Yashica’s First 35mm Cameras – 1958-59

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From a rather hard to find (OK, kinda rare) sales brochure (above) from late 1960 or early 1961.

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The Yashica 35 YK (identified here simply as the “K type”) is the least expensive of the cameras and was produced in large numbers starting in June 1959. The camera is marked with the “YK” on the front right of the body in gold while the top has Yashica engraved in it next to the serial number (pictured below).

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Yashica 35 K type – aka the YK

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The Yashica 35 (above) was the first 35mm rangefinder camera from Yashica. In this brochure, the marketing department has added an “S” as part of the description of the camera (f2.8 lens). It appears from my translation that the “S” may have to do with something about the lens – either a new coating or some other design feature(s) which makes it new. Of course, it may be simple marketing hype as the 35 was getting on in years by this time.

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The Yashica 35 Fair-Way (YF) is the only one in this series that was given a name that I’m aware of. It’s also the only one marked Yashica and Nicca. It was a transition camera as Yashica had just acquired Nicca in 1958. It’s one of the most expensive in this series to acquire as sellers recognize the relative rarity of the model especially in mint or excellent condition.

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Yashica’s first interchangeable lens 35mm rangefinder camera – basically a Nicca in Yashica cladding.

The Yashica 35 E type (above) is also known as the Yashica YE which is engraved in the top plate. Here again, it’s a case of the marketing department manipulating the name of the camera – either to make it appear as a new model of it may be that the Japanese market tends to simplify the names of cameras. I believe that the unifying theme here is that Yashica wanted each of these cameras to feel connected to one another. By using the common name Yashica 35 “X” type the cameras couldn’t be mistaken for anything but a 35mm camera from a company known for TLRs and 8mm movie cameras.

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My one and only Yashica YE

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Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit my shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com for some classic collectible cameras and photo gear. – 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.

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.

Nicca 3-S on location

1950s vintage Nicca rangefinder 35mm camera shot on location – c1911 post office.

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After a day spent on a photowalk in our local historic district, our Nicca takes a break for a beauty shot. The mid afternoon lighting is always just right in this 100 year old post office – the table once held ink wells (the hole behind the camera) and the wood table top has such a wonderful patina and texture.

Our Nicca 3-S is fully operational – it’s considered to be one of the best Leica copy cameras produced in Japan in the early part of the 1950s. The 5cm f/ 2 lens is made by Nikon and is clear and sharp.

Of interest, the <E.P> mark on the rewind knob (extreme left) indicates that this camera was available for sale in Japan as an exempt purchase, meaning that it was for sale only to military personnel and their families, diplomatic personnel and their families and possibly available at duty free shops. Photogear marked with the <E.P> symbol was not for sale to Japanese citizens as it was tax exempt.

Thanks for your visit!

Chris

Shameless plug – stop by our e-commerce shop at https://www.ccstudio2380.com for more great and interesting stuff! ^.^

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.

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

Newest Pentamatic – another fine Yashica joins the family.

A recently acquired Yashica Pentamatic for our collection. This one came to us from a fellow collector here in the southeast US.

This one includes the Auto Yashinon 5.5c f/1.8 lens that puts the lens as a very late production model (maybe mid 1961). Here’s a chance to check out our Pentamatic from many angles.

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The angled shutter release button is in a perfect position for maintaining a solid grip on this heavy body while releasing the shutter.

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The lens serial number, No. 60521000 is unique in the fact that it’s a whole number (21000).

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The cold shoe is mounted on the camera’s left side top plate. Actually a very good spot for it.

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This unique lever controls the rewind knob which pops up from under the cold shoe (it moves from the “A” position).

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The body serial number, NO. 126013189 decodes to: 12 = December, 60 = 1960, 13189 = 13,189th made since December of 1959.

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The lever is now in the “O” position which allows the back to be unlocked.

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Pulling up the rewind knob completes the opening.

Our love affair with this fine camera continues. We just can’t get over the clean lines and excellent design.

If you want to acquire a nice Pentamatic for your own collection, they come up occasionally on US online auction sites and infrequently on auction sites in Japan. Nice examples can be had for under $50. Super nice examples will go closer to $100 with some guarantee of functionality from the seller.

Yashinon Lenses – 1962*

That date* might be a bit misleading as the sales brochure this was scanned from is undated (as is most Yashica marketing stuff). Our only clue as to the date is that it (the brochure) features the newly released J-3 and doesn’t include any other Yashica SLR. No Penta J or Reflex 35 (same camera different markets) and no J-5.

We like it because it features the Yashinon lenses available at that time. If you look closely at the mounts of the lenses, you’ll see the M42 screw-in mount. Yashica does state in the brochure that all of these lenses are available in both the Yashica Pentamatic bayonet mount and the M42 mount. My friend Paul, see An Interview with Paul Sokk – Site Author of the popular YashicaTLR.com , has proposed that Yashica may have distributed these lenses to dealers (market dependent) with both mounts – meaning that they were shipped with the “new to Yashica” M42 mounts but could be converted easily at the dealer level to bayonet mounts for the Pentamatic. Sounds very possible. At this time, Yashica also sold adapter rings for mounting their M42 lenses to Exakta mount bodies and for mounting Praktica mount (M42) lenses to their Pentamatics. Confusing? Yes. Yashica guessed incorrectly when they choose to design their own bayonet mount for the Pentamatic back in 1959. Was it Yashica or was it Tomioka’s designers? How about the ex Nicca and Zunow designers? We may never know but it doomed the Pentamatic right out of the gate.

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Excellent snapshot of the lenses that were available at the time. The dual mounts (bayonet and M42) reflects Yashica’s indecision as to which mount to embrace.

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Cover of the sales brochure that was included with our Yashica J-3 when new.

It is generally believed that all of these lenses were made by Tomioka Optical of Tokyo.

While some early Pentamatic bayonet mount lenses bear the Tomioka and sometimes Tominon names, most only carry Yashica and Yashinon. The same applies to the M42 mount lenses. Some can be found with Tominon but most simply have Yashinon. We don’t have positive proof that some lenses (both types) may have been made by another lens manufacturer. But whom? Taiho Optical (which was the former Nicca Camera hidden away in Suwa) but was really Yashica, or or or. We just don’t know. Pure speculation to think that another company did, but then again, no proof that there wasn’t another maker.

Thanks so much for your visit! If you made it this far you just may be a “Yashicaphile” or just Yashica junkies like us. Do you have something to contribute??? We’d love to hear from you and would love to include your info in our blog. Thanks! ^.^

Chris & Carol

Fujicaflex Automat – Fuji Photo Film’s 1st TLR – 1954

Vintage camera wish list item 101.

The Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd., Fujicaflex 

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Designed to incorporate the best features that were available in the medium format twin-lens reflex camera market, the Fujicaflex debuted in 1954 – at a very premium price, we might add. While surfing today, we stumbled upon this wonderful site from Fujifilm Europe. You can check it out here

It’s nice to see a large corporation like Fujifilm blog about some of the really cool cameras that helped make their company great. In another blog, they go on to talk about the amazing Fujipet from 1957.

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For more about this wonderful camera, take a trip here too to see Mr. Yoshinobu Koyasu’s camera collection… it is not to be missed!

It’s certainly interesting to read (Fujifilm Europe’s blog) – the older posts that pay tribute to the cameras of their roots are so interesting.

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My Fujicaflex acquired in 2018 from a collector in Thailand. Finally!

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Please stop by my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

 

Yashica Pentamatic ’35’ vs. Pentamatic II

Why did Yashica bring out the Pentamatic II less than a year after releasing the original model?

The only difference we can tell between the original Yashica Pentamatic ’35’ and the Pentamatic II (which came out around September 1960), is the standard lens that was mated with the camera body. The original Pentamatic came with the Auto-Yashinon, f/ 1.8, 5.5cm fully automatic 6 element lens. Of course it has the unique Pentamatic bayonet mount and not the M42 screw mount. The Pentamatic II came with the Auto-Yashinon, f/ 1.7, 5.8cm lens (pictured below). Both lenses were made for Yashica by Tomioka Optical of Tokyo. We imagine the 58mm, f/ 1.7 lens was a bit faster than the f/ 1.8… but we don’t see why Yashica changed from the model I to the model II and why they changed the lens… we may never discover the reason either.

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The standard lens for the Pentamatic II – 5.8cm, f/ 1.7

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Gorgeous lens for the Pentamatic II.

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The first sighting of the Pentamatic II in a sales brochure for the Japanese home market.

We’ve yet to find an advertisement for the Pentamatic II in English and along those same lines, have yet to find the Pentamatic II in a sales brochure in English. The Pentamatic S replaced the model II less than a year after its release. The model S went back to using the original 5.5cm, f/ 1.8 lens that was on the original Pentamatic.

That makes the Auto-Yashinon 5.8cm, f/ 1.7 lenses one of the rarest of the early Pentamatic bayonet mount lenses.

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Happy hunting!

Chris