Yashica’s History as reported by Yashica – 1975

The Yashica marketing team that put this document together back in early 1975 appear to have summarized the history of the company – or were blatantly unaware of the actual dates of important milestones.

But with that said it’s important to “take it all in ” from all sources and to glean whatever good bits that it does offer. Yashica wasn’t a company that seemed to be all that interested in dates anyway. Some of the dates were more than likely dates that were recorded in Japan and may have marked the actual, formal date that the event was finalized. There’s also the possibility that if this brochure was put together in the US there may simply be some instances where meanings were lost in translation.

This excerpt is taken from the Yashica publication ‘Yashica A New Horizon’

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It does use the term “highlights” when summarizing the events.

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Yashica’s new (1974) headquarters building in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.

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Published in early 1975, this brochure was primarily focused on camera dealers located in the United States.

I’ll be sharing additional bits from this interesting brochure over the coming weeks. Previous posts can be found here and here.

Many thanks for stopping by! – Chris

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.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

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Yashica – A New Horizon 1975

From the rarely seen sales brochure ‘Yashica A New Horizon’ published in early 1975.

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This booklet was sent to all US camera dealers with a cover letter addressing Yashica’s future plans for distributing their line of cameras and photo equipment directly to dealers in the United States. In all of my years of collecting Yashica related items, this is the first time I’ve seen this publication. It’s a perfect 8.5 x 11 inches, in full color, printed on heavy stock glossy paper with 14-pages filled with photographs never used outside of this book.

Here is the cover letter that accompanied the brochure. It provides some insight into the heart of Yashica and at this point in time, brings to light their attempts to turn the company around and emerge from bankruptcy in a much better place.

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The letter is typed on bond paper (with watermark) and was signed by Mr. Kenji Sakuma so I don’t believe it is simply a photocopy casually dashed off to dealers. It shows how important this new program was to Yashica.

My good friend Paul Sokk (https://www.yashicatlr.com) pointed out the gender-specific remark “In the very near future, one of our salesmen, under the direction…”. When read using today’s optics it would appear as though it was out of place and implied that there would be no women calling on you Mr. Camera Dealer. Considering that this is from Japan and written in 1975 I believe it was simply stating the obvious – there probably weren’t females in these positions at this point in time and it would be many decades before the glass ceiling would be broken (struggles exist even to this day). Of course, the term salesmen could also be interpreted as a generic term for the position as the term sales person had not yet come into use.

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A view of the back cover which was released without the usual printing data or date.

The Yashica Line as represented in early 1975. Noticeably missing is the TL Electro X ITS model with its distinctive gold electron logo on the pentaprism.

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The Yashica line as presented in the brochure. The TL Electro X and TL-E are represented in the SLR category but no TL Electro X ITS which I find very odd.

As always, thanks for stopping by! Please feel free to share anything that may enhance this post or correct any inaccuracies. – Chris

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.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

The Yashica Okaya Factory – New View 1974

As I’ve previously reported here, Yashica’s last factory before the Kyocera acquisition was this modern sprawling complex in the town of Okaya, Nagano Prefecture.

I’ve recently purchased documents that show what I believe the complex looked like in the summer of 1974.

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This is the only detailed color photograph of the factory that I’ve seen. For my previous post about the factory and to see the original view from 1972 click here.

Another related post can be found at https://wordpress.com/post/yashicasailorboy.com/8052

Additionally here’s the text about the factory taken directly from the Yashica publication ‘A New Horizon’ that contained the color image of the factory pictured above.

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The introduction page from the 14-page booklet ‘Yashica A New Horizon’.

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Of interest, Kyocera still operates from this same location today. For the most part, it looks only slightly changed from 1972. Yashica was purchased by Kyocera in 1983 and was gone by the mid-2000s. A great company and a great name wiped out by Kyocera shortly after what would have been Yashica’s Golden Anniversary.

I’ll be posting more from this very interesting and informative booklet from Yashica soon.

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

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.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Just Arrived! New items in the shop.

Some new items have just been listed in my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

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Canon EOS nylon camera strap from the 1980s. New, never used. Super nice.

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A must have original (not a copy) Canon Booster T Finder instruction book. Near mint condition.

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Hyper rare Minolta Six 6×6 cm medium format 120 roll film camera from 1936. This was the first camera to carry the Minolta name and was the first 6×6 cm camera made in Japan.

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Classic early 1970s Mamiya/Sekor 35mm SLR – the 1000 DTL was a landmark camera from Mamiya.

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Super cool camera case (camera not included). Made by Marsand. I still have the key and the lock still locks!

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Not often seen outside of Japan, this SLR slayer from Fuji Photo Film Company is like new in its original package – with all the goodies included it’s ready to be a street photog’s dream.

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Brand new Canon Olympics fanny pack. Step back to the future with this HTF collectible from Canon.

There you have it – a small sample of some of the neat items I’ve added to my shop recently all at 10% off in my big Spring sale! Check it out at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

Thanks – Chris

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.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

The Yashica Pentamatic – Our 8 Year Search – Some Conclusions & Wild Speculations

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Some Conclusions

The first Pentamatic was “born” in December 1959 but wasn’t available for sale in the U.S. until April 1960. The Pentamatic was Yashica’s first 35mm single-lens reflex camera and was designed with the help of technology obtained from Yashica’s acquisition of Nicca Camera in 1958 and with some involvement with designers from Zunow Optical in 1959. Of course, Yashica designers were involved too as well as collaboration with Tomioka Optical for the first lenses.

Below is a scan of what appears to be the first sales brochure for the Pentamatic found in Japanese. A machine translation of it proves that Yashica and Nicca designers worked together to jointly develop the camera over a 3-year period. The exact date of this brochure has not been established but it appears to be at least issued in the Spring of 1960. Many thanks to my good friend Paul Sokk for his efforts in researching the Pentamatic with me over the years. His fabulous site can be found at www.yashicatlr.com

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Below is a scan of the cover of that first sales brochure that features the new Pentamatic.

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The original Pentamatic was a failure. A beautiful, sleek and modern camera at a great price, but still a failure. A replacement for it (Pentamatic II) was released by September 1960 – just a few short months after the original Pentamatic debuted.

The Pentamatic and the Pentamatic II were both out of production by January 1961. The Pentamatic S didn’t appear until around April 1961. Little was significantly changed over the course of these 3 models during this short timeframe. The Pentamatic II and its one-off lens improved on its semi-automatic capabilities. The body stayed the same with the exception of adding the engraved “II” after the name. No logic to this as Yashica could have simply made the new lens available as an option to the original Pentamatic. There had to be another reason to call it the model II and it appears that there were some internal changes made to accommodate the new lens.

The standard lens that was available for the Pentamatic II was designed and built (quickly?) by Zunow vice Tomioka. Our best guess at this point.

The Pentamatic II was only available for sale in Japan.

The Pentamatic S essentially was the replacement for the original Pentamatic – not the Pentamatic II. The model S added a lug for attaching an accessory exposure meter that coupled to the shutter speed dial. The S also added a self-timer and the body got a redesign (the strap lugs were moved to the front and the shutter release button was no longer at a 45-degree angle).

The Instruction Booklets

The booklets have been an additional source of fun separate from the camera searches. The booklet for the original Pentamatic was relatively easy to find. The first Pentamatic saw about 16,000 units made so the booklet is much more available. The Pentamatic II booklet was the hardest to locate since only around 5,000 cameras were made. The Pentamatic S booklet is even rarer – only around 3,000 cameras produced.

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Inside the booklets…

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Wild Speculations

Wild Spec 1 – The first Pentamatic was not initially released in Japan. Yashica had a slow go with its early production so only a limited number were available for the April to June debut in the U.S. There were only about 4,000 cameras made by then and that just didn’t support a wide release of it in their home market. However, with the discovery of the as yet undated sales brochure found by my friend Paul Sokk it does appear that some of the first Pentamatics were in fact distributed in Japan. We do feel that Yashica had a suspicion that the original model would not go over well at home. Why do we feel this way? During our quest of all things Pentamatic, we’ve yet to find an instruction booklet for the original Pentamatic in Japanese (or any other language besides English). We’ve seen no early 1960s advertisements either. Although we’ve yet to find these items that does not mean they don’t exist.

Wild Spec 2 – The Pentamatic II was only available in Japan and was never intended for widespread availability in the world marketplace. We further feel that the Pentamatic II was the camera Yashica intended to release in Japan vice the original Pentamatic. Why? Same thing… in over 8 years of searching, we’ve never seen a Pentamatic II instruction booklet in English and the only sales brochures we have are in Japanese. No English ads or brochures anywhere (yet). Update: As of April 2019 still no English ads or books.

Wild Spec 3 – The Pentamatic S wasn’t available in Japan. Crazy right? The same thing applies here – no Japanese advertising or brochures and no instruction booklets in anything but English. Again, not finding them does not translate to not being produced but the likelihood looks slim.

Wild Spec 4 – As we stated in the conclusions section above, the standard lens for the Pentamatic II (5.8cm f/1.7) was made for Yashica by Zunow Optical vice Tomioka. This flies in the face of what’s known and we don’t have solid written proof (yet, if ever). Both the original Pentamatic and the Pentamatic II ended production in January 1961. By coincidence, that’s the reported date of Yashica’s acquisition of Zunow (or their bankruptcy). Once Zunow went bust they no longer make lenses for the Pentamatic II.

Wild Spec 5 – Once the Pentamatic II stopped production, Yashica started selling the original Pentamatic in Japan (or at least increased its availability in Japan). We would still like to find a Pentamatic instruction booklet in Japanese to validate this thought.

Wild Spec 6 – Since the Pentamatic S wasn’t sold in Japan, there was a rather large gap in Yashica’s SLR availability. The next camera to be sold widely in Japan (and the U.S.) was the Penta J but that didn’t come out until the Summer of 1961.

These marketing and production missteps led to a less than stellar debut for Yashica in the world of 35mm SLRs. The competition during this same period was “inventing” much more sophisticated (and mostly more expensive) cameras which had a wider range of interchangeable lenses and accessories. It took Yashica a long time to establish a “foot in the door” with their Penta J and their first internally coupled exposure metered SLR, the Yashica J-3 (Jaguar).

Things we would like to find…

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The first thing we would like to discover would be an ad, sales brochure or instruction booklet in English for the Pentamatic II. We don’t think we will as we feel that they don’t exist.

We would like to find a Pentamatic instruction booklet in Japanese. They must exist but we’ve yet to find one.

Pentamatic S instruction booklet and a sales brochure in Japanese. Don’t think they exist but time will tell.

Pentamatic II box!!! They must exist – someone’s got to have one in their collection! Update: Finally found one but we missed acquiring it for our collection so we “borrowed” this image –

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Pentamatic (any model) in its original boxes in factory fresh condition. WooHoo!

***Solid proof that the standard lens for the Pentamatic II was made by Zunow Optical.***

Other than these things, I think we’re good! ^.^

Thanks for your visit! If you’ve made it this far in the post give yourself a big pat on the back! You just may be on your way to becoming a ‘Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic’!

Please stop by our online shop at https://www.ccstudio2380.com and check out some of our classic cameras available for sale.

We are active buyers of quality cameras and equipment – especially anything Yashica, Nicca, Fujica or whatever! Contact us at chriscarol@ccstudio2380.com

Please stop by our camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

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.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

The Yashica 44 – A ‘Tiny’ TLR

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The 44 uses 127 roll film

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The easier to handle Yashica 44 TLR (4×4 cm negatives and slides vice 6×6 cm) from early 1959 or so. The leatherette is “dove gray” while the metalwork is “machinery gray”. Yashica made these in about 8 different colors if you count black as a color. From the look of this sales brochure, the 44 was designed with women in mind as an alternative to the bulky and unstylish 66 models that were in use. Many of the Japanese ads from that period feature stylish modern women posing with their new cameras.

This camera has managed to travel to the present in a rather nice condition and the original light gray leather case is intact as is the original box. Many thanks to the good people at the factory in Shimosuwa for their good design and quality construction.

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A sales brochure from 1959

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The 44’s colorful original box hints at the wide variety of colors available (although not quite these colors).

Yashica also made the 44 LM which featured a built-in exposure meter (light meter) which you can read about here.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

Chris

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.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Yashica Pentamatic – 1960

Gettin’ its 1960s groove on with a little bit of fun in the studio.

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Yashica ヤシカ Pentamatic ’35’

The Pentamatic was Yashica’s first 35mm single lens reflex (SLR) camera. For a company known for building quality twin lens reflex (TLR) cameras, it was a big step forward for them. It wouldn’t have been possible without the combined expertise of the engineers, designers, and craftspeople from Nicca Camera Company which Yashica had acquired in early 1958.

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The Pentamatic with its placement of the cold shoe on the camera’s left top plate moved this clip on exposure meter away from the shutter button and film advance lever. A much more convenient location.

It’s a uniquely beautiful camera with all sorts of interesting angles and that forward facing shutter release button. (see below) The cold shoe (accessory shoe) wasn’t mounted on top of the pentaprism as was common (well most SLRs didn’t have a cold or hot shoe yet) but instead was located on the upper left side of the camera and combined with the rewind lever. (see above)

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That wonderful shutter release button – right where your “trigger” finger wants to be when holding such a heavy camera.

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A crop of the full-page ad from the June 1960 issue of Modern Photography. Yashica’s first public advertisement of their new SLR.

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A complete set as it would have come from the factory with the exception of the lens. I swapped out the standard Tomioka made 5.5cm f/1.8 lens for this beauty.

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Earliest known sales brochure (from Japan) for the Pentamatic. We’re unsure of its exact month of issue but it appears to be at least from the first half of 1960 as it talks about the cooperation between the designers at Nicca and Yashica to bring this camera to market. Many thanks to my good friend Paul Sokk for the kind use of his brochure. For more from Paul, stop by his amazing site at http://www.yashicatlr.com

Thanks for stopping by and hopefully you’ve learned a bit more about this wonderful camera from Yashica. – Chris

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.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Sears Camera Catalog – 1952

Cute cover image for the Sears, Roebuck and Company Camera Catalog of 1952. The cover features the Nicca made Tower branded Type-3 (Type III) 35mm rangefinder camera of the early 1950s.

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A scan of the original cover of the catalog.

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From the Tower Type-3 instruction booklet – 1951

More “goodies” to follow from this exceptional camera set we recently acquired. – Chris

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.

Copyright © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Nicca & Tower Instruction Booklets

Not often seen, here’s a few instruction booklets for the classic Nicca and Nicca-Tower rangefinders. No dates on these but by the look of the cameras on the covers, I’d say the earliest is 1950.

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The Nicca Type III (Type-3) pictured above and below.

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The Nicca 3-S and Type 4 (below).

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The Tower Type III made by Nicca for Sears, Roebuck and Company (below).

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Do you have a Tower or Nicca instruction booklet? How about some early ads? We are interested buyers of anything relating to Nicca and the Tower rangefinder cameras of the 1950s. Let us know. Thanks – Chris

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.

Copyright © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.