Time Capsule – 1960

yashica pentamatic set

The original Pentamatic.

A nice example of Yashica’s first 35mm SLR – the Pentamatic. Also known as the Pentamatic ’35’ in its earliest advertisements and sales brochures. This particular 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. The Pentamatic II stayed in production only until January 1961 when it was replaced a few months later with the Pentamatic S. The original Pentamatic was first produced in December 1959 but widescale production didn’t begin until January 1960. As of this update (Oct 11, 2018), I still haven’t found evidence of an instruction booklet printed in Japanese – only English booklets so far. I would think that there must be booklets in Japanese and at least 2 or 3 other languages but none found. The Pentamatic II booklet is in Japanese and no English editions have been found.

As always, thanks for stopping by and please check out my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com – 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.

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.

yashica p1 in blue

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

pentamatic 2 collage

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.

Yashica Man

yulee and ps

Yashica Pentamatic S and Mr. David Yulee – downtown Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island – Florida

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.

Fantasy Shot – A Yashica in a Tokyo camera store window – 1964

Two of our most popular images on our Flickr page. Both were featured in “Explore”.

yashica j5 store front

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yashica flickr pentamatic

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ヤシカ
Japan and the summer Olympic Games held in Tokyo.

Yashica’s latest in their popular J-series line of SLRs as it would have appeared in a Tokyo camera store window in 1964, possibly in Shibuya or Shinjuku.

The world was coming to Japan for the Olympics and Japan was ready to show the world its best technology and design. The Tokaido Shinkansen made its inaugural run from Tokyo on October 1st and Japan and its technology never looked back.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to visit our online store at http://www.ccstudio2380.com for some great cameras and stuff!

C&C ^.^

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.

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 8 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 8 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 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

Scan courtesy of Paul Sokk at http://www.yashicatlr.com

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

Yas Cover P1 bro (1)

Scan courtesy of Paul Sokk at http://www.yashicatlr.com

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.

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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. Showa date is 35.

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 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 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. 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…

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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 must exist but we’ve yet to find one.

A Pentamatic S instruction booklet and a sales brochure in Japanese. Don’t think they exist but time will tell.

A 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

Very similar to the original Pentamatic box but black vice silver.

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 © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.