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.


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


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.

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 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.

Yashima Flex – 1954

Yashica’s first twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera to bear the company name – Yashica was Yashima at its founding. The Yashica name wasn’t adopted for the company until 1958.

This Yashima Flex is as close to its original condition as one could hope for. It’s fully functional and a joy to use.

Yashima Flex with film logo

A beauty from the craftspeople at Yashima – Nagano Prefecture, Japan.

Thanks for stopping by! If you’re interested in purchasing classic cameras, please visit our e-commerce store at

You can visit our gallery of photographs at

Some of our art prints can be found at

We’re also active buyers of classic photogear – contact us at


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.

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 or visit us at

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




1957 Yashica-C

The Yashica-C made by Yashima, was part of the new wave of Yashicas that were released in late 1956 for sale in the world markets (focus scale is only in feet). It was listed at $46.50 plus $8.00 for the “De Luxe Leather Eveready Case”. The other models released at the same time were the Yashica-A ($29.95) and the Yashica LM ($59.95) which featured a built-in exposure meter!





This handsome camera came to us recently with all features fully working – even after six decades of use, no issues. Our guess would be this camera saw maybe 1 or 2 rolls of film in its life. It is in factory new condition.

Features: Semi-automatic film wind, 80mm Yashikor f: 3.5 taking and viewing lenses (hard coated and color corrected), Copal shutter with speeds at 1, 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/300 second and Bulb, self-timer, flash sync (M-x) built-in, bayonet lens mount and flash gun shoe with standard PC flash terminal.

If you’re looking to try medium format photography, the Yashica-C is a great camera and a great value. It can often be had for significantly less money then a Yashica-D.

A word of caution about 6 decade old TLRs. Corrosion of the black metal parts is common as is fungus and mold in and on the lenses. If the camera you’re interested in shows some exterior rust (and other forms of corrosion), then ask the seller a bunch of questions. Cameras like these that come from humid environments are often left in their organic leather cases (and in the dark) – fertile grounds for growing mold and fungus. Fungus filaments can completely destroy a lens or at the very least, etch parts of the coating for good.


All the goodies!

On a more happy note – this beauty has no mold or fungus and was purchased from a seller in Michigan. Probably a one owner camera – it came with a roll of Kodak Tri-X film loaded inside (at least from the mid 1960s).

Studio Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

Thanks for your visit and comments are always welcome. C&C ^.^

Pigeon 35 by Shinano Camera Co., Ltd.

Why show a 35mm viewfinder camera on a blog about the Yashica Pentamatic? Well, Shinano and Yashima-Yashica share a common history. The first camera that carried the Yashima name was the Pigeonflex… a twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera!

Anyway here’s a nice example of a gorgeous 35 mm viewfinder camera that we acquired recently. The lens is made by Tomioka… a sharp (we hope) Tri-Lausar f/ 3.5 4.5 cm lens. NKS shutter B – 1/200.

It’s a nice heavyweight camera that has a good feel to it. In our opinion, it’s far from being a cheaply built camera as some would say. In fact, it still functions as intended after 6 decades of use. Most leather cases would be a complete mess after this amount of time but the leather is nice and the stitching is intact.



1952 Pigeon 35 by Shinano.


Nice view of the Tomioka lens.


Beautiful logo on this metal cap.


Classic style. The top plate of the Pigeon 35.


After 6 decades of use, the case has held up nicely.


Interesting bottom plate

More to come! By the way, everything works just fine! Can’t wait to run a roll of film through it. Images of the leather case to follow too!

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

My camera shop is always open at


Yashima-Yashica Rookie – 1956

We were finally able to assemble our Yashicaflex Rookie ‘stuff’ for some studio shots. We’re still missing some items to make the set complete but so far the collection is looking good.


The outer box (or shipping box) for the camera and its leather case is on the left. Of course the camera is in the center with the Rookie leather case to its right. The Rookie instruction booklet is in the lower right of this image and a colorful Rookie sales brochure is just below the lens cap. A warranty (service certificate) card identifying that this camera is a Yashicaflex Model R is just below the box and finally another sales brochure that features the Rookie is on top of the box.


Original 1956 sales brochure.


Sales brochure from 1956.


Certainly an entry level twin-lens reflex camera with some nice features.


The Rookie could take standard 6×6 cm images or with a accessory kit take 3 more images on standard 120 film and produce 6×4.5 cm negatives.

The Rookie wasn’t popular in Japan and Yashima-Yashica gave it a very limited run. I suspect that some popularity exists today just because it’s seldom seen here in the U.S. and it’s rather hard to acquire a really nice example. We like the camera, the name is goofy and didn’t play well in the marketplace.

As always… we appreciate your visit! Thanks, C&C


Yashica Flex Model S… 1954 to 1957

The Yashica Flex model S (aka Yashicaflex) is one of Yashima’s most important early cameras… well maybe the second most important behind the first. Obviously Yashima’s first camera, the oddly named Pigeonflex one could argue, was the most important. The model S though was the first twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera (in the world!!!) that had a “built-in” exposure meter.


The Yashica ‘Sailor Boys’ gather around the Yashica Flex model S. The boys are from 1962 and this TLR is from late 1956.

The Sekonic CB-1 exposure meter was attached to the camera’s left side and the light gathering cells were located under the nameplate flap. They were connected to one another but the meter was non-coupled to the camera settings. The user would lift the flap to expose the cells to light and then read the exposure index in the window on top of the meter. Then simply set the camera to the proper f-stop and shutter speed and snap away. No batteries required. But with the passage of time most of these meters failed in some way or another. If you find one with a working meter so much the better.


Yashica-Mat EM from 1964. The exposure meter and light gathering cells were moved to the front and top… no more flaps to raise and we were a bit closer to being coupled. This EM has a working exposure meter which is pretty amazing after 50 plus years!


Close-up of the Sekonic CB-1 exposure meter on the Yashica Flex S.


Exposure meter scale for setting the f-stop and shutter speed.









Exposure meter light gathering cells located under the Yashica Flex nameplate.


Exposure meter on the Yashica-Mat EM.










Close-up view of the aperture and shutter speed settings on the EM.


Yashica-Mat EM exposure meter and exposure scale. Film speed is set at ASA 400.

So there you have it… a short (very short) history of some groundbreaking cameras from Yashima/Yashica. For more on Yashica’s awesome array of TLRs visit my friend Paul’s site at

Paul’s site is a labor of love and if you want to know anything about Yashima/Yashica that’s the place. We hope to bring some more Pentamatic blogs your way soon. We are of course, The Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic!

Thanks, Chris & Carol

Restoring a Yashima Yashicaflex A-II from 1955

After some light sanding and cleaning with lacquer thinner a cast on serial number was under the painted on one.

After some light sanding and cleaning with lacquer thinner, an etched or cast-in serial number was under the painted one

Finally found something that removes the 60 year old enamel from the nameplate.

Finally found something that removes the 60 year old enamel from the nameplate

Yashicaflex A-II Box

Six decades of dirt and moisture = corrosion… Big Time!

Over the next few months (turns out 14 months) I hope to be able to document my attempt to “restore” my 1955 Yashima Yashicaflex A-II. I have years of experience in cleaning and adjusting TLRs and SLRs, but I’ve never attempted a complete restoration on this scale. So why the Yashicaflex? Well it’s relatively common (especially in Japan), not necessarily a historic camera in terms of Yashima’s history, and it was in really bad physical condition overall. So why not? It was purchased from a seller located in Hiroshima, Japan, and if you know anything about Japan, Hiroshima is in the very hot and humid southern part of Honshu. When it arrived, I had to pry the camera away from the leather case as the two had become welded to one another. It must have been trapped in that case for years. The leather case with the felt liner did a good job of holding the moisture against the aluminum body of the camera hence the super bad pitting and overall corrosion. The leatherette covering on the camera was so brittle it just fell away in some areas but has stayed super stuck in others. I’ve had little success so far in removing it. So sit back and enjoy my “interpretive restoration” of this vintage Yashica. The good news… even with all the corrosion the lenses appear to be fungus and mold free! The lenses were made by Tomioka Optical for Yashima and somehow managed to avoid the ravages of moisture. The shutter works well, the aperture blades are clean and snappy and the focus is sharp. The reflex mirror was original and it looks terrible. I ordered a new one custom cut to fit. This camera will be a “user” so I will appreciate a clear view and sharp focus.

July 2014... my first look at what I would be up against!

July 2014… my first look at what I would be up against!

My first look at this disaster! Pretty nasty!

My first look at this disaster! Pretty nasty!

Yep... lots of dirt!

Yep… lots of dirt!

Nasty... nasty... nasty!

Nasty… nasty… nasty!

Slow progress being made. Some of the paint removers did nothing to the 60 year old paint!

'Simple Green' did nothing! A total of nearly 6 hours of soaking and a stiff scrubbing... not even a hint of paint removed.

‘Simple Green’ did nothing! A total of nearly 6 hours of soaking and a stiff scrubbing… not even a hint of paint removed.

More parts to clean.

More parts to clean. Keeping track of all the removed screws and what-nots will be critical.

The major assemblies removed from the body. Lower right (blue thingy) is the new custom cut mirror

The major assemblies removed from the body. Lower right (blue thingy) is the new custom cut mirror

Close-up view of the camera back showing the radical pitting of the aluminum body.

Serial number painted on and the original factory black enamel peeling off.

Serial number painted on and the original factory black enamel peeling off.