Yashica Tominon Lens – a hard one to chase

Shown here mounted on one of my Yashica Pentamatics – 35mm SLR camera from 1960.
Rare Tomioka Optical Tominon lens.
Preset lens, Yashica Pentamatic bayonet mount.

Not many of these dual-branded lenses were made and with no accurate data from Yashica, one can only guess the actual production numbers. Less than 3,000? Maybe slightly more or a lot less. This serial number can tell a bit of the story. The number on this lens is 350309. The ’35’ refers to the lens’s focal length, which is 35mm. the last 4 digits are simply the sequential number of lenses made up to that point. ‘0309’ means that this is the 309th lens made since the start of production (whenever that was). My guess is around mid-1960.

So, if you’re up for a challenge try tracking down this lens on the various online auction sites. You’ll quickly find out that you’ll be looking for quite a while – but it’s worth it in the end. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check me out on Instagram at @ccphotographyai – Chris

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by, and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, is this blog’s property and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2022 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
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Rare Pentamatic ’35’ Brochure from Japan

Here is another great find – fresh in from a seller in Japan. I believe this may be one of the first dedicated sales brochures for Yashica’s new 35mm SLR film camera. I’m guessing this was released in the Spring of 1960. Unfortunately, Yashica didn’t hide a date code somewhere in the brochure.

This is a scan of the centerfold –

The lower left box translates as “A versatile camera that can be used for practical purposes and hobbies”.
The front cover.
The back cover.

I’ll post additional scans from this brochure soon. Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Follow me on Instagram @ccphotographyai

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by, and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, is this blog’s property and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2022 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
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Rare Pentamatic II Brochure from Japan

I’m always, and I mean always, chasing anything to do with Yashica’s Pentamatic series of 35mm SLR cameras from the early 1960s. I was taken by its simple modern lines the first time I laid eyes on one.

Here is a wonderful Pentamatic II sales brochure (almost a catalog) from Japan that I’m guessing was published around the Summer of 1960 which was when the camera was introduced in Japan. I believe this is the first (and only) full-length brochure for this model.

The front cover introduces us to the Yashica Pentamatic II.

The lens was a new addition to this camera and was likely made for Yashica by Zunow Optical.

The back cover summarizes the features and specs of Yashica’s newest camera and lens set. The address (bottom) is listed as Yashica Co., Ltd., Nihonbashi Muromachi, Tokyo 1-8.

The ‘Yashica Girl’ started appearing on sales brochures around 1958 or so and continued here in this brochure. I don’t know her origins or purpose but she has two co-workers that often appear with her on other brochures. Here is a peek inside (it reads right to left) –

Unfortunately for Yashica, the Pentamatic II was not well received so it had a shortened production run of just over 5,300 units from August 1960 to January 1961 with breaks in production during that time. January 1961 is when Zunow Optical went bankrupt or was absorbed by Yashica (not well documented). Either way that put an end to this unique lens on a Yashica camera. It’s likely though that the lens design transferred over to Tomioka Optical (which was owned by Yashica) and Tomioka may have made this same lens for Mamiya in 1962.

One of my original Pentamatic II cameras with the Auto Yashinon f1.7 5.8cm lens.
One of the hardest cameras to chase down in Yashica’s entire lineup with just over 5,300 made with a vast majority only available in the Japanese domestic market.

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Follow me on Instagram @ccphotographyai

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by, and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, is this blog’s property and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2022 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
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Early Yashica Pentamatic ’35’ Brochure

The Yashica Pentamatic ’35’ was Yashica’s first single-lens reflex (SLR) camera – introduced in early 1960.

There’s a chance that this was the first brochure released in the U.S. Maybe March 1960.
Take note that besides the standard f1.8 5.5cm lens there were only two other lenses offered. (the brochure has them reversed)
Such a striking design – the first cameras were made in January 1960.

Thanks for stopping by! If you’re looking for an interesting camera to chase down, the Pentamatic is worth a go. – Chris

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by, and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, is this blog’s property and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2022 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
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throwback Thursday – Yashica Classics

Yashica-635 twin-lens reflex, dual-format film camera from 1958 and the Yashica Pentamatic-S (with no model number exposure meter) from 1961.

Both were groundbreaking cameras for Yashica in the late 1950s and early 1960s as Yashica made steps to broaden its offerings.

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by, and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, is this blog’s property and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2022 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
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a Yashica classic – Pentamatic ’35’

Yashica’s first ever 35mm SLR. Designed with the help from Nicca, the first Pentamatics were produced in late 1959 and made their debut in the US by the Spring of 1960. Tomioka Optical made a majority of the lenses that were used on all three models of the camera – Pentamatic ’35’, Pentamatic II, and the Pentamatic S. My good friend Paul Sokk has written an excellent piece about the development of this important camera for Yashica. Paul’s site can be found at http://www.yashicatlr.com/Pentamatic.html

Thanks for stopping by and have a happy and safe day!

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

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, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2021 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
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Minolta Magic SR-1 at Paul Sokk’s Yashica TLR.com

My good friend Paul Sokk from Australia has complied a wonderful site dedicated primarily to the history (in great detail) of the Yashica TLR and its place in the overall history of this great Japanese company. Paul’s research has many branches and this is one of his latest.

Comparison of Yashica and Minolta SLRs

Yashica Pentamatic S
Minolta SR-1

(1961 Pentamatic S and 1962 Minolta SR-1, same body as 1958 SR-2 but with 1/500 top speed and by now, exposure meter mount like the Yashica plus fully automatic aperture.)

Why Minolta models? Similar specs, some parallels in market positions but an SLR success story at the time. Minoltas were made by Chiyoda Kōgaku (adopting its camera’s name in 1962) which was a much older photographic company than Yashica with it’s origins dating back to 1928. Yashica was Japan’s largest TLR maker, since 1958 looking to expand further into 35 mm. Chiyoda Kōgaku was probably Japan’s second largest TLR maker, a little more upmarket than Yashica but significantly lower volumes. On the the other hand, it was involved with other formats and had been making 35 mm rangefinder cameras since 1947. Neither were top tier makers at Nikon/Canon level but both had aspirations in that direction.

In 1958, Chiyoda Kōgaku released its first SLR, the Minolta SR-2. It offered no firsts but was noteworthy because it brought together all the advances in basic SLR camera design so far, except for the fully automatic aperture introduced by Zunow in the same year. In several ways, it was a more modern camera than the well-received Pentaxes from the period. Apart from including automatic film counter reset and a self-timer, the specifications were very similar to Yashica’s Pentamatic released in 1960 including a proprietary bayonet lens mount and the need to wind on the film to open the aperture again after it had automatically stopped down. In the late 1950s, even accomplishing the first half automatically was a major step so Minolta can perhaps be forgiven for initially calling their camera “automatic” but by 1960-61, it was marketing hyperbole for both makers.

Although well regarded and advanced for the time, it was expensive and competitors were challenging so Chiyoda Kōgaku followed up in 1959 with a budget version, the SR-1, which replaced the standard f/1.8 lens with an f/2 version (reverting to f/1.8 in 1962 as in the example above) and dropped the 1/1000 top speed to 1/500. Whilst the other specs and appearance remained the same, the lens line-up, particularly the auto lenses, was steadily increasing. The price of the SR-1 was much closer to the coming Pentamatic and whilst the sales of the flagship model were not earth shattering, the SR-1 sold truck loads. In 1961, the slightly updated SR-2 replacement, the SR-3, and the budget SR-1 both adopted fully automatic aperture diaphragms.

The table below compares features and price. In some respects the features are not all that different at first release. However, the Minolta SLR models had two years head start to establish themselves, as did other worthy competitors. In comparing the final 1961 cameras, the Minolta SR-3 with f/1.8 lens was the same price as the Pentamatic S. Both now had a self-timer and a mount for an external shutter coupled exposure meter (as did the SR-1 and Minolta even offered to upgrade earlier versions of the SR-1). The Minolta still had the advantage of the auto counter reset and later in the same year came the fully automatic diaphragm. It had 4 auto aperture accessory lenses and 7 preset lenses available, the Yashica just 5 preset lenses (the actual number of lenses is slightly rubbery depending on when they became available). The Yashica simply did not seem to offer enough at its price point to be a compelling newcomer.

FeatureMinolta
SR-2
Minolta
SR-1
Minolta
SR-3
Yashica
Pentamatic
Yashica
Pentamatic
II
Yashica
Pentamatic
S
Release195819591960196019601961
ApertureSemi-
auto
Semi, auto
in 1961
Semi, auto
in 1961
Semi
auto
AutoSemi
auto
Shutter1/10001/5001/10001/10001/10001/1000
Lensf/1.8f/2, f/1.8
from 1962
f/1.8
f/1.4
f/1.8f/1.7f/1.8
ResetAutoAutoAutoManualManualManual
Self-timerYesYesYesNoNoYes
Meter
Mount
NoFrom 1962YesNoNoYes
No. of
Accessory
Lenses at
Release
3 preset4 auto,
2 preset
4 auto,
7 preset
2 preset5 preset5 preset
Price USA$249.50$169.50$199.50
$229.50
$159.95n/a$199.95*

* guess, advertised at “under $200 plus case”

Paul’s entire site features this kind of detail with little known facts about some familiar and not so familiar cameras. Please give Paul a shout out by visiting his site at http://www.yashicatlr.com

Thanks for stopping by and have a beautiful day!

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

Studio Fun – A couple of first’s from Yashica

On the left, the Yashica ’35’ released in 1958 was Yashica’s first 35mm rangefinder (fixed lens) camera and on the right the Pentamatic ’35’ which was Yashica’s first 35mm single-lens reflex (SLR) camera. The Pentamatic was designed in 1959 and released by the Spring of 1960. Up to this point Yashica was know for building high-quality value priced twin-lens reflex (TLR) cameras. These two handsome examples are proudly displayed in my collection. The good news if you’re chasing these classics are that the rangefinder model is readily available online with many excellent examples for sale. The Pentamatic is not hard to find but chasing down a solid working model is a bit harder.

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

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, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2021 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
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Friday Fotos! – Yashica Pentamatic lenses

These two lenses are by far the earliest lenses made by Tomioka Optical for Yashica’s new Pentamatic ’35’.

Decoding the serial numbers, the lens on the left was made in October 1959 and it was number 92 in the production run. The lens on the right was made in December 1959 and it was number 1,630 in the run.

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

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, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2021 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
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My first post…

First Look!

CHRIS AND CAROL

The exciting first look (in print) of the Pentamatic…

First official appearance of the Pentamatic occurs in the May 1960 issue of Modern Photography magazine. In the June 1960 issues of Modern PhotographyU. S. Camera and Popular Photography, the first full-page ads appeared for the Pentamatic ’35’ reflex camera. The actual release date in the United States has almost always been considered by many to be March of 1960.

As of yet, I haven’t found evidence in print to support the March date. I do know that the Pentamatic was shown at the 36th annual ‘Master Photo DeaIers & Finishers Association’ trade show (MPDFA) held in St. Louis from March 21-25, 1960. I don’t know if the Pentamatic was released in Japan at an earlier date. From the progression of the serial numbers, by March 1960, about 1,500 cameras had been produced since production began in December 1959 at the Yashica Suwa factory. I doubt that there were enough cameras by March to support any widespread release in Japan or in Asia at that time. By June 1960, about 6,000 cameras had been built. There may have been enough to ship to the world markets starting in April and May. At their peak of production (summer 1960), it looks like Yashica was rolling out about 1,200 to 1,400 cameras each month.

Have a “Camera Holiday” in Japan. May 1960 magazine ad.

Part two of the “Camera Holiday” in Japan promotion. Very nice mention of Yashica’s factory in Suwa and the wonders of Japan!

Yashica provided this first ever look at their new Pentamatic SLR at the March 1960 MPDFA trade show in St. Louis.

First published look at the new Pentamatic from Yashica. May 1960

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

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, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2021 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

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