Manufactured in 1999, it was sold alongside the Impression Plus which added a switch-selectable Panoramic function. However, this camera is unique among Kyocera/Yashica's P&S cameras in not having a serial number; look at the image below...
The first oddity is that it's made in Thailand - I was not aware that Kyocera had a camera-manufacturing facility in that country. And as you can see, in lieu of any serial number (I can confirm that there's no serial number on the inside or outside of the Impression), there is a reference to 3 US Patents. I have never seen this before on a Yashica camera - indeed I don't recall it on any camera for that matter - which leads to the question, 'what's going on here?'
Well, after some help from Yashicasailorboy it seems that the Impression, Impression Plus and Expression were all made in Thailand and feature base plates with Patent numbers instead of serial numbers. We live and learn...
I'll make an educated guess, since this is a path I've taken before while searching for manufacturing patterns and processes in the last years. This might be one of those cases that epitomize the full depth that Kyocera goes when it comes to 100% outsourcing. It all starts with those 3 Patent #'s and they lead directly to the "assignee" - which is not Kyocera.
All 3 patents are assigned to W. Haking Enterprises Limited in Hong Kong by the original inventors ( 2 from a guy in the US, and 1 from someone in HK), and not from Kyocera or Yashica/Zeiss/Etc. If you visit their company's 'about us' page they show their present capacities for production (all of it is for photo gear), and not all of their factory space is in HK or mainland China... but in a number of facilities throughout Asia. They may be the primary designers of a base camera, that is then licensed and built for clients. I assume they may have no or minimal supplied parts from the contracting company. Another case where the design office is HK, but not the production plant.
So... Kyocera goes shopping for a new camera from some pool of candidate suppliers, and picks a new model to be branded. I'd assume there's an option to brand one model just for them if they'd be willing to pay for an exclusive contract - or brand a generic model that also get's licensed to other companies. If they don't use the serial #'s as a way to track service records for in-house repairs, I'd suggest they just issue a random/sequential tag number or use the included and preprinted warranty card numbers for any repair (or more likely, a straight replacement) and have no need for anything more sophisticated that would mean extra manufacturing costs.
There's no date on the camera body that I can see, but the patents were issued in 1981 or 1986, and my lists note the initial release was in 1990. That puts it at 7 years after Kyocera took over, and way before the announcement to dissolve the brand by a good 15 years or so.
The Mother of Disc cameras is Haking. They made a ton of disc cameras with names such as Ansco, Halina, Hanimex, Boots, Dixons, Asaflex, Seikanon, etc. But only some of these many cameras were actually sold with the Haking nameplate. Still, if the Disc camera says "Made in China" or "Hong Kong", chances are it's a Haking product.
... They made a ton of disc cameras with names such as Ansco, Halina, Hanimex, Boots, Dixons, Asaflex, Seikanon, etc. But only some of these many cameras were actually sold with the Haking nameplate. Still, if the Disc camera says "Made in China" or "Hong Kong", chances are it's a Haking product....
Quality? Do you really want to know?
As soon as I read "Hanimex", I didn't even consider asking that last question. There are bargain lens bins overflowing with their wares in thrift stores and charity shops across America.
Outwardly identical in shape and size to the Impression, it is in fact a different camera and not merely a clone for sale in a different market.
Whereas the Impression styles itself as 'programmed/red eye reduction', the Expression AF is styled as 'infared (sic) autofocus/programmed' and is also 1g heavier than the Impression.
Neither camera carries any serial number on the body or obvious one inside (there is what looks like a production-line identifier inside both back-plates), and you can see the additional patent on the Expression - presumably linked to the infrared AF system...
As yet, I still can't identify the manufacturing facility in Thailand.
I suspect that will be difficult to do with any precision. When it comes to the suppliers of the suppliers at the 3rd level of manufacturing, it's down to the contract manufacturing level, and that can change from model to model, or even run to run. If a maker is after cost cutting measures as the primary factor of where to manufacture or assemble a given part or product, they presumably want to switch on a whim, or even have several factories under contract at the same time, to play them against each other to get the best pricing they can.
For the manufacturing companies I've been involved with in my years of doing IT, many of them were only one of many suppliers of the same part/assembly/product. A couple of them were also the original engineering and design source - and in any case, whether they produced exported or non-exported items, one thing didn't matter... the same costing benefit applies.
As an example of manufacturing origin questions, here's an exchange about the possible Chinese origins of Axis Body Cameras (used by police and military), and the official response from the parent company. I think it's pretty typical, in that they aren't obliged to give names or addresses, or anything more than the country an item is made in, where it's necessary for sales. If it's solely for regulatory purposes, the country alone is likely to be the only legal requirement, and from a business standpoint, I doubt if anyone wants their suppliers being 'poached' by competitors and/or wanting to divulge any financially related details beyond what's required by their own country's authorities for reporting purposes.
In the Axis case above, they only offered "Thailand (M series) or Sweden (P/Q), with one P series dome made in the Czech Republic", with no further origin information. Axis AB itself is HQ'd in Sweden, where they don't require Country of Origin labeling.