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).


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


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).


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


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 – 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.


Happy SUNday! – Rangefinders Rule

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A trio of 1950s Japanese 35mm rangefinder cameras. Starting from the top, the Yashica YE was made shortly after Yashica acquired Nicca in 1958. In the middle, the Nicca 3-S was one of the last cameras made with the Nicca name and last, the Tower Type-3 which was made by Nicca for the Sears, Roebuck and Company around 1951. All of these were considered to be excellent “copies” of the Leica rangefinder.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day! – Chris

By the way, I’m having a big after Christmas sale in my online camera shop at – stop by and see if something strikes your fancy! ^.^

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 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.

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!


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.


My one and only Yashica YE


Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit my shop at 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.

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

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

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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

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

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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.

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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!



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


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.


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.


Close-up of the front group removed.


Very similar to other Tomioka made lenses of the period.


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.


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.


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.


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



A beauty in black & white.


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!



Nicca 3-S with Nicca BC-III Flash Unit

Nice mid-1950s technology – an outstanding 35mm rangefinder camera paired with a cutting edge Nicca flash.

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Here the flash handle is attached to the leather camera case via the left side metal bracket on the case. It does put a bit of a strain on the case so probably not the best way to tote it around.

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Nice textured vinyl bag for the set.

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The case has held up nicely over the years. I’m missing the connector cord and of course the 22.5v Type 015 battery (they are still available). The cord will be difficult to find but that’s half the fun!

If you happen to have the connector cord please let me know – I’m a buyer!

Thanks for stopping by!


An Elusive Camera – the Royal 35-M

When you don’t have one it’s considered to be hard to find. After you acquire yours it becomes rare.

When it comes to any camera made by the Royal Camera Company of Tokyo they collectively can be considered rare. They did, however, make cameras that were branded by other companies with either the exact same specs (as the Royal 35-M) or with exclusive features only found on that model.

Here’s our “rare” Royal 35-M from around 1958.

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It’s a handsome camera and it has the feel of a very well constructed machine. The fit and finish are excellent. This model comes with a fixed 45mm lens made by Tomioka Optical and carries the Tominor name. It’s a fast lens at f1.9.

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It would appear that by serial number this camera is from about the middle of the production run. Royal looks like it used a simple sequential numbering system with no “hidden” date codes.

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The light meter “exposed” – normally the flap would be closed but it can still be used with the flap down under bright conditions. The meter in this camera is no longer operating which is typical of a 60-year-old camera.

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A pair of Tomioka lens equipped old birds from the 1950s

Advertisement for the Royal 35-M in Modern Photography magazine from February 1960. The f1.9 lens is claimed to have a seven element lens whereas the f2.8 is a five element lens. There isn’t a ton of info out there on these cameras so these little bits of data here and there are helpful.


Modern Photography ad from February 1960

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to visit our “gift shop” at