Yashica Penta J – the Pentamatic that wasn’t!

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Clean design and simple controls. A stunning camera.

Released in 1962, the Penta J (Reflex 35 J in other markets) was Yashica’s first 35mm SLR designed to accept the popular M42 screw mount lenses vice Yashica’s exclusive Pentamatic bayonet mount that preceded it. The Penta J shared more body parts and took its design cues from the Pentamatic S (1961-62). Interestingly the Penta J lost the self-timer lever that the Pentamatic S fought so hard to get.

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The Penta J was designed to accept a clip-on exposure meter that coupled to the shutter speed dial. No TTL metering – that was a long way off!

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The ASA/DIN dial was not coupled to anything. It was a reminder to the photographer as to what the speed was of the film that was loaded in the camera.

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The standard lens for the Penta J was the semi-automatic Yashinon 5cm f2 lens.

The Yashica Pentamatic S (below)… the Penta J’s cousin.

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The Pentamatic S pictured with the standard lens for the Pentamatic II.

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So there you have it. The Yashica Penta J and the Pentamatic S. Cousins in the Yashica family.

Comments? Please feel free to share what you know and what we may have missed. Thanks

Studio Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

Chris

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Yashinon Lenses – 1962*

That date* might be a bit misleading as the sales brochure this was scanned from is undated (as is most Yashica marketing stuff). Our only clue as to the date is that it (the brochure) features the newly released J-3 and doesn’t include any other Yashica SLR. No Penta J or Reflex 35 (same camera different markets) and no J-5.

We like it because it features the Yashinon lenses available at that time. If you look closely at the mounts of the lenses, you’ll see the M42 screw-in mount. Yashica does state in the brochure that all of these lenses are available in both the Yashica Pentamatic bayonet mount and the M42 mount. My friend Paul, see An Interview with Paul Sokk – Site Author of the popular YashicaTLR.com , has proposed that Yashica may have distributed these lenses to dealers (market dependent) with both mounts – meaning that they were shipped with the “new to Yashica” M42 mounts but could be converted easily at the dealer level to bayonet mounts for the Pentamatic. Sounds very possible. At this time, Yashica also sold adapter rings for mounting their M42 lenses to Exakta mount bodies and for mounting Praktica mount (M42) lenses to their Pentamatics. Confusing? Yes. Yashica guessed incorrectly when they choose to design their own bayonet mount for the Pentamatic back in 1959. Was it Yashica or was it Tomioka’s designers? How about the ex Nicca and Zunow designers? We may never know but it doomed the Pentamatic right out of the gate.

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Excellent snapshot of the lenses that were available at the time. The dual mounts (bayonet and M42) reflects Yashica’s indecision as to which mount to embrace.

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Cover of the sales brochure that was included with our Yashica J-3 when new.

It is generally believed that all of these lenses were made by Tomioka Optical of Tokyo.

While some early Pentamatic bayonet mount lenses bear the Tomioka and sometimes Tominon names, most only carry Yashica and Yashinon. The same applies to the M42 mount lenses. Some can be found with Tominon but most simply have Yashinon. We don’t have positive proof that some lenses (both types) may have been made by another lens manufacturer. But whom? Taiho Optical (which was the former Nicca Camera hidden away in Suwa) but was really Yashica, or or or. We just don’t know. Pure speculation to think that another company did, but then again, no proof that there wasn’t another maker.

Thanks so much for your visit! If you made it this far you just may be a “Yashicaphile” or just Yashica junkies like us. Do you have something to contribute??? We’d love to hear from you and would love to include your info in our blog. Thanks! ^.^

Chris & Carol