Sears Tower 35 – 1952 Catalog

Tower Ad Page Logo

Beautiful 35mm camera made for Sears by Nicca Camera Company, Tokyo.

Certainly an expensive camera set but compared to the Leica that inspired it a definite bargain. The Nicca-Tower camera’s fit and finish and the performance of the Nikkor lenses were the equal of the Leica. How about that complete outfit at $652.95? Big bucks in 1952 (still big bucks today).

Tower T3 Close Logo

The Nicca version is the Nicca Type-3 (Type III).

Sears Catalog with Logo

Colorful cover of the Sears Fall 1952 – Spring 1953 camera catalog.

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.


Another Time, Another Place – Sears Tower Camera Manual 1950


Sears, Roebuck and Company sold an extensive line of cameras and photo accessories under the Tower name. Here’s a scan from an instruction booklet from around 1950.


Sears refers to the camera as the TOWER 35 but the camera’s top plate is engraved with Tower Type-3. The booklet also calls the camera the TYPE III. The camera was made for Sears by the Nicca Camera Company of Tokyo starting in the late 1940s through at least 1952 or so. Nicca also sold the same camera under their own name as the Nicca Type-3 or simply the Type III. They’re beautiful examples of craftsmanship that survive today as not only awesome cameras but works of industrial art.


The Tower logo as it appears on the lid of the camera box. It’s a super cool design.


A gorgeous early example of this wonderful camera.


The cover of an original Nicca Type-3 instruction booklet – 1950

If you’re looking to collect an early example of these wonderful cameras they are readily available on various online auction sites both here in the United States and in Japan. Be advised that if you plan of actually taking pictures with it most if not all will require a complete service by a qualified technician (about $200 to $300). If you’re just looking to add one to your collection then expect to spend in the vicinity of $200 for one that shows well.

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.



Canon Macrolite ML-1… 1970s Tech

Canon’s ultra-sophisticated and hyper-expensive ring flash from the late 1970s. Designed specifically with Canon’s new FD 80-200mm f/4 zoom lens in mind (combined with the Canon Close-Up 500T Lens) it performed well with the A-1, AE-1, AV-1, AT-1, and the AE-1 Program. The flash was also very capable on most of Canon’s SLRs of the late 1970s and 1980s including the original F-1 and the F-1 (New).

Canon macrolite

Both flashes could be used together or with a flip of the white switch, one side only.

The flash is perfect for photographing flowers and insects outside and in the studio as you get the greatest control over the depth of field and eliminate harsh shadows. The flash also works beautifully for portrait work and in documentation photography.

The lenses recommended by Canon are: New FD 80-200mm f/4,  FD 80-200mm f/4 S.S.C., FD 50mm f/3.5 S.S.C. Macro, FD 100mm f/4 S.C. Macro, and the New FD 50mm f/3.5 Macro, New FD 100mm f/4 Macro.

Canon ML1a1

When it was released, the ML-1 set retailed for around $425 or more! That’s some serious coin back in the day (and still is).

Canon ML1 A1

Here it’s fitted on my Canon New FD 50mm f/3.5 macro lens which works well for general macro photography.

Canon ML Inst

The original instruction book is complete with 39 pages. It was published in November 1979.

This gorgeous set has been an important part of my Canon collection for years but it’s time to move on with some of my gear. I tested it completely just the other day and it works just like new. It’s in mint condition overall, a solid 9 of 10 and a 10 of 10 operationally. The original box is complete and comes with its styrofoam insert. The box is solid but it does show some shelf wear. It does not have the original wide adapter inserts for the flash heads. I’ve never used them and I guess I never noticed that they went “missing”. They’re probably in another box somewhere. The set includes both of the adapter rings (52mm and 55mm)  and both of the tightening rings (52mm and 55mm).

The battery pack takes (8) AA batteries in two magazines and they recharge the capacitor very quickly.



It’s a bit hard to see but the test lamp does light and the auto exposure system is spot on.

The Canon A-1 is not included with this listing. Only the Macrolite ML-1 set.

It’s available in my online camera shop at or you can purchase it directly from here. I’ll ship it almost anywhere in the world as long as I can see tracking to your door (signature required). Please contact me for a shipping quote first.

Canon Macrolite ML-1 Electronic Ring-Flash Set

Like new Canon Macrolite ML-1 close-up flash set as described in this post.


As always, 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.


Undiscovered Yashica!

Well, “undiscovered” might be a bit of a stretch but at least unrecognized and undocumented as best as I can tell.

The very well known Yashica TL Electro-X but with a twist – no gothic “Y” on the pentaprism. No big deal really but it brings up some interesting questions. My good friend Paul Sokk ( and I have for years spent some of our free time exploring Yashica’s serial numbering system in hopes of decoding the numbers into some type of a recognizable date (if there was one to be decoded). Along the way, this version of the TL Electro-X would occasionally pop up.

Here’s the camera that’s now a part of my collection.

Yashica Type 1 Logo

The very familiar Yashica TL Electro-X except it’s just a bit unfamiliar and slightly different.

Yashica Type 1 Back Logo

Rear view of the Yashica TL Electro-X Type 1.

The serial number on this Yashica is 81200636. Here’s how it decodes: 8 = 1968, 12 = Dec, and 00636 is the sequence number for that month (December) assumed to start at 00001. Pretty simple once you’ve looked at hundreds of serial numbers.

This camera it turns out is from the first batch produced during a three month period of production (Oct-Dec 1968). I’ll refer to this as the TL Electro-X Type 1. When Yashica started making this camera again in July 1969, it saw a few changes – most noticeably the “X” was made larger and was now red, they dropped the hyphen between Electro and X and the pentaprism got its familiar gothic “Y”. I’ll call this second coming of the camera the TL Electro X Type 2 (pictured below).


TL Electro X Type 2

The camera did receive one operational change as the “FP” flash socket was added on the T2 which was not available on the T1. The other changes are mostly cosmetic and I would guess these subtle tweaks were driven by the marketing department although there could have been problems with obtaining parts or production issues.

So if these changes didn’t affect the operation of the camera then why were they done? I don’t know yet and I may never know but up to this point in time this version of the camera went unreported even though it appeared in almost two years of advertising by Yashica! It was hidden in plain sight.

Contributor Jens Erik from Denmark sent me this ad from April 1973. It shows the T1 (lower right corner) and T2 together in the same ad along with the newly released Electro AX.


Is it just a version of the original or is it truly a different type? Because there were visual and production changes made I’m calling it a different type – TL Electro-X T1.

I’ll be sharing a few more studio shots of this new Yashica soon so be sure to check back. Oh by the way, since Yashica only produced the Type 1 for a short time they’re a little hard to find on auction sites, actually quite rare when you start looking for one. Compared to the Type 2 which was in production from at least July 1969 to the end of the run in 1975, you’re looking for a camera with less than 5,000 made against hundreds of thousands made.

Check your collection… maybe this rare Yashica is hiding in plain sight!


Yashica on Broadway 1962

November-December 1962. Yashica billboard in NYC.

Yashica Ad NYC

Yashica Billboard NYC Xclose

Yashica ad from late 1962 features a typical TLR, rangefinder, and SLR popular at that time.

“Yashica Cameras, The World Over”

Yashica Billboard NYC 1

Loew’s State Theatre located at 1540 Broadway, was running the just-released “Mutiny on the Bounty” at the time these photos were taken.

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris


Yashica TL-Super!

Another look at this groundbreaking camera from Yashica. This was the start of something big – very big!

Yashica TL-Super with Box

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

Another big step in Yashica’s growth was the groundbreaking introduction of the TL-Super in 1966. Yashica started making 35mm single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras in 1959 with the Pentamatic ’35’. The Pentamatic was a solid first offering by Yashica but it was a timid first step. On one hand, the Pentamatic was a beast but lacked some serious upgrades… no self timer and no built-in exposure meter. The self timer was not much of an issue as Yashica made an accessory timer that could be used on many of their camera platforms and was simple to use. There was an option to buy a separate exposure meter (more money) and slide it on the accessory shoe so that at least you didn’t have to hold a meter in your hand to take a meter reading. Awkward. What was groundbreaking for the TL-Super is the fact that two CdS resistors were mounted…

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Friday Fotos!

Pontiac NY

My Mom and Dad’s favorite tree and oh, by the way, their new car! A sleek looking 1949 Pontiac Chieftain coupe at a park in New York City in the early 1950s. I’m not sure which one was responsible for the photo gaff but its a great shot anyway.

Mom and Car

Mom posing in their new Pontiac. Taken by my Dad with Mom’s Kodak 620.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day and weekend! – 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’s Ultra Rare “Yasinon” Lenses

It appears (after further review) that Zunow Optical did make some of the very earliest cine lenses for Yashica’s movie cameras. The Yasinon name also appears on the early lenses for the Yashica 35 rangefinder but there is no evidence that Zunow made the lenses for that 35mm camera. It’s more likely that Tomioka made these lenses.

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

Are these previously unknown lenses made by Zunow Optical?

My good friend Paul Sokk ( spotted a rather unique lens name in a Yashica catalog that I sent him. The catalog is from 1958.

yasinon lens box Look closely at the two boxes in the lower center part of the scan. Plainly marked is the name “Yasinon” and Yashica. Just to the right are two boxes made in the same style that displays the lens maker “Zunow”.

yasinon zunow lens From the same year Yashica catalog here’s a grouping of three 8mm movie camera lenses – two marked made by Zunow and one marked with the name “Yasinon”.

What’s the most interesting about this discovery is that the name Yasinon was unknown to us prior to seeing these catalogs.

yasinon yashica 35 bro 1 Yashica’s first 35mm camera – the Yashica 35. If you look closely at the camera lenses you’ll see that they’re marked with the Yasinon name.

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