Who IS this guy? Part 2

Yashica Guy Ad 22

Yashica advertisement from 1959.

In a previous post, I had asked who this gentleman was since he appears in a few ads from this period and has appeared on the cover of a Yashica camera instruction booklet.

Yas Guy 1

Same image as above except this time in color.

Yas Guy 2

Now dressed as a “cowboy”. Same time period, late 1959. Sales brochure in German.

Yas Guy 3

My first thought was that he was a television star or movie star of some note but no solid leads.

Apparently, the bowler hat, pipe, and wink are all part of his act.

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.

Yashica’s Tokyo Headquarters – 1974 and 2019

Yashica opened its new Tokyo headquarters officially in the Summer of 1974. Here’s a before and after picture.

Shibuya Yashica HQ (1) (1)

Yashica’s headquarters as it appeared in August 1974.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yashica headquarters building from April 2019. Photos courtesy of Paul Sokk.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The current building is known as the Kyocera Harajuku Building located at 6-27-8 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Kyocera acquired Yashica in 1983 and for the most part, Kyocera continues to operate in many of Yashica’s former properties.

For more about Yashica’s history please check out Paul’s excellent site here.

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.

Yashica 1958 & Yashica 2019

The title is a bit misleading – well actually very misleading as Yashica (the original Japanese company) no longer exists. Yashica was acquired by Kyocera in 1983 and killed off by 2004. My good friend Paul Sokk and I have been on a quest to find some of Yashica’s old factory buildings and because Paul has a sharp eye for details, he was able to find Yashica’s factory in Shimosuwa (Nagano Prefecture) while conducting some research.  The first image below is a scan from a sales brochure that I have from 1958.

yashica suwa

Yashica’s main office building located on the factory campus in Shimosuwa, Nagano Prefecture, Japan in 1958.

Yashica shimosuwa office day

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The same building as seen this April (2019). The company that currently operates from the building (Mutoh) has no ties to either Yashica or Kyocera. Photo courtesy of Paul Sokk.

Notice in the current picture that the building has had an addition added to its near side (enclosing a previous carport) and received a rather mundane paint job especially compared to what I’m sure was a very colorful design originally.

By the way, the current occupant, Mutoh Industries, Ltd., makes large format printing machines. More can be found here.

Yashica factory above

Aerial view of the Yashica factory campus with the office building (viewed from behind) in the center.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Yashica gym and auditorium as seen today. Look at the aerial view in the image above this one to see the gym as it appeared in the late 1950s. Photo courtesy of Paul Sokk.

Many thanks to Paul Sokk and his wife Kathy for sharing photos from their most recent trip to Japan. Paul is the creator of THE site for anything about Yashica TLRs and early Yashica history the site can be found at www.yashicatlr.com

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.

Leotax Merite TV2 – 1958

While doing some research on late 1950s Japanese 35mm rangefinder cameras, I came across the Leotax brand. Their cameras are highly regarded by collectors and photographers alike. They have a reputation of being one of the better built Leica inspired models, especially during the early 1950s. I personally believe that Nicca built the best versions as I own several different models and I occasionally shoot with a Nicca 3-S.

My good friend Paul Sokk pointed out that a Leotax camera box in my collection has the name of the model spelled differently than the accepted norm – ‘Merite vs. Merit’. Intrigued we both started looking for proof as to the camera’s “real” name. The camera was also known as the model TV2.

merite 2

My recently acquired Leotax Merite camera box (from Japan). Mérite in French.

“Excellent mechanism with the best technology”… Leotax Merite

Brochure 2

Paul spotted this sales flyer from Leotax. The name ‘Merite’ is clearly spelled out. Notice that the camera itself does not have a name on it.

Brochure 2 (1)

boxed (10)

Here’s a Merite camera (not verified) with a box that’s marked ‘TV2’ which was another name that the Merite was known by.

It’s interesting to note that the next camera in the Leotax line was called ‘Elite’. Another French word that would fit nicely with Merite. Is any of this definitive? No, but the fact that the flyer and the box match I would imagine that was and is the intended name.

For more about the Leotax Camera Company please visit here. The Merite is referred to by its improper name at the moment.

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.

 

Contax Heaven – ‘Yashica, A New Horizon’

The title refers to a not widely circulated Yashica marketing brochure that was sent to virtually all US camera dealers in early 1975. In it, Yashica informed dealers that they would directly distribute their products (including the Contax line) to them and that they had a direct representative in Yashica USA. Definitely a bold move by Yashica during a desperate time in their history (and struggle to stay solvent).

Here’s some eye candy from that brochure –

IMG_20190627_0007 (1)

IMG_20190627_0006 (1)

How about finding this under the Christmas tree then or now?

IMG_20190627_0005

IMG_20190627_0004

Really the first introduction of the partnership between Yashica and Contax.

IMG_20190518_0001

The marketing brochure (cover) from 1975.

IMG_20190518_0005 (1)

The original letter (not a copy) that was sent to each camera dealer in the US. Each was signed by the President (or more likely an underling).

I personally haven’t collected anything with the Contax branding but that hasn’t meant that I wouldn’t want to – just no more room for another branch in the collection.

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.

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’

IMG_20190516_0002 (1)

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

IMG_20190516_0001 (1)

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

IMG_20190518_0001

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.

Yashica – A New Horizon 1975

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

IMG_20190518_0001

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.

IMG_20190518_0005 (1)

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.

IMG_20190518_0003

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.

IMG_20190518_0004 (1) (1)

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.

IMG_20190517_0001 (1)

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.

IMG_20190517_0002 (1)

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

IMG_20190517_0003 (1)

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

DSCF9874

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

DSCF9858

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

DSCF9826

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.

DSCF9736

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

DSCF9759

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

DSCF9589

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.

DSCF9624

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

20171125_133916 (2)

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

Yas inside P1 bro

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

Yas Cover P1 bro (1)

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.

DSCF6534

DSCF6540

Inside the booklets…

DSCF6543

DSCF6545

DSCF6544

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…

600x450-2015111900010

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 –

yashica P2 Box

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.