As Yashica was designing their first 35mm single-lens reflex camera during the Summer of 1959 (with help more than likely from the newly acquired Nicca Company) they faced another challenge… since it was decided to use an exclusive lens mounting system (Pentamatic bayonet mount) and not go with the more common M42 screw-in mount, they put Tomioka Optical Company in a bit of a spot. Tomioka was their exclusive lens supplier through the 1950s but Tomioka also supplied a wide variety of lenses to other manufacturers as well. That meant that Tomioka would have to start building a new lens series with an exclusive mount very quickly in order to have enough lenses available to meet the demands of a new camera hitting the marketplace by the Spring of 1960.
Here is but a small collection of Pentamatic lenses that were available in the early 1960 time period.
One of the earliest examples in our collection of the standard lens supplied with the Pentamatic ’35’ starting in 1959. We interpret the serial number to read: 1959, December and the 1,630th lens made by Tomioka.
This lens is the standard lens for the Pentamatic II which came out in late 1960 (Yashica was still building and selling the Pentamatic I at that time. It was a rather odd lens to use as the normal focal length… 5.8cm (58mm) but with a slightly faster f/ 1.7 aperture.
Front view of the standard lens for the Pentamatic II. It is a very beautiful lens and it does provide a bright clear view wide open.
One of the earliest medium telephoto lenses for the Pentamatic. We do not know what the ‘K.C.’ stands for… our guess would be that it applies to the coating on the surface of the lens. The serial number decodes to 135mm and the 927th made in the production run. We feel that this lens was made in 1959.
Original lens shade (as Yashica calls them) from the early days of production. The lens is the standard f/ 1.8 5.5cm lens from about mid year 1960.
A highly desirable Tomioka branded lens for the Pentamatic. Another early issue from 1959… the serial number 35 = 35mm and 246 indicates the production sequence. This lens is super bright and sharp. An excellent wide-angle lens for general photography.
The latest lens in the production run in our collection. The serial number shows that it is number 15,001 in the run. The camera and lens set was purchased in June 1962 in Arizona. The latest serial number that we have found so far is 15,157 that was mated with a body number of 16115756 which would put it at a January 1961 camera.
We hope to expand on more details of the early Pentamatic lenses in the near future. Stay tuned and thanks for reading our little blog!
Chris & Carol
You know when you get a new toy… the photographic kind, you’ve gotta play with it just to see its capabilities and possibilities. Our new Fujifilm FinePix has some great features and some that fall a bit short. The macro settings appear to be a nice plus.
Extreme close-up of the Yashica logo on the front of the leather case for the Pentamatic ’35’. We quite like this font… they used it some here and there in the late 1950s but went to the ‘western’ font for much of the 1960s.
Photoshoot c1960’s style.
Close-up of Sailor Boy’s hat. This hat is on the standard 4 inch promotional doll made by Modern Plastics of Japan for Yashica in 1962.
We were lucky to find another Yashica J-3 in Pro-Black trim for our collection. This image was not taken with the Fuji… back to the trusty Samsung Galaxy S4 with natural lighting.
So there you have it… a few new images to share with you.
Thanks for the visit… Chris & Carol
Here’s another nice Pentamatic for our collection. This beauty is in mint factory fresh condition! Only a few traces of past use. This camera was assembled in May 1960… about 6 months after the first one rolled off the assembly line in Yashica’s ultra modern factory in Nagano Prefecture (central Japan). The first half year of production showed a slow run up as approximately 500 units or so were made per month. This one has a serial number of 3,354. By August of 1960, Yashica was building about 1,500 units per month.
A beauty from May 1960.
NO. 3,354 since production began in December of 1959.
The lens was also made in May of 1960 at Tomioka’s factory in Tokyo.
As simple of a design as you can get. Love the shutter speed dial… still bright and colorful after 56 years.
The Pentamatic’s rather unique way to open the back and to pop up the rewind lever.
This Pentamatic is a fully working example of a beautifully designed camera. We can’t wait to run a roll of film through it and give the camera a good work out!
Thanks for the visit! Peace, Chris and Carol
Some recent images from our new Fujifilm FinePix camera. A beautifully simple camera with some nice “in camera” settings. The model is the S9900W and the setting selected is ‘Low-Key’.
1954 Yashima Flex
Tomioka Optical Tri-Lausar lenses.
Original Yashima Flex box from 1954.
Well there you have it. I enjoy the strong contrast and the muted highlights of the ‘Low-Key’ effect.
We’re always on the lookout for some “new” Yashica sales brochures and catalogs. As some of you may know from past postings, Yashica was not a big fan of dating the various publications it produced. Every now and then they would “hide” a date code but not very often. So here is a small sample of our recent acquisitions…
From September of 1969.
Date code ‘909’ decodes to September 1969.
Beautiful brochure from October 1970. The Yashica Mat-124 was at the end of its production.
Back page of the TLR brochure with a close-up of the date code (010E6). Decodes to October 1970.
Some very nice Yashica tripods from the 1960s. We have the first one (on the left) the ST-1.
Of course no new collection of Yashica brochures would be complete without a TL Electro X image. From March 1970.
So there is a small sample of the latest brochures. All are in original mint condition… just as they were printed in Japan by Dai Nippon Printing Co., Tokyo.
Please share any comments and of course if you have an interesting Yashica brochure let us know! We’d love to see it!
Thank you… C & C