Yashica Mystery – what is it and what does it mean?

Contributor and Yashica aficionado, Graham Buxton-Smither posted this picture in my Flickr Group, https://www.flickr.com/groups/2734130@N24/pool/ the other day asking if I’d ever seen this type of serial number on a Yashica TL Electro X (pro-black body) before. I haven’t so I thought it would be good to broadcast it in this blog in hopes of discovering something about it.


Serial number with its odd two letter prefix ‘FI’. Photo courtesy of Graham Buxton-Smither https://www.flickr.com/photos/164456136@N06/

The serial number itself is unremarkable in the sense that it follows along with the standard for a Yashica SLR. It decodes to December 1969 as the manufacture date. The ‘FI’ has no previous use that I’m aware of so it was a surprise to see it. Graham states that it is on a one owner Yashica TL Electro X purchased in the UK when new. It appears to be a factory mark as the black paint looks undisturbed.

I’m stumped as there isn’t an example anywhere in my databases. I can’t even fathom a guess at this point.

Any help including guesses will be appreciated.

Thanks – Chris



In the Shop – new listings added this week

New in the shop this week is (as always) an interesting mix of classic cameras and vintage photo gear. Take a peek at some of what’s new at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

sale 6-8

Everything’s on sale at 10% off my already value priced items. I ship pretty much worldwide and typically get your item in the mail in one day or less.

sale 6-8-19

There’s many more items not shown so stop by http://www.ccstudio2380.com to see the entire inventory. 

sale today

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 © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Just Arrived! New items in the shop.

Some new items have just been listed in my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com


Canon EOS nylon camera strap from the 1980s. New, never used. Super nice.


A must have original (not a copy) Canon Booster T Finder instruction book. Near mint condition.


Hyper rare Minolta Six 6×6 cm medium format 120 roll film camera from 1936. This was the first camera to carry the Minolta name and was the first 6×6 cm camera made in Japan.


Classic early 1970s Mamiya/Sekor 35mm SLR – the 1000 DTL was a landmark camera from Mamiya.


Super cool camera case (camera not included). Made by Marsand. I still have the key and the lock still locks!


Not often seen outside of Japan, this SLR slayer from Fuji Photo Film Company is like new in its original package – with all the goodies included it’s ready to be a street photog’s dream.


Brand new Canon Olympics fanny pack. Step back to the future with this HTF collectible from Canon.

There you have it – a small sample of some of the neat items I’ve added to my shop recently all at 10% off in my big Spring sale! Check it out at http://www.ccstudio2380.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.

E.P Marked Photo Gear. Is it really worth more?

A revisit to this earlier post about the mark that is sometimes found on Japanese cameras from the 1950s, 1960s and infrequently the 1970s. Recently we discovered a Canon AV-1 from 1979 with the mark – that’s the latest ever found by us.

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

Photo gear made in Japan will sometimes carry a strange marking  <E.P>


In the above example, the <E.P> mark is engraved on the rewind knob of this Nicca camera. This camera is from the 1955 to 1957 period.

s-l1600 (23)

In the example above, this Nikkor 13.5cm lens has the <E.P> mark engraved on a small lever near the base of the lens. On the lens case below, the <E.P> mark is stamped into the leather just below the JAPAN stamp. The case belongs with the lens pictured above.

s-l1600 (22) First time we’ve seen the mark on a lens case. To us that implies that the case was mated with that lens from the factory (or wherever the mark was applied).

So what’s up with the <E.P> mark anyway?

As we understand it, the Japanese government needed a way to identify which pieces of photo gear were sold through military facilities and duty…

View original post 617 more words

The Yashica Pentamatic – Our 8 Year Search – Some Conclusions & Wild Speculations

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Some Conclusions

The first Pentamatic was “born” in December 1959 but wasn’t available for sale in the U.S. until April 1960. The Pentamatic was Yashica’s first 35mm single-lens reflex camera and was designed with the help of technology obtained from Yashica’s acquisition of Nicca Camera in 1958 and with some involvement with designers from Zunow Optical in 1959. Of course, Yashica designers were involved too as well as collaboration with Tomioka Optical for the first lenses.

Below is a scan of what appears to be the first sales brochure for the Pentamatic found in Japanese. A machine translation of it proves that Yashica and Nicca designers worked together to jointly develop the camera over a 3-year period. The exact date of this brochure has not been established but it appears to be at least issued in the Spring of 1960. Many thanks to my good friend Paul Sokk for his efforts in researching the Pentamatic with me over the years. His fabulous site can be found at www.yashicatlr.com

Yas inside P1 bro

Below is a scan of the cover of that first sales brochure that features the new Pentamatic.

Yas Cover P1 bro (1)

The original Pentamatic was a failure. A beautiful, sleek and modern camera at a great price, but still a failure. A replacement for it (Pentamatic II) was released by September 1960 – just a few short months after the original Pentamatic debuted.

The Pentamatic and the Pentamatic II were both out of production by January 1961. The Pentamatic S didn’t appear until around April 1961. Little was significantly changed over the course of these 3 models during this short timeframe. The Pentamatic II and its one-off lens improved on its semi-automatic capabilities. The body stayed the same with the exception of adding the engraved “II” after the name. No logic to this as Yashica could have simply made the new lens available as an option to the original Pentamatic. There had to be another reason to call it the model II and it appears that there were some internal changes made to accommodate the new lens.

The standard lens that was available for the Pentamatic II was designed and built (quickly?) by Zunow vice Tomioka. Our best guess at this point.

The Pentamatic II was only available for sale in Japan.

The Pentamatic S essentially was the replacement for the original Pentamatic – not the Pentamatic II. The model S added a lug for attaching an accessory exposure meter that coupled to the shutter speed dial. The S also added a self-timer and the body got a redesign (the strap lugs were moved to the front and the shutter release button was no longer at a 45-degree angle).

The Instruction Booklets

The booklets have been an additional source of fun separate from the camera searches. The booklet for the original Pentamatic was relatively easy to find. The first Pentamatic saw about 16,000 units made so the booklet is much more available. The Pentamatic II booklet was the hardest to locate since only around 5,000 cameras were made. The Pentamatic S booklet is even rarer – only around 3,000 cameras produced.



Inside the booklets…




Wild Speculations

Wild Spec 1 – The first Pentamatic was not initially released in Japan. Yashica had a slow go with its early production so only a limited number were available for the April to June debut in the U.S. There were only about 4,000 cameras made by then and that just didn’t support a wide release of it in their home market. However, with the discovery of the as yet undated sales brochure found by my friend Paul Sokk it does appear that some of the first Pentamatics were in fact distributed in Japan. We do feel that Yashica had a suspicion that the original model would not go over well at home. Why do we feel this way? During our quest of all things Pentamatic, we’ve yet to find an instruction booklet for the original Pentamatic in Japanese (or any other language besides English). We’ve seen no early 1960s advertisements either. Although we’ve yet to find these items that does not mean they don’t exist.

Wild Spec 2 – The Pentamatic II was only available in Japan and was never intended for widespread availability in the world marketplace. We further feel that the Pentamatic II was the camera Yashica intended to release in Japan vice the original Pentamatic. Why? Same thing… in over 8 years of searching, we’ve never seen a Pentamatic II instruction booklet in English and the only sales brochures we have are in Japanese. No English ads or brochures anywhere (yet). Update: As of April 2019 still no English ads or books.

Wild Spec 3 – The Pentamatic S wasn’t available in Japan. Crazy right? The same thing applies here – no Japanese advertising or brochures and no instruction booklets in anything but English. Again, not finding them does not translate to not being produced but the likelihood looks slim.

Wild Spec 4 – As we stated in the conclusions section above, the standard lens for the Pentamatic II (5.8cm f/1.7) was made for Yashica by Zunow Optical vice Tomioka. This flies in the face of what’s known and we don’t have solid written proof (yet, if ever). Both the original Pentamatic and the Pentamatic II ended production in January 1961. By coincidence, that’s the reported date of Yashica’s acquisition of Zunow (or their bankruptcy). Once Zunow went bust they no longer make lenses for the Pentamatic II.

Wild Spec 5 – Once the Pentamatic II stopped production, Yashica started selling the original Pentamatic in Japan (or at least increased its availability in Japan). We would still like to find a Pentamatic instruction booklet in Japanese to validate this thought.

Wild Spec 6 – Since the Pentamatic S wasn’t sold in Japan, there was a rather large gap in Yashica’s SLR availability. The next camera to be sold widely in Japan (and the U.S.) was the Penta J but that didn’t come out until the Summer of 1961.

These marketing and production missteps led to a less than stellar debut for Yashica in the world of 35mm SLRs. The competition during this same period was “inventing” much more sophisticated (and mostly more expensive) cameras which had a wider range of interchangeable lenses and accessories. It took Yashica a long time to establish a “foot in the door” with their Penta J and their first internally coupled exposure metered SLR, the Yashica J-3 (Jaguar).

Things we would like to find…


The first thing we would like to discover would be an ad, sales brochure or instruction booklet in English for the Pentamatic II. We don’t think we will as we feel that they don’t exist.

We would like to find a Pentamatic instruction booklet in Japanese. They must exist but we’ve yet to find one.

Pentamatic S instruction booklet and a sales brochure in Japanese. Don’t think they exist but time will tell.

Pentamatic II box!!! They must exist – someone’s got to have one in their collection! Update: Finally found one but we missed acquiring it for our collection so we “borrowed” this image –

yashica P2 Box

Pentamatic (any model) in its original boxes in factory fresh condition. WooHoo!

***Solid proof that the standard lens for the Pentamatic II was made by Zunow Optical.***

Other than these things, I think we’re good! ^.^

Thanks for your visit! If you’ve made it this far in the post give yourself a big pat on the back! You just may be on your way to becoming a ‘Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic’!

Please stop by our online shop at https://www.ccstudio2380.com and check out some of our classic cameras available for sale.

We are active buyers of quality cameras and equipment – especially anything Yashica, Nicca, Fujica or whatever! Contact us at chriscarol@ccstudio2380.com

Please stop by our 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 © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Not what I expected…

Sometimes cameras that I purchase from online auction sites simply blow me away with the overall quality of the item. Sellers that tend to understate the condition of their gear and then deliver something unexpected (“looks good” is really “like new”). Occasionally cameras arrive and my reaction is just the opposite. But I have a wide range of acceptance because I look closely at the pictures of the item in the listing and ask questions when I’m not sure of something. No one likes bad surprises.

One area that I’m completely inflexible on is previous owner’s initials etched, carved, or engraved into the camera body or lens. If I’m told about it and shown a picture of it that’s fine – I can decide if I still want that piece of gear before I bid on it. Often an etching will be on a part of the camera that’s replaceable like the baseplate or even the film door.

Here’s an example of undisclosed damage from an engraving. I received this camera yesterday and it was described as looking like it was unused in the listing. I guess in fairness to the seller a camera can have an engraving and still technically be “unused”. Not in this instance, however.


This engraving is on the camera’s right side near where the strap would go. That side was not shown in the listing photos. Go figure. If you look closely you’ll also see a hairline crack in the plastic just to the left of the “J”. The camera it turns out was very well used (or very well abused).

No worries, the camera is on its way back to the seller and they’ve promised a full refund. If the seller simply didn’t catch that there was an etched name or social security number, or driver’s license number (I’ve received all three on one camera before!) then I understand. But when it’s this obvious and you don’t mention it why bother going through the motions of sending it? Oh well.

Thanks for stopping by! Oh by the way, if you’re looking for accurately described and well taken care of cameras and photo gear, then a visit to my camera shop just might be the place to start. You can find my shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (Etsy Pattern site). Everything I sell is from either my personal collection of gear or locally sourced cameras. Carol and I are always on the lookout for interesting gear so if you’ve got something you’re interested in selling please drop us a line and tell us what you have. We may be looking for that exact item to add to our collection.


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.


Vintage Bewi Automat “A” Exposure Meter

Straight from the desk of a mid-century designer, this super cool (and fully working) selenium cell exposure meter is a joy to use and play with.


The first thing I noticed about it is that unlike typical meters from this period (the 1950s) there’s no visible meter needle or pointer. Everything that moves does so inside. I know, I took it apart to see what was going on and there was the needle being “busy” reacting to light. Maybe this ad will do a better job at describing just what makes this meter so special.



Semi-transparent cover over the selenium cells allows for incident light readings.


Selenium cells exposed for full reflected light readings.


In its case, it’s about the size of a deck of cards but it fits nicely in the palm of your hand. I have it available in my shop as it’s time to pass it along to the next collector. You can see additional pictures of it and a complete description at http://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 © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Happy SUNday! – Vintage Cameras

Ah yes, I bet almost everyone has seen one or both of these classics at some point in their lives. These were part of an earlier collection we had of vintage Polaroid and Kodak cameras.





Have a beautiful day y’all!

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit our camera store 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 © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

In the Shop – Canon New F-1 Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Edition

New in my shop today is this awesome Canon New F-1 with AE Finder FN, Canon FD 50mm f1.8 Lens and the Official 35mm Camera of the 1984 Olympic Games Lens Cap (plus all boxes, straps, caps, instruction booklets, warranty cards).

This is the first time that this set has been offered for sale and it’s in nearly perfect cosmetic condition and in 100% fully working (tested) condition.

The best Canon SLR to come out of the early 1980s – by far!


The Canon New F-1 with AE Finder FN is a professional camera that combines a balance between the electronic and mechanical worlds – its electromechanical hybrid shutter provides greater overall accuracy and a wider range of shutter speeds. If the battery fails, you can continue shooting at any of the high speeds or B, all of which are mechanically controlled. A new Energizer battery has been installed and all metering features have been tested. Shutter speeds range from B to 1/2000.


Complete set including the special New F-1 camera strap.

The AE Finder FN is for aperture-priority AE. Full manual exposure control is still possible. Three types of metering are possible – Center-weighted Average Metering, Selective-area Metering, and Spot Metering.


The camera is in mint minus condition as there are a few marks on the baseplate where the motor drive was attached. The remainder of the body, the optics, and the lens are in full mint condition. Two rolls of film have been used with flawless results.


The body serial number, LA 8541 matches the original paperwork from Canon. The lens serial number 7200857 matches its paperwork too. The camera body date code is Y227 which is 1984 and the lens is Y116 which is also 1984. This is a newer model in the LA Olympics run which I believe finished around 9500.


The AE Finder FN removed showing the focusing screen AE installed.


You can purchase this lovely set here directly from me by clicking on the payment button (PayPal) below or it can be purchased through my shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

Canon New F-1 AE Finder Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Edition 35mm SLR Camera Set with Canon FD 50mm f1.8 Lens

Complete set from 1984 - Canon's Limited Special Edition 1984 LA Olympics camera and lens set. In nearly full mint condition just off new. It's been fully tested and all systems are fully operational! Please take the time to check out the many detailed pictures I've provided in this post (on the blog) and in my shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com. Additional pictures are available upon request. I'll mail this gorgeous set anywhere in the US FOR FREE via USPS Priority Mail and I'll ship worldwide with some exceptions. Please contact me first for an international shipping quote. Thanks, Chris