Yashica’s last TLR – Chasing a True Classic!

Yashica’s (Kyocera by this point) last TLR model. This one was part of the last run of the model before production shut down in 1986. Yashica (originally named Yashima) started off in 1953 with the obscure Pigeonflex TLR followed by the Yashima Flex and then continued to build TLRs way longer than the market could bear (or need). The good news is that the 124G can be found today in great quantities and cameras as “young” as 35 years-old.
It’s a very affordable way to get into medium format photography and in the case of this model, be able to use both 120 and 220 roll film giving you either 12 or 24 exposures.

After about 33 years of making TLRs, this was Yashica’s best.
A beauty – here’s what a modern TLR looked like back in 1985.
The design of the last box that held the 124G (1985-1986).
This gorgeous camera was the first to carry the company name – Yashica Flex made in 1954.

For contrast, compare the Yashima Flex to the Yashica Mat 124G. Their excellent build quality remained throughout the decades. If you’re chasing one of these for your collection you’re in luck because Yashica made a bunch of 124Gs and there’s a bunch still out there. Expect to pay a premium for mint examples but be careful, they’re still older cameras and a host of bad things can happen to them from lack of use and improper storage. Ask lots of questions of the seller if you’re buying online and look for sellers with excellent reputations for selling quality classic and vintage cameras. BTW, not too many of the original Yashima Flex cameras will look like my example pictured above. I was so very lucky to buy mine from the original owner in Japan who obviously kept it in pristine condition both physically and mechanically.

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

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, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2021 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Buy Me A Coffee

New camera in the house!

Yep – another new to me camera has arrived. A Yashima Flex twin-lens reflex (TLR) 120 roll film camera. It takes images that are square at 6×6 cm (2.25 x 2.25 inches). That’s a really big negative that lends itself to high-quality scans and awesome prints.

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From May 1954 (originally sold at Camera Onuki in Yokohama).

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Tomioka made lenses produce super sharp images.

I’ll do some gentle cleaning and restorative repairs internally. I’ll remove the focusing hood and do some cleaning of the reflex mirror and the rear elements of the glass lenses.

The shutter on this does fire at all speeds but they don’t sound accurate. Often with these older cameras, they start to improve with regular use. I would like to shoot a roll of film or two as it would be a blast to see the final images.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be providing updates as I go along. – 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.

Restoring a vintage camera box – carefully.

Collectors are a strange lot – for many it’s the thrill of the chase and the found item quickly fades into the background. For me, since I collect vintage cameras and photo gear, the items I purchase are often fifty or more years old and some like this box are as old as I am. In this case, this Yashima Flex box is sixty-five years old – vintage just like me.

When I collect items such as this, I enjoy not only the thrill of the chase but the history behind the item – where was it sold originally and if I can, when was it sold. In this case, Yokohama, Japan and 1954. I also enjoy restoring my cameras and associated bits as not only a way to preserve them but also to increase their value for when it’s time to pass them along to the next collector.

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“Fresh” from Japan – my 65-year-old Yashima Flex TLR presentation box complete with six decades of dirt, soot, DNA and grime. Although someone taped the box together years ago (I’m not a fan of doing that) it at least kept the box in one piece.

Step one (for me) is to clean the surfaces of all that grime. Often with these paperboard boxes, mold will grow in the layers of dirt and the mold spores will eventually break down the paper. In many cases, the mold (and mildew) will permanently stain and discolor the paper (not good). This box does have permanent staining but at least it should stop spreading.

***Please Note: I’ve cleaned about a dozen or so boxes like this one over the years, mostly boxes from the 1950s and mostly boxes made for Yashima-Yashica cameras. Your box may differ in its construction and the paper may respond to cleaning in a less than desirable way. One of the first things you should do is test this cleaning method on an inconspicuous part of the box.

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Mr. Clean is all you need (and a steady hand). The secret to cleaning the box with a Magic Eraser is to use a very lightly moistened pad (rinsed regularly) and to apply steady gentle pressure.  No scrubbing! It will take several passes with the pad to remove all of the grime. Do not let the paper get too wet and always give the surface a chance to dry before recleaning.

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Before cleaning. Pretty dirty – pretty nasty.

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After only a few gentle passes with the Magic Eraser (top part), things are looking much better. It’s not going to clean everything off the paper on your first attempt and you’ll likely need to repeat the process. Slow and steady wins the race – you’re only trying to remove the soil and not damage the delicate paper.

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Sixty-five years of grime – removed.

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Steps two, three and more I’ll cover in another post. For now, I’ll need to finish cleaning the remainder of the box. My future plans call for stabilizing the structure of the box (a bead of clear glue along the inner seams) and a go at removing the exterior tape.

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.