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.


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.


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.


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


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 EM

My favorite go-to medium format camera with a built-in exposure meter (EM). This one is from 1964.

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Woodblock print by Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858)

Studio Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

For more about the Yashica-Mat EM please visit one of my previous posts here.

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.

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.


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.

Yashica-Mat 124G Box – 1985

Just a quick post to share with you what Yashica’s last TLR box design looked like. After a long run that lasted from 1953 to 1986, this was the end of the road for Yashica (thanks to new owners the Kyocera Corporation).





Here is the earliest box in my collection – from 1954


Back when Yashica was Yashima Kogaku Seiki Co., Ltd.

Kyocera purchased Yashica on a dark day in 1983. This box obviously is from very near the end of the run for the Mat 124G and puts it post-takeover. By serial number, I estimate that my 124G (SN224XXX) puts my camera at being made in 1985.

This is likely the last version of the instruction booklet for the 124G.

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This one is dated 8506 (Jun 1985) 3rd printing. Notice that Yashica is now just a division of Kyocera and they were forced from their longtime head office in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.

OK, enough Yashica trivia for one day! Thanks for sticking around! – Chris

BTW, I’ve listed a few more new items in my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com – see you there!

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).


“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.


“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?


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.

The Fujicaflex Automat- a monster TLR from Fuji Photo Film Company, Tokyo

Fuji’s only attempt at a twin-lens reflex camera – 1954

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The Fuji Photo Film Company of Tokyo has a long history of making some very desirable cameras – from simple point and shoot models to high-quality professional medium format film cameras covering most types of film formats (Fuji Photo, after all, is in the business of selling film). Along the way, there have been a few cameras that have stood out for their technical achievements and innovations and one of them is the Fujicaflex Automat (for much more about this model please check out Mr. Koyasu’s wonderful site).

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We’ve wanted to add this camera to our collection for many years and the right combination of events led us to this one. It was for sale in Japan a short while back and we missed it – it became available again from a collector in Thailand so we went for it.

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Of the many neat features that this camera has, one of the most useful is its close-up capabilities. Although we haven’t finished our first test roll of film we wanted to verify the reported 70cm close focusing feature. By pushing the little button above the thumbwheel you’ll be able to adjust the taking and viewing lenses for a closer focus (notice that the lens rings extend outwards about 4mm or so). The ability to bring the taking lens closer to the subject allows the camera to get closer to the subject without the use of cumbersome auxiliary lenses.

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Here the lenses are retracted back to their “normal” positions.

Thanks for stopping by! We’ll cover more of the camera’s features in future posts and we will post images from our first test roll soon. – Chris

Yashica 44 LM – 1960

Yashica’s “pint sized” twin-lens reflex 127 film camera from 1960. Instead of producing typical 6x6cm negatives from a full sized TLR on 120 film, the Yashica 44 LM produces negatives and slides in the 4x4cm format from 127 film. A smaller negative means a slightly smaller camera. This model comes with a built-in selenium photo cell light meter (also known as an exposure meter). It reads reflected light from the subject – no batteries needed! After 57 years, this camera’s meter works just fine and is accurate too!


Anyone who follows our blog on a regular basis knows that we’re a pushover when it comes to a pretty Yashica and if it’s in its original box – well so much the better. Fujifilm FinePix S9900W.


The boxes normally don’t hold up this well after nearly 6 decades – this one has been stored properly and looks pretty close to new. The colors are bright and the box is solid. The studio camera for this shot was my Fujifilm FinePix S9900W.


The star of the blog! The Yashica 44 LM from 1960. Mint new and in unused condition. Everything works just fine. The light meter is spot on and the shutter is accurate, The lenses are clean, clear and sharp. This shot was with our new Samsung Galaxy S8+ camera.

This camera is finished in dark gray on the metalwork and that contrasts nicely with the dove gray leatherette of the body.

Thanks for stopping by!

Be sure to check out our online store at https://www.ccstudio2380.com for some great Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers!

Some of our fine art images can also be found at https://society6.com/ccstudio2380

Our gallery can also be found at https://500px.com/yashicachris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text are property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2017 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Twin-lens Reflex… a peek inside.

From an August 1963 sales brochure from Yashica (Printed in Japan). An excellent article we think. Of course Yashica produced twin-lens reflex (TLR) cameras well into the late 1980s so they would be considered experts (one would think).



Also known today (more so) as medium format. An inexpensive way to get into medium format film photography, Yashica made enough TLRs over the decades that there is an ample supply of well made Yashicas available online. Budding film photographers should be able to experiment with that format without breaking the bank.

The Yashica model A is a great first choice as it is one of the most widely available and simplest to “master”. Less stuff to break or need adjustment. Another good model is the Yashica Mat-EM (1964). It has a built-in light meter that doesn’t require a battery to operate. The meters can fail over time so be sure to ask the seller about it first and if you’re looking at one in person, then check it against a meter from a phone app.

The Yashica-Mat 124G is the last model. Usually still very expensive but has a meter and requires a battery. The good news is that they are still fixable if something fails (they all are but our point is that they’re the newest out there).

The Yashica-D… well, we’ve never had much luck but others do and they are good cameras. The Yashica-Mat is another common camera and has a crank winder.

Give it a try. Shooting in squares is a challenge but fun!

Thanks for your visit.


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!


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


Solidly built and well maintained.


All the factory goodies.


“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.


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