Tomioka 55mm, f/ 1.2 Lens – Lowest Serial Number Found

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Made by Tomioka Optical of Tokyo, Japan for Yashica. Yashica “allowed” a few of their Auto Yashinon 55mm, f/ 1.2 lenses to also carry Tomioka’s name. This is a M42 mount lens.

The serial number (lowest found so far) decodes to – No. 5520128 which is ‘552’ is the lens model number (55mm f/ 1.2) and the ‘0128’ is the production sequence number. 128 being the 128th lens made.

These super lenses in excellent condition bring around $800 to $1200 depending on the goodies that might be included (front and rear caps, case) and what not.

Chris

Pentamatic S – 1961

Yashica Pentamatic S with its no name clip-on light meter.

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S fitted with its light meter, lens hood and the standard 5.8cm f/1.7 lens that came with the Pentamatic II.

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Pentamatic S

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Standard lens for the Pentamatic II here fitted to the S – Auto Yashinon f/1.7 5.8cm made by Tomioka Optical.

The Yashica Pentamatic S was available in 1961 and came with the Auto Yashinon f/1.8 5.5cm lens.

Chris

Reflections – 1972

Self portrait at 18

Cocoa Beach, Florida March 1972

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Camera:  Yashica TL Electro-X

Lens:  Auto Yashinon 50mm f1.7 lens

Film:  Kodak Plus X Pan

Processing:  Self processed

Scanner:  Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II

Part of a collection of negatives that I shot while at college in South Florida. These have never been printed and have only just recently been ‘found’ again. Wow, 45 years ago!

Earliest Pentamatic Lenses Found… Yeah!

Nerd heaven! After years of speculation and almost constant searching, we’ve been able to confirm that Tomioka Optical began making lenses for Yashica’s new Pentamatic 35mm SLR camera in the latter part of 1959. The two lenses pictured below confirm (via serial numbers) of an October 1959 start of production. Yashica had filed for a trademark of the name ‘Pentamatic’ in September 1959 (in Japan). Since their new camera used an exclusive mount for its lenses, Yashica designers had to have shared their design with Tomioka as early as the summer (August ?) of 1959.

Using the rule of twos, these lenses are the earliest in our collection.

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By serial number the left lens was built in October 1959 and it was the 92nd lens made. The right lens was built in December 1959 and by then Tomioka had built 1,630 lenses for Yashica.

No.  59 = 1959   10 = October  0092 = 92nd made

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No.  59 = 1959  12 = December  1630 = 1,630th made  

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Here’s our lens matched up to an advertisement in ‘Popular Photography’ magazine from the June 1960 issue. The lens in the ad is No. 59100581 which decodes to – October 1959, lens number 581 in the sequential production run. So in October, Tomioka had made nearly 600 lenses and by December they were up to 1,630 made. Certainly possible that they were averaging nearly 600 lenses per month in late 1959.

It’s a good find for us as the early serial numbers were just a guess on our part as to how they decoded. Having two lenses made before 1960 helped firm up our speculation. Lenses made in 1960 drop the month code in favor of a model number or code. A typical 1960 lens would have a serial number of:  No. 605xxxxx which would be 60 = 1960  5 = model code  xxxxx = production sequence number.

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Serial number No. 60515001 decodes to 60 = 1960  5 = model code  15001 = 15,001 made since production began in October 1959.

If you’re a collector of Pentamatics or are just interested in Yashica cameras in general, this is important info. We know, total nerd stuff!

Thanks for your visit.

Chris

Yashica ヤシカ J-3 in Pro-Black

Another of our favorites in the Yashica family. This limited edition J-3 is rather rare to find in nearly new condition these days. We haven’t found evidence from Yashica of the when and why they chose this model to be their first SLR in black (with matching lens). In all the brochures and pamphlets we’ve been able to read, nothing has ever been written about it and no pictures from Yashica either. We’ve checked Japanese home market sales brochures and of course those available in English. Not one word! The serial numbers (both the bodies and lenses) run within a small time period of mid 1962 (we believe).

***Please if a reader has more information about this elusive J let us know!

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J-3 finished a roll of Sakura film.

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Not quite the heavyweight the Pentamatic is but still a beast at just over 900 grams!

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Same family but very distant cousins! Yashica made countless changes in its SLR line-up in just under three years.

As always… thanks for the visit!

Chris & Carol