Yashica Day! ヤシカ

Hey, it’s Yashica Day every day!

yashica j3 black

Still one of our all-time favorite Yashicas – the Yashica J-3 in pro-black. Just a handsome camera. It was Yashica’s first SLR in black.

Thanks for your visit!

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.

‘Cheeky’ – Weekly Photo Challenge

Not a term I would normally use, but maybe this Yashica ‘Sailor Boy’ fits the bill as cheeky.

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Yashica’s advertising figurine from 1962.

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 © 2015-2017 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

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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.

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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 –

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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.

Early Yashica Sales Brochure & the Debut of Miss Yashica – all 3!

We’re always trying to determine exactly when Yashica did something – whether it’s exactly when Yashica released a camera or when Yashica printed a sales brochure – we always want to know when.

Sales brochures can be a great source of information for uncovering some of the “whens” associated with Yashica – unfortunately Yashica’s marketing folks weren’t big fans of dating their pamphlets, booklets or brochures (almost never).

Another way to date a brochure is to look at the cameras featured in them. Below is a good example. The cameras featured (front bottom to back right) are: Yashica Minister f/2.8, Nicca-Yashica YF, Yashica YK and the Yashica 35. The “newest” of the four cameras pictured here is the Minister. It was released in February-March 1960. The camera pictured (still on the Minister) was made in January 1960 (going by its serial number). The other cameras were released from late 1958 to middle 1959.

So the earliest date that this brochure could be is the January to March 1960 time frame.

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Early sales brochure from Japan. Take note of ‘Yashica Girl‘ on the bottom right of the brochure. 
My translation of the title – ‘Yashica 35mm Camera Group Guide’. The bottom left translation – ‘Yashica Products That Always Make Full Use of Your Dreams’. The “newest” model featured (bottom front) is the Yashica Minister (Feb-Mar 1960)

So was this the first appearance of Miss Yashica? She does appear on what may be a few earlier brochures but we’re going to say she made her first public appearance in January 1960 (new year, new decade and Yashica had a ton of new products to introduce). Plus she looks like a girl of the 1960s!

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Not one but three Miss Yashica’s! The one on the far right appears frequently in sales brochures during 1960 and early 1961 while the two on the left are variants that we’ve never seen before (clearly different). The ladies pictured here appear on the side of a vinyl shopping bag – Of the camera… ‘Camera Matsue Ota Weight Shop Izunokuni’? Not completely sure about the translation here.

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Could be the very first flyer/ad released in Japan for the original Yashica Pentamatic.

It would appear that in this flyer/ad Miss Yashica was paired with the Pentamatic shortly after the release of the Pentamatic in Japan (early 1960). We don’t have the flip side of this flyer/ad so we don’t know if it was a one page presentation or two pages or part of a brochure. Since it has the address of Yashica’s headquarters in Tokyo on the bottom, one could assume that it’s the back page.

Thanks for stopping by! If you can provide a better translation or have more information please let us know!

Remember, Carol and I are always interested in buying interesting items for research and for our collection. If you have something to sell, please contact us at chriscarol@ccstudio2380.com

Please stop by our online store at https://www.ccstudio2380.com

Chris & 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.

The Yashica Penta J – aka Yashica Jaguar

To us, a super find!

To others, a big “oh, okay”. The Yashica Penta J was Yashica’s first 35mm SLR camera to use the common m42 screw-in lens mount. Released around September (?) 1961, it was basically a continuation of the Pentamatic series but with the different lens mount. The Penta J appears to have at least 3 versions – Version 1 (image below) retains the closest design to the Pentamatic S (minus the self timer lever below the shutter release button, the small lens release button and the neck strap lugs discussed below).

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Yashica Penta J version 1.

Please note as to where the neck strap lugs are on this version of the Penta J (pictured above). The strap lugs are on the sides of the camera vice on the front as in later Yashica SLRs. Notice where the strap lugs have been moved to on the Pentamatic S (pictured below).

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The strap lugs have been moved to the front of the top plate on the Pentamatic S. This was a departure from the first two Pentamatic models (pictured below).

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The original Pentamatic ’35’ (left) and its Japanese market only cousin the Pentamatic II. Note that the strap lugs are just like the first version of the Penta J.

One of the things that’s been troubling us about the Penta J, is where did Yashica come up with the “J”? Were they following a progression of the alphabet? Did they just like the sound and look of the “J”? We can guess that the “Penta” was lifted from the camera it was replacing, the Pentamatic. As it turns out, the answer as to what the “J” stands for has been in a Japanese ad that we’ve had for years (image below) and never noticed until now!

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We think this is one of the first ads for the Penta J anywhere. We don’t know if the camera pictured in the ad has the “filled-in J” like the Penta J version 1 camera above. The clue as to what the “J” stands for is circled in red and underlined in green.

If you look closely at the Japanese characters that I’ve circled in red,  ジャガー  they represent the word “jaguar”. If you then go to either Google Japan or Yahoo Japan and search for “Yashica Jaguar”, you’ll see at least 3 different blogs that refer to the Penta J as the “Jaguar”.

With that mystery (to us) solved, I believe that the Penta J fits in nicely to another camera that Yashica released in the summer of 1960 – the Yashica Lynx-1000 which is a 35mm fixed lens rangefinder camera (image below).

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The Yashica Lynx. Released about a year before the Penta J = Jaguar.

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The ad states that the camera goes by the nickname of the “wildcat” hence the name “Lynx” and that it “catches the moving body agility like its name”.

So there you have it – a minor mystery solved… and the answer was staring us right in the face!

Thanks for your visit! Remember to check out our e-commerce store at https://www.ccstudio2380.com

Some of our art prints are available at https://society6.com/ccstudio2380

A gallery of some of our photography can be found at https://500px.com/yashicachris

Chris

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.

Rare Yashica Pentamatic S Box – c1961

The Yashica Pentamatic S was the last camera in the Pentamatic series of Yashica’s first ever 35mm SLR. We believe that the S model was first produced (by serial number) in April 1961. Approximately 3,200 units later, Yashica stopped producing the S in March 1962.

The Pentamatic S was sold in the US as we have a sales brochure (in English) that features the model S along with the Yashica Penta J and Yashica J-3 (Yashica’s first m42 mount bodies). We’ve never seen an advertisement for the model S in any of the major camera magazines of the period. We aren’t aware of any sales brochures in Japanese either for the model S and we’re not sure that it was available in Japan. No solid proof one way or another yet.

So with all of that said, the Yashica Pentamatic S was produced for an extremely short period of time in very limited quantities (about 3,200 total worldwide). That alone makes finding the original box for the model S quite a rare find. So here it is –

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It’s also one of the few Yashica camera boxes that feature a photograph of the camera on the box.

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Back of the box specs for the model S.

Another interesting item (to us) is the lens that’s pictured on the box. By serial number, it was made by Tomioka Optical for Yashica in October 1959 and it would have been first used on the original Pentamatic ’35’. The model S went back to using the original lens on its newest model – all part of the general confusion at Yashica during an extremely busy period in the history of the company.

If you have anything relating to the Yashica Pentamatic S, please feel free to share it with us. In addition to being Yashica researchers we’re buyers of almost anything relating to Yashica. Contact us here or at chriscarol@ccstudio2380.com

Thanks for your visit! Chris ^.^

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.

 

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.