Lens Caps, Cases & Boxes

Contents

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Lens Caps

Pressed Metal (Early Push-on and Bay 1)
Cast Metal (Bay 1)
Hard Plastic (Push-on)
Soft Plastic (Late Bay 1)
Soft Plastic (Yashica E Push-on)
Buying

Camera Ever-ready Cases

Case Straps
Case Retaining Screw/ Tripod Adaptor
Case Styles

Boxes

Lens Caps

Lens caps are divided into ones designed to fit plain filter mounts (three separate sizes) and ones designed to fit Bay 1 mounts (the 44 Bay 1 mounts are spaced closer together with different bayonet alignment). The plain ones are the same 32 mm diameter on all the 66 cameras with simple arrangements, i.e., Pigeonflex, Yashima Flex, Yashica Flex B, Yashicaflex A-I, A-II, AS-I and AS-II and Yashica Rookie and Yashica A. The cameras with plain filter mounts but with a panel around the lenses somewhat like Bay 1 models, have larger 36 mm diameter mounts. These are the Yashicaflex A2 and A (new model) and the Yashica B. The Yashica 44A has a smaller 28.5 mm mount.

As with trim changes, lens cap design tended to change across models at the same time and at any given point, there was generally a single design for Bay 1 and another for push-on. Just as sometimes parts can be swapped around on Yashica TLRs, it's possible that lens caps are often lost or sold separately and owners replace with whatever they can find or fancy. My analysis of lens caps is based on many hundreds of cameras and perhaps surprisingly, by the far the majority are in character with the cameras that they are found on.

As with other design features, the Pigeonflex and metal Bay 1 lens caps were inspired by corresponding Rollei items.

Pressed Metal (Early Push-on and Bay 1)

(Images courtesy of Sandu Baciu)

The first Pigeonflex lens cap (above left) is a black painted pressed metal push-on type with a very narrow waist and underlined “PIGEON” in capitals embossed at an angle across the viewing lens part. It is from a Yashima made Pigeonflex and although relatively rare, it is the commonly found type. The second type was also found with a Yashima Pigeonflex but it is the only one of its kind. The nine cameras in my database found with lens caps all have the later “Yashima Kōgaku Seiki Co., Ltd.” maker name. The second type of lens cap is from the middle of that group so it is not possible to say that it is an early or late variation. Lens caps were most probably bought in, initially at least, and there may have been a supply problem. A quite different Shinano example with Pigeon logo can be found on The Pigeon Loft page (fitted to the late IB model) but there may have been other variations so the provenance of this type is by no means certain.

(Images 1, 2 courtesy of Sandu Baciu, image 3, detail from larger web image)

The Yashima Flex lens cap is a push-on wide-waisted black painted metal lens cap with embossed “Yashima”. The original Yashica Flex B lens cap is a very similar style to the Yashima Flex except for the “Yashica” name. The silver (far right) version belongs to the Yashica Flex B with highest serial number in my database (note the <EP> mark discussed elsewhere). The previous camera with a lens cap, the third last example, has a similar lens cap (without the mark). This probably reflects the evidence that the Yashica Flex B remained in production until after the Yashicaflex A series was released (see “66 Models”) with the silver lens cap at the bottom of this section. The Yashicaflex S also changed from black to silver lens cap at about this time.

(Images courtesy of Tom Heckhaus)

Pictured first on the left is the black pressed metal Bay 1 lens cap with sliding lock from the Yashica Flex S with NKS-FB shutter and early Copal shutter versions. Next is the silver lens cap from a later Yashicaflex S. The probable reason that there is no name is that the graphics of the Yashicaflex S nameplate no longer match the new style script found on other models. A very similar silver Bay 1 lens cap with “Yashica” printed across the viewing lens half in the new script style can be found on early Yashicaflex C examples which were released after the Yashicaflex S but then continued on concurrently. However, according to my database, later Yashicaflex C models, from about serial number 546xxx on (near the change from early to late focus knob type and the dropping of “Model C” from inside), are found with the plain silver Yashicaflex S type. It seems that Yashima may have decided to simplify production to one universal type. Uniquely, the lens cap of the earliest Yashicaflex C in my database with a lens cap has “Yashica” across the viewing lens in red to match the red aperture scale, red DoF scale, and red logos between the lenses and on the hood:

(Detail from larger web image)

The push-on metal lens cap below left is commonly found on Yashicaflex A-I, A-II and AS-II models and presumably was used on the AS-I model. The AS-II appeared to be in production longer than the others and very late ones come with the plastic, what is commonly thought of as, Yashica A type. The rather rare MolfoReflex lens cap on the right doesn't have a name but is identical in other respects.

(Right image courtesy of Göran Årelind)

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Cast Metal (Bay 1)

The hinged, cast metal Bay 1 lens cap on the left above was introduced with the new Yashica C and LM in 1956 and remained the standard fitting until about 1963. The colour matched the camera metalwork - whilst black was standard for black framed cameras, grey and brown versions can be found on the respectively coloured Yashica Ds. On the right is a modified version, with closer spacing and differing bayonet alignment, used on Yashica 44 and Yashica 44LM models. Again, the colours match the cameras.

(Image courtesy of Leigh Harris)

Burgundy Yashica 44 lens cap.

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Hard Plastic (Push-on)

(Second image courtesy of Tom Heckhaus)

Yashica A lens cap on left, Rookie in the middle and Yashica 44A on right.

The 32 mm Yashica A and Rookie lens caps were introduced in 1956 and appeared on all future plain filter mount models including the Yashicaflex AS-II which was still in production and maybe even the last of the A-Is and A-IIs. Those fitted to the very last of the Yashica A production in the late 1960s were basically the same but without the white rings:

(Detail from larger web image)

The material of the lens cap is a thick, hard plastic, reminiscent of bakelite. A blue felt ring insert is used to provide a snug interference fit at one end; taking lens end on my Yashica A lens cap and viewing lens end on my Yashica 44A lens cap. In my database are nine (at last count) grey Yashica A lens caps to match the grey metalwork of their AIII cameras. The AIII with black metalwork and grey leatherette has a black lens cap. This is the matching lens cap for a Burgundy (brown) Yashica AIII:

(Image courtesy of Leigh Harris)

The push-on Yashica 44A lens cap is 28.5 mm. On Yashica 44As, the colour always matched the camera metalwork so there are also blue, red examples etc. The main visual differences of the 44A lens cap to the Yashica A type, apart from size, is the script of the “Yashica” across the middle and the missing bumps.

(Images courtesy of Göran Årelind)

The example above (front and inside views) is the 36 mm push-on lens cap from a Yashica B but this first appeared on the Yashicaflex A2 and then Yashicaflex A (new model). Visually, the style is identical to the 32 mm Yashica A lens cap.

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Soft Plastic (Late Bay 1)

(First and third images courtesy of Tom Heckhaus)

The first soft plastic lens caps (left image) arrived in about 1963. These had a protruding tab at the base and pronounced ring depressions cast in much like the earlier hinged and plastic Yashica A types but without the colour. After only about 12 or 18 months, the simpler and far more common type (middle image) appeared. The final type seems to have been introduced with the release of the Yashica Mat-124G and so far, only appear (regularly) on that model. These have a little more character with raised rings inboard from the edge and a sloping, shiny bezel.

The last thirteen (at last count) Yashica 44LM cameras in my database with lens caps, the first with serial number FL 3070xxx, have grey plastic types similar to the 66 type pictured centre above but with a tab similar to the first 66 soft plastic type. As the 44LM was still available when plastic lens caps were introduced on the Bay 1 66 models, this would be expected. I have since noticed that the Yashica 44LM assembling charts actually show the plastic cap:

(Lens cap on right from larger web image)

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Soft Plastic (Yashica E Push-on)

(Image courtesy of Tom Heckhaus)

The only soft plastic lens cap for plain filter mounts, this has a much larger diameter lower part to cover the selenium cell.

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Buying

Unlike ever-ready cases and boxes, lens caps are often considered essential items by both collectors and users. Whilst you may find something that fits and does the job, it would be nice to find something which is in character with your particular model, particularly if you are a collector. Having said that, from a user perspective, the plastic lens caps are easiest to use, least likely to fall off and are much less likely to mark lens bezels.

Previously, I provided a guide as to how frequently I felt that various types lens caps appear for sale. I have to say that by 2014, they are all hard to find and the best chance is to find a camera with one. Most likely to appear are for Bay 1 66 models, either the hinged cast metal type or one of soft plastic types, although the tabbed one is rarer. Least likely remain Pigeonflex, Yashima Flex and Yashica Flex B types. Also where there is a colour choice, anything but black or grey are also very rare.

What are the alternatives? Lens caps from other makes may fit. The things to check are the push-on filter mount diameter or Bay 1 alignment for the respective types and the distance between lens centres. For example, I understand that Rollei and Minolta Autocord Bay 1 types may fit. There are also plastic generic Bay 1 types at quite cheap prices from at least two different sources. I have tried an Indian made knock-off of the Yashica second soft plastic type, complete with “Yashica” name - only one end would fit at a time. I think some of the others are better. I am not aware of any generic push-on types but it may be possible to find something that fits each lens individually - they don't have to be joined (DIY from plastic screw caps etc).

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Camera Ever-ready Cases

Personally, I am not very fond of camera ever-ready cases, or as the joke goes, never-ready cases. They are not very convenient when changing film and just getting them on and off causes wear. Often the old straps are weak and these should be replaced anyway if used for carrying the camera. They are not good for storing cameras in because leather absorbs moisture which is conducive to fungus. Having said that, I have a few - stored separately. If a camera comes with a case in any condition, it is well worth looking after because it can add value or even just make packing easier if selling. However, I would recommend against buying one for an existing camera with the intention of everyday use. There are better solutions available these days. Collecting, now that's a separate decision.

If looked after, they wear reasonably well but seem to scuff easily. Weak points are stitching, which seems to be affected by time and storage environment as well as the pulling apart of the case to fit and remove the camera, and the flap on the front near the three press studs where the front folds down. Little tears tend to develop here, particularly with the models with metal edge strips.

The Yashicaflex A user manual and other documentation of that period suggests that early cameras were sold complete with cases. By the late 1950s and early 1960s, US catalogues indicate that most cases were extra cost accessories. This may have differed between markets, distributors and dealers as well. A 1962 Australian catalogue has prices listed including cases. The 1960 Olden Camera and Lens Company catalogue from the US has ever-ready cases listed separately for all models but for the Yashica 635, includes the “deluxe leather compartment” kit case. The 1961 Sears catalogue included cases in the Yashica 44A and 44LM prices.

As with the cameras, there was evolution rather than revolution. Generally, there are limited styles but backs, which include the sides have to be matched to the camera features e.g., knob or crank wind, exposure meter or not, red window or film counter, front sync or side sync, Yashica 635 35mm bits and very importantly with the Yashica LM, whether high set or low set accessory shoe.

Some cases from the mid 1950s to perhaps early 1960s have special marks (e.g. <TK>) embossed in the bottom near the tripod socket hole. Details are here.

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Case Straps

Cases are found with either neck straps or shorter carry straps. In reality, until the new style case with “Yashica” on the front and removable neck strap was introduced in 1965, the two ends of the strap were permanently attached to the rings on the ever ready cases. One end has a buckle through which the plain end is secured. That provides the carry strap length. A separate longer piece with buckle on one end was available for insertion between the two end pieces. Joined together, this provides the neck strap length. I assume that the extension was supplied at time of purchase.

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Case Retaining Screw/ Tripod Adaptor

All Yashima/Yashica TLR cases have holes in the bottom so that presumably the camera can be attached to a tripod without removing the case. The tripod would need a suitably long screw, or a screw in adaptor. Most 35 mm film camera cases have a captive screw in the base which both attaches the case to the camera and acts as an adaptor for the tripod screw. Early Yashima cases were supplied with the retainer/adaptor but because it was not captive, most have been lost with time. In terms of design, it is interesting to note that most, but not all, Rollei cases I have seen don't feature a hole in the bottom of the case. This case (also featured below) and screw belong to an early Yashima Kōgaku Seiki type Pigeonflex:

Without the locking tabs through the strap holder slots of later cases, the Pigeonflex cases probably benefited from the added security of the screw but it was not necessary for later cases. I have seen photos (mainly on Japanese auction sites) of the screws with most early models up to and including the Yashicaflex C and even a Yashicaflex B (new model) and contributer Sandu Baciu has a Yashica Mat-LM case with the screw but very few cases still have them. They also leave a tell-tale mark on the case as above. From my own experience, two out of two Yashica Flex model B cases have the marks, two model S with NKS-FB shutter and one early with Copal shutter cases have the marks but not another early example with Copal shutter, a model A-II with Y.S.K. shutter case has the mark but not the first late bodied A-I or early bodied AS-II cases but an earlyish Yashicaflex C case still has the mark. Neither of my two Yashica Mat-LM cases or later ones have the marks. It is possible that either the screws were accessories with mid-1950s and later cases or that they were discarded and not used with some examples or that people used the screws from earlier cases on later cases.

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Case Styles

The early Yashima and Shinano Pigeonflex cases I have seen look very similar to each other. Cases for both Yashima and at least early Shinano made examples have “Pigeonflex” embossed in similar style across the front near the top edge and the top and front are in one piece. All later Yashima cases, starting with the Yashima Flex (but not the earliest found example - see below), have the top and front joined by two rivets allowing limited tilt movement. The case for the later Shinano Pigeonflex IB (and possibly the budget Pigeonflex I released at a similar time) also features the new style case with two piece front and top. Unlike the Yashima and earlier Shinano Pigeonflex cases, the name is now italicised. In general, any cases without provision for a side sync are definitely for Shinano, they probably also have a cut-out for an accessory shoe and both early and late types seem to have the Pigeon brand logo in a circle embossed in the centre of the ribbing on the front. I also think that the Shinano ones are only found with eleven vertical bars on front.

There appear to be three Yashima Pigeonflex variations. It is hard to make any definitive statements as many of the cameras with ever ready cases don't have discernible serial numbers and are not in the database. My assessment is based on maker name and either early magnifier (release towards rear of hood) or late square magnifier (release near front). The first type, found with five of the earlier Yashima Seiki versions of the Pigeonflex and also with five earlier Yashima Kōgaku Seiki type (three with square magnifiers), has two concentric rectangles on the otherwise plain centre panel and is found in both lighter brown and a dark brown (the dark brown may have been earlier, or arrived first):

(Left image courtesy of Sandu Baciu, right detail from larger web image)

The second type appears to overlap the first. It is the most common and has six bars, or ridges, across the front. This one came with one of the earliest Yashima Kōgaku Seiki type Pigeonflexes in my database:

The last type has eleven bars like the Shinano examples.

(Detail from larger web image)

The first type seems to have a more purple lining material whereas the second type is more the red of later models.

Other makers had similar designs with one piece fronts which makes me think that it was a Rollei copy but the only similar ones I have been able to find are for the Rollei Magic from the early 1960s and the soft case for the late Rolleiflex 4x4 and some very early cases from 1928 to 1932 period which had a similar one piece front and top but without the ribbed or embossed styling. Perhaps Japanese designers combined the simplicity of the original Rollei cases with the style of the two piece designs of the 1940s and early 1950s? Small makers like Yashima was then would have bought cases in to a standard design which probably also accounts for the similarity of many of the early Japanese designs.

It seems that the earliest Yashima Flex cases were still very Pigeonflex influenced. This is the only one I have seen, low resolution unfortunately and the rest of the case had come apart at the seams. The sides are still flat slabs like the Pigeonflex type but the retaining strap is gone and the sliding metal tabs (see below) of later cases are already in place. It was for sale with its early camera, 357xx, on a Japanese auction site. The style of lettering is also Pigeonflex-like suggesting a link to the first type Yashima Flex only seen in one photo and one ad. The top and bottom of the lens protuberance is curved, unlike Pigeonflex and other cases, but the really interesting thing is the new super-sized logo embossed on the front.

(Detail from larger web image)

The Yashima Flex case, left below, is representative of the next style which is certainly very much 1940's/50's Rolleicord influenced and also very similar to the same vintage cases from other Japanese makers. The half case on the right belongs to Yashica Flex model B, serial number 47259, at the 1/3 mark of production and still with the lenses marked “Tomioka Tri-Lausar”. Presumably, it is the same as the Yashimaflex. The top front corners are still curved, as on Pigeonflex cases, instead of angled and the interior liner is a gold colour instead of the red of the Pigeonflex and most later models.

(Left image courtesy of Sandu Baciu)

These cases have three significant improvements over the Pigeonflex case:

This is a later Yashica Flex B case and features a red liner with the top front corners of the half case now angled at 45 degrees instead of curved:

The earlier round corners and the gold liner of the first Yashica Flex model B case are also repeated on the cases of the first Yashica Flex model S examples with NKS-FB shutter until at least camera 32xxx, at about the 2/3 mark of production of the NKS-FB version. This is another very strong indicator that the Model B and early Model S co-existed rather than followed each other.

A slightly earlier camera, 31954 is the first with angled corners and red liner like below but still has the separate stitched and riveted piece over the meter housing and rear-set strap rings. The later case below is from an early Yashicaflex S just after the change to Copal shutter but still with early body type. The case for earlier camera 33xxx with NKS-FB shutter appears to be the same. These also have the new angled corners and red liner but the meter cover is now integral to the side piece enabling the strap rings to be moved forward over the meter housing for better balance:

The next Yashicaflex S cases have the inside corners reinforced with a 45 degree angled metal protector, as seen below, but on the last of the Yashicaflex S cases, the protector was curved as on the Yashica Mat-LM case a little further down. The metal corner reinforcement also appeared on Yashicaflex A series cases (probably from around the change from cable to push button shutter release on the A series) at about the same time, coinciding with the first appearance of the Yashicaflex C in 1955. The metal reinforced corners generally appeared from then on but they are missing on the Yashica 44A and from all mid-1960s cases onward. This Yashicaflex S case is for a Copal shutter type with new body and flash sync connector on the front. Note that the strap rings have again migrated towards the rear to make room for the hole just above the meter housing. This is to accommodate the strap lug on the new long type strap holders. Also note that the “Yashica Flex” script of the earlier cases matches the model S nameplate. On this case it is still in a two word form (the “f” of “Yashica flex” is now lower case) but the script matches the style of the A series cameras. On the last version, the transformation is complete and the name is the single word form “Yashicaflex” in the A series style.

(Images courtesy of Chris Whelan)

The Yashicaflex AS-II cases are the same as the later Yashicaflex model S cases, starting with the type to suit the old bodied model S with the new Copal shutter already. At this point, the name is still in the two word form Yashica Flex model S nameplate script but changes in line with the model S changes noted above.

The budget Yashicaflex A-I, A-II and later A2 models (and the later more up-market new Yashicaflex AS - see further down) have the same style cases as the earlier types except that the metal logo is replaced by the word “Yashica” inside an oval embossed into the leather (that arrangement is even more Rolleicord-like). However, on very late A-I and A-II cases and on the A2 (and AS), there is no rectangular flat area and the ribbing comes to the edge of the oval.

(Right detail from larger web image)

The case below belongs to the first Yashicaflex A-I in my database with new style body (early 1955). The A-II and earlier A-I and A-II cases, including for the Y.S.K. shutter types, were the same except for provision for rear-set strap holders on early cases and of course, red window or no red window:

 

All the earlier Yashicaflex A-I and A-II cases with the rectangle (the majority of examples) I have found and all examples of the later AS (new model) cases have a more chocolate brown finish than other models. However, I do have a front attached to an early Yashicaflex AS-II case which has both the rectangular surround and is more orange, same as the back. If it is original to that case, it is different to the other AS-II cases, including the oldest found. Its origin remains unclear to me.

Although the early cases look very similar, there is a subtle difference in the number of bars or ridges in the front ribbing, even amongst the same models (note, these only reflect what I have found):

Is the variation from 10 to 13 bars based on design refinements, random manufacturing variation or different suppliers?

For the Rookie and early Yashica A, the only change to the Yashicaflex A-I style was the removal of the embossed vertical ribbing on the front in favour of a smooth finish. I have photos of both early and late MolfoReflex cases and both are like the Rookie and Yashica A (rather than the Yashicaflex A-I that the camera is based on) but without name or model identification. Putting this around the correct way, it seems that the plain MolfoReflex case set the style for the Yashica A and Rookie and with oval metal logo, the style for the Yashicaflex C, Yashica C and LM:

(Image courtesy of Göran Årelind)

This is an early side sync Yashicaflex C case:.

Yashica Rookie case shown below. It is the same as the early Yashica A case except of course for the name across the front of the top and the cut-out for the different red window arrangements:

(Image courtesy of Sandu Baciu)

The cases for the Yashica C and Yashica LM (introduced in late 1956) look the same as for the Yashicaflex C (note that the LM circular meter cover is not visible in this wide angle shot). Except for the glossier finish, lack of ribbing and the oval logo, still much the same as the Yashima Flex case:

(Left image courtesy of Göran Årelind, right image courtesy of Chris Whelan)

Then, except for the budget Yashica A (and the yet to be released new Yashicaflex AS), came a change in style to the front part ushered in by the new Yashica-Mat with 75 mm Lumaxar lenses. The back remained essentially the same. The leather is glossier and less flexible than earlier cases, no doubt aided by the metal reinforcing and a fully moulded top and front piece in place of moulded and stitched. Unlike later versions, “Yashica-Mat” is embossed in the leather of the front panel under a large metal shield shaped logo and the colour is more noticeably orange:

(Images courtesy of Sandu Baciu)

Near, or at, the time that the Yashica-Mat lenses were upgraded to the Lumaxar 80 version, a new logo was introduced and the name was changed to metallic letters on the front edge of the top:

This similar one is from a Yashica Mat-LM of about 1960 vintage (note the “LM” embossed in the centre panel on top, I believe that the only other model to feature this distinction is the 44LM) and is fairly typical of cases from the Yashica-Mat and Yashicaflex A (new model) and B (new model) of 1957 through to the mid-1960s. The front logo shown is unique to the early Yashica-Mat and Yashica Mat-LM and both are usually found in the same brown colour, although I have found one which appears to be black (leather can be dyed though). Yashicaflex cases of this type, including ones for the Yashica 635 (see “66 Models”), had “Yashicaflex” across the front (in place of “Yashica-Mat” on this one) and a similar front logo as the Yashicaflex C oval (like the Yashica B cases further below).

Note: Whilst crank wind cases of a similar era look identical, there is a subtle difference. On metered models starting from the Yashica Mat-LM forward and up to and including the Yashica Mat-124, the top is slightly more squared off and protruding at the front to make room for the meter assembly. Models with CdS cells have a cut-away around this on the front panel top edge (not normally visible). Therefore, cases from models with meters will fit the Yashica-Mat but are more bulbous than necessary. Yashica-Mat cases can probably be squeezed onto metered models, my Yashica 24 came with one, but its not ideal for camera or the case.

The Yashicaflex AS (new model) with the Citizen shutter and control wheels is an unusual camera. Clearly from trim items as well as various sources, it was released after the Yashica C and LM and after the Yashica-Mat. Its case, however, is a throwback to the Yashicaflex A-II with ribbing returning to the front and embossed oval logo instead of metal. Its replacement, the Yashicaflex B (new model), received the new style case. The Yashicaflex A2, released slightly earlier at about the time of the Yashica C and LM, also returned to what looks like a Yashicaflex A-I case. (Both cameras have been found with items indicating that they were marketed as “Yashica” models in Japan whilst retaining their Yashicaflex identity and heritage, see here.)

The brown case below left is for the earliest Yashica B in my database, a black example with the earlier stylised logo. It is a little more chocolate brown than later cases and except for name, it is also identical to the Yashicaflex A (new model) and Yashicaflex B (new model) cases. The grey case in the middle is for an earlyish example with grey leatherette. The brown case on the right is for a slightly later black Yashica B and has the same logo as the Yashica D below but there were also grey cases for grey cameras with this logo:

(Left image courtesy of Sumanta Chandra, centre image courtesy of Göran Årelind, right image courtesy of Tom Heckhaus)

Below left is an early Yashica D case with the name in metallic letters and which would have had the narrow “Y” on gold background logo. It is possible that the very first Yashica D cases had the oval logo as on the Yashica B cases above (none found so far). Cameras with grey leatherette had grey cases but that may have been the case for all coloured cameras. This one actually came with the one black D with gold hood logo found amongst the later coloured examples. The one below right is a standard brown leather case usually found with the following black cameras with blue hood logos:

(Left image courtesy of Dillon Ang, right image courtesy of Göran Årelind)

Grey cases with the narrow “Y” on gold background logo also appeared for coloured Yashica As but their style remained the earlier (and presumably cheaper) type with stitched top and front panels. The later brown cases for the black cameras continued with this style. The case below was originally grey but the top and front have been painted, the front, a yellow. Definitely better in B & W! The top is embossed “Yashica A” but the case came with an all grey AIII (in very nice condition).

(Image courtesy of Sandu Baciu)

It seems to have been a number of years before the Yashica 635 cases, still with “Yashicaflex” across the front changed from the oval (like the Yashica B case above) to the narrow “Y” logo, and even longer for the Yashica-Mat models before they changed from their own unique style, perhaps not until the Yashica Mat-EM was released in 1964.

There was also a unique rectangular leather Yashica 635 kit case, this time with “Yashica 635” in metallic letters. I believe that this version is from the beginning of the model's history. It appears in an early user manual and reference is made to it in the 1960 Olden Camera and Lens Company catalogue:

I have seen both chocolate and mid-brown colours. A later brown version, probably from 1965 or later, has the “Yashica 635” letters replaced with the plain “Yashica” badge from the Yashica D and Yashica-Mat cases further down. The only other change was from a light sort of creamy tan to a red liner. The cases are divided into three compartments; the 35 mm kit in its case at one end, the camera lengthwise on its back and another small compartment at the other end.

The Yashica Auto case only differs from the early Yashica-Mat case in terms of colour, name and logo.

(Image courtesy of Tom Heckhaus)

The two features (apart from size) that divide the 44 series cases from their 66 cousins is that there are no sliding tabs to secure the case to the slots of the camera strap holders (there are no slots on 44 models) and there are no separate case neck straps - the camera's own quick release strap is re-attached after fitting the case.

This case belongs to an early Yashica 44 and except for the logo, is very similar to the larger Yashica-Mat and Yashica Auto cases and like the Yashica B in terms of logo. All that I have found are grey other than three black cases; one with a lavender camera, one with a rose brown camera (it should be noted that the other coloured Yashica 44s in my database did not have cases) and the third with a grey camera. The cheaper Yashica 44A received a miniature version of the Yashica A case with stitched panels on the top and front but with the name in metallic letters like above. Also, it has no metal reinforcement on front or back. Here is a rather sad early grey example:

(Image courtesy of Göran Årelind)

I was in two minds about using this image (and I'm not sure that Göran wanted me to) but it does illustrate what the end result will be once the stitching shows signs of weakness. Note that the back has been reassembled with hand stitching. Below is a later brown example that belongs to a grey 44A:

(Image courtesy of Sandu Baciu)

The Yashica 44LM surprisingly received a version of the Yashica 44A style case but with simplified front piece, probably caused by the wider profile of the camera front with control wheels. However, unlike the 44A, case, it does normally have metal reinforcing strips along the front panel edges and the top front corners of the back section. The closest 66 case style-wise belongs to the later Yashica E. The example below came with a brown camera from very early Yashica 44LM production. It is missing the side reinforcing pieces from the front panel - whether they have been removed or weren't there on early examples, I don't know but all other examples I have seen have them.

(Images courtesy of Bill Pruitt)

Both Yashica 44A and 44LM cases seem to have at first come in grey only and then changed to brown later when, ironically, the grey camera versions became the only colour available, although the earliest grey examples did still have grey cases. Except as noted below, all of the the 44A and 44LM cases seem to have the narrow “Y” on gold background logo like the Yashica D above.

Very late 44LM cases (nine of the last eleven cameras with cases in my database starting with camera FL 4010xxx) and 44A cases (three last cameras with cases, FA 5040xxx to FA 5060xxx - so far, there are no 44A cameras with “FA 4xxxxxx” serial numbers), the first Yashica Mat-EM cases and probably cases of other cameras in production in 1964 (there are examples of Yashica-Mat and Yashica 635 cases) received a new narrow “Y” logo reminiscent of the new Yashica Mat-EM hood logo (image below is of 44LM case logo). Instead of the old white on gold flat logo, the new logo is 3 dimensional with raised “Y” and circular border in shiny metal on recessed white background.

(Detail from larger web image of Yashica 44LM case)

This didn't last long. From about 1965, cases for all 66 models still in production, other than the Yashica A and the new Yashica 24 (see below), received the new style logo as displayed on the brown Yashica-Mat case below for a camera with the new wide “Y” focusing hood logo:

Note that the model in metallic letters, including “Yashicaflex” on the 635 cases, is no longer displayed. The metal reinforcing on the front corners of the back half and around the large hole for the crank was also deleted. The case strap changed from the leather convertible two/three piece carry/neck strap with permanently affixed end pieces to a single piece plastic removable type. This style case also became available in black. Whether it was an option initially, or replacement, is not clear to me but replacement seems most likely. Perhaps at about the same time or just a little earlier, the Yashica A and the very last Yashica 44LMs (last two with cases in my database) as well as the new Yashica 24 received a new logo too. This is a wide “Y” in silver on a white background representing the new style focusing hood logo and is similar in style to the late narrow “Y”, shown above the brown Yashica-Mat case.

(Detail from larger web image of Yashica 44LM case)

Yashica 24 cases from 1965 are black and have a metallic “Yashica” badge on the front of the top and the new silver wide “Y” logo on a circular white background in the middle of the front. I'm not sure whether Yashica was after a unique look for its new premium model, or it was designed before the above style was released. No other case looks like this.

(Detail from larger web images)

In the second half of 1966, the Yashica 24 case changed to a black version of the brown Yashica-Mat case above. Both of the Yashica 24 case types have a cut-out for the accessory shoe common to it and later crank wind models plus a unique one for the meter switch. As noted earlier for crank wind metered models, the top is more squared off and juts further forwards than the Yashica-Mat case too. The Yashica 12 case appears to be the same as the later 24 case (except that there is no cut-out for the meter switch).

One other camera case that I should mention is for the Yashica E which was released in 1964. The case was designed to meet the particular needs of that rather unusual camera, i.e., a wide front panel to cover the selenium cell and a rectangular window in the back for access to the flash exposure guide table. In terms of style, it looks somewhat like a fat budget brown Yashica A case with the narrow “Y” logo embossed instead of the circular metal badge but with metal reinforcing to the edges of the front panel. In fact it very closely resembles the style of the smaller Yashica 44LM case:

(Image courtesy of Sand Baciu)

Below is a Yashica-Mat case from about 1967 or 1968 by which stage all cases, apart from the Yashica A, were black (with the exception of the Yashica A, cases of other models still in production had the same style case front parts). Note the larger cut-away for the crank than earlier cases. This makes fitting and removing the case a little easier. The very similar Yashica Mat-124 case had a cut-out on the crank side for the 12/24 reminder window and one on the focus side for the accessory shoe plus the usual more squared off and forward jutting top piece to accommodate the meter assembly.

The final case style, shape-wise at least, was introduced with the Yashica Mat-124G for that model only. The front snout was simplified with a smooth taper from the front panel back to the sides. This required the front of the top panel to be cut away. However, there were some minor detail variations with this as well (final variation shown).

(Detail from larger web image)

Initially, the leather was shiny and the metallic logo was silver with the letters and surround in recessed black instead of raised lettering (image 1 below). Next the metallic logo changed to a rectangular background with raised silver letters on a less shiny, more textured leather finish (image 2 below). The final change was to some type of mat synthetic textured material and the the logo was simplified to shiny raised letters on a plain black background recessed into the case (image 3 below).

From 1970

From end 1976, beginning of 1977

From around 1983

(Detail from larger web images)

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Boxes

Boxes have value to collectors and therefore should be looked after. They add value to a camera and also like ever-ready cases, make it easier to pack safely if selling. I like boxes because they display the character of the times and the graphics styles reflect Yashima's/ Yashica's marketing vision for each of the models. They originally seemed to be designed for ongoing storage of the cameras and were clearly patterned on the Franke & Heidecke items for their Rollei models. They are also very similar to boxes provided by other Japanese makers, only the graphics and quality of finishes varying. No doubt that these items were also bought in.

The storage box, or “presentation box” as it is called by some, may have been packed inside another brown cardboard box for initial distribution - these have rarely survived. The earliest I have seen is for an early Yashicaflex C from 1955 and the latest for a Yashica Mat-EM with its “modern” box already. Two examples are a little further down.

The earliest storage boxes that have been found are right from the beginning. I am reasonably certain that the Pigeonflex box (lid missing) is for a Yashima made one (its camera is side synch with NKS shutter):

(Detail from larger web images)

The Yashica Flex box without model name belongs to a Yashica Flex B for sale as a complete kit with camera, case and matching lens cap. It is surprisingly similar to the Yashica Flex S box below and is further evidence that they were contemporaries rather than successive releases.

I have several boxes, two of them shown here:

The boxes for the Pigeonflex, Yashima Flex and Yashica Flex models B and S are very rare and the ones shown are the only examples that I have seen of those types (the box for the model S belongs to one of the earliest Copal shutter versions in my database). All of the boxes seem to be very similar with lift-off lids, paper lining and similar physical style, size and substantial build and from photos, seem to remain unchanged until the Yashica Mat-EM introduced a new simpler, lighter and, no doubt, cheaper version. The 44 series boxes appear similar, just smaller.

The Yashicaflex model A box is from only a little later and came with a Yashicaflex A-I which is the first in my database with the new body type but still with cable release shutter (probably from mid-1955). Although it is relatively rare for cameras to be found with their box, this box is amongst the more common found on auction sites. In export markets, the Yashicaflex A-II had its own box which was very similar but the background colour is a bright blue, the oval pattern around the “Yashicaflex” is white as is the other text including “Model AII” (no hyphen).

(Detail from larger web image)

I have found at least eight Yashicaflex A-IIs with the “Yashicaflex model A” box instead of the A-II box. At least six were complete with original cases and at least three with guarantee papers and I think that most, maybe all, were from Japanese sites. Given the number, the kits were most unlikely to have been assembled by collectors and I think that in Japan, both models shared the same box. The only A-I models I have found in Japan are very early Y.S.K. shutter types (I have actually found a later one but that had the feet focusing scale of an export model). The A-I is found with mainly focusing scales in feet whilst the A-II is mostly metric and very common in Japan. So really, in the domestic market, there was only the one model to support. It is possible that in Japan, the A-II was simply known as the “Yashicaflex Model A” however, present day Japanese auction sites usually refer to the camera as either “Yashicaflex” or “Yashicaflex A-II” and I have seen no early Japanese ads for the models A-I, A-II or simply A, so that theory remains pure conjecture (I do have a copy of one A-II ad but there is nothing that I recognise as a model name).

Recently, I have been surprised to also find two only slighter later Yashicaflex model S cameras than the one above, but with the new type bodies already, with predominantly black boxes. The model names on the boxes were not visible but now eBay seller Kathryn very kindly provided me this photo:

(Image courtesy of eBay seller Kathryn)

The new box was probably part of a marketing strategy related to the change from the two word form of “Yashica Flex Model S” to the single word form of “Yashicaflex Model S” to match its new contemporaries. In the same way as the first box was remarkably similar to the Yashica Flex Model B example, the new box is almost identical to the Yashicaflex Model AS type below.

Boxes marked “Yashicaflex Model AS” are a conundrum. I have photos of a Yashicaflex AS-II (with in-built exposure meter and released in 1954) from a US site with a box together with appropriate user manual (“Directions for use Model A & C”) and guarantee certificate in English as expected since this is mainly an export model. The items could have been assembled by a collector or the seller (a significant dealer), however, they are very uncommon and if the box came from the later Yashicaflex AS (new model, with control wheels, no exposure meter and released in 1957) as discussed below, it would have been close to unobtainable outside of Japan. The Model S version of the box belongs to a camera undoubtedly from 1955 so the design fits with the period.

I also have photos of three boxes (at least two and probably all from Japanese sites) of the same style. Two are pictured with the later Yashicaflex AS (new model) and two have user manuals for the “Yashica Model AS” (the same camera with Citizen MXV shutter and control wheels and “Yashicaflex” on the nameplate). One also has a guarantee certificate and this time it is in Japanese as would be expected for a domestic model. Each of the three boxes is supported by either a photo of a Yashicaflex AS (new model) and/or user manual. Three examples versus one. On that basis, the later Japanese domestic model wins out but could both models have used the same boxes? I have suggested elsewhere that the naming of the Yashicaflex AS (new model) could have involved some “retro” marketing. As noted for the second type of Model S box above, the AS-II boxes are predominantly black with a gold panel and red and gold writing. All the text is in English.

(Detail from larger web image)

The Yashicaflex C box has a silver lid, white band with prominent “Yashicaflex” in black on two sides, the same size orange band with “Model C” only on one side (also on one side of the lid) and another silver band on the bottom. In some photos, the orange band looks more yellow-green. I'm not sure whether the difference is photo quality or there was a change. Also, one side of the lid has a large orangey-red rectangle with white Japanese characters “ヤシカフレックス” (“Yashicaflex”). As far as I am aware, the Yashicaflex C box is the only one to feature any prominent Japanese characters:

(Detail from larger web images)

The box below belongs to the second last Yashica Rookie in my database. As well as being a simpler construction, without lift-off lid (somewhat like mid-60's boxes but more solid), than all its contemporaries including the Yashica A, note that it says “Yashicaflex” on the side, introducing a two year period from 1956 to 1958 where Japanese domestic market models used both names. After the Rookie, export models were called “Yashica” and domestic models had “Yashicaflex” on the nameplate but advertising used “Yashica” and boxes displayed both names. Note that the top of this box has been damaged, the graphics normally include a red stripe across the top in a similar style to the subsequent boxes:

(Image courtesy of Sandu Baciu)

The Yashicaflex A2 has a box with plain peach-salmon background. Note that the lid is marked “Yashicaflex” whilst the box is marked “Yashica”:

(Detail from larger web image)

It and the Yashica A, C and LM, all released in late 1956, set a common graphics style for 66 model boxes until the early 1960s. The main distinguishing differences in this period are the colours of the plain background and model names, e.g. the silver Yashica LM box has a red “L” and a green “M”. The yellow Yashica A box has large red, blue and white “A”s in different places. At least two Japanese market Yashicaflex A (New Model) cameras (marketed as “Yashica A” in Japan) and two Yashica AIII cameras (Japanese market Yashica A without hood logo) have been found with the export market Yashica A boxes - it looks like these were shared between all three models:

(Left image courtesy of Chris Whelan, right detail is from larger web image)

The Yashica C box is a light grey-tan colour with a blue strip across the top and a pinky-red “C”:

(Detail from larger web image)

The Yashicaflex B (new model) box is red and fairly plain in comparison with one prominent “B” on one face and two on another and the text generally alternating between white and black.

(Montage from larger web images)

Reversed with the Yashicaflex A2 box above, one side of the lid has “Yashica” which together with the box reads “Yashica model B” whilst the box is marked “Yashicaflex”. Note, there is no mention anywhere of “New Model” confirming that is collector invention! There are three separate boxes in the montage and “Yashica” is visible in two (the third is missing its lid). What we outside of Japan know as the later Yashica B (Yashicaflex A in Japan) has a completely different colour scheme:

(Image courtesy of Sumanta Chandra)

The advertising of Japanese market Yashicaflexes as “Yashica” is discussed elsewhere.

The Yashica D box is a dull pink with green, black and yellow “D”s in different sizes:

(Detail from larger web image)

Below are Yashica-Mat and Yashica Mat-LM boxes:

Construction still appears to be the same as the Yashica Flex S and earlier boxes. Note the cardboard packing piece insert still inside the open box. The silver background and graphics style of the Yashica Mat-LM box closely match the earlier Yashica LM box except for its red and green “LM”. Below is the external distribution box for a Yashica-Mat box similar to the above (the box below belongs to a Mat with Lumaxar 75 mm lenses and the above one to a Mat with Lumaxar 80 mm lenses) and one for the Yashica Auto:

(Images courtesy of Sandu Baciu)

The early Yashicaflex C one that I have seen was already very similar to these.

Below is another example of a Yashica Auto internal box. It and its colours are identical to above, just a different side is shown:

(Image courtesy of Leigh Harris)

Boxes, including outer boxes, for the 44 series are similar to their larger siblings but the graphic designs are a little different, e.g. there are no lines across the lids as on their 66 cousins. The Yashica 44 box is dark grey and relatively plain except the word “Yashica” is spread along the sides of the lid and each letter sits in its own little rectangle of bright colour:

(Detail from larger web image)

The boxes are a little smaller but not by as much as perhaps expected. Box for Yashica 44LM:

Here is one for a Yashica 44A:

(Image courtesy of Göran Årelind)

Given the empty space inside these boxes, it would be easy to think that one size would fit all 66 models and another for all 44 models but not so. These are the comparative sizes, remembering that the Yashica Flex S and Yashicaflex A boxes were from a similar period:

One unusual box that has recently surfaced belongs to the first Yashica 635 with a prefixed serial number, ST1020xxx, from early 1961. It doesn't have a removable lid and is probably a precursor to to the new style boxes that are found with the Yashica Mat-EM and “66” models (late models, including late Yashica 635, D and Mat with “66” on boxes and covers of user manuals). However, the covering is like no other. This pattern, in this orientation, covers it entirely:

(Detail from larger web image)

It is a tall box (to allow for the 35 mm kit) and looking down from the top, it is square shaped. Its external distribution box is brown cardboard and fairly nondescript like the others. Another with the same covering has turned up, this time both the box and pattern are horizontally orientated and end on, the box is rectangular rather than square. There is a big label on the side with “Yashica model 635”. The camera pictures are poor and with missing logo, I can't date it. The ever ready case, if original, is of a type that first appeared around 1965.

The early (1964) Yashica Mat-EM (white box with wide single horizontal, red and blue stripes) has a box shaped like the earlier ones but of unlined thinner build with a simple cardboard flap - the modern, cheap cardboard box. Two in my database still have their external distribution boxes as well but these now appear to be sleeves with open ends. Although the construction appears the same, early box on left, later box on right:

(Detail from larger web images)

Later Yashica D boxes with “66” branding have the same construction and style as the later EM 66 box but with “66” in red on the lower black band together with an upside down triangle on another face in the same colour (presumably there is a similar colour coded triangle on the EM box). Except for Yashica Mat-124G boxes, the uniform colour scheme and unique colour coding of the triangles for each model is now maintained until the end. There is also a similar Yashica 635 “66” box in my database with orange triangle, but taller to accommodate the 35 mm kit, and a similar Yashica 24 box with light blue triangle (triangle not visible, same colour as “66”):

(Detail from larger web image)

The Yashica Mat-124 and late examples of the Yashica 635 “66” and Yashica-Mat “66” (and also presumably the Yashica D) continue with the new colour scheme but have a horizontal orientation similar to the Yashica Mat-124G boxes, except that the “box” has now simply become a sleeve around a horizontally split foam case, i.e., there are no cardboard ends:

(Detail from larger web images)

The Mat-124G box is back to being a proper box, albeit thin and cheap with simple flap lid. It has the camera laid on its back in split foam packing and is white on the top half, black on the bottom and with a wide gold band in the middle. Of course, there may have been changes during the model's long life but all that I have seen are similar.

(Detail from larger web image)

The newer style boxes, particularly the later ones with the cameras enveloped in foam, undoubtedly provided excellent protection for new cameras but they were not designed for ongoing storage like the earlier ones (whether real intention, or simply an element of inherited Rollei tradition). Accordingly, most were discarded with the wrapping paper and few have survived. Mat-124G examples do turn up with their cameras from time to time but with over 1/2 million produced over 16 years, that is not surprising. It is also the most recent model plus given the number of mint examples for sale, I suspect that some were bought simply to collect before the inevitable end.

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