New in the shop this week at http://www.ccstudio2380.com
Some awesome Asahi Pentax K-Mount lenses and other Pentax gear!
Lots more in the shop and thanks for stopping by! – Chris
Some awesome Asahi Pentax K-Mount lenses and other Pentax gear!
Lots more in the shop and thanks for stopping by! – Chris
Stop by my camera and photo gear shop hosted by Etsy for some really interesting items. I ship almost anywhere in the world quickly and securely. Give my shop a look! Thanks
If there’s something you don’t see that you have been looking for give me a shout – I may already have it in my collection or I know where to get it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s something you don’t see every day – if ever. What happens to a rubber lens hood (lens shade) when left on for two decades? You get this…
I imagine that over time the “rubber” deteriorated through some chemical process with the air. Hiding out in a dark leather camera bag probably didn’t help. Lesson learned – if you own one of these monsters go check your camera bag now and toss it before it “attacks”!!!
Thanks for stopping by! – Chris
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Copyright © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
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One of our all-time favorite SLRs with one of the fastest 55mm lenses made. The Tomioka designed f1.2 is an exceptional lens and we’re happy to have it in our collection. This lens is in the batch of the first 1000 made and carries a low serial number.
Thanks for stopping by!
Another look at an early lens from Yashica for the Yashica Pentamatic.
Nice little addition to our Pentamatic family of lenses. Purchased in Japan and was with an early model Pentamatic’35’ set in “well used” but stable working condition. It came with the original Yashica brown leather case, unbranded plastic rear lens cap, Yashica front metal 52mm push-on lens cap, unbranded lens hood and a very nice looking Walz chrome metal and glass Skylight C. (cloudy) 52mm filter.
Pentamatic bayonet mount 13.5cm short telephoto lens… f/3.5 with super low serial number. Early Yashica lenses were often given a serial number that starts with the focal length of the lens. In this example, ‘135 0722’ shows it to be a 135mm lens with a sequential production number of 722. Best guess is that this lens was made in late 1959. We have another Super Yashinon-R 13.5cm lens with a serial number of ‘135 0927’.
The above image shows the lens partially disassembled…
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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.
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.
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 free shops in Japan. We feel that the mark means “Exempt Product” – cameras or electronic gear purchased without paying taxes to the government of Japan and purchased by authorized personnel (military members and their families, tourists and by diplomatic members and their families). We’ve seen alternate meanings as “Post Exchange” (military base stores) but U.S. Navy stores are called “Navy Exchange – NEX” and U.S. Army/Air Force stores are “BX/PX or Base Exchange/Post Exchange”. It’s hard to make “NEX or BX” into “EP”. Other explanations of <E.P> include: Export Permitted (or Export Permit), Exchange Program and Export Production.
The “Black Market”.
The majority of the photo gear we have in our collection that bears the <E.P> mark, was in fact purchased through military facilities and not at duty free shops. Another cause for concern after the War, and we know this first hand from having lived in Japan in the late 1970s, was the so called black market that may have existed (it did) in Japan. The difference between what a service member could buy a camera for at the Navy Exchange (reduced cost and no taxes) and what that same item sold for at a Japanese camera store was just too great not to tempt some selling on the black market. The military stores kept tabs on the amount of tobacco and liquor that a family could purchase and big ticket items (cameras and stereo equipment) included a statement on the receipt that the service member would check and then sign that the item was for their personal use. A direct reminder that you were not to resell the item to unauthorized individuals. Our guess would be that if a Japanese citizen had a camera in their possession with the <E.P> mark it would be easy to question where it was purchased. However, the <E.P> marks were normally on parts of the camera that could be removed and replaced with non marked parts. No system is perfect so if there’s a will they’ll be a way.
So, does the mark make my photo gear more valuable? Yes. Collectible? Yes. Desirable? Yes. But to whom?
Like anything that’s collected, if someone wants it just because of the mark (in this case), then the <E.P> mark makes your item more desirable. In the real world, the gear is no different except for the mark. But – and it’s a big but – there are fewer of them out there. In the case of the nice Yashica-Mat pictured above, let’s say that Yashica sold 1,000 of them in 1960 throughout Japan. Maybe 5% were marked <E.P> (and that may be way high). So if you want to collect a mint condition Yashica-Mat made in 1960, there may be, let’s say only 10 available worldwide at any one time, and if one of those has the mark, well that adds a nice bonus of rarity to the mix. Another way to look at the mark is that the gear was less likely purchased by a professional photographer and therefore may have been better taken care of by its owner. Lots of exceptions to that line of thinking but it does have some merits.
So there you have it. Something of an explanation. If you have photo gear from the 1950s, 1960s and sometimes from as late as the early 1970s and you have the mark, well now you know a bit more about it. If you’d like us to appraise it for you we will be more than happy to. Just contact us here on the blog and we can get something going for you.
Studio Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W
As collectors, Carol and I have to make some tough decisions from time to time (actually a lot). While we would love to own every camera, lens and photo thingy that strikes our fancy, we, like most people, have a budget. Well not really a budget per se as a budget requires planning and thought – something we rarely do. What we have in reality is limited space (and funds) just like most people. Compromises must be made – negotiations entered into and decisions rendered.
So our collection is a dynamic thing – a living, breathing thing that must be fed and then purged. Buy – play with – cherish and then sell. Here (in no particular order) is some of the gear that we wish we still owned…
Canon FD 17mm f4 super wide angle lens ⇓
Why? It was in mint new condition with no issues. The glass was pristine and we had the proper Canon lens hood and both Canon lens caps (and case). It just didn’t wow us! I had always wanted it since day one (1978) and had to settle on a Canon Fd 24mm wide angle instead due to the silly cost of the thing. I LOVE the 24mm – it is one of my most widely used Canon lenses. When we finally got this 17mm in 2014 and shot with it, well, nothing special. The images weren’t dramatic enough to justify owning it so it was sold. Why the regret now? We didn’t give it a fair shot. Maybe we shot a roll and a half with it. Not enough time really. The other reason – when it’s mint you freak out all the time about messing it up and messing with the resale value. Stupid reason but it happens.
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic with the Takumar f1.4 lens ⇓
Why? Beautiful camera in nearly perfect condition. We’ve always appreciated the early Asahi Pentax 35mm SLRs and this one fell into our hands. We would have rather had a working H2 or something along those lines but none were available at that time. Why the regret now? See above. Another case of a mint camera (for the collection) and unlikely that we’d ever shoot with it. Now we wish we had kept it to at least shoot some film with it. Oh well, it’s gone and unlikely to be replaced.
Nikonos II ⇓
Why? It was my first ever 35mm camera! Purchased new by me in 1971. I took it everywhere and used it both above and below the surface of the water constantly. She was in great shape when I sold it in 2011- my SCUBA diving days were over and no reason to keep it. Right? Wrong! My regret is purely nostalgic. My first 35mm camera! What was I thinking!!! It’s still the only Nikon I’ve ever bought!
Canon T70 35mm SLR ⇓
Why? Built-in motor drive, multiple auto exposure modes and drop dead simple to use. Uses the complete family of Canon FD lenses and exposures were as accurate as our A-1. Why the regret? We’ve owned about 10 of them over the years and have used them extensively. We’re just used to the little beasts and this happens after each acquisition and sale. We begin to miss that goofy style and its other quirks. (This one was sold to a collector in Australia).
Fujifilm XP100 FinePix go anywhere digital camera ⇓
Why? Fun little Fuji that we often took to the beach for some awesome surf shots – plus it’s a cool green! We made some neat videos with it too – great images and sound. I decided to sell it as we didn’t need a closet full of seldom used digital cameras. They become relics quickly in the fast paced world of pixel capturing. We regret it now whenever we’re at the beach and the waves are killer!
Asahi Pentax 6×7 medium format camera ⇓
Why? A gem of a camera! Mint condition and it took some stunning pics! Eye-level finder with meter and we had the big wooden hand grip and at least 2 new lenses for it too. Weighs like 2 kilotons or close to it! The 6×7 format can enlarge very nicely and the Super Takumar lenses were sharp. Why the regret? We can’t find one as nice to replace it without spending crazy money and we let ours go for too little. We have a Fujica GW-690 now so the need for the 6×7 format is lessened. Besides, the Fujica is as beat to hell as anything we own and that’s a good thing. No worries about scratching it up so we actually use it.
Canon FD 300mm f4 telephoto lens ⇓
Why, why, why? We bought it because we’ve always wanted that focal length and couldn’t afford what we really wanted – the FD 300mm f2.8 L white lens. Another case of a mint condition lens that looked like it was made yesterday. In reality it was a dark lens (f4) and a bit clumsy to use. We used it mostly on a tripod and our little town is not a telephoto town. What we mean by that is that our town is made for wide angle shots (old buildings with lots of details) and not tripod mounted lenses. Plus I’m just too old to hand hold 300mm lenses anymore and don’t want to be bothered straining my neck with it. The regret? I wish I could still hand hold a 300mm lens damn it!!! Actually I still want the f2.8!
So there you have it. Certainly it’s not all the gear we miss – just a small sample. If we can round up the images of some of the others there may be a part two.
Do you have a favorite piece of gear that you regret selling (or heaven forbid, gave away)? Let us know. Thanks
Chris and Carol ^.^
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.
No. 59 = 1959 10 = October 0092 = 92nd made
No. 59 = 1959 12 = December 1630 = 1,630th made
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.
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.
After many years of searching for proof that Yashica had in fact released its first production run (from December 1959) of the 5.5cm f1.8 Auto-Yashinon lenses for the Pentamatic ’35’ – we finally found one in the wild! Now it’s ours.
We stumbled upon this lens the other day on an online auction site. After some negotiations with the seller, we reached an accord. The camera this lens was mounted on was a pure dog… “Junk Treatment” as ‘Google Translates’ the kanji for crap (one would think) items. We took a chance that the lens was going to be OK. We’ve seen enough of these over the years to get a good feel – this one we just had to have even if it matched the condition of the camera body it was on. Man was it dirty – sooty and a tad yellow (the markings yellow over time). But it was a hidden gem. No mold – no fungus – no cleaning marks or haze – and, the best part, it focuses crisply and although the aperture blades are a bit worn, they move nicely (snappy as ‘they’ say).
The Pentamatic went into production at Yashica’s modern factory campus in Suwa, Nagano Prefecture in December 1959. At the same time, or just slightly before (maybe in October), Tomioka Optical started making the lenses for the first Pentamatics. We don’t know for certain if Tomioka delivered completed lenses to Yashica or only manufactured the optics for them and Yashica did the rest – we just don’t have that information yet.
Here’s the lens we just acquired – Auto Yashinon 55mm (5.5cm) f1.8 which was the normal lens supplied with Yashica’s first Pentamatics. The background ad is from a ‘Popular Photography’ magazine – June 1960 issue. The ad lens serial number is – No. 59100581 – our lens serial number is – No. 59100092. Not often do you find a lens in the wild with a lower serial number than an ad. By the way, the advertisement was the first ever for the Pentamatic.
The lens that is featured in one of the first sales brochures for the Pentamatic, is serial numbered – No. 59100036. Our lens was made just slightly after the lens in the brochure (same day?). We don’t know when the sales brochure came out. Our guess is March 1960. The photographs were probably taken by the marketing people in Yashica’s Shibuya headquarters sometime in late 1959 or early 1960.
We know – this is all super boring nerd stuff that only Yashica fanatics would find interesting – wait, that’s a great name for a blog… ‘Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic’. ^.^
So what does the serial numbers tell us? The SN No. 59100092 (our lens) translates to – made in 1959, the ’10’ is for October, and the 0092 is the sequential production number of the lens assembly. This means that Tomioka Optical started production of the new lenses for the Pentamatic as early as October 1959! Lenses made in 1960 are labeled No. 605xxxxx. The ‘5’ being a placekeeper or model number. The highest serial number we have in our collection is No. 60515157. That lens came with a Pentamatic body that was made in January 1961 and the lens was the 15,157th made up until that point.
The highest serial number seen in the wild is No. 60521460 which was mounted on a Pentamatic-S body.
Thanks for your visit and if you made it to this point in the post, pat yourself on the back! You may be a bit of a camera nerd – just like us!
Chris & Carol ^.^
The lighthouse at Montauk Point, Long Island, New York is one of my favorite spots to visit ever since I was a child growing up on Long Island. As a kid, the main attractions for me were – the ocean, the countless rocks in that ocean (big and small), the hills (Long Islanders are hill challenged) and finally the lighthouse itself. As I got older, the main attraction was the lighthouse with the other ‘likes’ fading into the background. When I earned my New York driver’s licence, Montauk was my first long drive from my home by myself. When I became a certified SCUBA diver, the waters near the lighthouse looked tempting for a dive but the great whites known to frequent the cold waters off Eastern Long Island kept me ashore – so I headed to Florida instead.
While going through some of my many mountains of slides from my collection, I came across these images of the lighthouse. The first set of photographs are from August 1972 and were shot with my Yashica TL Electro-X mostly using the normal Yashinon 50mm lens. The second set of images are from 2002 when I traveled to New York with my family for their first visit to Montauk. The 1972 images show how completely the original Kodak Ektachrome slides have degraded over the years.
If you ever get a chance to travel to Long Island, then the Montauk Point Lighthouse must be on your “to visit list”. It’s very photogenic and lends itself well to the digital age. There are images that a good camera phone today can capture that were a serious challenge to film photographers just 15 years ago. Happy shooting!