Yashica-Tomioka Pentamatic Lens – Available for Purchase

We’ve decided to make one of our nicest Yashica Pentamatic lenses made by Tomioka Optical available for purchase. This is a special lens from our personal collection. The Super Yashinon-R f/ 2.8 3.5cm wide angle lens is from the earliest production of these hard to find lenses. It is marked Yashica Tominon and a relatively small number were produced in late 1959 and very early 1960.

This lens set is extra special as it includes the original Yashica brown leather case with strap and original metal Yashica front lens cap (52mm). The lens features a super low serial number and a fast f/ 2.8 aperture. The world famous Tomioka made glass is crystal clear and the lens barrel is factory fresh looking. No issues with this beauty – everything works as it should and frankly the lens looks new.

If you’ve been a regular reader here at the ‘Fanatic’ you’ve come to appreciate just how rare high-quality Pentamatic lenses, cameras, and accessories are. We’ve seen prices slowly creeping up on these rarities as more people realize that they’re just aren’t that many lefts in near perfect condition.

Please note: this lens can be used on modern digital camera bodies. There is an adapter to convert the unique Pentamatic bayonet mount to M42. Then use an adapter to mount M42 to your camera. You’ll love the results!

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The lens barrel is flawless – the markings are bright, sharp and clean.

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As you can see, the lens is marked Yashica and Tominon. The first run of these lenses featured the Tomioka Optical ‘Tominon’ name. Also note the extremely low serial number, 309. The first two digits are ’35’ which is the focal length. The next four digits are the production sequence numbers.

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Rear view of the Pentamatic bayonet mount and the six aperture blades.

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The lens barrel still shows a nice factory sheen after all these years. Lens ‘Made in Japan’ at the Tomioka Optical factory in Tokyo.

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Smooth as silk. The aperture stops click in and out nicely, the focus is smooth and the lens is simply gorgeous.

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The original brown leather case is in exceptional condition.

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The stitching is still tight and complete.

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The straps are complete and the interior is clean and bright.

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The lens mounts securely to a Pentamatic body and looks sharp! Sorry, but the camera body is not included in this opportunity.

So there you have it. A historic lens for Yashica’s first SLR camera made by world famous Tomioka Optical in nearly new condition. Perfect for everyday shooting or for your collection.

If you would like to purchase this lens, please pop on over to our online store at https://www.ccstudio2380.com

We have it at a great value now but if you purchase it through our blog I’ll offer a 10% discount! Perfect for Christmas!

Thanks… Chris & Carol ^.^

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 © 2015-2017 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

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

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 failure. A replacement(?) for it (Pentamatic Model – 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 only changed the standard lens and nothing else. 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.

The standard lens that was available for the Pentamatic II was designed and built (quickly?) by Zunow vice Tomioka.

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).

And yes, these folks are not from Yashica but we like them and their name just the same!

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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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The 3 Pentamatic instruction booklets. Notice that the Pentamatic and Pentamatic II booklets have the same design while the model S differs dramatically. More “clues”.

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The back cover of the Pentamatic II booklet – the only one to carry a date (lower right corner). This one is dated September 1960.

Inside the booklets…

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The original Pentamatic.

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The Pentamatic II.

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The Pentamatic S.

Wild Speculations

Wild Spec 1 – The first Pentamatic was not initially released in Japan. Yashica had a slow go with its early production 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. We further 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 6 year 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 or sales brochures in Japanese either.

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 6 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).

Wild Spec 3The 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.

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). Both the original Pentamatic and the model 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 model II.

Wild Spec 5 – Once the model II stopped production, Yashica started selling the original Pentamatic in Japan (or at least increased its availability in Japan). The first sales brochures in Japanese for the original Pentamatic didn’t appear until February 1961. 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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Original sales brochure for the Pentamatic II.

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 could exist but it appears unlikely at this point.

A Pentamatic S instruction booklet and a sales brochure in Japanese. Don’t think they exist either.

A Pentamatic II box!!! They must exist – someone’s got to have one in their collection!

A 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 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 © 2015-2017 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Yashica Super Yashinon-R Lens… by Tomioka Optical

Another look at an early lens from Yashica for the Yashica Pentamatic.

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

Nice little addition to our Pentamatic family of lenses. Purchased in Japan and was with an early model Pentamatic’35’ set in “well used” but stable working condition. It came with the original Yashica brown leather case, unbranded plastic rear lens cap, Yashica front metal 52mm push-on lens cap, unbranded lens hood and a very nice looking Walz chrome metal and glass Skylight C. (cloudy) 52mm filter.

dscf2868Pentamatic bayonet mount 13.5cm short telephoto lens… f/3.5 with super low serial number. Early Yashica lenses were often given a serial number that starts with the focal length of the lens. In this example, ‘135 0722’ shows it to be a 135mm lens with a sequential production number of 722. Best guess is that this lens was made in late 1959. We have another Super Yashinon-R 13.5cm lens with a serial number of ‘135 0927’.

The above image shows the lens partially disassembled…

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The Yashica Penta J – aka Yashica Jaguar

To us, a super find!

To others, a big “oh, okay”. The Yashica Penta J was Yashica’s first 35mm SLR camera to use the common m42 screw-in lens mount. Released around September (?) 1961, it was basically a continuation of the Pentamatic series but with the different lens mount. The Penta J appears to have at least 3 versions – Version 1 (image below) retains the closest design to the Pentamatic S (minus the self timer lever below the shutter release button, the small lens release button and the neck strap lugs discussed below).

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Yashica Penta J version 1.

Please note as to where the neck strap lugs are on this version of the Penta J (pictured above). The strap lugs are on the sides of the camera vice on the front as in later Yashica SLRs. Notice where the strap lugs have been moved to on the Pentamatic S (pictured below).

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The strap lugs have been moved to the front of the top plate on the Pentamatic S. This was a departure from the first two Pentamatic models (pictured below).

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The original Pentamatic ’35’ (left) and its Japanese market only cousin the Pentamatic II. Note that the strap lugs are just like the first version of the Penta J.

One of the things that’s been troubling us about the Penta J, is where did Yashica come up with the “J”? Were they following a progression of the alphabet? Did they just like the sound and look of the “J”? We can guess that the “Penta” was lifted from the camera it was replacing, the Pentamatic. As it turns out, the answer as to what the “J” stands for has been in a Japanese ad that we’ve had for years (image below) and never noticed until now!

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We think this is one of the first ads for the Penta J anywhere. We don’t know if the camera pictured in the ad has the “filled-in J” like the Penta J version 1 camera above. The clue as to what the “J” stands for is circled in red and underlined in green.

If you look closely at the Japanese characters that I’ve circled in red,  ジャガー  they represent the word “jaguar”. If you then go to either Google Japan or Yahoo Japan and search for “Yashica Jaguar”, you’ll see at least 3 different blogs that refer to the Penta J as the “Jaguar”.

With that mystery (to us) solved, I believe that the Penta J fits in nicely to another camera that Yashica released in the summer of 1960 – the Yashica Lynx-1000 which is a 35mm fixed lens rangefinder camera (image below).

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The Yashica Lynx. Released about a year before the Penta J = Jaguar.

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The ad states that the camera goes by the nickname of the “wildcat” hence the name “Lynx” and that it “catches the moving body agility like its name”.

So there you have it – a minor mystery solved… and the answer was staring us right in the face!

Thanks for your visit! Remember to check out our e-commerce store at https://www.ccstudio2380.com

Some of our art prints are available at https://society6.com/ccstudio2380

A gallery of some of our photography can be found at https://500px.com/yashicachris

Chris

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

Copyright © 2015-2017 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Rare Yashica Pentamatic S Box – c1961

The Yashica Pentamatic S was the last camera in the Pentamatic series of Yashica’s first ever 35mm SLR. We believe that the S model was first produced (by serial number) in April 1961. Approximately 3,200 units later, Yashica stopped producing the S in March 1962.

The Pentamatic S was sold in the US as we have a sales brochure (in English) that features the model S along with the Yashica Penta J and Yashica J-3 (Yashica’s first m42 mount bodies). We’ve never seen an advertisement for the model S in any of the major camera magazines of the period. We aren’t aware of any sales brochures in Japanese either for the model S and we’re not sure that it was available in Japan. No solid proof one way or another yet.

So with all of that said, the Yashica Pentamatic S was produced for an extremely short period of time in very limited quantities (about 3,200 total worldwide). That alone makes finding the original box for the model S quite a rare find. So here it is –

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It’s also one of the few Yashica camera boxes that feature a photograph of the camera on the box.

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Back of the box specs for the model S.

Another interesting item (to us) is the lens that’s pictured on the box. By serial number, it was made by Tomioka Optical for Yashica in October 1959 and it would have been first used on the original Pentamatic ’35’. The model S went back to using the original lens on its newest model – all part of the general confusion at Yashica during an extremely busy period in the history of the company.

If you have anything relating to the Yashica Pentamatic S, please feel free to share it with us. In addition to being Yashica researchers we’re buyers of almost anything relating to Yashica. Contact us here or at chriscarol@ccstudio2380.com

Thanks for your visit! Chris ^.^

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

Copyright © 2015-2017 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

 

Zunow SLR – 1958

One of the rarest early Japanese 35mm SLR cameras ever made. The Zunow SLR (below).

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Zunow SLR 1958.

This gorgeous Zunow sold for a cool ¥ 1,880,000 (about $16,700 USD)!

The Yashica Pentamatic (below) just sold for $16,598 less!

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Yashica Pentamatic 35mm SLR. Yashica’s first ever. A cousin to the Zunow? We think so.

We believe designers and engineers from Zunow and Nicca played a big part in bringing the Pentamatic to market by early 1960.

Thanks for your visit! To find out more about Yashica and the Zunow connection stay a bit and check out our blog here on the ‘Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic’!

Chris and Carol ^.^

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

Copyright © 2015-2017 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Yashica Pentamatic Presentation Box – 1960

These are not often seen (or collected) as most boxes of this type would have been tossed after purchasing the camera. I know we were guilty of that back in the 1970s when we tossed our Canon F-1 and AE-1 boxes (insert crying sounds).

Here’s a very nice Pentamatic camera presentation box for Yashica’s very first 35mm SLR camera from 1960. A rather distinctive style from Yashica – it certainly plays up the pentaprism aspect of the camera.

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Thanks for stopping by! Remember, Carol and I are always on the hunt for interesting classic camera sets – if you have something to sell we are buyers! Contact us at chriscarol@ccstudio2380.com

Come visit us at our online store, CC’s Studio Twenty-3 Eighty at https://www.ccstudio2380.com

Many thanks… C&C ^.^

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

Copyright © 2015-2017 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

 

New Yashica Pentamatic Set – all the goodies too!

We’re always on the lookout for interesting Pentamatic sets. This was purchased from the original owner who purchased it in March of 1961 in Philadelphia. It’s the first Pentamatic set that had the “dealer price card” included.

It’s a beautiful camera in nearly mint condition – hardly any signs of use and of course it works perfectly. This particular camera was made in August 1960 and the lens is from around the same time.

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The interesting negative holder from Kodak (upper right) is from the first roll of film that the original owner shot (high contrast B&W copy film). I’m not sure of the exact period the Kodachrome film is from but I do know that I’ve shot more than my share of Kodachrome in my life.

The dealer price card was designed to slip into the cold shoe of the camera (by folding the little tab on it and inserting it in the shoe).

Carol and I are always looking for nice examples of all models of the Pentamatic (Pentamatic, Pentamatic II and Pentamatic S) so if you have a nice one to sell please feel free to contact us through our blog or at chriscarol@ccstudio2380.com

Be sure to stop by our online store at https://www.ccstudio2380.com

Thanks! Chris and Carol ^.^

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

Copyright © 2015-2017 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Was this beautiful lens, which was made exclusively for the Pentamatic II designed by Zunow Optical?

Simple Answer – Yes

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Yashica Auto Yashinon f/ 1.7 5.8cm lens designed exclusively for Yashica’s Pentamatic II. It appears for the first time in August 1960 and disappears from use by Yashica in January 1961. There’s no documentation about the lens and no hard evidence that Zunow made the lens. Hard evidence would be sales brochures or advertisements that specifically link Yashica and Zunow. Co-branding on the lens ring would have been nice but never happened. Unfortunately our claim that it was made by Zunow is, at this point in time, circumstantial and coincidental. Much more digging around needs to be done on our part.

The lens features the unique Pentamatic bayonet mount that couldn’t be used on any other SLR of the time without an adapter. That in and of itself could have been a major reason for the quick demise of the Pentamatic series of cameras.

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Two “clues” that link this lens to Zunow – the serial number style with its unique “No xxxxxx” vice the more typical serial number style that Tomioka used “No. xxxxxxxx” at the time (as did most lens makers). Another clue, the style of the lowercase “a” in Japan. Most Zunow lenses used a fat “a” vice the keyboard style lowercase “a”. We know, these are hardly the type of clues needed to link the two but they’re good ones for now.

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Close-up of a Zunow made f/ 1.8 4.5cm lens for the Yashica Lynx-1000 (1960). Note the fat “a” and distinctive serial number style.

Could the f/ 1.7 5.8cm lens have been made by Tomioka Optical? Of course, Tomioka was the almost exclusive lens supplier to Yashica since the beginnings of Yashica in 1953. We feel that Tomioka had their hands full making nearly 1,500 lenses per month for Yashica’s first Pentamatic model (which was still very much in production at the time), and then taking on this lens at about 1,000 lenses per month for the Pentamatic II may have been a bit much for Tomioka.

This lens is so radically different in design and function of other Tomioka made SLR lenses of the time (Tomioka only started making lenses for an SLR in September 1959 with no known examples found before that).

Here’s a peek inside of this lens –

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It features quality construction throughout and what we feel is another Zunow cue, 10 aperture blades. The Tomioka f/ 1.8 5.5cm lens for the original Pentamatic has only 6 blades. We’ve yet to take one apart (soon).

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Pictured above is the f/ 1.7 5.8 Pentamatic II lens with its 10 aperture blades. Below, the front lens group removed from the lens barrel.

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Original sales brochure (below) dated February 1961 featuring the Pentamatic II and its very unique lens.

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Is All of This Enough to Prove a Connection to Zunow?

No of course not. Our claim is a merely a starting point for further discussions and discoveries. We hope to disassemble the Tomioka f/ 1.8 5.5cm lens that was made for the first Pentamatic and compare it to this f/ 1.7 5.8cm lens for the Pentamatic II. By the way, the Pentamatic II was only available for sale in the domestic markets in Japan. There’s no evidence that it was ever exported. We do know that Zunow Optical and Yashica did have a working relationship by the mid 1950s with Zunow supplying high quality D mount cine lenses for Yashica’s 8mm movie cameras (see below).

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Thanks for your visit! Comments are always welcome and your input is important to us. This post is designed to stimulate discussion as to the validity of our assertions. Heck, we may have missed significant clues along the way that would either prove or disprove our claim.

By the way. A special shout out to my good friend and fellow Yashicaphile, Paul Sokk! Our frequent correspondence on this subject first planted the seed that this lens could have been made by Zunow. Paul rightly reminded me that the bankruptcy of Zunow in January 1961 coincided with Yashica stopping production of the Pentamatic II. Yashica is thought to have acquired Zunow after that and one would assume all of Zunow’s assets and debts.

Chris

Be sure to stop by our online store CC’s Studio Twenty-3 Eighty at https://www.ccstudio2380.com for some neat items of photographic interest! Thanks, C&C

Yashica Pentamatic Timeline… update 3 (Oct 2017)

Updated with new information. Please share your comments! Thanks

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

Our best timeline for the development of the Yashica Pentamatic 35mm single-lens reflex (SLR) film camera… Pentamatic ’35’

Please note that this is a “dynamic timeline” and it will be updated as we discover new dates and developments…

  • Summer 1959… Yashica develops / invents its first 35mm SLR
  • September 1959… Yashica files to trademark the name ‘Pentamatic’ in Japan
  • October 1959… Tomioka starts production of a new lens for the Pentamatic. f/1.8 5.5cm
  • December 1959… First Pentamatics assembled at the Suwa factory
  • February 1960… Yashica files to trademark the name ‘Pentamatic’ in the U.S.
  • March 1960… Production reaches 1,500 units
  • March 1960… First showing of the Pentamatic occurs at a trade show in St. Louis… first images of the camera are provided by Yashica
  • April 1960… First published look at the Pentamatic in the May 1960 issue of Modern Photography magazine
  • May 1960… First full page advertisements for the Pentamatic…

View original post 207 more words