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.

Yas Cover P1 bro (1)

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

 

In the Shop – 1970s Hippie Strap

They were everywhere! Almost every camera in the 1970s had one and some people owned two, three or more. Not many survived in good shape in the present day – here’s one of my “many”. Simply click the PayPal payment button below and I’ll have it off to you in a flash!

Genuine 1970s Hippie Camera Strap for your SLR or DSLR – Far Out Man!

Fabric, leather, and metal - hippie camera strap straight from the 1970s. Add instant karma to your modern DSLR or jazz up your vintage SLR. This is one of the many I own and it's time to let a few go. This one is in excellent condition with solid stitching, good leather, and nice hardware. Its got the elastic bands for holding your film cans too. I'll mail it nearly worldwide and I'll mail it FOR FREE within the USA! International orders please request a shipping quote to your country before placing your order.

$24.75

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit my camera shop (on Etsy) at http://www.ccstudio2380.com for some other great bits of photo gear.

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.

My First Pentamatic – the quest begins

It was “love” at first sight! Well, kinda like love – more like a very strong attraction.

The starkness of the Pentamatic’s design caught my eye straight away. Here was a Yashica the likes of which I’d never seen before.

I thought I would share a very popular image of my first Yashica Pentamatic. I say popular because it’s been viewed more times than anything else I’ve ever posted on my Flickr page.

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Designed in middle 1959, Yashica’s first 35mm single-lens reflex camera is a stunning beauty. It appears it was a collaborative effort between Yashica and Nicca with some “help” from the designers at Zunow. The first lenses for the Pentamatic were made by Tomioka and most carried the Yashinon name – a few, like this one, sported the Tominon branding along with Yashica’s Yashinon name. By the way, the serial number on this lens is fairly easy to “decode”. The first 2 digits indicate the focal length of the lens – in this instance, the lens is a 3.5cm wide angle so the first digits are “35”. The next 4 digits are a simple production number that I’m guessing started at “0001”. This lens would have been the 246th lens made (0246).

Thanks for stopping by! I hope this little tease is enough to cause you to explore my blog (and Flickr site) to learn more about the Pentamatic and its sister models – the Pentamatic II and the Pentamatic S. – 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 © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Classic Canon EF from 1977 – Sold!

Our lovely Canon EF is no longer available – thanks for looking!

This is one of our all-time favorite Canon cameras to use – the Canon EF 35mm SLR film camera. This beauty has just the right amount of brassing to add to its charm. It’s been fully checked out by us and everything works just as it should. The meter is spot on and despite the brassing (missing paint on the top plate) and some scratches on the bottom plate, the factory black retains its original satin luster.

It’s available for purchase direct from our collection here on our blog or it’s available in our online shop at https://www.ccstudio2380.com

 

Canon EF 35mm Film Camera

Fully checked out classic Canon EF with (2) new Energizer 1.5v batteries, Canon FD 50mm f1.8 SC lens, an expired roll of Fujicolor film, the original Canon body cap, and the Canon rear lens cap. This camera is guaranteed to be in super clean, fully working condition right out of the box. Add it to your collection or start shooting 35mm film again. It's a one owner camera that's ready for your next assignment. Visit our store for additional pictures of this Canon. The $175 includes FREE SHIPPING to the USA with insurance and tracking.

$175.00

Hercules and Cacus – Piazza della Signoria, Florence

Maybe not my most favorite statue in Florence (so many to choose from) but I like the effect that my 24mm lens gives the viewer – add in contrasty late day lighting and it was a tough shot to get. Wide angle lenses like the 24mm slightly pointed upward will give the most (pleasing) distortion.

Canon F-1 with Canon FD 24mm f/ 2.8 wide angle lens on Kodak Kodachrome 25 color slide film. The light meter in the F-1 handled the tricky lighting rather well. If I remember correctly, I took a spot reading of the building in bright sunlight and then the deep shadows behind the statue – I then adjusted the exposure settings to reflect an average of the two.

Flo Statue Logo

Bandinelli’s Hercules and Cacus, 16th Century – Florence

Thanks for your visit to the most beautiful place in all of Tuscany.

Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text are property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2017 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Tower Bridge – London 1987

Interesting view of the Tower Bridge on a horrible weather day (for photographing with Kodacolor) – September 1987

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Adjusted a bit warmer (tone).

Canon F-1 with Canon FD 80-200mm f/ 4 zoom lens (at 200mm) on Kodak Kodacolor film.

Scanned original 4×6 Kodacolor prints on Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II.

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Adjusted a bit on the cool side.

I don’t normally convert color images to black and white but these lacked any real colors so I decided to strip away what little traces of color there were. Improved?

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Thanks for stopping by!

Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text are property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2017 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

New Yashica Pentamatic Set – all the goodies too!

We’re always on the lookout for interesting Pentamatic sets. This was purchased from the original owner who purchased it in March of 1961 in Philadelphia. It’s the first Pentamatic set that had the “dealer price card” included.

It’s a beautiful camera in nearly mint condition – hardly any signs of use and of course it works perfectly. This particular camera was made in August 1960 and the lens is from around the same time.

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The interesting negative holder from Kodak (upper right) is from the first roll of film that the original owner shot (high contrast B&W copy film). I’m not sure of the exact period the Kodachrome film is from but I do know that I’ve shot more than my share of Kodachrome in my life.

The dealer price card was designed to slip into the cold shoe of the camera (by folding the little tab on it and inserting it in the shoe).

Carol and I are always looking for nice examples of all models of the Pentamatic (Pentamatic, Pentamatic II and Pentamatic S) so if you have a nice one to sell please feel free to contact us through our blog or at chriscarol@ccstudio2380.com

Be sure to stop by our online store at https://www.ccstudio2380.com

Thanks! Chris and Carol ^.^

Please respect that all content, including photos and text are property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2017 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Newest Pentamatic – another fine Yashica joins the family.

A recently acquired Yashica Pentamatic for our collection. This one came to us from a fellow collector here in the southeast US.

This one includes the Auto Yashinon 5.5c f/1.8 lens that puts the lens as a very late production model (maybe mid 1961). Here’s a chance to check out our Pentamatic from many angles.

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The angled shutter release button is in a perfect position for maintaining a solid grip on this heavy body while releasing the shutter.

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The lens serial number, No. 60521000 is unique in the fact that it’s a whole number (21000).

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The cold shoe is mounted on the camera’s left side top plate. Actually a very good spot for it.

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This unique lever controls the rewind knob which pops up from under the cold shoe (it moves from the “A” position).

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The body serial number, NO. 126013189 decodes to: 12 = December, 60 = 1960, 13189 = 13,189th made since December of 1959.

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The lever is now in the “O” position which allows the back to be unlocked.

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Pulling up the rewind knob completes the opening.

Our love affair with this fine camera continues. We just can’t get over the clean lines and excellent design.

If you want to acquire a nice Pentamatic for your own collection, they come up occasionally on US online auction sites and infrequently on auction sites in Japan. Nice examples can be had for under $50. Super nice examples will go closer to $100 with some guarantee of functionality from the seller.

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