The Unremarkable Yashica FFT

The rather hard to chase down Yashica FFT – the last of its kind. I give this bugger a high chase factor of CF 9 not because it’s a sophisticated 35mm SLR with tons of features, it earns a CF 9 because Yashica just didn’t make a bunch of these things and when they were for sale I believe most of them stayed in Japan.

The serial number on this one is 41001738 (1974, October, and number 1,738 for that month up to that point).
HTF instruction booklet for a HTF camera.

No auto exposure or auto focus, no built-in power winder, and little to no style.

So what’s this gem’s claim to fame? It was the last m42 screw mount lens body in the Yashica family. Big deal. Something’s got to be last and this guy was it.

Yashica m42 lens mount bodies began in the Spring of 1961 and ended (maybe with this one) in the Autumn of 1974. Along the way such classics as the TL Electro X was made which was one of the first SLR’s with an IC “brain”.

I’ll test and review this camera soon (I know, you’ve heard that before!). BTW, I have no earthly idea what ‘FFT’ stands for if anything. Any ideas?

Uncluttered and unremarkable top plate. Simple.

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

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, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2021 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

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Thursday’s Camera – Yashica TL Super

A handsome no frills 35mm Single-Lens Reflex camera.

A camera worthy of a good chase – we were lucky enough to find this one complete with its original box back in 2016. Nice examples are out there but don’t rush into just any one you find. Remember, cameras this age will need some attention especially the light seals (an easy fix) and possibly a good cleaning. Avoid cameras with lots of external corrosion or pitting on the chrome finish and peeling leatherette. Signs of a moist environment which is death to older electronics.

This one we’re thinking is from about late 1967. It was first introduced in 1966.

It’s a beautiful camera… the silver paint from the factory is a bit smoother than later finishes which tend to be grainy.

Yashica’s first TTL metered SLR so it is an important camera in Yashica’s evolution to even more sophisticated 35mm SLRs in 1968. The next major camera in the line was the famous TL Electro X.

Made by Tomioka Optical, the super sharp 50mm f1.4 lens has a great reputation for producing quality images at all apertures.

The Yashica TL Super with a Auto Yashinon lens can be an affordable camera set to start your adventures in film photography. Look for clean and damage free bodies and always buy the best your budget will allow.

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

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, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2021 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Single Shot – Nikon U2

The Nikon U2 was the Japanese market version of the Nikon N75 in North America and F75 elsewhere. It was one of the last intermediate range consumer 35mm SLRs from Nikon. Released in 2003.

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Be sure to stop by my camera shop at http://www.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 © 2015-2020 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Happy SUNday! – bluejeans and cameras

Happy Sunday everyone – I hope y’all are safe, happy, and with your families.

Yashica PS on jeans

This was taken in early 2015 shortly after a walkabout with my Yashica Pentamatic S and Yashica 135mm lens. There’s nothing quite like an outing with a favorite camera (c. 1961) and an old pair of comfortable jeans (c. 1999).

Shot with my then Samsung Galaxy S4 in natural light. This pic was recently favored on my Flickr photostream by a visitor to my site. It reminds me that we leave a long electronic trail on the internet (so be careful what you post).

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to stop by my camera shop at http://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 © 2015-2020 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Canon EF – A Classic 35mm SLR

Canon EF 35mm SLR film camera from 1977. This one includes a super nice (and fast) Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C. lens.

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This is one of our all-time favorite Canon cameras to use – the Canon EF 35mm SLR film camera. Also known as the ‘Black Beauty’ for its generous expanses of semi-gloss black paint. It’s a close cousin to the famous Canon F-1 (the original from 1971) with the exception of no removable prisms.

It’s available for purchase direct from our collection in our online shop at https://www.ccstudio2380.com

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 © 2015-2020 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

 

Yashica Electro AX – Yashica’s goofy automatic exposure SLR

Yashica was known to design many quirky cameras during its run of existence. Here’s what the New York Times had to say about the Electro AX on November 4, 1973.

“A NEW fully automatic 35mm single‐lens‐reflex camera with an electronically controlled shutter has recently been introduced by Yashica, Inc. in the United States. Called the Yashica Electro AX, the camera has actually been available for some time in Japan and Europe, but it is only now reaching the American market.

Unlike most of the fully automatic cameras currently being marketed, the Electro AX is designed so that the photographer selects the aperture he wants. An electronic exposure control circuit then automatically sets the shutter speed at any one of an infinite number of different settings from 1/1,000 of a second to a full 8 seconds. When set for manual operation (at the photographer’s choice) the user can manually select speeds in the usual gradations of from one second to 1/1,000 of a second, as well as a “B” setting for time exposures.

Because of the electronic focal plane metal shutter, the entire exposure system is solid-state without any delicate moving mechanical parts.

When focusing, the diaphragm is closed down to the aperture selected, but for dim light situations, the photographer can press a button on the front which opens the diaphragm while focusing, without affecting the actual exposure setting. One unusual feature of the Electro AX is a green signal light on top that glows when the shutter is open — a useful aid when the built‐in self-timer is used, or with long exposure shots.

The camera has a CdS solid-state sensor located behind the viewing mirror, in front of the shutter. The split image viewfinder has a microprism focusing spot in the center, and there are red and yellow exposure indicator arrows that light up in the viewfinder to warn of overexposure or very slow shutter speed (when on automatic).

Other features include a built‐in light shield operated by a lever on front to prevent light leaks through the viewfinder when the eyepiece is uncovered, an ASA range from 25 to 1600, a battery check lamp which also illuminates the exposure counter, and a double lock for the back cover which prevents accidental opening. The Electro AX is priced at under $600 with an f/1.2 lens, about $500 with an f/1.4 lens, or under $460 with f/1.7 lens.”

By serial number decoding, it looks like the first models were manufactured in March-April 1973 so as the article points out, there was quite a lag in releasing it in the US markets.

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A Japanese sales brochure dated early 1974 and I have another (not pictured) dated March 1973.

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The Electro AX was the second to the last M42 screw mount lens body cameras made by Yashica. It appears that the last model is the super hard to find Yashica FFT. BTW, I have no idea what if anything the FFT stands for.

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This Yashica FFT instruction booklet is dated June 1973. It would appear that this final M42 body came out just a few months after the Electro AX and they were in production at the same time and ended about the same time in early 1974.

An FFT in good condition is a very hard camera to find here in the US and I’m convinced it didn’t enjoy a long run in US camera stores. I would love to find some brochures in English and of course a good looking FFT.

Back to the Electro AX.

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The AX was one of the first Yashica SLRs to have the ability to shut a small curtain in the viewfinder to block light from entering during long exposures and “selfies”. It’s the little lever next to the eyepiece. It’s also the first Yashica SLR to have leatherette covering part of the pentaprism. An early prototype of the first Yashica Pentamatic had the same look before Yashica changed to an all-metal pentaprism.

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The big black button just above the self-timer lever is an Aperture Activator Button. Pressing it allowed the photographer to focus and compose at full aperture. The aperture would automatically close down to the selected setting once the Film Advance Lever was operated.

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On full auto, the camera would select the proper shutter speed given the aperture selected on the lens. A series of over and underexposure arrows would appear (when the shutter release button is pressed halfway down) in the viewfinder display indicating which f-stop to select.

The goofy comes in when switching to full manual. You would set the proper shutter speed and correct f-stop (aperture) on the lens based on readings from an external exposure (light) meter. In the manual mode, the AX can not meter thru the lens. Kinda dumb for an electronic camera with a computer brain.

Due to the design of the semi-transparent mirror, the following lenses can not be used on the Electro AX – Yashinon-DX 21mm f/3.3, the Auto Yashinon-DX 28mm f/2.8, and the Auto Yashinon-DX 50mm f/2, f/1.7, f/1.4.

The Electro AX was initially released with Auto Yashinon-DS lenses.

Thanks for stopping by. When I get the correct battery for it I hope to shoot a test roll and post the results. – 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.

A rare Yashica Pentamatic II instruction booklet surfaces.

Every now and again something new turns up in our never-ending search for the complete history of the Yashica Pentamatic series of 35mm SLR cameras. The first model of the Pentamatic was dated (by serial number) in December 1959 and the last, the Pentamatic S ended in March 1962. In between the Pentamatic II had a short run from August 1960 to January 1961. Fewer than 26,000 Pentamatics were made (of all models) during its brief run which makes the Pentamatic one of the hardest to find models in Yashica’s historical line-up of SLR cameras.

A recent online auction featured this never before seen instruction booklet (below).

Yashica P2 book lolo

It’s not much to look at as the cover is devoid of any attempt to market the camera.

My best guess is that the booklet is an English edition of the Pentamatic II instructions. The Japanese edition (below) is much more in keeping with the style of the other books. My good friend and Yashica collaborator Paul Sokk and I agree that the Pentamatic II was never released for sale outside of Japan which makes the discovery of this white cover booklet for the Pentamatic II that much more interesting.

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Front and back covers of the Pentamatic II instruction booklet. It’s the only manual found so far that’s printed in Japanese.

Here are all three of the instruction booklets for the Yashica Pentamatic (below).

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Up to this point, these were the only known Pentamatic instruction booklets.

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Here’s a scan of the first page inside the white covered booklet – pictured is a Pentamatic II with it’s Zunow sourced 5.8cm f/1.7 lens. The camera is still identified as the original Pentamatic in this image, however.

So the big question is why did Yashica print this instruction booklet in English when from all evidence the Pentamatic II wasn’t released for sale outside of Japan? A secondary question is why did they choose to not title the booklet as being for the Pentamatic II? Our best guess is that a few Pentamatic II models were in fact sold in Japan possibly in military exchanges and in duty-free shops and an English version was needed. It’s also possible that a few Pentamatic II’s were sold outside of Japan and the booklet was produced to supplement the camera. Nothing yet to prove that the Pentamatic II was sold outside of Japan but the existence of this book adds a new wrinkle to the history of this camera.

Thanks for stopping by and as always, if you have additional info about any of the three Pentamatic models please share it with us. 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.

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.

Canon T50 and T70

Overlooked 35mm SLRs from the early 1980s. They feature built-in power winders and have auto exposure too. Both cameras accept all of Canon’s FD lenses which are still available in bunches!

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If you find these for sale in like-new condition and working then definitely snatch one up. They make great basic film cameras to develop your film photography skills.

These two were part of my ever-changing Canon collection over the years. I believe I sold these in 2011.

I’m always on the hunt for quality Canon, Yashica and Nikon cameras. Please feel free to contact me if you’re interested in selling yours. We are very active buyers of almost all types of photo gear. Contact us at ccphotographyai@gmail.com

Thanks – C&C

Canon F-1 35mm SLR

Canon F-1 35mm single-lens reflex camera from 1975.

This beautiful Canon is part of my extensive Canon camera collection. Having said that, it’s time to pare down some of my collection. Besides being super clean, this camera has been fully tested and is working perfectly. I’ve installed new film door light seals and a new mirror bumper pad. It has a fresh battery and it will come with its original Canon nylon neck/shoulder strap, the original Canon body cap, and two Canon books. The instruction book is a high-quality copy dated 03/1975 and the F-1 sales brochure is dated 03/1978 and it’s an original.

The camera. If you’ve never had the opportunity to shoot with an F-1 then you’d be very happy with this camera. The F-1 is a professional grade camera designed to last a lifetime. It’s a pleasure to use and of course, it accepts all of Canon’s FD and FL lenses and a ton of accessories.

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It’s available at http://www.ccstudio2380.com and here in this post (see below).

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The original Canon F-1 is a fully manual camera – you control the focus, you set the lens aperture and shutter speed, and you determine the proper exposure using the thru-the-lens (TTL) built-in light meter. It’s film photography at its purest.

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This camera is available through my Etsy camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com of you can purchase it directly from this post.

Canon F-1 35mm SLR Film Camera

As described in the accompanying post. Fully serviced, tested and ready to roll. I'll mail it pretty much worldwide but please ask for a shipping quote for outside the US. Thanks, Chris

$194.75