Pentamatic S – 1961 to 1962

The Pentamatic S… the last true Pentamatic in the short lived series of SLRs from Yashica. The Pentamatic II is the hardest to find from a collector’s standpoint as they were only available for sale in Japan with the S close behind.

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The Pentamatic S. The last camera in the short lived Pentamatic series.

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Pentamatic cameras tend to have very well designed film paths and film chambers. We rarely find corrosion and the chambers are large and easy to keep clean. The Nicca inspired cloth focal-plane shutter in this example is super clean and shows no white mold spots.

The Pentamatic S pictured above, the serial number is NO. 140572. Our other S is NO. 140294. These numbers decode to… 1=1961, 4=April, and the last four digits equal the sequential production numbers. The S models were not produced in great numbers so it is possible that both of these cameras were made during the same month as they are within 300 units of one another. Another serial number in our database is… NO. 141796 which suggests that it was the 1,796 th unit made in April of 1961. Interestingly the serial number of the model S in Yashica’s instruction booklet is NO. 140893. It is odd that the camera in the booklet has a higher production number than two cameras we own.

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The only difference between the S and the original Pentamatic ’35’ is the notch in the shutter speed dial on the S. It is used to couple the clip-on exposure meter to the dial.

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The biggest changes in the S from the original… the shutter release button is no longer at a 45 degree angle but its position on the body is the same. The S adds a self-timer and the light meter (exposure meter) lug on the face just below the shutter speed dial.

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The lug for the neck strap has been relocated to the front from its previous position (on the side). It’s interesting to note that this lug is super corroded while the lug on the other side is not.

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As we mentioned in the previous post on our blog, the Pentamatic series of cameras are prone to mirror lock-up. This S is currently in the locked-up position and has resisted my attempts at freeing it. It had been working at the higher shutter speeds (1/125 and higher) but now it sticks at all speeds. Ugh!

In summary… the Pentamatic S is a very worthy camera and is built like a tank. The S went back to using the Auto Yashinon f/1.8 5.5cm lens which was the standard lens on the original Pentamatic ’35’. The Tomioka Optical built lens is sharp and smooth. The S allows for the attachment of a separate exposure meter on the front lug (where the “S” is) and can couple with the shutter speed dial. Still a long way from TTL metering but at least headed that way.

Thanks for your visit!

Chris and Carol

Please visit our online store at https://www.ccstudio2380.com for a nice selection of classic film cameras and vintage photo accessories.

10 thoughts on “Pentamatic S – 1961 to 1962

  1. Chris – if the second shutter curtain has not completed its travel, the mirror stays up. The way to check this, is to open the back, and with a finger either side of the curtain, push it to the closing side. If this is the problem, the curtain closes fully, and the mirror comes down.
    This is a sign the camera needs a CLA.

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    1. Hi thanks John. I’ve had the base plate off on this one and when the camera is fired in the upside down position (base plate up) the mirror and shutter curtain fired and worked about 70% of the tine at 1/125 and faster. When I turn the camera right side up and fire away the mirror stays up 100% of the time at all speeds. I’ve added a touch of lube on the moving parts visible from the base plate view but no improvement. I’ll put this one aside for a bit and attack it another time. Of interest, I read that when the mirror pad is worn away and the mirror travels that extra 3mm and contacts the body that it could contribute to the “stuck-up” syndrome. I’ll play with the shutter curtains like you suggested and see what happens.
      Regards, Chris

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  2. FYI, my “S” has sn 141353 . No rusty strap lugs , no mirror lockup problems. Runs like a charm. Came with selenium meter ( will also fit Penta J) .
    I wouldn’t put too much lube close to curtain ribbons. I’d rather increase curtain tension using tensioner screws you will easily locate after removing bottom plate. I believe that’s the routine “fix” for second curtain not closing completely and mirror lockup issue on any mechanical SLR.

    I also own P II w/sn 96002917 ( working like a charm, too) and
    plain P w/sn 86008871 ( in mint condition). Also bunch of native glass. Let me know if you need sn’s.

    Hopefully this info will contribute to your database.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments and for sharing your info for my database. As you may know, the Pentamatic II is actually kinda rare to find number one and to have one that works great is a big plus. I’ll take another look at the guts with the bottom plate removed on my S and see what happens. When you have the opportunity to share the serial numbers please do so.
      R/ Chris

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      1. Chris, I own eight pieces of native Pentamatic glass :

        1] Super Yashinon – R 3.5cm/2.8 s/n 280041
        2]Super Yashinon – R 3.5cm/2.8 s/n 280091
        3]Auto Yashinon 5.5cm/1.8 s/n 60503036
        4]Auto Yashinon 5.5cm/1.8 s/n 60506622
        5]Auto Yashinon 5.5cm/1.8 s/n 60513855
        6]Auto Yashinon 5.5cm/1.8 s/n 60515776
        7]Super Yashinon-R 13.5cm/3.5 s/n 1350584 (red K.C. marking)
        8]Super Yashinon-R 13.5cm/2.8 s/n 1355031 (red K.C. marking)

        p.s.
        I also own ( sometimes multiple) copies of all SLRs Yashica ever made ( M-42 and C/Y mount),
        many functional copies of their TLRs and complete series of Minister RFs ( including unique “M-II” and “M-3” models) as well as few misc. VV/RF models.
        My collection contains couple hundreds of Yashinon/Yashikor glass, too.
        I have multiple copies of many models of rare Yashica/Tomioka glass ( e.g. Auto Yashinon 5cm/2 , Yashinon 5cm/2.8 , M-42 mount Super Yashinon-R 3.5cm/2.8), which I accumulated as an investment for my grandchildren.

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  3. I dug in my doubles cabinet one day and….found another Pentamatic “S”. It doesn’t hold shutter in B mode and self timer doesn’t trigger it, too. Otherwise is running good. I think I planned on looking into those problems but somehow forgot…
    S/N on this one is “strange” : 192281

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    1. That is a high number. Still 6 digits though. It may still decode to 1961, September and number 2,281 off the assembly line. Thanks for the update.
      A recent S added to my family… SN 140105
      That may stay consistent with your serial number – 1961, April and only the 105 th off the line. After 5 months they only produced another 2,100 or so.

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  4. I have in my notes an end date of April 1962 for the Pentamatic S. No solid evidence to back that date up. I do have a date of June 1961 or September 1961 as the first Penta J. I have yet to find a dated advertisement for the Pentamatic S. As late as August 1961, the original Pentamatic was still advertised in the ‘Singapore Free Press’… no Pentamatic II or S. My wild guess would be less than 5,000 units and would not be shocked to learn that is was maybe 3,500 or less.

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