a man, a watch, a camera

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Mr. David Yulee as seen in downtown Fernandina Beach

Yashica Pentamatic S 35mm SLR mated with the sharp 5.8cm f/1.7 lens which I believe was designed by Zunow. No direct written evidence to support that claim but the design cues are clearly more Zunow than Tomioka. The camera is from 1961 and the lens is from 1960.

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Yashica Pentamatic S with attached exposure meter.

Yashica’s first SLRs represented a steep learning curve for the company.

The original Pentamatic ’35’ was co-designed with Nicca Camera starting in 1958. The camera was groundbreaking for Yashica to be sure but a miss overall against the competition (think Nikon F). Yashica’s best was yet to come. I happen to appreciate the rock-solid construction of this often overlooked camera. The lens was only in production for six months and disappeared from Yashica’s lineup at the same time as Zunow’s demise (January 1961). It was the standard lens for the Pentamatic II. This was not the lens that was supplied with the S – Yashica went back to the 5.5cm, f/1.8

Shot with my Samsung Galaxy S4 – January 2015

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com for some great cameras and photo gear. – 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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Pentamatic vs. Pentamatic S – Yashica’s Heavyweights

It’s time to revisit this post as it introduces new readers to the “wonders” of the Pentamatic series of SLRs from Yashica. Chris

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

The Pentamatic was Yashica’s first single-lens reflex (SLR) and was released in 1960 (May-June) timeframe. The Pentamatic S was released about mid to late 1961. Not much changed between the two – the S model added a built-in self-timer and most notably, a provision for mounting an exposure meter to the top right of the camera that coupled with the shutter speed dial. Other small changes were to add lugs for holding the neck strap (moving them from the extreme right and left sides of the body on the Pentamatic to a more typical front mounting on the S). Unseen from the exterior is a change to the focusing screen inside the pentaprism. The original fresnel screen in the Pentamatic was replaced with a split image screen in the model S. For me, that change makes the Pentamatic S much easier to focus and improves the brightness inside the viewfinder.

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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.

Nicca Pentamatic!?

This post is worthy of another look. I see some areas that need to be updated with better information. – Chris

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

We know… doesn’t make sense does it? Doesn’t even sound right… “Nicca Pentamatic”.

Stay with us and we’ll try to make our case. Recently discovered information has filled-in some of the missing links in the development of our favorite obsession camera. The mysterious and seldom seen Pentamatic ’35’… Yashica’s first SLR.

dscf2740 Nicca 3-F 35 mm rangefinder (left) and Yashica Pentamatic 35 mm single-lens reflex SLR (right).

A few interesting bits of info have come to our attention recently. We were alerted to an auction by our friend Paul Sokk (http://www.yashicatlr.com) that listed a 13.5 cm f/ 2.8 lens made by Taiho Optical Company –  Nicca Lens. Having never heard of the company, Taiho Optical, and knowing about Nicca’s history, we couldn’t figure out where and how there could be a Nicca connection.

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Let’s backtrack a bit with a quick history lesson. Yashima-Yashica was a very successful…

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Time Capsule – 1960

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A nice example of Yashica’s first 35mm SLR – the Pentamatic. Also known as the Pentamatic ’35’. This camera is from August 1960 – the same month that Yashica started production of the Pentamatic II – a model that was destined for the Japanese home market and not for world export. It’s my contention that the original Pentamatic was not available in Japan and that it was initially available only as an export model. By 1961 however, Yashica realized that the Pentamatic was not doing well anywhere so the decision was made to release the Pentamatic (original model) in Japan alongside the Pentamatic II. Odd marketing but that was how Yashica operated – oddly.

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

My First Pentamatic – the quest begins

It was “love” at first sight! Well, kinda like love – more like a very strong attraction.

The starkness of the Pentamatic’s design caught my eye straight away. Here was a Yashica the likes of which I’d never seen before.

I thought I would share a very popular image of my first Yashica Pentamatic. I say popular because it’s been viewed more times than anything else I’ve ever posted on my Flickr page.

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Designed in middle 1959, Yashica’s first 35mm single-lens reflex camera is a stunning beauty. It appears it was a collaborative effort between Yashica and Nicca with some “help” from the designers at Zunow. The first lenses for the Pentamatic were made by Tomioka and most carried the Yashinon name – a few, like this one, sported the Tominon branding along with Yashica’s Yashinon name. By the way, the serial number on this lens is fairly easy to “decode”. The first 2 digits indicate the focal length of the lens – in this instance, the lens is a 3.5cm wide angle so the first digits are “35”. The next 4 digits are a simple production number that I’m guessing started at “0001”. This lens would have been the 246th lens made (0246).

Thanks for stopping by! I hope this little tease is enough to cause you to explore my blog (and Flickr site) to learn more about the Pentamatic and its sister models – the Pentamatic II and the Pentamatic S. – 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.

Pentamatic Model – II

The Yashica Pentamatic Model – II instruction booklet – September 1960

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Front and back covers are scanned from the original hyper rare booklet.

If you look closely at the lower right corner of the booklet you’ll see that Yashica dated the book in the Showa style – 09S35 – that “translates” to 09/60. You add “25” to the Showa date to arrive at the Western date.

Thanks for stopping by! BTW, I am a very active buyer of Yashica gear especially Pentamatics. If you have one banging around in your closet please contact me and maybe we can put a deal together. – 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.

The Yashica Pentamatic – Our 6 Year Search – Some Conclusions & Wild Speculations

I’ve incorporated some interesting updates since this was first posted.

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

We’ve been hot on the elusive trail of the Pentamatic family of cameras from Yashica now for well over 6 years. We’ve looked under every rock (auction sites), nook (web searches) and crannies (well, just crannies) for anything related to the Pentamatic. Our search has led us to some interesting conclusions – and 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 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.

The original Pentamatic was a failure. A beautiful, sleek and modern camera at a great price, but still a…

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Yashica Pentamatic II – The Phantom

A new Pentamatic joins the family – this one was made in September of 1960.

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Seldom seen in the wild, Yashica’s “Phantom” camera – the P2

The Pentamatic II was fitted with a limited production lens made by Zunow Optical – a 5.8cm f1.7 Auto Yashinon with 10 aperture blades. It’s a massive camera with a ton (1,028 grams) of brass and glass.

It’s a distinctive design – very modern but classic at the same time. A clean pentaprism without the cold shoe mounted on it – in fact, the cold shoe (accessory shoe) is mounted on the camera’s left shoulder just above the hidden rewind knob.

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The serial number (NO. 96000944) indicates the “when” of this camera. The “9” is for September and the next digits, “60” is for 1960. The last 5 digits are the sequence number or production number. This one is the 944th made since production began in August 1960.

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A rather unique lens for its time – I feel that the lens was made by Zunow Optical for Yashica and was only produced in an extremely limited number for the short run of the Pentamatic II (about 6 months). This is one of Yashica’s hardest cameras to acquire – there may only be less than 500 of these (if that much) left in the wild.

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris

Yashica Pentamatic S Sales Brochure

As was typical with Yashica sales material, this brochure is undated. Our best guess would put it around late 1961. It’s fairly complete with all of the major accessories and lenses that were available for the Pentamatic line of cameras – the original Pentamatic ’35’, the Pentamatic II, and the final camera the Pentamatic S.

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The Pentamatic S was available in the US but received only limited press – few advertisements and only 3 different brochures in English are known to exist.

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The Pentamatic S was made starting in August 1961. By that time, the Pentamatic family of cameras were starting to show their age and lack of sophistication and were already having trouble in the world marketplace.

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The Pentamatic is a well-made camera but was lacking in some important basics that were addressed with the S. Adding a coupled exposure meter and a self-timer were but a few steps Yashica took to make the camera more competitive. The original lens for the Pentamatic ’35’ was made by Tomioka Optical and the S went back to using it. The middle camera (Pentamatic II) was only released in Japan and was equipped with a Zunow made 5.8cm f1.7 lens.

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The first known advertisement for the new Pentamatic – Spring 1960. Take notice that the lens serial number 59100581 is very close to the serial number on the lens in this late 1961 brochure (59100521). The Yashica marketing team must have held onto some of the first lenses made for them by Tomioka.

Thanks for stopping by! If you want to add a truly unique camera to your collection take a look at the Yashica Pentamatic S – if you can find a nice, clean working model go for it!

Please check out our online shop at https://www.ccstudio2380.com for some neat vintage cameras and some brand new modern classics!

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.