Yashica Pentamatic… from 1960. The box was unlike any that had come before it. Simple with clean modern lines and well designed too. At this time, Yashica was producing mass quantities of high quality TLRs, respected 35 mm rangefinder cameras and they were big into 8 mm movie cameras and projectors. Yashica arrived in the already crowded Japanese 35 mm single-lens reflex market a bit late. Minolta, Asahi-Pentax, Nikon and others were already establishing a reputation for innovation and quality but at a considerable price for the average photographer. Yashica’s SLR would have to stand out in some way to get noticed. The engineers and designers came up with a typical Yashica innovation… build a high quality 35 mm SLR but make it affordable for the masses. So the Pentamatic was born. Different to be sure… unique bayonet mount for the lenses that were made by Tomioka Optical to Yashica’s specifications. Leave off the built-in self timer. No built-in exposure meter either. It worked to a point. The camera with the standard lens came in just under $160 in the US. Add the leather case for another $10 and if you really needed a self timer there were plenty to be had that would screw into the shutter release button. The Pentamatic camera and its unique bayonet lenses only lasted just under two years before the Penta J appeared. The Pentamatic was well liked but with no built-in exposure meter and a limited choice of lenses its time would be limited. But from the leap to the Penta J and its M42 universal screw mounted lenses thing happened quickly for Yashica after that. The J-3 would come along in 1963 and have many of the Pentamatic’s shortfalls incorporated in a sleek new body and an almost unlimited array of lenses.
From 1960. The clean simple lines of Yashica’s first SLR.