I’ve been a photographer almost my entire life…
December 1961… at Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. Using a Kodak Brownie Starmite (1960 model) with 127 film. This image taken by my dad with his Polaroid.
I can remember when I was eight I pleaded with my dad to let me use his camera as I was growing tired of my simple Kodak. While on a trip to California around Christmas 1961, he handed me his massive Polaroid Pathfinder Land Camera model 110… I could barely hold it let alone be able to take a picture (shown below). He showed me how to use the controls and instructed me on the proper way to hold it steady (me leaning against a tree worked fine). I don’t exactly remember what I shot but it was magic to watch the image I took come to life. Hooked!
This image of the Pathfinder 110 is as massive as the actual camera!
Over the years I’ve used many different cameras with many diverse formats. My first 35 mm camera was a Nikonos II that I purchased new in 1971. Next came a Yashica TL Electro-X 35 mm SLR followed closely by my first Canon, a F-1 in 1977. Then another Canon… this one a AE-1 (actually Carol’s camera), brief flirtations with a Kodak E4 instant camera and then a Polaroid Spectra and finally my last film camera (for a while)… a Canon Rebel.
I moved to digital… very basic cameras… mostly simple point and shoot gear but with good optics (Sony Zeiss) for one. But I jumped back into film in a really big way in 2008 when I purchased a used Yashica TL Electro-X on eBay. Replacing my first 35 mm SLR that I loved. Since then I’ve been lucky to collect a wide variety of cameras… none more treasured then the Yashica’s that arrived in my home in ever increasing numbers… 35 mm SLRs and Yashima-Yashica TLRs. But what’s caught my fancy recently is one of my most humble cameras in the collection… a 1958 Fuji Photo Film Fujipet! A true medium format (6 x 6 cm) camera. I was lucky to find one that essentially was never used so it arrived to me clean and working like a charm. Nice fixed focus plastic lens (70 mm) and a accurate 1/50th of a second shutter (B works too). Add in three aperture settings… f/11, 16 and 22 and some Neopan 100 Acros and I was all set to venture back into the world of film photography.
Fantastic Fujipet! Great images with a nice “feel” to them.
Now the challenge! 1958 vs. 1964 technology!
The Fujipet and a small sample of its images. The Yashica EM ready to take on the Pet.
I am very pleasantly surprised with the quality of the images with the Fuji. 120 roll film 6×6 cm negatives make for fine 5 x 5 inch prints (seen above). Which brings me to the point of this article… I’m about to “compare” my Fujipet against my 1964 Yashica EM. Yes I know ahead of time that the images will be night and day better with the optics of the Yashica but I want to also judge the “feel” of the images. How will they “speak” to me. So I’ll be loading the EM with the same Neopan 100 Acros black and white film and shooting the same scenes around the historic town I live in.
Fujipet loaded with fresh Neopan 100 Acros B&W film.
I’ll share those images as soon as I can. Should be interesting…
Thanks for the visit!
Another beautiful Tomioka made f/1.2 lens has been spotted. These gorgeous lenses are things of beauty. This one appears to be in outstanding condition inside and out. They are M42 screw mount lenses so they fit a wide variety on SLRs.
Our feeling on these Auto Yashinon 55 mm f/1.2 lenses are that they are worth the price! Most go in the high $800’s to $1100 or more. The serial number is rather low on this one… the 552 is the model number and the 1773 is the production sequence number.
There’s that desirable f/1.2 on the aperture ring.
This one looks to be in a bit rougher condition overall with some visible dings. But it’s a Auto Tominon 55 mm f/1.2 lens with Tomioka Kogaku Japan on the lens ring! Double secret nice as it carries the Tomioka name. Still a M42 screw mount lens. Not sure of the serial number… the Auto Yashinon Tomioka lenses start with the model number ‘552’. This one starts with 71 and then what would appear to be a sequence number of 0107. I don’t believe Tomioka built many with their own name on them so it’s likely that this could be number 107.
In our June 20, 2016 post we have a close cousin to the above lens… its serial number is 71 0102 which puts it 5 lenses before the lens pictured above! Not many out there!
And another Auto Yashinon Tomioka made f/1.2 lens… this one has the model number ‘552’ and a sequence number of 0354.
By the way, the yashica model number of ‘552’ indicates that the lens is a 55 mm and has a max aperture of f/1.2… ‘552’.
If you’re a collector of really nice M42 mount lenses, don’t pass up the chance to add one of these to your gear bag.
Thanks for the visit!
Chris & Carol
I know… we’ve gone a bit overboard with all this “Fujipet Thing”. One post after another… posts in flickr and posts on our blog (which is supposed to be about the Pentamatic)! We just can’t get enough of our little pet.
I imagine some of this has to do with the Fujipet being considered as a toy camera by many citing the plastic lens and simple operation as the basis for their statements. As best we can tell, the original idea behind the Fujipet was to design an attractive and quirky camera that would allow novice photographers to experience the joys of photography… medium format photography with large 6 x 6 cm negatives that enlarge nicely to let’s say 5 x 5 inches. The original brochures and the instruction book clearly point out that the Fujipet was designed for women and children to experience “picture taking” without lugging around pounds of equipment and learning how to read an exposure meter or focus. Point and shoot as they say.
The prints may not be on par with more expensive medium format cameras but they’re not horrible either. The softened edges of the image help to direct the eye towards the center of the picture and gives a somewhat vintage feel to the shot.
For basic 6 x 6 cm photography we completely recommend the Fujipet as a vintage camera that’s worth taking a look at. By the way, we used Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros 120 film and had the film developed and printed with http://www.thedarkroom.com
Having used the Fujipet in the field I can say that it will become a part of our picture taking gear… its ability to capture quality images without a lot of fuss makes it an attractive alternative to more expensive equipment.
Thanks for your visit… as always, we encourage comments and likes!
These fun guys are part of the Fuji Photo Film’s instruction booklet for the Fujipet.
From 1958 or so. Great ways to steady your camera!
Parts of the Fujipet.
Still waiting on our prints to be developed… stay tuned! And here’s one of the first images from our new Pet!
Strong late morning Florida sun in August. Lots of strong shadows and high contrast. The Fujipet handled it very well! The film used was FujiFilm Neopan Acros 100 black and white negative film. The columns are a very deep green and the door is a medium brown. I love the detail in the doors and the slight edge distortion of the frame. This is the actual scan of the 6x6cm negative with no post production.
We sent the film to be processed at https://thedarkroom.com
More to come on another blog.
The goal is to take our 1958 medium format camera from Fuji Photo for a little picture taking. We’ve loaded some fresh Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros (in days past it was Neopan SS) into the Fujipet and see how it does after 58 years of non use. We’re very curious about the “look” of the images. If you don’t know much about the Fujipet, please take a stroll through our archives for a little catch-up.
1958 Fuji Photo Fujipet with its new strap. A simple modification to the Canon strap made it perfect for this lightweight Fuji. We have the original vinyl (leather?) strap for the Fuji but it’s still sealed in its original package. No reason to ruin it by using it LOL.
The Pet as seen on a local legend (Mr. David Yulee).
Hoping the bright Florida sunshine was just right for our first test of the Pet.
And just how did the Pet perform?
The entire roll of 12 exposures came out just great! Here’s a sample of some of them. The Pet gave a special look to the images. We had ‘The Darkroom’ print up these four images in their true square format (here they are 5 x 5 inches).
Well as you can see the pictures came back from the outing with the Fujipet. We couldn’t be more thrilled with how they came out! The lens was actually super sharp (all things considered) and the almost 60 year old plastic lens had some nice contrast to it too. We can’t say enough about Neopan 100 Acros – exceptional film!
If you can get your hands on a Fujipet then do so. There’s almost always one or two listed on the Japanese online auction sites. Be careful though! Japan (like my Florida) is a very humid climate and that can wreck havoc on old metal cameras and plastic lenses. Ask questions of the sellers and look very closely at the images of it. By the way, in 1958 when the Pet’s were selling wildly in Japan, they went for 1950 yen or about just under $6. You’ll pay a little more than that today but a good one can still be found for under $100 and questionable ones for $10 to $20.
Thanks for your visit! Comments are always welcome.
We’re about ready to give our little Pet a work out with some fresh Fujifilm Neopan film. Probably the first time this little beauty had film in it since the 1960s!
It has a fixed focus plastic lens with a focal length of 70 mm and three aperture settings… f11, 16 and 22. Shutter speeds are bulb and 1/50 of a second. She weighs in at an impressive 288 grams with film!
We’ll be sure to post the images here!
The Fujipet getting its first roll of film in decades! A fresh roll of Neopan (SS) Acros 100 black and white negative film. Can’t wait to see what the Pet will do!
Exposure number one ready to go!
Ready for some picture taking!
Many thanks for your visit! Please let us know what you think and if you want to share something with us please feel free to do so!
Chris and Carol
Yashica has always called their user manuals ‘instruction booklets’. Here is a sample of the front and back covers of the Pentamatic ’35’ and the Pentamatic S booklets. These are seldom seen in their proper colors and with this amount of detail. The first booklet’s design draws its inspiration from the box that the camera comes in, which is often referred to as the presentation box. Same colors and same pentaprism design.
Original Pentamatic ’35’ front cover.
Pentamatic ’35’ back cover.
Pentamatic S front cover. Of course this booklet is simply referred to as ‘instructions’. It is one of the few that does not use the word ‘booklet’.
Pentamatic S back cover.
We do not have the Pentamatic II instruction booklet and would love to acquire one. If someone has a clear copy of one we would love to see it.
Thanks for the visit! As always, please share with us your likes and possibly dislikes about our blog. We are always looking to expand our knowledge of this often unseen camera from Yashica.
Chris & Carol
The Pentamatic ’35’ went into production starting in December 1959. Our best guess as to how many were built is just that… a guess based on body serial numbers. The original Pentamatic has a rather easy to decode serial number as it uses the year, month and sequential production number in the overall serial number. An example would be… 56003354. That serial number decodes to ‘5’ = May, ’60’ = 1960, and ‘03354’ = number 3,354 th made since December 1959. Later serial numbers for October, November and December would be 116015100 which would be ’11’ = November, ’60’ = 1960, and ‘15100’ = the 15,100 th made since December 1959.
Pentamatic ’35’ made in May 1960 and it is the 3,354 th made.
Staying on our best guess path, it appears that about 16,000 Pentamatic ’35’ bodies were built during the approximately 15 month production run. So that brings us to the Pentamatic S which was the last version of the Pentamatic series of cameras. The serial number date coding theory hasn’t been fully been decoded as there is way too few in our database.
Here’s a Pentamatic ’35’ that was built in January 1961 and was the 13,838 th made since production began.
The Pentamatic S back view. Our guess, and it’s a big guess, is that the model S body serial “might” be ‘1’ = 1961, ‘4’ = April, and ‘0294’ = 294 th made.
Pentamatic S front view all decked out. The lens pictured is the standard lens for the Pentamatic model II.
Thank you for your visit and as always, please share your views with us and please, if we’ve made a mistake correct us! Our goal is to provide the most accurate data on the Pentamatic series.
Chris and Carol
Welcome to our blog about a very simple camera made by a company in Japan. We (Carol and Chris) are “Yashica Fanatics”, so it was a natural for us to start this blog dedicated to one of Yashica’s least known cameras. Most film camera aficionados might have some basic knowledge of the Pentamatic. They may have seen it in passing… usually fuzzy images on the web with often misleading info to boot. It’s a rather odd looking SLR with just enough quirks to make it interesting (to us at least). It was never a big time seller for Yashica but its true value was as a platform for innovation and invention for the designers at Yashica.
We fell in love with the Pentamatic’s clean lines and “modern” design. The presentation box was as unique as the camera itself.
Our “goal” here at the ‘Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic’ is to expose as many people as we can to the Pentamatic and to the company that conceived it. Please feel free to add to our knowledge base… if something is incorrect please let us know. If you know something about it or any of the topics we blog about… once again, please share it! We would love to here from you!
Another goal is to share our passion for photography. It’s been a part of our daily lives since we were born. I can’t remember the first picture that I ever shot – it probably was a mess – but I can remember one of the most special pictures I ever took – a picture of my parents.
My mom Mary and me in of all places, Vegas. We were on a big family vacation from New York to California – Christmas 1960. My dad Paul took this picture. Yep, my first camera – a Kodak for Christmas (notice that I was holding it up to show it off). My mom was holding a freshly taken Polaroid from my dad’s Pathfinder 110 Polaroid. Pictures – cameras – family.
Many many thanks for your visit… Chris and Carol ^.^
It would appear to the casual follower of this blog that we may have strayed off the Yashima-Yashica path a bit with our recent posts about the Fuji Photo Fujipet and the Shinano Pigeon 35 Model IIB. Yes we have and we’re even further away from current posts about the Yashica Pentamatic series of cameras. Guilty on all counts!
One of the things that attracted us to the Pentamatic 35 mm SLR in the first place was the general lack of accurate information on the web about the “mysterious” and seldom seen Pentamatic. Our goal was to enlighten the web with some new and hopefully correct info about Yashica’s first single-lens reflex camera which was released in the first half of 1960.
Our attempts to locate a good (and affordable) Pentamatic Model II for our collection have hit financial deed ends… that is to say that occasionally a Model II does come to auction but are going for near record prices in the ¥30,000 range and better! That is an indicator to us on just how rare that model is and why it shouldn’t be passed up by the collector. There is only a slight difference between the two models but in the terms of units sold new, the original Pentamatic 35 outsold the Model II at a 3 to 1 ratio or more. The Pentamatic S which was the last in the series, isn’t even advertised in the mainstream photography magazines of the early 1960s. In fact, magazine ads from as late as June 1962 were still running ads for the Pentamatic 35 and nothing for the Model II or S. Yashica pulled the plug quickly on the series and adopted the M42 mount for all future 35 mm SLRs.
The biggest change from the original Pentamatic 35 was the change over to a new lens (made by Tomioka Optical). The first Pentamatic came with the 5.5cm f/ 1.8 lens with exclusive Pentamatic bayonet mount. The Model II was fitted with the rather odd 5.8cm lens and a slightly faster f/ 1.7 aperture. It still held on to the bayonet mount.
The “new” Pentamatic Model II lens.
Could it be true? The first sighting of the Pentamatic II in a sales brochure for the Japanese home market.
Thanks for stopping by !
Chris and Carol