Yashica TL Electro X ITS – Integrated Technology System

Have you ever wondered what the ‘ITS’ stood for? For most people, probably not – but if you’re a Yashica Fanatic probably yes.

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Yashica TL Electro X ITS from 1973

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Undated sales brochure for the TL Electro X ITS. By the way, the marketing people had the name ‘Tomioka’ removed from this cover image of the lens – it’s the big empty space on the left side of the lens ring.

After years (yes, years) of searching almost everything Yashica published I’ve come to the conclusion that the intent of the marketing behind this camera was to promote Yashica’s first real system 35mm SLR. No, it doesn’t have an interchangeable back or viewfinder like the Canon F-1 and the Nikon F, but it did have a host of quality lenses and accessories. Oh, and no motor drive.

So ‘ITS’ most likely means ‘Integrated Technology System’ since the TL Electro X was advertised as having a brain – a built-in IC brain with an electronically controlled focal-plane shutter and electronic LED exposure control.

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Mint set from September 1973 with the later Yashica (Tomioka) Auto Yashinon-DS 50mm f1.4 lens. Take note of the writing on the box about electronic photography.

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In later years when Yashica teamed up with Contax and Zeiss to develop the Contax RTS – ‘Real Time System’.

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

 

Fast Glass from Canon & Yashica

A couple of true heavyweights from Canon and Yashica-Tomioka.

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Canon F-1 from 1978 and the Yashica TL Electro X ITS from 1973

The Canon FD 55mm f 1.2 lens is from 1972 which makes it a rather early FD lens. It lacks the S.C. or S.S.C. markings indicating that it’s not coated or at least the marketing people decided not to promote that feature. The Tomioka Optical made lens is an Auto Yashinon 55mm f 1.2 model from very early in the production run. Its serial number puts it about 1968 and it was the 769th made.

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The Canon lens weighs 551 grams vs the Yashica’s 332 grams.

There’s a big difference in weight between the two lenses yet they are both equals in maximum aperture. The Canon takes a 58mm filter and the Yashica uses a 55mm filter.

I hope to be able to do a side by side test of these two lenses using Fotodiox adapters on my Fujifilm X-Series mirrorless digital camera. Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Studio Camera: Fujifilm X-A10

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.

Macro Monday – Monster Glass

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One of the finest fast lenses ever – well pretty close anyway. Made by Tomioka Optical for Yashica (and others) this ultra-fast 55mm f/1.2 lens is a perfect match for the Yashica TL Electro X ITS that it’s mounted on.

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

Yashica M42 Timeline – update 9.23.19

Yashica’s M42 screw mount 35mm SLR cameras were super successful and in some cases, groundbreaking. Yashica was known as a “Pioneer in Electronic Cameras” during the 1960s and 1970s with the TL Electro-X being the first electronically controlled SLR camera. My good friend and fellow Yashica collaborator Paul Sokk ( YashicaTlr.com ) and I have studied Yashica’s serial numbering system as it applies to their 35mm SLRs that used the universal M42 screw-in lens mount.

These dates represent the earliest finding of an individual model based solely on their serial numbers – not necessarily their release date. In some cases, the dates are still fluid as there is still the possibility of finding a stray in the wild that would prove an earlier production date.

Yashica often included a month and year in the first 3 or 4 digits of the camera’s serial number. By decoding these numbers Paul and I have come up with the following list.

  • Penta J            6/1961
  • Reflex 35        3/1962
  • J-3                    2/1963
  • J-5                    3/1964
  • J-P                    8/1964
  • J-4                    4/1965
  • TL-Super        4/1966
  • J-7                  11/1966
  • TL                  11/1967
  • TL Electro-X Type 1    10/1968
  • TL Electro X Type 2      7/1969
  • TL-E                 6/1969
  • ITS                 12/1970
  • TL-Electro     4/1972
  • Electro AX     3/1972
  • FFT                 7/1973

In some cases, the dates are from cameras that appeared in sales brochures and user manuals. We have a high degree of confidence that these dates are correct and that they reflect a true chronology of these cameras as of this post.

Here’s an example of a Yashica serial number during this period –

(81200636)   8 = 1968, 12 = DEC, and 00636 = 636th made that month.

Yashica Type 1 Back Logo

The serial number on my Yashica TL Electro-X Type 1

If you’ve found a camera that exists outside of these start dates, please feel free to let me know and if you have a serial number that you’re unable to decode send it my way. You can contact me at ccphotographyai@gmail.com

Thanks – 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.

Undiscovered Yashica!

Well, “undiscovered” might be a bit of a stretch but at least unrecognized and undocumented as best as I can tell.

The very well known Yashica TL Electro-X but with a twist – no gothic “Y” on the pentaprism. No big deal really but it brings up some interesting questions. My good friend Paul Sokk (www.yashicatlr.com) and I have for years spent some of our free time exploring Yashica’s serial numbering system in hopes of decoding the numbers into some type of a recognizable date (if there was one to be decoded). Along the way, this version of the TL Electro-X would occasionally pop up.

Here’s the camera that’s now a part of my collection.

Yashica Type 1 Logo

The very familiar Yashica TL Electro-X except it’s just a bit unfamiliar and slightly different.

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Rear view of the Yashica TL Electro-X Type 1.

The serial number on this Yashica is 81200636. Here’s how it decodes: 8 = 1968, 12 = Dec, and 00636 is the sequence number for that month (December) assumed to start at 00001. Pretty simple once you’ve looked at hundreds of serial numbers.

This camera it turns out is from the first batch produced during a three month period of production (Oct-Dec 1968). I’ll refer to this as the TL Electro-X Type 1. When Yashica started making this camera again in July 1969, it saw a few changes – most noticeably the “X” was made larger and was now red, they dropped the hyphen between Electro and X and the pentaprism got its familiar gothic “Y”. I’ll call this second coming of the camera the TL Electro X Type 2 (pictured below).

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TL Electro X Type 2

The camera did receive one operational change as the “FP” flash socket was added on the T2 which was not available on the T1. The other changes are mostly cosmetic and I would guess these subtle tweaks were driven by the marketing department although there could have been problems with obtaining parts or production issues.

So if these changes didn’t affect the operation of the camera then why were they done? I don’t know yet and I may never know but up to this point in time this version of the camera went unreported even though it appeared in almost two years of advertising by Yashica! It was hidden in plain sight.

Contributor Jens Erik from Denmark sent me this ad from April 1973. It shows the T1 (lower right corner) and T2 together in the same ad along with the newly released Electro AX.

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Is it just a version of the original or is it truly a different type? Because there were visual and production changes made I’m calling it a different type – TL Electro-X T1.

I’ll be sharing a few more studio shots of this new Yashica soon so be sure to check back. Oh by the way, since Yashica only produced the Type 1 for a short time they’re a little hard to find on auction sites, actually quite rare when you start looking for one. Compared to the Type 2 which was in production from at least July 1969 to the end of the run in 1975, you’re looking for a camera with less than 5,000 made against hundreds of thousands made.

Check your collection… maybe this rare Yashica is hiding in plain sight!

Chris

Unique Yashica TL Electro-X from Denmark – Update 1

I’ve added some changes to my original post. It appears that there are two versions of this popular camera – the Type 1 and Type 2. I’ll share another post soon to cover the details. – Chris

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

Many thanks to reader Jens Erik at http://www.jebsign.dk for sharing a photo of his Yashica TL Electro-X with me recently. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it appears that a distributor of Yashica cameras and photo gear (Kirk) in Denmark had a rather neat twist on this popular SLR. Here’s the ad that ran in 1969 –

1969 April, Yashica TL Electro-X

Here’s Jens Erik’s Yashica – his TL Electro-X matches the one depicted in the Yashica ad from 1969 and it clearly shows that the “X” is black vice the typical red and that the gothic “Y” that would normally be on the pentaprism is “missing”.

tlelectroxdk An example of an early version of this popular Yashica. The lens is not the lens that would have been on the camera at the time of its release. I’ll call this version the Type 1.

Updated info as of September 2019. It now appears that…

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Yashica TL Electro-X

As I continue to downsize my collection, I’m offering this beautiful Yashica TL Electro-X for purchase. It’s also available in my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

Yashica TL Electro-X 35mm SLR Film Camera with an Auto Yashinon 50mm f1.4 DS-M Lens from Tomioka Optical

This is a museum-worthy camera set from my personal collection of exceptional Yashicas. It's been inspected, fully tested and is ready to pass on to the next collector. For additional images of the set and a more detailed description of the camera please visit my camera shop and studio at http://www.ccstudio2380.com I mail practically worldwide (there are a few exceptions) and if it's purchased directly from this post I'll mail it for free, fully insured and tracked to your home or business.

$220.00

The camera was assembled in September 1973 at Yashica’s newest factory (at that time) which was located in Hong Kong – its bottom plate is stamped “HONG KONG” which is rarely seen today. The 50mm lens is an extremely fast f/ 1.4 designed and built by the famous Tomioka Optical Company (which was fully part of Yashica by this time).

This set will come to you with a fresh battery, the original Yashica 57mm lens cap, the proper instruction booklet (dated 09/73) and the Yashica booklet ‘Yashinon Lenses & Accessories’ (dated 08/73).

This is a great opportunity to acquire an important camera in not only Yashica’s history but in the history of 35mm SLR development.

Thanks for stopping by and good luck! – 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.

 

Single Shot Focus on the Yashica TL Electro-X

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The Yashica TL Electro-X. It would not be an overstatement to say that this camera was Yashica’s most successful 35mm SLR – ever! I’m not sure what the total sales record is for this camera but success is measured beyond just the number of cameras sold. It was the first SLR with full electronic control of the shutter and it used an innovative LED display in the viewfinder to help adjust the camera for the proper exposure.

From Yashica: Electronically operated metal focal plane shutter with speeds from about 2 seconds to 1/1000 with in-between shutter speed settings possible, and B. Thru-the-Lens (TTL) light measuring system with IC computer and electronic exposure readout. It had a “brain”.

This gorgeous example is from my personal collection and it’s available for purchase in my Etsy camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

It includes the famous Tomioka Optical designed and built Auto Yashinon 50mm f1.4 DS-M lens. The camera and lens are in collector quality condition – full mint condition and the camera works as new. The lens is perfect and the glass is crystal clear. Adding to the uniqueness of this set is that the camera was built at Yashica’s new factory in Hong Kong in September 1973. The baseplate is appropriately marked “Hong Kong”.

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Assembled in Hong Kong with parts made in Japan.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check it out in my shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

There’s plenty of awesome cameras available in the shop with more being added from my collection almost daily.

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.

 

 

Yashica Mystery – what is it and what does it mean?

Contributor and Yashica aficionado, Graham Buxton-Smither posted this picture in my Flickr Group, https://www.flickr.com/groups/2734130@N24/pool/ the other day asking if I’d ever seen this type of serial number on a Yashica TL Electro X (pro-black body) before. I haven’t so I thought it would be good to broadcast it in this blog in hopes of discovering something about it.

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Serial number with its odd two letter prefix ‘FI’. Photo courtesy of Graham Buxton-Smither https://www.flickr.com/photos/164456136@N06/

The serial number itself is unremarkable in the sense that it follows along with the standard for a Yashica SLR. It decodes to December 1969 as the manufacture date. The ‘FI’ has no previous use that I’m aware of so it was a surprise to see it. Graham states that it is on a one owner Yashica TL Electro X purchased in the UK when new. It appears to be a factory mark as the black paint looks undisturbed.

I’m stumped as there isn’t an example anywhere in my databases. I can’t even fathom a guess at this point.

Any help including guesses will be appreciated.

Thanks – Chris

 

Unique Yashica TL Electro-X from Denmark – Update 1

Many thanks to reader Jens Erik at http://www.jebsign.dk for sharing a photo of his Yashica TL Electro-X with me recently. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it appears that a distributor of Yashica cameras and photo gear (Kirk) in Denmark had a rather neat twist on this popular SLR. Here’s the ad that ran in 1969 –

1969 April, Yashica TL Electro-X

Here’s Jens Erik’s Yashica – his TL Electro-X matches the one depicted in the Yashica ad from 1969 and it clearly shows that the “X” is black vice the typical red and that the gothic “Y” that would normally be on the pentaprism is “missing”.

tlelectroxdk

An example of an early version of this popular Yashica. The lens is not the lens that would have been on the camera at the time of its release. I’ll call this version the Type 1.

Updated info as of September 2019. It now appears that this no “Y” version wasn’t unique to this Danish or any other European distributor. I’ve just acquired my own version of this camera through a seller in the United States with no indication that it was purchased outside of the US initially. In my opinion, Yashica’s first version (pictured above) of their wildly popular TL Electro-X was the version missing the “Y” on the pentaprism – production looks like it first began in October 1968. My newest camera for my collection is from December 1968 as its serial number is 81200636. There’s one for sale on the Spanish eBay site that has the serial number 81000991 (which is October 1968).

Below is an example of the more typical Yashica TL Electro X design. The “X” is in red and there’s no hyphen before it and of course, the traditional gothic “Y” on the pentaprism.

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Yashica TL Electro X Type 2 – with red “X” and gothic “Y”

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Yashica sales brochure from the early 1970s.

Update #1: So Yashica’s first design for the TL Electro-X was the one without the “Y” on the pentaprism (Type 1) and the second and much more available TL Electro X with the “Y” is the Type 2. There also appears to be a large gap in production between the T1 and T2 of about eight or nine months. At this point in time, we don’t have a reason for the changes or for the gap.

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Yashica sales brochure in German from around 1972. The ITS model with its distinctive gold electron design on the pentaprism is on the right.

Thanks again to Jens Erik for sharing his Yashica with me (and you).

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.