a comparison to just how big the Fujica is. By the way, this model was the last to be called a Fujica.

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Ready to rock some Neopan!

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We thought it would look good with some vintage Fuji Film beside it. The film expired in 1964!

We’ll have the results next week as we send our film out to ‘The Darkroom’ for their professional development and scans. 6×9 on 120 roll film produces only 8 exposures so I should be able to shoot in one afternoon. Let’s see… with the purchase of the film, processing and shipping it’s going to cost about $25 per 8 images. Yikes!

Thanks for your visit. Chris & Carol ^.^

 

Yashima Yashicaflex A-II

Our Yashicaflex A-II is headed for the finish line – soon! These images were from day one and day 100 (just kidding about the 100). There have been so many issues to deal with restoring this 63 year old camera that it’s been a slow go. While this restoration has been an ongoing process for us, we’ve used some of our time to address some of the other cameras in our collection that needed only small repairs and a good cleaning.

Day one is pictured below. After prying the camera from its leather case (literally), the rust and corrosion were widespread and had eaten deep into the metal. Dirt everywhere! But the camera functioned! Glass was mold and fungus free but dirty and the shutter was accurate.

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The die cast aluminum body and back door were corroded big time. The thin metal parts were rusty and pitted. The leatherette was dry and brittle with many missing pieces.

Below the same area after 3 coats of etching primer and filler putty to “replace” the missing aluminum due to the depth of the corrosion.

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By this point some of the final finish coats of primer and filler could be applied. Lots of sanding between coats. At least the corrosion was gone and something of a finish could be imagined.

The camera will be re-imagined and restored. Since it’s not a rare Yashica model, Carol and I feel free to express some creativity in the re-build. Stay with us as I believe we’ll be able to have the finished product ready to show by early spring. The Yashima Yashicaflex A-II ‘Sakura’.

Thanks for your visit!

Chris and Carol