Funny Flickr

You just never know which images will “take off” on Flickr. Sometimes you think that you’ve nailed a shot only to see it fall flat. I was pleasantly surprised this morning to find out that one of my pictures (below) was invited to be in Flickr’s “in explore” group. Cool beans!

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It’s far from my best ever studio shots of my camera collection but I bet that the popularity of this image has something to do with the popularity of the camera.

“This camera is actually quite famous – back in its day it was considered a groundbreaker in the 35mm SLR autofocus “world”. This one has led a very gentle life – I’ve fully tested it with film and the thing that impressed me the most was how quickly the autofocus locked on to my subjects. The lens is a Minolta AF Zoom 35-70mm f4 and is sharp as a tack!
The camera, lens, and 4 (AAA) batteries weigh in at 847 grams (1 lb 14 oz)!”

My caption that accompanied the picture on Flickr.

Have a great day – thanks for stopping by!

Chris

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Konica Kanpa! – A fun ‘Party Camera’ that takes your picture when you yell, “Kanpai!”

Confused??? Don’t be. Here’s a fun little 35mm film camera made by Konica in 1989. It’s called the Kanpai – essentially “cheers”. It’s a voice-activated camera that was designed to attach to a special mini tripod that allowed the camera to swivel (up to 100 degrees) and would take a picture whenever someone at a party yelled “cheers!” or whatever.

Part of our “Modern Classics” and “Plastic Fantastics” collection of film cameras.

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The microphone on the front of the camera (the 3 little holes next to the microphone icon) adjusts to the ambient sounds of a party and would then “listen” for when someone yelled “cheers” or whatever – it would then operate a small motor in the base which would turn the camera (when attached to the dedicated tripod) towards that sound and snap a picture. The lights above the microphone indicate the level of ambient sound and some degree of sensitivity.

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The “framing monitor” is simply an optical waist level finder. The LCD indicates the selectivity and sensitivity (little Pac-Man looking thingy) of the microphone and how far the camera rotates to capture an image when attached to the dedicated tripod.

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Not the original tripod – no cute shoes (yet).

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From a Konica press release: “One of three sound-level settings can be chosen. When used on low, the shutter is automatically released after 11 minutes and every three minutes thereafter even if no sound is detected, or when it detects a moderate noise level lasting at least 0.2 seconds. On medium and high sound-level settings, however, the camera fires only when responding to sounds with durations of 0.3 and 0.5 second or longer respectively (a single clap of the hands, for instance, won’t trip the shutter).

Although exposure interval times will vary with the camera’s sound-activated setting and noise levels, a 24-exposure roll of film typically will be fully exposed in 20 to 40 minutes. When mounted on its exclusive tabletop tripod, which couples to the camera’s film-wind motor, the Kanpai rotates left or right after each exposure (in a panning range of approximately 80 degrees) to capture action throughout the room. However, a tripod-mounted camera can also be fixed in one position. When not in its sound-activated release mode, the Konica Kanpai becomes a straightforward, fully automatic compact camera, featuring programmed auto-exposure, a fixed-focus 34mm lens, automatic film transport and ISO film-speed settings (100 & 400), and built-in flash. A clever framing monitor, located on the top of the camera, allows the photographer to take low or high-angle shots without having to look through the viewfinder.”

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The camera has a Konica 34mm f/ 5.6 fixed focus lens and an electronic programmed shutter capable of 1 to 1/200 sec. Designed to be used mostly indoors with the flash, I could see it being used as a street camera with its waist level finder.

Auto flash, self-timer, automatic exposure, and auto rewind. Date/time imprinting.

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Fresh batteries were inserted (by the way, the date/time defaulted to 1-1-87 and stops at 1-1-19). It takes (1) 2CR5 6V lithium battery and (1) CR2025 button battery.

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List price in 1989 was ¥30,000 (about $215 USD) in “stone” finish (we think this one is stone).

We’re still on the lookout for the original tripod and shoes! Many thanks go out to our friend Peggy at Camera Go Camera for passing along this super cool camera! By the way, her site has some neat “STUFF” that she’ll be happy to send your way – check it out!

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Available in red.

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Party Animal!

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“Let’s get the party started!”, “Kanpai!”, “Cheers!” – also works if you yell “BANZAI!”

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BANZAI, Daniel-san!

Thanks for stopping by! Remember, if you have some neat film cameras for sale – we are buyers! Contact us at chriscarol@ccstudio2380.com

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.

Was this beautiful lens, which was made exclusively for the Pentamatic II designed by Zunow Optical?

Simple Answer – Yes

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Yashica Auto Yashinon f/ 1.7 5.8cm lens designed exclusively for Yashica’s Pentamatic II. It appears for the first time in August 1960 and disappears from use by Yashica in January 1961. There’s no documentation about the lens and no hard evidence that Zunow made the lens. Hard evidence would be sales brochures or advertisements that specifically link Yashica and Zunow. Co-branding on the lens ring would have been nice but never happened. Unfortunately our claim that it was made by Zunow is, at this point in time, circumstantial and coincidental. Much more digging around needs to be done on our part.

The lens features the unique Pentamatic bayonet mount that couldn’t be used on any other SLR of the time without an adapter. That in and of itself could have been a major reason for the quick demise of the Pentamatic series of cameras.

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Two “clues” that link this lens to Zunow – the serial number style with its unique “No xxxxxx” vice the more typical serial number style that Tomioka used “No. xxxxxxxx” at the time (as did most lens makers). Another clue, the style of the lowercase “a” in Japan. Most Zunow lenses used a fat “a” vice the keyboard style lowercase “a”. We know, these are hardly the type of clues needed to link the two but they’re good ones for now.

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Close-up of a Zunow made f/ 1.8 4.5cm lens for the Yashica Lynx-1000 (1960). Note the fat “a” and distinctive serial number style.

Could the f/ 1.7 5.8cm lens have been made by Tomioka Optical? Of course, Tomioka was the almost exclusive lens supplier to Yashica since the beginnings of Yashica in 1953. We feel that Tomioka had their hands full making nearly 1,500 lenses per month for Yashica’s first Pentamatic model (which was still very much in production at the time), and then taking on this lens at about 1,000 lenses per month for the Pentamatic II may have been a bit much for Tomioka.

This lens is so radically different in design and function of other Tomioka made SLR lenses of the time (Tomioka only started making lenses for an SLR in September 1959 with no known examples found before that).

Here’s a peek inside of this lens –

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It features quality construction throughout and what we feel is another Zunow cue, 10 aperture blades. The Tomioka f/ 1.8 5.5cm lens for the original Pentamatic has only 6 blades. We’ve yet to take one apart (soon).

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Pictured above is the f/ 1.7 5.8 Pentamatic II lens with its 10 aperture blades. Below, the front lens group removed from the lens barrel.

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Original sales brochure (below) dated February 1961 featuring the Pentamatic II and its very unique lens.

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Is All of This Enough to Prove a Connection to Zunow?

No of course not. Our claim is a merely a starting point for further discussions and discoveries. We hope to disassemble the Tomioka f/ 1.8 5.5cm lens that was made for the first Pentamatic and compare it to this f/ 1.7 5.8cm lens for the Pentamatic II. By the way, the Pentamatic II was only available for sale in the domestic markets in Japan. There’s no evidence that it was ever exported. We do know that Zunow Optical and Yashica did have a working relationship by the mid 1950s with Zunow supplying high quality D mount cine lenses for Yashica’s 8mm movie cameras (see below).

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Thanks for your visit! Comments are always welcome and your input is important to us. This post is designed to stimulate discussion as to the validity of our assertions. Heck, we may have missed significant clues along the way that would either prove or disprove our claim.

By the way. A special shout out to my good friend and fellow Yashicaphile, Paul Sokk! Our frequent correspondence on this subject first planted the seed that this lens could have been made by Zunow. Paul rightly reminded me that the bankruptcy of Zunow in January 1961 coincided with Yashica stopping production of the Pentamatic II. Yashica is thought to have acquired Zunow after that and one would assume all of Zunow’s assets and debts.

Chris

Be sure to stop by our online store CC’s Studio Twenty-3 Eighty at https://www.ccstudio2380.com for some neat items of photographic interest! Thanks, C&C

Yashica Lynx – the ‘Wildcat’ in Yashica’s den!

We haven’t paid much attention to rangefinder cameras here on the “Fanatic” – it’s not that we don’t find them interesting – quite the opposite, many rangefinder cameras associated with Yashica are groundbreaking and historically significant and are worthy of further research.

The Yashica Lynx – aka the Lynx-1000. It was the first in a long line of successful fixed-lens rangefinder cameras from Yashica in the early 1960s. The first Lynx was made in May 1960 based on the serial number of the camera in an early sales brochure (in English below).

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We find early sales brochures extremely helpful when attempting to place a date of production of a camera. In this case, the serial number NO. 650048 would indicate that the Lynx was first produced in May 1960 (6 = 1960, 5 = May, 0048 = number 48th made).

This early box (below) confirms that Yashica referred to the camera as just the Lynx vice Lynx-1000 when it was first released. The success of the Lynx paved the way for the subsequent versions of the camera.

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Yashica Lynx Box 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided to get a Lynx mainly because of the reputation of its fast Yashinon f/1.8 4.5cm lens. The Lynx we received (below) has a working shutter and super clean glass. The camera’s exposure meter does not work which is typical for these nearly 60-year-old cameras.

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An overall clean example but missing an important piece – the rangefinder window is obviously missing with some damage visible to the internal pieces of the finder (top center above the lens).

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Our camera was produced in August 1960 and was the 723rd made.

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This lens (our camera) features a unique serial number (only 6 digits long) and is in a font that’s not consistent with earlier versions or versions that came later. We feel that this type of lens was made by Zunow Optical vice Tomioka Optical.

The lens on the Yashica Lynx has earned high praise and its reputation amongst photographers is top-notch. For the time period having a fast f/1.8 aperture combined with a leaf shutter (Copal-SV) with a top speed of 1/1000 second was a nice feature in a low-cost rangefinder.

***There is some chatter on more than a few Japanese blogs that some of the earliest lenses for the Lynx were made by the Zunow Optical Company. The majority of the lenses were made by Yashica’s normal lens maker, Tomioka Optical of Tokyo. No verifiable references or links are given in these Japanese blogs as to the source(s) of this claim – it would appear that at this time it may be a case of one blogger makes the claim and others simply followed suite. We’re not disputing these claims, in fact, we’re intrigued by them and have set out to either prove or disprove them. Zunow has an interesting place in the Japanese camera industry of the 1950s. In early 1958, Zunow made one of Japan’s first modern 35mm SLR cameras with a semi-automatic lens and instant return mirror. Interestingly the Zunow 35 and the Yashica Pentamatic 35 (Yashica’s first 35mm SLR –  1959) share a related look and design style that goes beyond coincidence. More on this in another post.

Back to Zunow Optical and the possible connection to the Lynx. Below is an example of a very similar looking f/1.8 4.5cm lens from Zunow made in about 1959 and was fixed to the Neoca-SV.

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Zunow f/1.8 4.5cm lens on the Neoca-SV. Compare the lens ring font with the font on the Yashinon lens pictured earlier in this post. To us, these were made by the same manufacturer.

One of the biggest clues for us that some of the Japanese bloggers claim that Zunow and Tomioka made the lenses for the Lynx are the similarities of the serial number fonts. The lens with the serial number No 40450 (Zunow pictured above) is in the same style as the serial number on our Yashinon lens (No359708). We have another Lynx headed our way with what we feel is a Tomioka version of the lens. We’ll take both lenses apart to see if there are differences in the design.

Thanks for stopping by! If you have additional information about anything we’ve blogged about please feel free to contact us. We’re never too old to learn something new!

Chris and Carol ^.^

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Zunow lens on the Neoca-SV

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Zunow? lens of the Yashica Lynx.

 

Finally! A Pentamatic II will be joining our Yashica family!

Success! After literally years of searching and countless missed bids, we’ve acquired a Yashica Pentamatic II. One of Yashica’s lowest production cameras – ever. Estimated at less than 5 thousand – and since it failed in the marketplace and wasn’t distributed outside of Japan, it wasn’t considered a collector’s camera and many were simply dumped whenever they broke. It’s hard to estimate how many exist today, but a wild guess would be around 1 to 2 thousand (and that may be high). Production started in August 1960 and for the most part ended in very early 1961 (late January) when the Pentamatic S came out worldwide.

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Yashica Pentamatic II – the hardest Pokemon of all to catch!

Our camera has the original short lived Auto Yashinon f1.7 5.8cm lens. It also has the correct leather strap and strap hangers and comes with the original Yashica metal lens cap and lower leather case.

This has been a long chase – but fun! The camera was sold as “junk” – Yahoo Japan Auction speak for a camera that is not functioning properly or has not been fully tested. Sometimes junk cameras are little gems and sometimes they are as the word junk implies.

We’ll have more about our exciting find in the next few weeks as our little Yashica sails or flies across the Pacific to our studio (at many thousands of yen).

Thanks for your visit and stay tuned!

Chris ^.^

Modern Classics – Fujifilm Zoom Date 110EZ

No it’s not a 110 film camera as the name might imply but one of the last in a long series of 35mm super compact cameras from Fuji.

This one debuted about late 2003 – not that long ago when you think about recent film cameras vs. emerging digital cameras.

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As the name implies, it has a zoom lens (38-110mm) and can imprint the date on the film.

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Autofocus, exposure, flash and red-eye reduction.

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Electronic shutter from 1/2 to 1/500th second.

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Nice bright viewfinder – large LCD with date/time imprint and super fast two position zoom buttons. The red power button is almost impossible to push with a normal fingertip. Too small for me.

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Power zoom Fujinon lens 38-110mm (f 6.3 to 11.7).

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The camera is one of the smallest in our collection of plastic fantastic Fujifilm compact 35s. It weighs in at only 190 grams without the CR123A lithium battery.

Automatic DX film ISO setting from ISO 50-3200. Automatic film loading and film advance and auto pre-wind system.

As we’ve stated before, these cameras are getting harder to find in still brand new condition (with all original factory issued stuff)… so, they are somewhat collectable and if you’re looking for a super compact film camera to take on your next outing, the Fujifilm line is a very good choice.

Studio Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

Thanks for your visit!

Chris

Shop Dog

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Shop dog keeping a watchful eye on me as I pass through his territory. 

Honmoku, Naka-ku, Yokohama late 1970s. One of my favorite images from that time period as the various shop dogs and cats were not easy to get pictures of. The late day sun helped to add depth to the composition.

Camera: Canon F-1 (1978 Version) with FD 80-200mm zoom lens on Kodachrome.

Chris

Pentamatic – Finally Found ‘in the wild’. Nerds heaven!

After many years of searching for proof that Yashica had in fact released its first production run (from December 1959) of the 5.5cm f1.8 Auto-Yashinon lenses for the Pentamatic ’35’ – we finally found one in the wild! Now it’s ours.

We stumbled upon this lens the other day on an online auction site. After some negotiations with the seller, we reached an accord. The camera this lens was mounted on was a pure dog… “Junk Treatment” as ‘Google Translates’ the kanji for crap (one would think) items. We took a chance that the lens was going to be OK. We’ve seen enough of these over the years to get a good feel – this one we just had to have even if it matched the condition of the camera body it was on. Man was it dirty – sooty and a tad yellow (the markings yellow over time). But it was a hidden gem. No mold – no fungus – no cleaning marks or haze – and, the best part, it focuses crisply and although the aperture blades are a bit worn, they move nicely (snappy as ‘they’ say).

The Pentamatic went into production at Yashica’s modern factory campus in Suwa, Nagano Prefecture in December 1959. At the same time, or just slightly before (maybe in October), Tomioka Optical started making the lenses for the first Pentamatics. We don’t know for certain if Tomioka delivered completed lenses to Yashica or only manufactured the optics for them and Yashica did the rest – we just don’t have that information yet.

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Here’s the lens we just acquired – Auto Yashinon 55mm (5.5cm) f1.8 which was the normal lens supplied with Yashica’s first Pentamatics. The background ad is from a ‘Popular Photography’ magazine – June 1960 issue. The ad lens serial number is – No. 59100581 – our lens serial number is – No. 59100092. Not often do you find a lens in the wild with a lower serial number than an ad. By the way, the advertisement was the first ever for the Pentamatic.

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The lens that is featured in one of the first sales brochures for the Pentamatic, is serial numbered – No. 59100036. Our lens was made just slightly after the lens in the brochure (same day?). We don’t know when the sales brochure came out. Our guess is March 1960. The photographs were probably taken by the marketing people in Yashica’s Shibuya headquarters sometime in late 1959 or early 1960.

We know – this is all super boring nerd stuff that only Yashica fanatics would find interesting – wait, that’s a great name for a blog… ‘Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic’. ^.^

So what does the serial numbers tell us? The SN No. 59100092 (our lens) translates to – made in 1959, the ’10’ is for October, and the 0092 is the sequential production number of the lens assembly. This means that Tomioka Optical started production of the new lenses for the Pentamatic as early as October 1959! Lenses made in 1960 are labeled No. 605xxxxx. The ‘5’ being a placekeeper or model number. The highest serial number we have in our collection is No. 60515157. That lens came with a Pentamatic body that was made in January 1961 and the lens was the 15,157th made up until that point.

The highest serial number seen in the wild is No. 60521460 which was mounted on a Pentamatic-S body.

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Thanks for your visit and if you made it to this point in the post, pat yourself on the back! You may be a bit of a camera nerd – just like us!

Chris & Carol ^.^

Pentamatic II Brochure

We finally have our proof that the original Pentamatic ’35’ and the Pentamatic II were advertised and sold in the Japanese domestic market. This brochure is dated February 1961 which validates the general release date of the model II. We have proof (via advertisements and brochures) that the Pentamatic S was also available for sale in Japan towards late 1961 (September?). By the way, included is this photo stream is a nice aerial view of Yashica’s factory complex in Suwa, Nagano Prefecture.

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