New in the Shop – Graflex Graphic 35

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In my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com – it’s on sale for $31.27 + shipping

Vintage from the 1950s

Classic Graflex Graphic 35
35mm Rangefinder Film Camera
Rodenstock Graflar 50mm f3.5 Lens
Prontor SVS Shutter

*One Owner
*Smoke and Pet Free Home
*Tested without Film

All shutter speeds sound accurate
with the exception of 1 second which
is sluggish. Bulb does work nicely.
I did not test the flash connection but it looks great.
I do not test the self-timer
on vintage 1950s cameras so it
may work or it may not.
The aperture blades look good and
are snappy. The lens is generally clear
but I do see some dust and specs of dirt.

The rangefinder is sharp – it focuses easily.
The viewfinder is bright and clean but with
a light haze (no fungus) and the haze
is very slight.

Overall it is a very nice example of this
classic camera from Graflex. I believe it
would do well as a user camera again. It is
from my personal collection.

I’ve provided clear, accurate pictures of
the camera so that you may judge its
condition for yourself. Some minor dust
here and there but no corrosion, dents, or
engravings.

I mail daily and often and it will be well
packaged for a safe journey to you.
It will be mailed in the USA via USPS Priority
Mail with tracking and insurance.

Please check out my other great listings here in
this Etsy shop and at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

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Nicca Pentamatic!?

Stay with us and we’ll try to make our case. Recently discovered information has filled-in some of the missing links in the development of our favorite obsession camera. The mysterious and seldom seen Pentamatic ’35’… Yashica’s first SLR.

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A few interesting bits of info have come to our attention recently. We were alerted to an auction by our friend Paul Sokk (http://www.yashicatlr.com) that listed a 13.5 cm f/ 2.8 lens made by Taiho Optical Company –  Nicca Lens. Having never heard of the company, Taiho Optical, and knowing about Nicca’s history, we couldn’t figure out where and how there could be a Nicca connection.

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Let’s backtrack a bit with a quick history lesson. Yashima-Yashica was a very successful maker of high quality, low-cost twin-lens reflex cameras but hadn’t moved into the 35 mm market as of early 1957. It appears that the president and founder of Yashima-Yashica, Mr. Yoshimasa Ushiyama could see that although Yashica was successful building TLRs, the market for them would slowly diminish as new, smaller and easier to use 35 mm cameras would grab the marketplace. He wanted in but how?

Yashica had no experience with 35 mm cameras, especially rangefinder cameras with cloth focal-plane shutters. There were dozens of Leica copy cameras in Japan (and the world for that matter) but possible patents protected specific manufacturer’s shutter designs. If he could buy into an established company then he could use their shutter design and incorporate it with early Yashima-Yashica designs. In May of 1958, an opportunity presented itself. Nicca Camera Company was apparently experiencing financial difficulties and may have been on the brink of bankruptcy. Nicca cameras were well known and well respected – they made high quality 35 mm rangefinder cameras with focal-plane shutters. They used Nikkor lenses with the L39 screw mount. Mr. Ushiyama was in a rush to purchase Nicca before they went belly up. Advisers cautioned to wait until Nicca went bankrupt arguing that they would be able to acquire it for a better price. Mr. Ushiyama knew that that outcome of a bankruptcy could take longer than he was willing to wait and there would certainly be more suitors to compete with. So the deal went through… sort of. As best as we can glean from our research, a “religionist” “admonished” Mr. Ushiyama for rushing into the deal and cautioned that Yashica itself would suffer a “decline” if all of the transfer were made immediately.

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OK, OK! We give!!! We share your feelings dear reader –  what’s the connection between Nicca and the Pentamatic? Taking the advice of the religionist, Mr. Ushiyama created a new company. Nicca would become Taiho Optical Company. Say what? Nicca wasn’t absorbed into Yashica in May of 1958, instead, they became another company that could continue to operate with Yashica but without becoming Yashica. Simple. Confused? Mr. Ushiyama listened to his adviser so nothing bad happened. It appears that the former Nicca employees were now free to develop new processes and designs with the financial and technical support of the much larger Yashica. What did Yashica get for its money? Plenty it would seem. Access to years of 35 mm rangefinder manufacturing experience and access to a proven focal-plane shutter. Important steps in building a 35 mm single-lens reflex camera. We don’t know (yet) which one of the two companies came up with the design of what would become the Pentamatic. Was it mostly a Yashica design that had been kicking around for a while lacking a focal-plane shutter, or was it mostly a Nicca design that lacked the financial means to bring it to market? We feel that it was more than likely a 60 – 40 split with Nicca as the 60%. Just a hunch, no facts at the moment.

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Earliest known sales brochure for the Pentamatic ’35’. The best guess is that it was printed in the Spring of 1960.

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A machine translation of this page from inside of the brochure states clearly that Nicca and Yashica developed the Pentamatic.

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But what did the Taiho Optical Company make? Yashica didn’t make their own lenses, Tomioka Optical of Tokyo did. Was the former Nicca, now that it had become Taiho Optical, going to suddenly start making lenses? At the start of this blog, we mentioned that we were alerted to the existence of a 13.5 cm lens for sale with the Taiho Optical Company-Nicca Japan markings. Other than that, nothing.

So when did Mr. Ushiyama merge the two companies? He apparently listed to his adviser and waited eight long years before merging the two. From 1960 (when the Pentamatic was released) until 1968, when he not only made Yashica whole, but he also acquired long time lens supplier Tomioka Optical.

Now we know how the Pentamatic came to be and why it could be called the Nicca Pentamatic.

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Thanks for sticking with us. – 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.

Yashica YF – aka Fair-Way, 35 YF Nicca

A bunch of ways to identify the same camera from Yashica. One of the few cameras that made it to the marketplace with both the Yashica and the Nicca names. Yashica had just acquired the Nicca Camera Company in 1958 and this was the last interchangeable lens 35mm rangefinder camera from both.

This is a picture from my archives that was found on the web some time ago. The main reason for including it on the blog is that few (myself included) have ever seen the original presentation box before. This box is in wonderful condition and gives us a glimpse into Yashica’s marketing in 1959. The box has Yashica, YF and Nicca but not the “Fair-Way” name as it was sometimes referred to in Japan.

Nicca-Yashica YF Box 2

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I hope to add a YF to my collection shortly and I’ll be sure to post about my impressions of it here.

Thanks for stopping by and of course my camera shop is always open at http://www.ccstudio2380.com – Chris

Olympus 35 SP Brochure

Here’s a nice sales brochure from Olympus – published May 1969

olympus 35sp brochure collage

Take note of the camera store’s stamp in the lower right corner. Our translation app isn’t doing a good job at translation at the moment so we’re not quite sure which camera shop this is from.

Carol and I love to collect vintage sales brochures for the cameras in our collection. This one came to us recently from a collector in Japan. The date of publication is 0569 which we assume is May 1969. The young man’s clothing certainly screams the 1960s!

olympus brochure logo

The Olympus 35 SP is considered by many to be a nearly “perfect” 35mm rangefinder camera – with a host of automatic exposure controls plus full manual shooting. The 42mm lens is considered to be the perfect focal length for 35mm photography as it closely matches the field of view of the human eye.

Thanks for stopping by!

For more “good stuff” please stop by our online store at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

Chris

Nicca 3-S… Quality Rangefinder from 1955

A beautiful example of a mid 1950s 35mm rangefinder camera – made by Nicca Camera Company, Ltd.DSCF5405

Mated with a sharp Nippon Kogaku Nikkor f/ 2, 5cm lens.

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Main shutter speeds of 1/25 to 1/500th of a second.

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Added bonus on this Nicca – marked <E.P> for exempt purchase. Normally marked for purchases made at military facilities and duty free shops.

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Nicca cameras were considered to be well made cameras during the 1950s. This example is at least 62 years old and the fit and finish is almost flawless. Nicca was acquired by Yashica in 1958 and the merger of the two companies helped Yashica to design and release their first 35mm single lens reflex camera in 1960 – the Yashica Pentamatic.

Studio Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

Chris

Petri 35 Super 28 – 1956 – A little gem with a serious flaw.

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This Petri 35mm rangefinder was purchased in June 1956 at a U.S. military facility in Japan. It came with excellent documentation – sales receipt (not shown), instruction booklet, guarantee card (dated 4 June 1956), a JCII hang tag (May 1956), original metal lens cap, the leather case (not pictured) and the original box. It was nice to see that all of these items stayed with the camera after all these years.

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We don’t normally collect rangefinder cameras – this one was included with a Yashica TLR from the same year (and purchased by the original owner at the same time). After some initial cleaning and inspection it was discovered that the lens (last element inside) was ripe with fungus. I had a feeling it would (most of this era do) as it still had a roll of film inside with a light white haze on it. Not a good sign. Everything worked on the camera but there was no point in testing it with a fresh roll of film – way too much fungus. I don’t try to clean the lenses on these types of cameras. My one and only attempt resulted in a completely clouded lens.

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In our opinion, this mark identifies mostly cameras and camera equipment and sometimes electronics like stereos, that were sold in Japan for export. The <E.P> stands for ‘Exempt Product or Exempt Purchase’ to let customs officials know that fees (taxes and the like) were not paid. This allowed foreigners living in Japan to buy high quality products and not pay taxes as long as it was purchased for personal use. Mostly available at U.S. military facilities (Navy Exchange and the like). May have also been available for diplomats and their families and tourists that shopped in the duty free shops. Notice that the symbol is on the camera’s cold shoe (accessory shoe). The camera maker could easily change the shoe for a camera made for sale in the domestic market.

This lovely set is now proudly owned by a collector in Italy. He purchased it with full disclosure on our part that the lens had fungus. Some of our more collectible Yashima-Yashica twin-lens reflex (TLR) cameras have some fungus and mold spots. They have all been exposed to strong sunlight and are stored properly to prevent further fungus and mold growth.

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So there you have it – a short photo essay on a very attractive camera and set from Petri. We wish that it could have stayed in our collection since it was so complete – but our true focus is Yashica 35mm SLRs and Yashica TLRs with an occasional rangefinder thrown in for fun!

Camera(s): Sony DSC-W170 and Samsung Galaxy S4

Many thanks for your visit – comments are always welcome. Chris & Carol ^.^

Custom Presentation Box for the Tower Type-3… 1953

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1953 Tower (Nicca Camera Co.) Type-3 35mm Rangefinder with custom box.

This custom designed box is based on original Tower (Nicca) designed presentation boxes of the early to mid 1950s. The leather case, which is the original from 1953 was reconditioned – the leather was gently cleaned with saddle soap, some loose stitches were properly glued to prevent further separation and the felt interior of the case was also gently cleaned and refreshed. The case hinged flap had become separated so another piece of leather was attached and it’s as good as new. The entire case was conditioned to bring out the vintage patina.

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The 64 year old leather looking great with a wonderful brown color.

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Looking fine after six decades.

As collectors, Carol and I enjoy restoring vintage cameras and when necessary, reconditioning the often neglected leather cases. We love camera sets that include the original boxes, but when they’re not available we like designing custom boxes based on original designs and colors.

Thanks for your visit! We love comments so feel free to share yours!

Chris and Carol

Hit the Road 2016! Hello 2017!

Thank goodness 2016 is almost history! I’ve heard from friends in Australia that 2017 is going well (so far). Let’s not muck it up!

On a positive note – here on our blog, we’ve seen a significant increase in activity over last year (2015). Visitors to the site and views are through the roof! We (Carol and I) are thrilled that what started out as a repository of bits and tidbits of Yashima-Yashica information would gain the traction that it’s had. We thank you!

We enjoy the feedback we get and I can say that I’ve learned more than a few things from it. We’ve met some super talented people – photographers and bloggers that are out of this world amazing! We hope our readers got a little something special in return too. That was the goal of the ‘Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic’ -a sharing of knowledge about a silly camera that Yashica invented in 1959 that most people have never heard of.

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This year’s favorite.

In looking through the hundreds of film and digital images that we shot in 2016, this one turns out to be our favorite. We believe that every vintage camera is worth preserving (in some way or another) – we think of cameras as holding the heartbeats of all who may have gazed through its lenses, pressed its buttons and then anxiously awaited the results. We can imagine the thousands of faces and smiles that were captured and the thousands of important events in people’s lives that were saved for the future. Classic cameras do that for us.

Don’t get us wrong… we love the  world of digital photography but we also embrace the beautiful, often awkward analog machines of our past. We hope that photographers in the future will remember (every now and then) to pick up a classic camera, load some film into it and then set out to capture images with a camera older than yourself. Enjoy!

Happy New Year… we wish only the best for all!

Chris and Carol ^.^