studio model

Camera and film test of our Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Carol’s pattern model always comes through in a pinch.

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Studio Camera: Canon EOS Rebel 2000 at 80mm on Fujicolor Superia

Original Pentamatic Accessories

Some of the original accessories that were available for the new Pentamatic…

When Yashica’s first single lens reflex (SLR) 35mm camera hit the world markets in the May-June 1960 time period, they were ready with a host of well designed accessories. From simple screw-in filters to extension tubes and the new bayonet mount lenses, Yashica had a nice selection to choose from. Here are just a few examples…

Pentamatic Right Angle Finder for low angle and close-up photography. This simple finder mounted securely to the camera's eyepiece and had adjustments for focus and could be rotated 90 degrees to the left for vertical copy work. The image is reversed so it does require some getting used to. Here it's mounted to my Pentamatic-S.

Pentamatic ‘Right Angle Finder’ for low angle and close-up photography. This simple finder mounted securely to the camera’s eyepiece and had adjustments for focus and could be rotated 90 degrees to the left for vertical copy work. The image is reversed so it does require some getting used to. Here it’s mounted to our Pentamatic-S.

A small collection of boxes gives some idea as to the diversity of the early accessories. Note the general theme of the design... each shows-off the "pentaprism" design of the camera. The right angle finder box appears to be from a slightly later design as it has a different look from the other two.

A small collection of boxes gives some idea as to the diversity of the early accessories. Note the general theme of the design… each shows off the pentaprism design of the camera. The right angle finder box appears to be from a slightly later design as it has a different look from the other two.

Pentamatic Extension Tubes mounted on my Model-S Pentamatic camera body and Auto-Yashinon 5.8 cm (58 mm) f/1.7 standard lens. The lens is super bright and is super heavy! Camera and lens weigh-in at 2 lbs 5 oz (1056 g)!

Pentamatic ‘Extension Tubes’ mounted on our Model-S Pentamatic camera body and Auto-Yashinon 5.8 cm (58 mm) f/1.7 standard lens. The lens is super bright and is super heavy! Camera and lens weigh-in at 2 lbs 5 oz (1056 g)!

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Thanks for stopping by!

Chris

Early Yashica Pentamatic Brochure – US

Very early if not the earliest printed in the US sales brochure for the new Pentamatic.

We’re thinking the summer of 1960…

We haven’t found an earlier brochure that features the Pentamatic then this one – “Printed in the U.S.A.” on the back cover using the 234 Fifth Avenue, New York 1, N.Y. address. The cover is amazing in that other than Yashica’s name and an image of the camera, there’s no other writing. No “Pentamatic” – just an image of the camera. That was a first for Yashica as best as we can tell.

The first magazine advertisement was June 1960 in the US so we don’t believe this brochure was out before that. The only problem with our thinking is that most of the other cameras featured inside this brochure are 1959 model cameras and in some cases late 1958. There could even be a few that came out in early 1960. The two pages we’ve scanned (see below) contain an interesting wealth of info on the features and accessories for the Pentamatic. Of note, the lens serial number (No. 59100036) puts that lens to be one of the first lenses Tomioka made for Yashica with the new Pentamatic exclusive bayonet mount – 59 = 1959, 10 = October, 0036 = the 36th made in the production run.

We know from our research that the October 1959 date for the lens is 2 full months early from the first Pentamatic bodies (December 1960). Our best guess is that Tomioka Optical (the maker of the lens) needed to start production of the standard lens early in order to meet the demand for the camera body itself. No proof exists yet but it’s the best decoding of the lens serial number we can come up.

Page 1 provides a wealth of info for Yashica's first 35mm SLR.

Page 1 provides a wealth of info for Yashica’s first 35mm SLR.

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Page 2 shows (with prices) a nice selection of accessories for the Pentamatic. It appears that at the time of this brochure that there were 5 lenses available in the Pentamatic bayonet mount.

 

 

 

 

 

Yashica Pentamatic II at a recent auction.

If you’ve been following our blog about the Yashica Pentamatic II, then you know that it had one of the shorter production runs of any 35mm Yashica SLR camera. Released in September of 1960 – only a few months after the original Pentamatic went on sale in May of 1960, the model II was replaced by the Pentamatic S by January 1961.

So few of these come up at auction that’s it difficult for a collector to find a good example of one to bid on. This Pentamatic II (pictured below), just sold on an online auction for ¥8,500 with fairly robust bidding activity. While that’s not an extremely high final sales figure, it was rather high in our opinion for a camera that may not be functional with a lens that may have some issues (fungus, mold). Having said that, given just how rare the Pentamatic II is, it is certainly undervalued by some collectors. The camera set looks to be in good condition overall – no major issues seen with the body and it looks complete.

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The serial number (NO. 96001891) would indicate that this body was made in September 1960, and that it was number 1,891 in the production run. For one month that is actually a high amount produced compared to the monthly totals of the original Pentamatic. We will point out that the only change that we’ve been able to find between the two models is that the model II uses a different standard lens – 5.8cm, f/ 1.7 Auto-Yashinon vice the original’s 5.5cm, f/ 1.8 A-Y lens.

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So there you have it – a Pentamatic II with the correct lens, strap and a genuine Yashica filter sold for around $80. You should expect to pay in the vicinity of $100 for a clean version with certified working shutter.

Thanks for your visit and as always, happy hunting!

Chris

Fuji Photo Film – Fuji Pet 35

From 1959, Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. follow-up to their widely popular Fujipet 120 film camera. The Pet 35 took advantage of the growing popularity of 35mm photography – plus it’s a great way to sell more film!

The Pet 35 was way more sophisticated than the Fujipet – but retained the funky charm and quirkiness of the original. Since the Pet 35 is not a common camera, we’ve presented a visual tour of our almost mint condition Pet 35.

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Original set as found. We have the leather case too.

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The lens is a Fujinar-K 3 element glass lens – 45mm with a maximum aperture of f/3.5 with closest focussing to 0.5 meters.

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The lever to the right of the lens cocks the shutter and the left lever trips the Copal B leaf shutter.

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The Copal shutter features speeds of B, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 and 1/200 of a second.

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In keeping with the funky design – two oversized knobs that left no doubt on how to operate them.

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The body is dark gray on this Pet 35.

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Outer ring is the focus adjustment, next is the shutter speed selector and finally the aperture settings.

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The original Pet 35 lens cap.

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Nicely detailed and finished.

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Early 1960s Fuji Film Neopan SS – ASA 100. How about film for only ¥190!

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Original selling price was ¥3,400 – the leather case sold for ¥700 and a soft case was available for ¥350

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Original sales brochure specs.

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The viewfinder is bright and clear – and big for such a small camera.

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ASA reminder scale and film back release.

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The Pet 35 is far from being a ‘toy camera’ as its build quality is quite high. No foam or yarn light seals to fail – the metal film door fit tightly into the body to seal out light.

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Gotta love the Fuji Film stickers inside!

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Thanks so much for your visit – we hope that you enjoyed our tour of this fantastic Fuji!

Studio Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

Chris & Carol ^.^

Yashica Pentamatic Refreshed –

20160326_164016_richtonehdrThe beautiful, simple and clean lines of Yashica’s first SLR.

If you’re new to the Yashica Pentamatic then you’re in luck as this is the best place to be for the most accurate information about the mysterious Pentamatic. First envisioned when Yashica acquired the Nicca Camera Company in the summer of 1958. Yashica needed the technology and manufacturing know-how that Nicca had – focal plane shutters and the ability to build small complicated 35mm SLRs.

The timeline as best as we can tell looks like this – Yashica “invents” the Pentamatic in the summer of 1959. Yashica files for the trademark ‘Pentamatic’ in Japan September 18, 1959. The first Pentamatic bayonet mount lenses are made by Tomioka Optical for Yashica in October 1959. The first Pentamatic bodies roll off Yashica’s line by December 1959.

Yashica files for a patent/trademark in the US on February 12, 1960. The Pentamatic ’35’ is revealed at the ’36th Master Photo Dealers & Finishers Association Trade Show’ (St. Louis) in late March 1960. The lens shown on that Pentamatic is an Auto Yashinon 5.5cm f1.8 lens (SN 59100035). By April-May 1960, the first pictures appear in photography magazines in the US from the St. Louis show. The first Yashica Pentamatic ’35’ advertisements appear in both ‘Popular Photography’ and ‘Modern Photography’ magazines in their June 1960 issues. Ads within those publications have dealers in New York selling Pentamatics for $159.95.

JN Pentamatic SN 16000375Decoding serial numbers… Yashica has never been upfront with the dating of their cameras, lenses or printed materials. Instruction booklets and sales brochures are only occasionally dated and those were mostly in the 1950s and then again in the 1970s. Camera bodies and lenses (and accessories) remained a mystery until now. We believe we’ve finally decoded the serial numbers of Yashica’s first 35mm SLR, the Pentamatic. Look closely at this camera’s serial number… 16000375… knowing a little bit about when this camera was “invented” helped us decode the number. The trademark “Pentamatic” was filed by Yashica in September 1959 in Japan. The first lenses were built in October 1959 with the first bodies produced by December 1959. This camera (above) dates… 1 = January / 60 = 1960 / 00375 = 375th unit made since December 1959. The latest camera in our database has a serial number of 16115756. This decodes to… January 1961 and was the 15,756th unit produced since December of 1959.

16233739912_d43f6fb30f_oThis Pentamatic body (above) decodes to… 3 = March / 60 = 1960 / 01500 = 1,500th made up to that point.

Bold bright colors...

Clean simple lines. Show the customers that this camera was a SLR! Not your dad’s TLR.

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Inspiration and the technical know-how came from the Nicca Camera Company. Pictured on the left is an early Nicca 3-F.

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By May 1960, number 3,354 had been made.

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Earliest lens serial number (in our collection) decodes to – October 1959, the 92nd made. The ad behind it is a much higher serial number and appeared in a June 1960 ‘Popular Photography’ magazine ad.

The original Pentamatic ’35’ is a fun and challenging camera to collect. Knowing a little something about the serial numbers may add to your enjoyment of the chase. There was a short lived Pentamatic II (well less than 10K made) and another short run of the Pentamatic S which was the last model before Yashica ditched the Pentamatic bayonet mount in favor of the universal M42 mount.

Happy hunting! Questions? We’ve got answers.

Chris & Carol

 

Yashica J-7 …1966 / update 1

The last in Yashica’s “J” series of 35mm single-lens reflex cameras. These wonderful cameras carried Yashica through the dynamic changes in 35mm photography during that decade.

The J-7 is not a common camera. We don’t have a feel for the amount of sales for this model. The Yashica TL Electro-X was on the horizon – the J-7 was the last of the old technology bodies. Soon thru-the-lens (TTL) metering would turn things around for Yashica.

Here’s a photo essay of this classic and classy camera…

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Yashica J-7 35mm SLR film camera. The last of the ‘Penta J’ series of cameras from Yashica. The J-3, J-4, J-5 and then the J-7. All were well-designed heavyweights… lots of brass and glass. No TTL metering.

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Also of note is that this is the first time that Yashica lists “Yashica Trading Co., Ltd.” at its Jingumae, Shibuya-ku headquarters. The J-7 was the last of the “J” series and the TL-Super was Yashica’s first TTL exposure metered 35mm SLR.

There are two slight variations on the TL-Super. Version 1 is shown here. Look closely at the film advance lever… it is all silver very similar to the J-3. On the Version 2 of the TL-Super the lever is very similar to the later TL-Electro X with part of the lever silver and the rest black plastic.

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CdS light meter sensor “window”.

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Rare complete set with the original box.

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The J-7 is about as hard to find (in nice condition) as the J-4. The J-5 and J-3 being the most common. Each model makes a very fine camera to get into film photography with as most average (working) bodies going for well less than $50. Since the Yashica uses the universal M42 screw-in lens mount, there’s a whole world of outstanding lenses to choose from and not break the bank.

Good luck!

Chris and Carol ^.^