Zeiss Ikon IIIa with Box – 1951

We were lucky enough to collect this wonderful Contax with an original box (we love old cameras and their boxes)!

The Contax IIIa (and IIa) are interchangable lens 35mm rangefinder cameras.

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The Contax IIIa was made by Zeiss Ikon AG. Stuttgart, West Germany.

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We haven’t run a roll of film through it yet but we hope to soon. The lens is a Carl Zeiss 50mm f/ 1.5 and the exposure meter (top) appears to be working after all these years.

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Exposure meter flap in the open position. The meter has selenium cells that are powered by light – no batteries necessary. The only downside is that over time they do give out and they can be a bit fragile after nearly 70-years-old.

The Carl Zeiss f/ 1.5 lens is considered to be fast even by today’s standards.

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Here’s the Contax IIa – same features but without the built-in exposure meter.

Here’s another camera in our collection that’s available to purchase. From 1955, the Minolta A2 (or A-2) 35mm non-interchangeable lens rangefinder camera.

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The Minolta is available in our Etsy camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful day! – 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 © 2015-2020 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Nicca 3-F Brochure – 1957

Here is a very nice brochure for the popular Nicca 3-F (lever) 35mm rangefinder camera – a sophisticated Leica inspired camera from Japan.

Nicca 3-F Bro

An inside view of the brochure. The serial number on the camera is No. 151144

Analysis of the serial numbers indicates that about 6,000 cameras were made. This assumes that there were no breaks in production and that the numbers were assigned consecutively.

Nicca 3-F Bro Cover

The front and back cover of the brochure. Hinomaruya ひのまるや (upper left corner) was the sole distributor for Nicca in Japan – I’m not sure if they handled distribution outside of Japan.

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Nice assortment of available accessories for the Nicca 3-F

This brochure has survived in near mint condition – it’s obvious collectors have handled it carefully over the years.

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 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

 

Yashica L AF vs. Kyocera T Scope

In case you missed this post the first time around here’s another look at these two exceptional cameras by Yashica-Kyocera.

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

Round 1 – The Introduction

The Yashica-Kyocera L AF from 1986 and the Kyocera T Scope (Japanese name, T3 elsewhere). The L AF was assembled in Hong Kong with parts made in Japan and the T Scope was made in Japan.

Key feature – waterproof (more like weatherproof) – not a dive camera.

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DSCF7805 logo N.A. Scope = “New Angle Scope”

The scope is just like a waist-level finder – pretty cool actually.

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ky and laf logo Cousins

I’ll be doing a side by side field test of these two cameras shortly. Is the T3 really worth the extra money over the Yashica? The T Scope features a Carl Zeiss T* Series Tessar f/2.8 35mm lens against the Yashica (Tomioka?) f/3.5 32mm lens. I have a hunch that the Yashica’s lens was also made by Zeiss at the Tomioka factory in Tokyo. We’ll see if the vaunted T* coating makes a noticeable difference.

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A Surprising Find Under All That Dirt – A Hidden Gem Emerges

Recently a client of mine asked me to help him sell some of his vintage cameras from his collection. It’s not a collection in the true sense of the word, more of a gathering of cameras he had acquired over the years. Bob had become interested in photography as a kid in New York in the 1940s and ’50s but lacked the resources to buy cameras until he graduated from law school in the late 1960s.

His first purchase was a good one – a brand new Leica M4 in black lacquer (only 800 or so made in black that year) with a gorgeous Leitz-Leica Summicron 35mm f2 wide angle lens. Both were purchased together in 1969. I was able to arrange a sale of that set within two days of posting it.

The next camera that Bob showed me I wasn’t impressed with at all – a Canon II 35mm rangefinder with a terrible looking lens that looked like Fred Flintstone may have owned it at one time.

The Canon before its “refreshing” ⇓

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The Canon II from around 1954 with its odd little lens. Dirty little thing.

I was familiar with the Canon – one of the dozens of Leica “copies” or “clones” of the venerable Leica III that were made in Japan in the late 1940s and ’50s – the lens, well not so much. I knew that Leica made collapsible Leitz lenses that were extremely popular due to their outstanding quality and compact size, but I was unaware that other companies did so too. One such company was Schneider-Kreuznach of Germany.

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The diamond in the rough.

The Schneider-Kreuzbach Xenon f2 5cm lens (pictured above) was produced for Leitz during World War II. By serial number (1830715) the lens was produced around 1942 to 1943. Schneider Optics has this incredible list of all of its serial numbers – check it out here.

Here’s my write-up from my Etsy shop (www.ccstudio2380.com) listing.

Rare Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon f2 5cm
Collapsible Leica LTM Screw Mount Lens
– Vintage Germany 1942 – Wartime Lens! Limited Production!
– Excellent Functionality!

This is an extremely hard to find Leica screw mount lens made
by the world-renowned German optical company
Schneider-Kreuznach (Schneider Optics).

The lens is in beautiful vintage condition with a lovely
patina on the chrome metal lens barrel. I have inspected
and tested this lens on my Nicca rangefinder and it works
perfectly.

History has it that the Leitz factory could not meet the demands 
made on it by the German government during the height
of World War II and so the Schneider Optical Company
took on the task of building these lenses for Leica-Leitz. They
were made in very limited numbers.

If you can imagine how hard it is to find this lens in the present day
after all these years having survived the war and its aftermath.

This lens made it to a large camera dealer in New York City from the
original owner and was purchased by my client in 1969.

The lens is in perfect function – the aperture blades are clean (a bit worn)
and complete, the focus is smooth and was tested on my Nicca.
The rangefinder focused accurately. The mount (L39) is excellent and
the lens mounts securely to the camera body. The collapsible portion
is smooth and the lens locks in place. The aperture ring is also smooth and
without binding.

The glass elements (I think only the front elements) have a slight fog/haze
but not so much as to diminish the view. There are spots inside the
lens – they look more like dirt and dust spots but they could be
mold. With a bright light, I do not see any fungus filaments however.

The lens is rather rare and apparently very collectible and valuable ($900 to $1500). Who knew? The fact that it was made during WWII in Germany only adds extra interest to its rariety. The Leica lens cap is from the mid 1930s and as the story goes it has been on the lens since new. It would make sense that the Leitz factory supplied these to Schneider Optics to affix to their lenses.

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The Canon all cleaned up and ready to go – the lens is shown in its collapsed position.

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Looking much better after its bath – the cap is extra special too as it is from a very early design. By the way, the cap is padded inside with red felt.

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As a set it makes for a very interesting camera. Canon, Schneider, and Leitz coming together.

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For more about Schneider Optics stop by their website.

Thanks for stopping by! If you find vintage Schneider lenses from the 1940s certainly give them a closer look. The popular Kodak Retina line of 35mm SLR cameras used Schneider lenses and some of those are quite valuable too.

Chris

 

 

 

 

Happy SUNday! Vintage Camera Edition

Happy SUNday y’all! Two new offerings in our online store – from our collection to yours!

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Nikon Nikkormat FT3 – as clean as new – it’s been fully tested and is ready to roll! Check it out in our online store for a super deal on the wonderful classic from Nikon.

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Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SP model – early first version of this super popular camera. I’ve replaced the light seals and mirror pad and it’s been detailed inside and out. 100% fully working and a joy to use. Available in our online store at a great price.

Visit our store at https://www.ccstudio2380.com for more pictures and a complete detailing of the specifications of each camera set. These are from our personal collection of classic film cameras and have never been offered for sale before. Our home is smoke and pet free and we always store and maintain our cameras and lenses properly.

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris and Carol

 

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.

Fuji Panorama Cardia – 1991

From the ‘Plastic Fantastic’ period of Fuji Photo Film comes this awesome little 35mm compact camera.

Fuji Panorama Cardia

Lots of good looking plastic.

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Released in Japan in December 1991 for ¥15,800. It features a fixed 28mm Fujinon f/8 lens and a shutter speed of 1/100. Manual winding but with auto exposure and automatic flash.

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The set came with plenty of documentation and a nice padded camera case. We added the roll of Fujicolor for a bit of, you know, color!

We love collecting these “new old stock” cameras from the 1980s, 1990s and the 2000s. They were, for the most part, excellent cameras that provided a bridge from complicated SLR cameras to easier to use compact cameras capable of producing high-quality images. Of course, modern smartphones can do panorama photography so why use a film camera? A look that just looks “different” – so analog with all of its imperfections.

Thanks for your visit! Be sure to stop by our online store at https://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 © 2015-2017 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.

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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.

Happy SUNday!

Vintage St. Peter's Basilica

Vintage view of St. Peter’s – 1986

Canon F-1 with Canon FD 24mm f/ 2.8 wide angle lens on Kodak Kodachrome 25 film.

Have a fantastic SUNday! 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.