When batteries attack and other shop notes – 7.27.19

It’s always good to review the reasons behind checking your classic cameras and photo gear for batteries. It doesn’t take long for an unused battery to start leaking which will eventually ruin your stuff.

Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris

I purchased a large collection of vintage photogear this week and of course, they’ll always be some victims of battery leakage mixed in. We’ve all been victimized by this process – we leave a battery (mostly alkaline) in a seldom-used camera, remote or toy only to discover that it doesn’t work when we go to use it. Even fresh batteries installed in a device can leak and corrode the battery compartment in as little as weeks! That’s right, I said weeks.

assets_icons_iconwarninginverted Caution!

20190719_161148 This battery compartment was so bad that I had to dig out the AA batteries with a screwdriver!

20190719_161322 The corrosive acid from the battery destroyed the battery compartment cover and latch.

20190727_103613 The same camera with the corrosion removed and the compartment door repaired. The camera is fully operational again. It’s still a bit ugly but at least it works.

20190727_084656 Electronic flash units are notorious for finding battery corrosion…

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Minolta Magic SR-1 at Paul Sokk’s Yashica TLR.com

My good friend Paul Sokk from Australia has complied a wonderful site dedicated primarily to the history (in great detail) of the Yashica TLR and its place in the overall history of this great Japanese company. Paul’s research has many branches and this is one of his latest.

Comparison of Yashica and Minolta SLRs

Yashica Pentamatic S
Minolta SR-1

(1961 Pentamatic S and 1962 Minolta SR-1, same body as 1958 SR-2 but with 1/500 top speed and by now, exposure meter mount like the Yashica plus fully automatic aperture.)

Why Minolta models? Similar specs, some parallels in market positions but an SLR success story at the time. Minoltas were made by Chiyoda Kōgaku (adopting its camera’s name in 1962) which was a much older photographic company than Yashica with it’s origins dating back to 1928. Yashica was Japan’s largest TLR maker, since 1958 looking to expand further into 35 mm. Chiyoda Kōgaku was probably Japan’s second largest TLR maker, a little more upmarket than Yashica but significantly lower volumes. On the the other hand, it was involved with other formats and had been making 35 mm rangefinder cameras since 1947. Neither were top tier makers at Nikon/Canon level but both had aspirations in that direction.

In 1958, Chiyoda Kōgaku released its first SLR, the Minolta SR-2. It offered no firsts but was noteworthy because it brought together all the advances in basic SLR camera design so far, except for the fully automatic aperture introduced by Zunow in the same year. In several ways, it was a more modern camera than the well-received Pentaxes from the period. Apart from including automatic film counter reset and a self-timer, the specifications were very similar to Yashica’s Pentamatic released in 1960 including a proprietary bayonet lens mount and the need to wind on the film to open the aperture again after it had automatically stopped down. In the late 1950s, even accomplishing the first half automatically was a major step so Minolta can perhaps be forgiven for initially calling their camera “automatic” but by 1960-61, it was marketing hyperbole for both makers.

Although well regarded and advanced for the time, it was expensive and competitors were challenging so Chiyoda Kōgaku followed up in 1959 with a budget version, the SR-1, which replaced the standard f/1.8 lens with an f/2 version (reverting to f/1.8 in 1962 as in the example above) and dropped the 1/1000 top speed to 1/500. Whilst the other specs and appearance remained the same, the lens line-up, particularly the auto lenses, was steadily increasing. The price of the SR-1 was much closer to the coming Pentamatic and whilst the sales of the flagship model were not earth shattering, the SR-1 sold truck loads. In 1961, the slightly updated SR-2 replacement, the SR-3, and the budget SR-1 both adopted fully automatic aperture diaphragms.

The table below compares features and price. In some respects the features are not all that different at first release. However, the Minolta SLR models had two years head start to establish themselves, as did other worthy competitors. In comparing the final 1961 cameras, the Minolta SR-3 with f/1.8 lens was the same price as the Pentamatic S. Both now had a self-timer and a mount for an external shutter coupled exposure meter (as did the SR-1 and Minolta even offered to upgrade earlier versions of the SR-1). The Minolta still had the advantage of the auto counter reset and later in the same year came the fully automatic diaphragm. It had 4 auto aperture accessory lenses and 7 preset lenses available, the Yashica just 5 preset lenses (the actual number of lenses is slightly rubbery depending on when they became available). The Yashica simply did not seem to offer enough at its price point to be a compelling newcomer.

FeatureMinolta
SR-2
Minolta
SR-1
Minolta
SR-3
Yashica
Pentamatic
Yashica
Pentamatic
II
Yashica
Pentamatic
S
Release195819591960196019601961
ApertureSemi-
auto
Semi, auto
in 1961
Semi, auto
in 1961
Semi
auto
AutoSemi
auto
Shutter1/10001/5001/10001/10001/10001/1000
Lensf/1.8f/2, f/1.8
from 1962
f/1.8
f/1.4
f/1.8f/1.7f/1.8
ResetAutoAutoAutoManualManualManual
Self-timerYesYesYesNoNoYes
Meter
Mount
NoFrom 1962YesNoNoYes
No. of
Accessory
Lenses at
Release
3 preset4 auto,
2 preset
4 auto,
7 preset
2 preset5 preset5 preset
Price USA$249.50$169.50$199.50
$229.50
$159.95n/a$199.95*

* guess, advertised at “under $200 plus case”

Paul’s entire site features this kind of detail with little known facts about some familiar and not so familiar cameras. Please give Paul a shout out by visiting his site at http://www.yashicatlr.com

Thanks for stopping by and have a beautiful day!

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

flickr friday feature – Nicca 3-S

Nicca 3-S distributed by Hinomaruya, Tokyo (1951-1958)
Nicca branded lens hood for the Nikkor 50 mm f/2 lens may have been made by them.
Hinomaruya also distributed the Melton camera and Nikkor lenses.

A classic 35mm rangefinder camera from Nicca. The lens is a Nippon Kogaku Japan W-Nikkor 2.8cm f/3.5 lens with matching 2.8 optical viewfinder.

Random pics from my Flickr site that were recently favored.

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2021 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
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Throwback Thursday – Reflections on a lens

Auto Yashinon 55mm f1.2 by Tomioka Optical – 1973

Monster glass from Tomioka. The lens has a super low serial number that puts it within the first few months of production. The camera is the Yashica TL Electro X – ITS made in April 1973.

This image first posted on my Flickr site in November 2019 and so far has been a very popular image amassing over 70 favorites. Image was taken with my Samsung Galaxy S8+ using natural light.

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2021 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
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All dressed and ready to go! – Contax RTS

The finishing touch. A custom real leather half-case from TP Original. I purchased mine through Martin Duke Shop on Etsy. The quality of the materials and craftmanship is outstanding. The color is volcano.

Nice sized leather case adds a good layer of protection.
From TP Original, custom made leather half-case. It comes with two tripod mount retainer screws too.

I like shooting with a half-case installed on the camera. It gives me just the right amount of additional grip and provides a nice protective layer to prevent damage. The bottom is perfectly flat and the little bump out helps to balance the body better with a normal or wide angle lens attached.

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2021 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

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Contax RTS – an old dog gets new life

My Contax RTS (Real Time System) 35mm SLR camera with its new “skins”. These cameras which were first released back in 1975 are notorious for shedding their original factory applied coverings. If you search online selling sites you’ll find plenty of these cameras for sale but very few have their leatherette covers still attached as they tend to peel away from the metal bodies and shrink (dry out) over time. The good news is that the old coverings are a breeze to remove and there’s a wide selection of aftermarket replacement options to choose from. Black is no longer the only color as bold colors like red, blue, and even green have become popular and textures like lizard skin to well, whatever you think you may like. I wanted to stay with the more traditional look and feel so I went with recycled leather from Hugo Studio’s Custom Camera Covers (hugostudio.com).

The previous owner of my RTS had attempted to reattach the original leatherette with some type of contact adhesive but even that failed over time. Yashica’s choice of coverings just didn’t stand the test of time no matter how they were reattached.

While waiting for the new coverings to arrive I added a new to me Yashica ML 50mm f1.7 lens which I was able to chase down in near mint condition. I went with the Yashica made (likely Tomioka-Zeiss) f1.7 based solely on cost. The original Carl Zeiss designed glass for the RTS is way out of my comfort zone pricewise so I went with what I know. Besides, both lenses were made in Japan probably on the same factory line by Yashica anyway.

This would be the standard lens that would have been on the RTS. Here is an empty box that I found for sale on an auction site with everything but the lens. A nice find for any serious collector (and if I had the lens I would buy this in a second).
Here’s a nice Zeiss lens kit that sold recently from a seller in Japan for around $280.

So there it is. Recovered and looking much better. Now to recover the data back so everything matches.

Contax Data Back for the original RTS with it’s slightly detached leatherette.

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2021 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
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Studio Fun – A couple of first’s from Yashica

On the left, the Yashica ’35’ released in 1958 was Yashica’s first 35mm rangefinder (fixed lens) camera and on the right the Pentamatic ’35’ which was Yashica’s first 35mm single-lens reflex (SLR) camera. The Pentamatic was designed in 1959 and released by the Spring of 1960. Up to this point Yashica was know for building high-quality value priced twin-lens reflex (TLR) cameras. These two handsome examples are proudly displayed in my collection. The good news if you’re chasing these classics are that the rangefinder model is readily available online with many excellent examples for sale. The Pentamatic is not hard to find but chasing down a solid working model is a bit harder.

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2021 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
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Yashica’s first 35mm camera – 1958

63 years of dirt. Here’s the before image of my recently acquired Yashica 35 by Yashima. It was made in April 1958 which makes it one of the earliest known examples of this historic camera. Sharp eyed viewers will also notice that the lens says Yasinon vice the name that was eventually used, Yashinon.

Nice and clean now. This one was assembled in April 1958 at Yashima’s Shimosuwa factory on the shores of Lake Suwa, Nagano Prefecture, Japan.

This one features the Yasinon (vice Yashinon) f/1.9 lens. It’s one of the earliest known examples still in the wild.
Earliest known advertisement.

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2021 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
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Canon S.L.R. Series Brochure – Japan 1979

I wanted to share this gorgeous sales brochure from Canon dated 11/79. The cover (above) is one of the best images that I’ve seen on a Canon brochure from that period. Amazing shot! Awesome cameras and lenses.

The back cover with a nice list with prices of available Canon FD lenses.
The Canon F-1 and available accessories with prices.

I purchased this brochure directly from a collector in Japan. I hadn’t seen this brochure in an English version previously so I was happy to add it to my collection. Missing is the AE-1 Program and AT-1 as well as any of the cameras in the new T Series.

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2021 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
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My first post…

First Look!

CHRIS AND CAROL

The exciting first look (in print) of the Pentamatic…

First official appearance of the Pentamatic occurs in the May 1960 issue of Modern Photography magazine. In the June 1960 issues of Modern PhotographyU. S. Camera and Popular Photography, the first full-page ads appeared for the Pentamatic ’35’ reflex camera. The actual release date in the United States has almost always been considered by many to be March of 1960.

As of yet, I haven’t found evidence in print to support the March date. I do know that the Pentamatic was shown at the 36th annual ‘Master Photo DeaIers & Finishers Association’ trade show (MPDFA) held in St. Louis from March 21-25, 1960. I don’t know if the Pentamatic was released in Japan at an earlier date. From the progression of the serial numbers, by March 1960, about 1,500 cameras had been produced since production began in December 1959 at the Yashica Suwa factory. I doubt that there were enough cameras by March to support any widespread release in Japan or in Asia at that time. By June 1960, about 6,000 cameras had been built. There may have been enough to ship to the world markets starting in April and May. At their peak of production (summer 1960), it looks like Yashica was rolling out about 1,200 to 1,400 cameras each month.

Have a “Camera Holiday” in Japan. May 1960 magazine ad.

Part two of the “Camera Holiday” in Japan promotion. Very nice mention of Yashica’s factory in Suwa and the wonders of Japan!

Yashica provided this first ever look at their new Pentamatic SLR at the March 1960 MPDFA trade show in St. Louis.

First published look at the new Pentamatic from Yashica. May 1960

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2021 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

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