Yashica This and That… 8.10.2016

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.

Brochure c1961

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


6 thoughts on “Yashica This and That… 8.10.2016

    1. Hi Frank… Very similar indeed. I actually like the placement of the shutter release button on the camera’s right side at a slight angle. It’s a shame that it hadn’t caught on. The Pentamatic is rather heavy and the position of the release button fell into the natural grip on the body and my pointer finger falls nicely on the button. My 1952 Pigeon 35 IIB has the release button in two places… one on top and one on the right side of the lens assembly. It’s actually a nice feature.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In fact, it’s very logical spot for the shutter button. I liked the feel of that Praktica when I was young… Never heard about that Yashica though. It looks great!


      2. Agreed. And then in 1964, Yashica brought out the J-P model and put the button out front again but no longer at an angle. It was an odd thing to do since the J-3 and J-5 had just come out with the more “modern” position with the shutter release on top. I believe at best Yashica maybe saved a few yen with the stripped down J-P but I don’t think the sales numbers jumped off the charts. Chris

        Liked by 1 person

  1. There was a fashion in the late 50s early 60s for front mounted shutter buttons – almost all German cameras went that way.

    The early M42 lens mout Yashicas had the release button straight out the front, to allow a meter to mount on the top.

    Liked by 1 person

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