Japanese Pentamatic II Brochure

Sales brochure from early 1961. Rather rare (here in the US and I’m sure everywhere now) sales brochure for the Yashica Pentamatic II. It appears now, after much research and blind luck, that the Pentamatic II was for sale only in Japan and only for a few months. Studies of the body serial numbers and of the serial numbers of the exclusive lens for the Pentamatic II (many thanks to my friend Paul Sokk of http://www.yashicatlr.com fame) confirms this finding.

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The Japanese market sales brochure from February 1961. Also pictured is the Pentamatic S from our collection.

It’s still a mystery to us as to why the Pentamatic II never made it to markets outside of Japan and why it was only available for a short time before the model S was released. Short of being able to interview a former member of Yashica’s marketing team, we may never know. We’re still searching for a Yashica sales brochure in English with the Pentamatic II featured. Obviously we’re also interested in sales brochure from any country outside of Japan for proof. Do you have one? We’d love to see anything – even an ad would be nice.

Many thanks!

Chris & Carol

Yashica Penta J and the J-P

Yashica’s first 35mm single-lens reflex camera with the Praktica-thread (M42) mount lenses was the Yashica Penta J… at least here in the United States and in Japan. Elsewhere (most of the world) the camera was known as either the Yashica Reflex 35 or Reflex J (Australia and possibly the U.K.). As best we can tell, they were all the same cameras with different top plates to accommodate the different names (logos).

Part of the demise (lack of sales success) of the well-built Pentamatic series of cameras that preceded the Penta J, was that Yashica decided to go with a Pentamatic exclusive bayonet mount lens system. Sturdy and well designed to be sure, but being unique limited the available lenses that could be swapped between cameras. The Praktica design M42 screw thread mounting system was in widespread use at the time and Yashica’s bayonet design just went against the flow.

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Now fast forward to 1965 ish… Yashica introduces the new J-5 AND the J-P! In between those years Yashica had introduced the J-3 and J-4. Why would Yashica go back in time and bring out another 35mm SLR in 1965 that was the cousin to the 1961 Penta J? Notice we say cousins… not brothers. They shared the same platform with one another but as you can see in the image below the top plates were of a different design.

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Yashica J-P 6-27-15 Papers

Stay tuned… more to come on these Yashica classics.

Many thanks, Chris and Carol

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

Cute or uncomfortable by today’s standards?

Is this image from a mid 1960s Yashica camera instruction booklet simply cute or does it make you feel a tad uncomfortable?

Is it a fun reminder of how the world was in 1965 – a bit “western obsessed”? Was it a little out of line even then? If this image were to be posted to a social media site today, what would the reaction be?

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The original full context image from the booklet.

Weigh in if you’d like. We’d like to know your feelings.

Thanks, Chris and Carol

 

 

 

Wish List Camera – Fuji Fotorama

Our camera wish list is quite extensive – over the years you get to see a bunch of cameras and of course, if you’re an ardent photographer and camera collector, they’ll be some cameras you desire.

We have no reason to want this Fuji other than it’s just so cool!

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First time we’ve seen the original box and a new unused FP-1.

The Fotorama (crazy cool name) is a rather large format instant film camera made by Fuji Photo Film Company. Released June 1987 –

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Beautiful set that was available for sale recently.

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Just a super cool looking big gun from Fuji!

The Fuji FP-1 Pro features a Fujinon 105mm, f/ 5.6 lens – 4 elements in 5 groups and a shutter that has B, 1 to 1/500 second. It uses FP-100 film and makes an image that is 89 x 118mm. The camera weighs 1,280g and sold for ¥ 69,800

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The camera depicted here in this post is not ours. We’ve curated a group of images of beautiful cameras over the years. This nice set went for $1,000.00 – which in our humble opinion, was very fair given how few new in box cameras still exist.

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris

Original Pentamatic Accessories

Some of the original accessories that were available for the new Pentamatic…

When Yashica’s first single lens reflex (SLR) 35mm camera hit the world markets in the May-June 1960 time period, they were ready with a host of well designed accessories. From simple screw-in filters to extension tubes and the new bayonet mount lenses, Yashica had a nice selection to choose from. Here are just a few examples…

Pentamatic Right Angle Finder for low angle and close-up photography. This simple finder mounted securely to the camera's eyepiece and had adjustments for focus and could be rotated 90 degrees to the left for vertical copy work. The image is reversed so it does require some getting used to. Here it's mounted to my Pentamatic-S.

Pentamatic ‘Right Angle Finder’ for low angle and close-up photography. This simple finder mounted securely to the camera’s eyepiece and had adjustments for focus and could be rotated 90 degrees to the left for vertical copy work. The image is reversed so it does require some getting used to. Here it’s mounted to our Pentamatic-S.

A small collection of boxes gives some idea as to the diversity of the early accessories. Note the general theme of the design... each shows-off the "pentaprism" design of the camera. The right angle finder box appears to be from a slightly later design as it has a different look from the other two.

A small collection of boxes gives some idea as to the diversity of the early accessories. Note the general theme of the design… each shows off the pentaprism design of the camera. The right angle finder box appears to be from a slightly later design as it has a different look from the other two.

Pentamatic Extension Tubes mounted on my Model-S Pentamatic camera body and Auto-Yashinon 5.8 cm (58 mm) f/1.7 standard lens. The lens is super bright and is super heavy! Camera and lens weigh-in at 2 lbs 5 oz (1056 g)!

Pentamatic ‘Extension Tubes’ mounted on our Model-S Pentamatic camera body and Auto-Yashinon 5.8 cm (58 mm) f/1.7 standard lens. The lens is super bright and is super heavy! Camera and lens weigh-in at 2 lbs 5 oz (1056 g)!

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Thanks for stopping by!

Chris

Early Yashica Pentamatic Brochure – US

Very early if not the earliest printed in the US sales brochure for the new Pentamatic.

We’re thinking the summer of 1960…

We haven’t found an earlier brochure that features the Pentamatic then this one – “Printed in the U.S.A.” on the back cover using the 234 Fifth Avenue, New York 1, N.Y. address. The cover is amazing in that other than Yashica’s name and an image of the camera, there’s no other writing. No “Pentamatic” – just an image of the camera. That was a first for Yashica as best as we can tell.

The first magazine advertisement was June 1960 in the US so we don’t believe this brochure was out before that. The only problem with our thinking is that most of the other cameras featured inside this brochure are 1959 model cameras and in some cases late 1958. There could even be a few that came out in early 1960. The two pages we’ve scanned (see below) contain an interesting wealth of info on the features and accessories for the Pentamatic. Of note, the lens serial number (No. 59100036) puts that lens to be one of the first lenses Tomioka made for Yashica with the new Pentamatic exclusive bayonet mount – 59 = 1959, 10 = October, 0036 = the 36th made in the production run.

We know from our research that the October 1959 date for the lens is 2 full months early from the first Pentamatic bodies (December 1960). Our best guess is that Tomioka Optical (the maker of the lens) needed to start production of the standard lens early in order to meet the demand for the camera body itself. No proof exists yet but it’s the best decoding of the lens serial number we can come up.

Page 1 provides a wealth of info for Yashica's first 35mm SLR.

Page 1 provides a wealth of info for Yashica’s first 35mm SLR.

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Page 2 shows (with prices) a nice selection of accessories for the Pentamatic. It appears that at the time of this brochure that there were 5 lenses available in the Pentamatic bayonet mount.

 

 

 

 

 

Yashica Pentamatic ’35’ vs. Pentamatic II

Why did Yashica bring out the Pentamatic II less than a year after releasing the original model?

The only difference we can tell between the original Yashica Pentamatic ’35’ and the Pentamatic II (which came out around September 1960), is the standard lens that was mated with the camera body. The original Pentamatic came with the Auto-Yashinon, f/ 1.8, 5.5cm fully automatic 6 element lens. Of course it has the unique Pentamatic bayonet mount and not the M42 screw mount. The Pentamatic II came with the Auto-Yashinon, f/ 1.7, 5.8cm lens (pictured below). Both lenses were made for Yashica by Tomioka Optical of Tokyo. We imagine the 58mm, f/ 1.7 lens was a bit faster than the f/ 1.8… but we don’t see why Yashica changed from the model I to the model II and why they changed the lens… we may never discover the reason either.

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The standard lens for the Pentamatic II – 5.8cm, f/ 1.7

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Gorgeous lens for the Pentamatic II.

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The first sighting of the Pentamatic II in a sales brochure for the Japanese home market.

We’ve yet to find an advertisement for the Pentamatic II in English and along those same lines, have yet to find the Pentamatic II in a sales brochure in English. The Pentamatic S replaced the model II less than a year after its release. The model S went back to using the original 5.5cm, f/ 1.8 lens that was on the original Pentamatic.

That makes the Auto-Yashinon 5.8cm, f/ 1.7 lenses one of the rarest of the early Pentamatic bayonet mount lenses.

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Happy hunting!

Chris

Fuji Photo Film – Fuji Pet 35

From 1959, Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. follow-up to their widely popular Fujipet 120 film camera. The Pet 35 took advantage of the growing popularity of 35mm photography – plus it’s a great way to sell more film!

The Pet 35 was way more sophisticated than the Fujipet – but retained the funky charm and quirkiness of the original. Since the Pet 35 is not a common camera, we’ve presented a visual tour of our almost mint condition Pet 35.

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Original set as found. We have the leather case too.

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The lens is a Fujinar-K 3 element glass lens – 45mm with a maximum aperture of f/3.5 with closest focussing to 0.5 meters.

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The lever to the right of the lens cocks the shutter and the left lever trips the Copal B leaf shutter.

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The Copal shutter features speeds of B, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 and 1/200 of a second.

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In keeping with the funky design – two oversized knobs that left no doubt on how to operate them.

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The body is dark gray on this Pet 35.

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Outer ring is the focus adjustment, next is the shutter speed selector and finally the aperture settings.

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The original Pet 35 lens cap.

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Nicely detailed and finished.

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Early 1960s Fuji Film Neopan SS – ASA 100. How about film for only ¥190!

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Original selling price was ¥3,400 – the leather case sold for ¥700 and a soft case was available for ¥350

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Original sales brochure specs.

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The viewfinder is bright and clear – and big for such a small camera.

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ASA reminder scale and film back release.

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The Pet 35 is far from being a ‘toy camera’ as its build quality is quite high. No foam or yarn light seals to fail – the metal film door fit tightly into the body to seal out light.

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Gotta love the Fuji Film stickers inside!

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Thanks so much for your visit – we hope that you enjoyed our tour of this fantastic Fuji!

Studio Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

Chris & Carol ^.^

I See Red – Fujica DL-20

Pretty little Fujica DL-20 from 1983.

The world’s first 35mm drop-in loading camera! Simply load your Fujifilm cartridge into the opening on the bottom, close the back – and your Fujica will do the rest!

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Features a Fujinon 38mm f/4 lens with built-in lens and viewfinder cover.

Released in March 1983 in Japan, it was also known as the ‘Auto Mate’. 

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Original list price in Japan was 30,000 JPY.

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Shutter fires from 1/100 to 1/300 of a second.

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Also released at the same time the more feature packed DL-100 (Auto Ace).

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Solid little thing! Thick plastic everywhere and a bright red finish too!

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Manually set ISO settings (100 & 400). 3 zone focusing. Auto exposure (EE).

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Built-in electronic flash.

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Push the film cartridge into the opening on the camera’s left side with about 5 cm of film extended – close the back and it auto loads the film.

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Cute centerfold art… love the image on the far right!

Weighs in at 300 g. Fits nicely in your hand (although a bit small for me) and fits in a coat pocket with ease. A simple, compact 35mm point and shoot camera from Fuji Photo Film.

We don’t know if we’re going to shoot the Acros first or load up some bright Fujicolor. Soon we hope!

Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris