Yashicaflex model A-II (1955)

A gem of a camera in our collection this one was made by Yashima Kogaku Seiki Company (Yashica) in 1955. It is in “factory fresh” condition inside and out.

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A beauty from Yashima

Thanks for stopping by – I’ll have much more about this outstanding camera in the next few days. 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 © 2015-2020 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Yashicaflex A-II made by Yashima

A bit of a confusing title so let me explain. Yashica started off as Yashima and although they called their first twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera the Yashimaflex they quickly changed to Yashicaflex with their subsequent models. Yashima became Yashica in 1958 when the company name matched the camera’s name.

Here’s a rather rare presentation box for the A-II. This box was for the export version of the camera – the domestic market box was slightly different.

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This box is original to the camera and it’s from 1955.

I’ll have more about this interesting early camera from Yashima soon. 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 © 2015-2020 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

 

Exploring the early days of Yashima (Yashica) – 1954

From 1950 through 1955 literally hundreds of photographic startups were hoping to capitalize on the booming post-war camera craze sweeping Japan and the United States. Many would fail and fail quickly but many went on to prosper and achieve phenomenal success by the end of the decade. This was Yashima’s first camera to carry the company name – the Yashima Flex.

I’m going to focus on what would appear to be just a simple thing – something that would be thrown away as soon as the camera was unboxed. This inspection tag and the guaranty document can tell us a lot about the company that went on to become an international innovator of quality cameras at an exceptional value. Her’s the story.

YashimaFlex Tag Paul Version (1)

Original “Inspection Form” that came with my Yashima Flex TLR. This is the earliest one found so far and it’s amazing that it made it the 65 years since it was first filled in.

For such a young company, Yashima looked as though it cared about producing a quality camera that would function as designed right out of the box. This tag was with my recently acquired Yashima Flex TLR which was sold in May 1954 at a camera shop in Yokohama. I’m going to speculate that the tag was completed and the various tests performed while the camera was still on the factory floor. My translation app hasn’t done a very good job with translating all of the tag but I do get “Inspection Form” across the top and of course, the company name, address, and phone number across the bottom. The camera’s serial number has been entered but not the Showa date info (what a shame). It’s interesting to note that the different tests are written in English for a camera that probably wasn’t meant for export. The red stamps are from each stage of the process and identify each inspector.

The reverse side of the tag has the word “Guaranty” clearly stamped with the company logo just beneath it. I don’t know the meaning of the “EP” and I don’t have a clear translation of the kanji across the bottom half.

Later in the process of readying the camera for distribution to the trading company, the formal Guaranty Certificate was included (see below).

Yashima Flex Guaranty Card

Original Guaranty Certificate that accompanied the camera set.

What I find most intriguing is that the camera received another round of tests with a different group of inspectors. Back in 1954 in such a new company that’s impressive and previously undocumented. This certificate does carry a date indicated by Showa 29 which is 1954. I’m further impressed by the fact that they had a stamp for the name of the camera and that the certificate has a line for an Electric Exposure Meter Test when no camera existed yet with a meter. The Yashica Flex model S (first TLR with a meter) was not yet released but must have been close to being finished.

Admittedly none of this is world-shaking info but to a lifelong Yashica collector and researcher, this is BIG. Every little clue sheds more light on the earliest days of this famous company.

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.

Earliest Known Yashima Guaranty Doc

An exciting find from Japan. This is the earliest known Yashima (Yashica) guaranty document. The “29” is the Showa year (1954). Other documents that were with this camera puts the date of sale as May 5, 1954, at a camera shop in Yokohama.

Yashima Flex Guaranty Card

The translation of the writing on the lower left. “For cameras manufactured by us with this inspection knowledge attached, we will repair free of charge for spontaneous failures that occurred within 5 years after the acceptance of the user card. Attach the main unit when repairing.”

I believe that the pink paper is a receipt from the camera store that sold this Yashima Flex. It does show that a guarantee period begins on Showa 29.5.5 to 30.5.4 (1954 May 5 to 1955 May 4).

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Back in 1954, the camera shop listed on this receipt says “Onuki Katsura Materials Store”, Yokohama, Noge-machi. Noge-machi is a very popular shopping street in Yokohama and features an exciting array of shops, restaurants, and bars.

This camera shop has been in business since 1934. It’s moved to a different location in Yokohama and is still going strong today. You can visit them here.

Camera Onuki Yokohama

Part of the fun of collecting classic cameras like this Yashima Flex is discovering unexpected documents from when the camera was sold. Understanding the early history of Yashima (Yashica) is important to understand how a startup camera maker in a small village (Suwa) in Nagano Prefecture made its mark on the world by the end of the 1950s.

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.

Yashima Flex Box – revisited

As a die-hard collector of Yashica cameras and photo gear, I can’t pass up the opportunity to share interesting bits that represent Yashica’s history. Of course, Yashica started off as Yashima and this represents the only camera that bore the Yashima name. Subsequent cameras quickly were named Yashica while the company name remained Yashima (until 1958).

So the Yashima Flex is pretty unique as it is a one-off. Here’s a pretty rare find – an original box for the Yashima Flex from 1953. The box structurally is sound and the graphics are clear and still appealing. There is some embedded soil that stained the paper on the top of the box but that’s to be expected as the top receives the most fallout from pollutants.

YashimaFlex Box

YashimaFlex Box 2

YashimaFlex Box 3

This is spot on to the actual color of the box (faded I’m sure after all these years).

These boxes are often called presentation boxes as they were inside of an outer cardboard shipping box. As best as I can tell, the boxes were never intended to be a place to store your camera when not in use so most were disposed of as soon as the camera was used. There’s no reason not to store your camera in its leather case in the box other than it wasn’t very convenient to do so. Finding an intact box for a camera made in Japan sixty-five years ago is pretty amazing especially considering that there weren’t many made.

Yashima was a startup just like hundreds of others in post-war Japan. How their boxes looked in a dealers display mattered so these early 1950s boxes often were made extremely well. To give an idea of its size here are its dimensions. About 7 inches tall, 5 inches wide and 4.25 inches deep ( 170 x 124 x 110mm).

Yashima Flex Box Set (1) with logo

Yashima’s pride and joy! Not quite as good a representation of the actual color of the box compared to pictures earlier in this post.

Thanks for stopping by! Chris

Yashima Flex Inspection Tag – update 2

Yashima Flex Insp Tag 2

Earliest known inspection tag from Yashima Kogaku Seiki Company (Yashica) – 1954

It seems at first glance to be nothing important, but to a fanatic Yashica collector, this is golden. It’s the earliest known tag from Yashima complete with serial number and inspector’s stamps.

What it is. Most cameras from Japan came with some sort of inspection tag, form or sticker. This one says it’s an Inspection Form (across the top). What makes this find special is that it was included with the first twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera that bore the company name – Yashima. The Yashima Flex TLR camera was produced between 1953 and 1954 before changing the name to Yashica Flex in subsequent models and the company became known as Yashica in 1958.

This would have hung from the camera body and the serial number of the camera is recorded on the tag (here the last two numbers are blocked). The inspector would have entered a date next to the word Showa – or that would have been entered by the camera store at the time of sale. Here’s a scan of the reverse side of the tag.

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Super cool inspection stamp!

Yashima Flex Green Book

This could be the instruction book (leaflet) that would have come with the camera but since none have been documented yet it could be something else entirely. ***My good friend Paul Sokk has suggested that it could be filled with a pad of papers for recording data about your photographs.***

Update August 22, 2019 – Paul was correct! A+ for him. It is a pad filled with forms for recording your exposures (images).

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The form that is inside the green booklet. You would record the date, time of day and even the weather!

Kanji on Green Book

“Store​ the​ record​ of​ your​ photo​ data.​ Print​ your​ photos​ on​ this​ paper​ to​ better​ preserve​ your​ photos”.

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This is the set I just purchased from Japan. It shows the size of the green booklet as it relates to the camera box. It is not an instruction booklet.

More about this exciting find soon!

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 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.