Short History of the “Mysterious” Pentamatic…

Decoding serial numbers...

Decoding serial numbers… Yashica has never been upfront with dating their cameras, lenses or their printed materials. Instruction booklets and sales brochures are only occasionally dated. Camera bodies and lenses (and accessories) remained a mystery until now. I believe I have finally decoded the serial numbers of Yashica’s first 35mm SLR, the Pentamatic. Look closely at this camera’s serial number… 36001500… knowing a little bit about when this camera was “invented”  helped me decode the number. The trademark “Pentamatic” was filed by Yashica in September 1959 in Japan. The first prototypes were built around then with the first consumer models produced by December 1959. This camera dates… 3 = Mar / 60 = 1960 / 01500 = 1,500th unit made since December 1959. The latest camera in my database has a serial number of 16115756. This decodes to… January 1961 and was the 15,756 unit produced since December of 1959.

1960 Pentamatic

13 thoughts on “Short History of the “Mysterious” Pentamatic…

  1. Hi, I would be very glad if you could write to me on my email, I have Yashica J-3 for sale, also additional lens and flash kako 225, but no idea how much is it worth.


  2. Hello – My first SLR was a Penta J, received as a gift from my parents in 1963. Until then I had been shooting with a Bolsey B2. The Yashica was a fine tool, and helped me land the job of sports and yearbook photographer at my high school.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great story! Thanks for sharing it. Those early Yashicas were something else. My first 35mm SLR was the Yashica TL Electro X in early 1972. I don’t have that one but I’ve gone on to collect quite a few more. GAS big time.


  3. Hello! I have read many of the articles on your website — thank you for such a wonderful resource! I just purchased an old Pentamatic with the 5.5cm f/1.8 lens and it desperately needs some servicing for sure. Would you happen to know where I can have the camera and lens CLA’d in the United States? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I also have the rare 5.8cm auto yashinon lens and thought it could use a CLA as well. Thank you again!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi there Chris – I hope you are keeping well. I had an interesting Pentamatic arrive today – s/n 16116771. This has a groove in the frame around the viewfinder, and flat springs attached to the top, either side of the viewfinder – this is obviously to allow fitting of right angle finders, and similar. My other Pentamatic, s/n 66005531, does not have this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi John, doing well thanks! I just checked my SN 16113838 and it has a different eyepiece too. I hadn’t noticed before or if I did I have since forgotten. I’ll have to check my Pentamatic II and the Pentamatic S. I know the angle finder I have fits all three models. Thanks for jolting my brain cells to look into it. LoL


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s