Yashica-Mat 120 Film Camera Set – 1960

For those who may have missed this post from two years ago here’s a reblog of it. This is one of the nicest sets we’ve ever come across in all our years of collecting Yashicas.

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

dscf3786 Pretty close to the way it looked when it was unboxed back in 1960. This one was part of a short production run of only a handful of cameras. It was for sale at US Military Exchanges (stores) in Japan as it is marked *EP* which meant and exempt purchase. No taxes paid but it could not be purchased or sold on the Japanese domestic market. 

dscf3787 It was Yashica’s first crank film advance TLR and it had auto cocking of the shutter. First released in April 1957.

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The quality of the images taken with a Yashica-Mat are outstanding – Yashica used high quality Yashinon f3.5 80mm lenses made for them by Tomioka Optical of Tokyo.

They are a joy to use and it’s a great camera to get into medium format photography. It produces large 6 x 6 cm negatives or slides.

Thanks for your visit!

Chris and Carol  ^.^

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Minolta’s First 6×6 Camera – 1936

We were lucky enough to acquire this lovely camera from a local collector recently. Historically it’s a significant camera in the long history of Minolta as it’s the first camera they produced to use 120 roll film in the 6×6 cm format.

It’s also a groundbreaking camera that did not use traditional leather bellows or a metal body – the body and bellows are made of Bakelite which is an early plastic. I’ve read some conflicting information about the release date (some say as early as 1935) but it seems like November 1936 is where Minolta puts its introduction. Either way, it’s the oldest camera in our collection by a couple of years and the oldest Japanese camera we own by far.

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The Crown C shutter was made by Minolta (earlier names of the company apply) and features a leaf shutter with a top speed of only 1/150th of a second. Not fast by any stretch of the imagination. Couple that to a maximum aperture of f/5.6 and you’d better be taking pictures in bright sunlight and using fast film. But wait, in 1936 fast film would be ASA 25 – so break out the tripod.

Another interesting feature is the not yet standardized aperture scale – here we have f/5.6, 6.3, 9, 12.5, 18, and f/25

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The view from above shows the three Bakelite segments fully opened. In lieu of a fragile leather bellows, this seems like a great idea but obviously never caught on with Minolta or other manufacturers.

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I gave the camera a good cleaning inside and out but for the most part, it wasn’t really that dirty. The shutter sounds accurate and the aperture blades are behaving themselves – not bad for an eight-decade-old camera. It’s generally free of corrosion as the body is mostly Bakelite and the few metal pieces on the body are brass. The metal lens board is typically where some corrosion and paint loss would occur but this one is holding up well. The leatherette is starting to crack and peel but again, that’s to be expected.

We plan on shooting a roll of film with this soon. I do have to address some minor fungus filaments in the lenses but I’ve seen much worse in much newer lenses. I believe that I’ll be able to get the optics back to a good clarity with just a tad more cleaning.

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Advertisement from 1938

Notice the selling price of the f/5.6 was listed at ¥ 46.00 which in 1938 1 yen was worth about U.S. 30 cents. So this camera in USD would have been $13.80 – I used this site to see a historic yen rate chart.

By the way, a partial machine translation of the ad reads like this – “Minolta six card business roll film should also be considered as a popular version of so-called 6×6 cm camera to make a sheet of 12 6 cm square film, the machine depends on the Baby and the Vest. Made of Bakelite, which has already been tested, and fine-grained Moroccan leather, it has a fresh Western silver metal fittings, and the three-stage sliding-type rigid bellows made of stainless steel has durability for long-term use. The Corona f/5.6 and f/4.5 both offer excellent performance in landscapes and figures.” 

The Baby and Vest were two cameras that proceeded the Minolta Six. We think it’s a fantastic bit of design and engineering and we’re excited to add it to our collection.

Thanks for stopping by and remember that we’re still running a 15% off sale in our camera 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.

 

More Yashima Flex – The Dark Knight

The Yashima Flex represents Yashima’s first TLR with their name on it – their true first TLR was the uniquely named Pigeonflex.

Here are a small collection of studio images of the aptly named The Dark Knight.

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Studio camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

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This Yashima Flex is the best TLR from any manufacturer in our collection. It is in pristine condition and is fully operational.

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The attention to even the smallest details like the metal lens cap shows that Yashima was serious about building the best quality cameras at the best price (a great value for the customer). 

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The lenses were supplied by Tomioka Optical and the shutter was from NKS. As you can see from this 1954 made camera the company name was Yashima Kogaku Seiki Co., Ltd. and they produced their TLRs in a small factory in Nagano Prefecture along the shores of Lake Suwa in the small town of Suwa (the east shore of the lake).

I purchased this camera from a collector in Japan who apparently had it on display in a controlled environment as the camera has done well over these past six-plus decades.

Thanks for stopping by and if you want to learn even more about this camera and its place in history please visit my good friend Pauls’ amazing site at http://www.yashicatlr.com

My camera shop can be reached at http://www.ccstudio2380.com – I’m running a big sale starting today! Check it out! – 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.

Yashima Flex – 1954

Three Yashima Flex twin-lens reflex (TLR) 120 roll film cameras from 1954. This was the first camera to carry the Yashima (Yashica) name.

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For such a young Japanese camera company the Yashima Flex was a well-built TLR. These guys are still capable of producing quality images six decades later.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com for some interesting classic 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.

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.

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.

Groundbreaking Cameras from Yashica

yashica 20 years

From the groundbreaking Yashica Flex S to the exciting TL Electro X ITS – over twenty years of development by Yashima-Yashica.

Playing around in the studio – 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.

More ‘Found Film’

We recently posted a short article about the good and bad sides of ‘found film’. It’s always exciting whenever we acquire a new camera and find film from the previous owner. We enjoy trying to figure out what year the film may be from. In this case, the 120 roll is Kodak Ektachrome-X – color slide film or reversal film if you prefer. It was found in a Yashica-A twin-lens reflex (TLR) medium format camera.

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Yashica-A TLR and some ‘found film’. In this case some Kodak Ektachrome-X color slide film.

The camera (Yashica-A) is from October 1959. Its general appearance would indicate that it saw limited use as the camera is in near mint condition with only a few small detracting marks. It works perfectly and the optics are sharp and clear. The shutter is accurate and it’s ready to shoot with again. It always amazes me how many cameras we find with half used rolls of film.

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Nice little addition to our vintage film collection.

We’re not going to get this roll developed. Our experience with the most recent roll was basically a waste of money – and a bit scary as you never know if the previous photographer shot something bad. We’ll let this one alone.

If anyone can give us an idea as to when this style of film was in use we would love to know.

Many thanks for your visit!

Chris

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