Contax Heaven – ‘Yashica, A New Horizon’

The title refers to a not widely circulated Yashica marketing brochure that was sent to virtually all US camera dealers in early 1975. In it, Yashica informed dealers that they would directly distribute their products (including the Contax line) to them and that they had a direct representative in Yashica USA. Definitely a bold move by Yashica during a desperate time in their history (and struggle to stay solvent).

Here’s some eye candy from that brochure –

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How about finding this under the Christmas tree then or now?

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Really the first introduction of the partnership between Yashica and Contax.

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The marketing brochure (cover) from 1975.

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The original letter (not a copy) that was sent to each camera dealer in the US. Each was signed by the President (or more likely an underling).

I personally haven’t collected anything with the Contax branding but that hasn’t meant that I wouldn’t want to – just no more room for another branch in the collection.

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

Zeiss Ikon Ikoblitz – folding fan flash

I’m not quite sure of the when of this flash (guessing mid-1950s) or the model number but I do know that it was made by Zeiss Ikon in Germany. It’s falling apart – the plastic is very brittle, the original 22 1/2 volt battery looks like a science experiment and it obviously doesn’t work. On the plus side, the vinyl case is still in good (not great) condition, the metal fan reflector looks good and works and the flash bulb and connecting wire look fantastic.

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Anyway, another example of mid-century design. I imagine when it was new it was pretty cool and would slip into a pocket or camera bag with ease.

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

Vintage Bewi Automat “A” Exposure Meter

Straight from the desk of a mid-century designer, this super cool (and fully working) selenium cell exposure meter is a joy to use and play with.

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The first thing I noticed about it is that unlike typical meters from this period (the 1950s) there’s no visible meter needle or pointer. Everything that moves does so inside. I know, I took it apart to see what was going on and there was the needle being “busy” reacting to light. Maybe this ad will do a better job at describing just what makes this meter so special.

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Semi-transparent cover over the selenium cells allows for incident light readings.

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Selenium cells exposed for full reflected light readings.

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In its case, it’s about the size of a deck of cards but it fits nicely in the palm of your hand. I have it available in my shop as it’s time to pass it along to the next collector. You can see additional pictures of it and a complete description at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

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

New reflex mirror in my Rolleicord Ia Type 3 from 1938

After 80 years of use, the original mirror had lost most of its reflectivity and the view available in the viewing hood was greatly diminished.

I ordered a replacement mirror from hugostudio.com and I couldn’t be happier with the service and the quality of the product.

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With the viewing hood and focusing screen removed the view internally shows an abundance of the dirt and grime from 80 years of use. It’s pretty nasty in there!

There are only 4 screws to remove to be able to access the mirror chamber. The mirror essentially slides out from the 4 tabs that hold it in.

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Old and new mirrors side-by-side.

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The mirror chamber with the original mirror removed. A quick dusting and it was ready for the new mirror installation.

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Before and after. What a difference the new mirror makes.

I highly recommend that you change out the original reflex mirror in your TLR if it shows signs of significant deterioration – the view in the focusing hood will be made much brighter and that will lead to more accurate focusing on your part. Most mirrors can be had for around $10 and there are a few sellers on eBay to choose from. The key is the accuracy of the cut as there’s little room for error. If in doubt trace the outline of the mirror that you are replacing and send that (or just the measurements) to the seller.

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Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your project! – 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.

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.

Spies Like Us – Q would approve

The Minox EC – at the time in the early 1980s it was the smallest subminiature camera made.

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The ultimate subminiature. The Minox EC from 1981

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Fully opened – the film cartridge loads from the top. We’re talking small here.

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Complete “Spy” kit – includes an exposed film cartridge – who knows what secrets lie within.

For more about this really cool “spy” camera stop by here.

To purchase this camera take a stroll to our online store at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

Thanks

Chris

A Surprising Find Under All That Dirt – A Hidden Gem Emerges

Recently a client of mine asked me to help him sell some of his vintage cameras from his collection. It’s not a collection in the true sense of the word, more of a gathering of cameras he had acquired over the years. Bob had become interested in photography as a kid in New York in the 1940s and ’50s but lacked the resources to buy cameras until he graduated from law school in the late 1960s.

His first purchase was a good one – a brand new Leica M4 in black lacquer (only 800 or so made in black that year) with a gorgeous Leitz-Leica Summicron 35mm f2 wide angle lens. Both were purchased together in 1969. I was able to arrange a sale of that set within two days of posting it.

The next camera that Bob showed me I wasn’t impressed with at all – a Canon II 35mm rangefinder with a terrible looking lens that looked like Fred Flintstone may have owned it at one time.

The Canon before its “refreshing” ⇓

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The Canon II from around 1954 with its odd little lens. Dirty little thing.

I was familiar with the Canon – one of the dozens of Leica “copies” or “clones” of the venerable Leica III that were made in Japan in the late 1940s and ’50s – the lens, well not so much. I knew that Leica made collapsible Leitz lenses that were extremely popular due to their outstanding quality and compact size, but I was unaware that other companies did so too. One such company was Schneider-Kreuznach of Germany.

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The diamond in the rough.

The Schneider-Kreuzbach Xenon f2 5cm lens (pictured above) was produced for Leitz during World War II. By serial number (1830715) the lens was produced around 1942 to 1943. Schneider Optics has this incredible list of all of its serial numbers – check it out here.

Here’s my write-up from my Etsy shop (www.ccstudio2380.com) listing.

Rare Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon f2 5cm
Collapsible Leica LTM Screw Mount Lens
– Vintage Germany 1942 – Wartime Lens! Limited Production!
– Excellent Functionality!

This is an extremely hard to find Leica screw mount lens made
by the world-renowned German optical company
Schneider-Kreuznach (Schneider Optics).

The lens is in beautiful vintage condition with a lovely
patina on the chrome metal lens barrel. I have inspected
and tested this lens on my Nicca rangefinder and it works
perfectly.

History has it that the Leitz factory could not meet the demands 
made on it by the German government during the height
of World War II and so the Schneider Optical Company
took on the task of building these lenses for Leica-Leitz. They
were made in very limited numbers.

If you can imagine how hard it is to find this lens in the present day
after all these years having survived the war and its aftermath.

This lens made it to a large camera dealer in New York City from the
original owner and was purchased by my client in 1969.

The lens is in perfect function – the aperture blades are clean (a bit worn)
and complete, the focus is smooth and was tested on my Nicca.
The rangefinder focused accurately. The mount (L39) is excellent and
the lens mounts securely to the camera body. The collapsible portion
is smooth and the lens locks in place. The aperture ring is also smooth and
without binding.

The glass elements (I think only the front elements) have a slight fog/haze
but not so much as to diminish the view. There are spots inside the
lens – they look more like dirt and dust spots but they could be
mold. With a bright light, I do not see any fungus filaments however.

The lens is rather rare and apparently very collectible and valuable ($900 to $1500). Who knew? The fact that it was made during WWII in Germany only adds extra interest to its rariety. The Leica lens cap is from the mid 1930s and as the story goes it has been on the lens since new. It would make sense that the Leitz factory supplied these to Schneider Optics to affix to their lenses.

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The Canon all cleaned up and ready to go – the lens is shown in its collapsed position.

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Looking much better after its bath – the cap is extra special too as it is from a very early design. By the way, the cap is padded inside with red felt.

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As a set it makes for a very interesting camera. Canon, Schneider, and Leitz coming together.

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For more about Schneider Optics stop by their website.

Thanks for stopping by! If you find vintage Schneider lenses from the 1940s certainly give them a closer look. The popular Kodak Retina line of 35mm SLR cameras used Schneider lenses and some of those are quite valuable too.

Chris

 

 

 

 

In the Studio – Kodak Retina Reflex IV

I had a chance to get some new images in the studio of my latest acquisition – this beautiful Kodak 35mm SLR from 1965. I purchased it from a retired Kodak executive who obviously took very good care of it. It’s completely working, even the selenium cell exposure meter! The lens optics are crystal clear and the shutter fires like new.

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Taken with my Fujifilm X-A10 with Canon FD 24mm f2.8 wide angle lens.

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Taken with my Fujifilm FinePix S9900W.

This Kodak is now available in our online store at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris

Kodak Retina Reflex IV – 1965

The Kodak Retina Reflex IV was the last in a long-lived series of 35mm film cameras from Kodak. These were manufactured in Germany.

This nearly pristine example is in fully working condition and it will be available for purchase in our store soon. I’ve just have a few more tests to run and it’ll be set to go.

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A beautifully clunky work of art and design.

More pics and info to follow.

Chris