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

Yashica Pentamatic I & II – 1960

The original Pentamatic ’35’ and the Pentamatic II. The original Pentamatic made its debut in March 1960 and was first available for sale in  April 1960 (production started in December 1959). The Pentamatic II was rushed into production in August 1960 and was only for sale in Japan. The only change between the two cameras… was the lens!

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The P1 (left) came with the Auto Yashinon f/1.8 5.5cm lens. The P2 (right) came with the Auto Yashinon f/1.7 5.8cm lens. The goal of Yashica was to improve on the semi-automatic operation of the lens over the standard lens on the P1.

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Serial numbers. The SN on the top camera is on the original Pentamatic camera body. The number, NO. 126013189 contains a date code and production sequence number. This camera was made in December 1960 and was the 13,189th camera made. The bottom camera’s serial number (Pentamatic II), NO. 126004171 decodes to: December 1960 and it was the 4,171st made since August 1960 (the start of production on the P2). 

So both of the cameras were in production at the same time in the same factory. We’re highly confident in our analysis of the serial numbers. We have enough examples in our database and enough experience in decoding Yashica serial numbers to say that we are 100% correct.

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The whole process of releasing the Pentamatic II was rushed – the top plates were only slightly modified to accommodate squeezing in the “II”. The engraving was moved about 1 mm to the left so as to have room to engrave the “II”. On the back of the camera it only took a change in the serial number engraving to reflect the P2.

The Pentamatic II didn’t get any upgrades to the body… no self-timer and no hot shoe. The lens is a totally different lens and we’ll cover those differences in our next post.

Thanks for your visit!

Studio Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

Chris

Newest Pentamatic – another fine Yashica joins the family.

A recently acquired Yashica Pentamatic for our collection. This one came to us from a fellow collector here in the southeast US.

This one includes the Auto Yashinon 5.5c f/1.8 lens that puts the lens as a very late production model (maybe mid 1961). Here’s a chance to check out our Pentamatic from many angles.

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The angled shutter release button is in a perfect position for maintaining a solid grip on this heavy body while releasing the shutter.

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The lens serial number, No. 60521000 is unique in the fact that it’s a whole number (21000).

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The cold shoe is mounted on the camera’s left side top plate. Actually a very good spot for it.

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This unique lever controls the rewind knob which pops up from under the cold shoe (it moves from the “A” position).

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The body serial number, NO. 126013189 decodes to: 12 = December, 60 = 1960, 13189 = 13,189th made since December of 1959.

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The lever is now in the “O” position which allows the back to be unlocked.

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Pulling up the rewind knob completes the opening.

Our love affair with this fine camera continues. We just can’t get over the clean lines and excellent design.

If you want to acquire a nice Pentamatic for your own collection, they come up occasionally on US online auction sites and infrequently on auction sites in Japan. Nice examples can be had for under $50. Super nice examples will go closer to $100 with some guarantee of functionality from the seller.

Finally! A Pentamatic II will be joining our Yashica family!

Success! After literally years of searching and countless missed bids, we’ve acquired a Yashica Pentamatic II. One of Yashica’s lowest production cameras – ever. Estimated at less than 5 thousand – and since it failed in the marketplace and wasn’t distributed outside of Japan, it wasn’t considered a collector’s camera and many were simply dumped whenever they broke. It’s hard to estimate how many exist today, but a wild guess would be around 1 to 2 thousand (and that may be high). Production started in August 1960 and for the most part ended in very early 1961 (late January) when the Pentamatic S came out worldwide.

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Yashica Pentamatic II – the hardest Pokemon of all to catch!

Our camera has the original short lived Auto Yashinon f1.7 5.8cm lens. It also has the correct leather strap and strap hangers and comes with the original Yashica metal lens cap and lower leather case.

This has been a long chase – but fun! The camera was sold as “junk” – Yahoo Japan Auction speak for a camera that is not functioning properly or has not been fully tested. Sometimes junk cameras are little gems and sometimes they are as the word junk implies.

We’ll have more about our exciting find in the next few weeks as our little Yashica sails or flies across the Pacific to our studio (at many thousands of yen).

Thanks for your visit and stay tuned!

Chris ^.^

Japanese Pentamatic II Brochure

Sales brochure from early 1961. Rather rare (here in the US and I’m sure everywhere now) sales brochure for the Yashica Pentamatic II. It appears now, after much research and blind luck, that the Pentamatic II was for sale only in Japan and only for a few months. Studies of the body serial numbers and of the serial numbers of the exclusive lens for the Pentamatic II (many thanks to my friend Paul Sokk of http://www.yashicatlr.com fame) confirms this finding.

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The Japanese market sales brochure from February 1961. Also pictured is the Pentamatic S from our collection.

It’s still a mystery to us as to why the Pentamatic II never made it to markets outside of Japan and why it was only available for a short time before the model S was released. Short of being able to interview a former member of Yashica’s marketing team, we may never know. We’re still searching for a Yashica sales brochure in English with the Pentamatic II featured. Obviously we’re also interested in sales brochure from any country outside of Japan for proof. Do you have one? We’d love to see anything – even an ad would be nice.

Many thanks!

Chris & Carol