Yashima Flex Inspection Tag – update 2

Yashima Flex Insp Tag 2

Earliest known inspection tag from Yashima Kogaku Seiki Company (Yashica) – 1954

It seems at first glance to be nothing important, but to a fanatic Yashica collector, this is golden. It’s the earliest known tag from Yashima complete with serial number and inspector’s stamps.

What it is. Most cameras from Japan came with some sort of inspection tag, form or sticker. This one says it’s an Inspection Form (across the top). What makes this find special is that it was included with the first twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera that bore the company name – Yashima. The Yashima Flex TLR camera was produced between 1953 and 1954 before changing the name to Yashica Flex in subsequent models and the company became known as Yashica in 1958.

This would have hung from the camera body and the serial number of the camera is recorded on the tag (here the last two numbers are blocked). The inspector would have entered a date next to the word Showa – or that would have been entered by the camera store at the time of sale. Here’s a scan of the reverse side of the tag.

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Super cool inspection stamp!

Yashima Flex Green Book

This could be the instruction book (leaflet) that would have come with the camera but since none have been documented yet it could be something else entirely. ***My good friend Paul Sokk has suggested that it could be filled with a pad of papers for recording data about your photographs.***

Update August 22, 2019 – Paul was correct! A+ for him. It is a pad filled with forms for recording your exposures (images).

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The form that is inside the green booklet. You would record the date, time of day and even the weather!

Kanji on Green Book

“Store​ the​ record​ of​ your​ photo​ data.​ Print​ your​ photos​ on​ this​ paper​ to​ better​ preserve​ your​ photos”.

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This is the set I just purchased from Japan. It shows the size of the green booklet as it relates to the camera box. It is not an instruction booklet.

More about this exciting find soon!

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

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Yashima Yashicaflex A-II… 1955 – A restoration like no other!

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Restoration challenge! Six decades of dirt, grime, soot and corrosion have taken their toll on this once beautiful Yashicaflex. There isn’t a part that escaped the corrosion – except the workings. The glass is just fine, shutter works, aperture blades are problem free – film advance works as does the focus. 

I’m finally on the home stretch of this year plus project. My desire to re-imagine this camera into the modern age has been the biggest holdup. Actually I’m calling it an “interpretative restoration” – that allows the artist and designer in me to reconcile with the fussy photographer that I am.

Watch the blog over the next two weeks or so as I bring it all together for the final reveal.

Thanks – Chris

Yashima Sales Brochure… 1956

In just 3 short years, Yashima beat the odds and became a Japanese camera company that lasted long enough to produce multiple models. In the case of this sales brochure from 1956 – the Yashica Flex B, A and Yashica-Mat twin-lens reflex cameras.

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Well designed sales brochure from the little company that became Yashica.

Not that we’ve seen a ton of sales brochures from other Japanese camera manufacturers from this era, but we think this was rather provocative for the mid 1950s (at least in the US we would think). This brochure was intended for the home market and the culture of Japan is a tad less uptight about things like this.

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Lovely model on the back cover of the brochure.

The first page inside the brochure in packed with information not typically found in a brochure. Yashima was, in our opinion, marketing itself beyond what such a young company would normally look like. These series of Yashica Flex Photography books were excellent creations that went far beyond a simple owner’s guide.

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You’ve got the year (1956), two examples of the Yashica Flex Photography books and some prices of the cameras.

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Last inside page of the brochure depicting Yashima’s new modern factory in Suwa, Nagano Prefecture, Japan.

Yashima was a very proud company and they were eager to show how much they grew since 1953.

Thanks so much for your visit. The goal of our blog is to stimulate discussion and further the knowledge of all things Yashima-Yashica. Please share your comments with us… we’d be happy to read them. One final thought, we share our brochures with others and ask that you do not copy or post our images into your blog or post without permission. Thanks!

Chris & Carol

Yashima-Yashica Rookie – 1956

We were finally able to assemble our Yashicaflex Rookie ‘stuff’ for some studio shots. We’re still missing some items to make the set complete but so far the collection is looking good.

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The outer box (or shipping box) for the camera and its leather case is on the left. Of course the camera is in the center with the Rookie leather case to its right. The Rookie instruction booklet is in the lower right of this image and a colorful Rookie sales brochure is just below the lens cap. A warranty (service certificate) card identifying that this camera is a Yashicaflex Model R is just below the box and finally another sales brochure that features the Rookie is on top of the box.

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Original 1956 sales brochure.

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Sales brochure from 1956.

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Certainly an entry level twin-lens reflex camera with some nice features.

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The Rookie could take standard 6×6 cm images or with a accessory kit take 3 more images on standard 120 film and produce 6×4.5 cm negatives.

The Rookie wasn’t popular in Japan and Yashima-Yashica gave it a very limited run. I suspect that some popularity exists today just because it’s seldom seen here in the U.S. and it’s rather hard to acquire a really nice example. We like the camera, the name is goofy and didn’t play well in the marketplace.

As always… we appreciate your visit! Thanks, C&C

 

A Couple of ‘New’ Yashicas

ヤシカ… A couple of new Yashicas have caught our fancy. From 1986 and during Yashica’s ‘dark period’ when they were taken over by Kyocera, this super nice (and truly new) Yashica MF-2 Super DX. To be sure it’s a very plastic camera but it’s filled with some nice high tech features… DX coding of the film speed, automatic exposure and built in flash. No focus needed as the lens can focus from about 3 feet to infinity (and beyond!!!).

The other member of the Yashica family is this nice almost 100% mint Yashica-A with gray leather and silky black metalwork. It’s from 1959 and works perfectly… shutter speeds are spot on and the aperture blades are snappy. No self timer on these basic models from Yashica, but they hit a great price point with buyers and had a long production run.

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Yashica-A in gray with the original gray leather case. From 1959.

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Yashica-A in gray leather and black metal. The Kodak film is close to the correct era (late 1950s).

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Low key effect photograph. It gives the camera a bit of an edgy look.

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Interesting lens serial numbers on this camera. The taking lens SN (pictured) is only 19 numbers less than the viewing lens. Almost spot on (haven’t seen that yet). Of course these lenses were made by Tomioka Optical of Tokyo for Yashica.

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Brand new and never used (isn’t that the same?) Yashica MF-2 Super DX 35mm rangefinder camera from 1986. Parts made in Japan and assembled in Hong Kong.

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Low key photograph gives this pretty but humble camera a nice look.

As always we appreciate your visit to our blog… feel free to comment. Many thanks and big smiles… C&C

Yashica Flex Model S… 1954 to 1957

The Yashica Flex model S (aka Yashicaflex) is one of Yashima’s most important early cameras… well maybe the second most important behind the first. Obviously Yashima’s first camera, the oddly named Pigeonflex one could argue, was the most important. The model S though was the first twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera (in the world!!!) that had a “built-in” exposure meter.

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The Yashica ‘Sailor Boys’ gather around the Yashica Flex model S. The boys are from 1962 and this TLR is from late 1956.

The Sekonic CB-1 exposure meter was attached to the camera’s left side and the light gathering cells were located under the nameplate flap. They were connected to one another but the meter was non-coupled to the camera settings. The user would lift the flap to expose the cells to light and then read the exposure index in the window on top of the meter. Then simply set the camera to the proper f-stop and shutter speed and snap away. No batteries required. But with the passage of time most of these meters failed in some way or another. If you find one with a working meter so much the better.

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Yashica-Mat EM from 1964. The exposure meter and light gathering cells were moved to the front and top… no more flaps to raise and we were a bit closer to being coupled. This EM has a working exposure meter which is pretty amazing after 50 plus years!

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Close-up of the Sekonic CB-1 exposure meter on the Yashica Flex S.

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Exposure meter scale for setting the f-stop and shutter speed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Exposure meter light gathering cells located under the Yashica Flex nameplate.

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Exposure meter on the Yashica-Mat EM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Close-up view of the aperture and shutter speed settings on the EM.

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Yashica-Mat EM exposure meter and exposure scale. Film speed is set at ASA 400.

So there you have it… a short (very short) history of some groundbreaking cameras from Yashima/Yashica. For more on Yashica’s awesome array of TLRs visit my friend Paul’s site at http://www.yashicatlr.com

Paul’s site is a labor of love and if you want to know anything about Yashima/Yashica that’s the place. We hope to bring some more Pentamatic blogs your way soon. We are of course, The Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic!

Thanks, Chris & Carol