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Yashica and Olympus Prototypes 


Yashica Beacon Prototype








This strange item surfaced on eBay around 2005, and is a very uncommon one.
This is Yashica's pre-production experimental TLR camera based on the Yashica-Mat. It is a transitional model from 1964 using the Yashica-Mat LM body but 2.8 viewfinder lenses (instead of normal run  3.2) and hood type applied on 1965 models.

The camera emitted two light beams from the common exposure meter place. The superimposing of two light spots coupled to front lens displacement  assist for focus when shooting with flash in dark places when focusing becomes a trouble or impossible. As you focus, two small light spots overlap each other to form a single one over the correct focus point. Another difference is the short lever added to the focus knob, intended for quick guess if distances. There is a battery holder box on the back cover. As far as we know, this is the only surviving example in existence.


Kalart focuspot of 1947










Origins: Kalart Focuspot for 4x5 cameras





Yashica Future Prototype



Another Yashica prototype ws the Yashica Future. An all automatic camera intended for the 4x4  sise in 127 type film. This prototype was first shown at

Shashin Kōgyō May 59 magazine. This was a promise era full of new projects. Yashica put on the market very interesting cameras as the Sequelle motorized 35mm for 72 pictures and the odd Rapide.



A full report came in the next month Jun 59 when Ino Kisaburō described the camera virtues. Beacon and Future never saw production lines, but were a good exercise of ingenuity.



Ad in Shashin Kōgyō June 1959



The Future camera came with a Copal SV, a very mature and developed shutter with self timer , M-X Synchronized and speeds 1- to 1/500 sec and B.



In the Future camera you select the ASA speed and the desired shutter speed. The built-in exposure meter sets automatically the diaphragm openings.

The camera has a convenient cubic shape that fits hands. Shutter release is in the right side of the body making you fire with extreme softness with your thumb avoiding shaking of the camera.



Ino Kisaburō in his meticulous article at Shashin Kōgyō June 1959 shows the internal of the camera in pictures and drawings explaining the working principle of the camera.



The exposure meter



Exploded view and internal lay-out.







Olympus Eye Flex Prototype



Olympus Eye Flex 

In the year of 1958 Olympus has shown two new prototypes of twin lens reflex camera. It was the charming Olympus Eye flex intended for 4x4 pictures in 127 roll film type. These cameras were presented in two versions the «А» and «В» They followed the trend of Rollei who had shown one year earlier the «Rolleiflex Grey Baby» resurrecting the prewar 4x4 models. The  «А» type was produced in na extremely small series only for market testng and the «В» existed only in some prototypes.

They differed only for the taking lens

«А» - С. Zuiko 60mm f/3.5 (triplet Triotar type)

«В» - D. Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 (4 element in 3 groups- Tessar type)







Two views of Olympus Eye-44 A 3.5.






Both cameras were presented n February 1959 (Left 2.8 model; Right 3.5 model)



Olympus Eye-44 A 3.5. February 1959. Extremely Rare  

Eye-44 model A is a fully automated version TLR. Also equipped with the 'Magic Eye' Bell & Howell type selenium meter-behind-honeycomb glass it is fitted with 60mm x f=3.5 Zuiko lens in a Seikosha-SLV shutter with few manual settings.

According to Mr. Sakurai in his one of his interviews for Vision Age magazine he recalls that 'some Eye-44 B models were released to gauge public response.' This makes any surviving Eye Flex one of the rarest cameras from Olympus.

This prototype was the forerunner of the 1961 Olympus Pen EE using the same concept.






Olympus Eye-44 B 2.8. February 1959 (Prototype). Not released.

In 1959, TLR's were already losing popularity as the compact 35mm were taking over the world, This is Mr Sakurai design of the semi-automatic EyeFlex in the 4cm x 4cm format, patterned over the beloved Grey Baby Rollei. It had a similar advance mechanics taken from the French SEM Otomatic. Mr Sakurai fitted this model with 60mm x f=2.8 F Zuiko lens and a Seikosha-S shutter speeded 1~500 + B this camera though prototyped was never made commercially







Announcement in Shashin Kōgyō June 1959. 


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