Pentamatic vs. Pentamatic S – Yashica’s Heavyweights

It’s time to revisit this post as it introduces new readers to the “wonders” of the Pentamatic series of SLRs from Yashica. Chris

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

The Pentamatic was Yashica’s first single-lens reflex (SLR) and was released in 1960 (May-June) timeframe. The Pentamatic S was released about mid to late 1961. Not much changed between the two – the S model added a built-in self-timer and most notably, a provision for mounting an exposure meter to the top right of the camera that coupled with the shutter speed dial. Other small changes were to add lugs for holding the neck strap (moving them from the extreme right and left sides of the body on the Pentamatic to a more typical front mounting on the S). Unseen from the exterior is a change to the focusing screen inside the pentaprism. The original fresnel screen in the Pentamatic was replaced with a split image screen in the model S. For me, that change makes the Pentamatic S much easier to focus and improves the brightness inside the viewfinder.

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Rare Yashica Pentamatic S Box – c1961

The Yashica Pentamatic S was the last camera in the Pentamatic series of Yashica’s first ever 35mm SLR. We believe that the S model was first produced (by serial number) in April 1961. Approximately 3,200 units later, Yashica stopped producing the S in March 1962.

The Pentamatic S was sold in the US as we have a sales brochure (in English) that features the model S along with the Yashica Penta J and Yashica J-3 (Yashica’s first m42 mount bodies). We’ve never seen an advertisement for the model S in any of the major camera magazines of the period. We aren’t aware of any sales brochures in Japanese either for the model S and we’re not sure that it was available in Japan. No solid proof one way or another yet.

So with all of that said, the Yashica Pentamatic S was produced for an extremely short period of time in very limited quantities (about 3,200 total worldwide). That alone makes finding the original box for the model S quite a rare find. So here it is –

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It’s also one of the few Yashica camera boxes that feature a photograph of the camera on the box.

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Back of the box specs for the model S.

Another interesting item (to us) is the lens that’s pictured on the box. By serial number, it was made by Tomioka Optical for Yashica in October 1959 and it would have been first used on the original Pentamatic ’35’. The model S went back to using the original lens on its newest model – all part of the general confusion at Yashica during an extremely busy period in the history of the company.

If you have anything relating to the Yashica Pentamatic S, please feel free to share it with us. In addition to being Yashica researchers we’re buyers of almost anything relating to Yashica. Contact us here or at chriscarol@ccstudio2380.com

Thanks for your visit! 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.

 

Yashica Arrivals – Pentamatic S & 635

As if the collection needed more Yashica anything – but collections are dynamic things and as such, something “new” arrives which paves the way for a duplicate(s) to go.

Although we have some very nice Pentamatic-S models in the family, this one is close to mint new and is in fully working condition (including the “no name” exposure meter). So we’ll take a hard look at the others and decide which will be listed for sale in our online store.

The Yashica-635 is another story.

The first one we acquired (about a year ago) looked perfect – new in fact – but it had a fatal flaw – the shutter was jammed because the “M-X” lever was in the wrong position when someone tried to use the self-timer. That one was sold for parts. This one came to us from England and was likely purchased new in Singapore in the late 1950s. A guess on our part but there’s a cleaning cloth with it from a camera store in Changi Village, Singapore which was located right outside the gates of the RAF Changi airbase. This 635 is super clean and works! It even came with the hard to find large Yashica-635 carry case in excellent condition. We can’t wait to try the 35mm feature on it.

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The Yashica-635 is a dual format TLR which was released in 1958 (this model) and the Yashica Pentamatic-S came out in early 1961 – possibly January (this one September 1961).

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Much more to come on the Yashica-635. We hope to restore the large leather carry case that came with it and we’ll do a complete feature on the dual formats. The ability to shoot 12 6x6cm negatives with 120 roll film and with a few easy change outs inside, switch to shooting a roll of 35mm film with the same camera. Cool.

Thanks for stopping by!

Studio Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

Chris

 

Pentamatic S on a walkabout.

Here’s one of our nicer S models outfitted with the “no name” add on light meter (clip on exposure meter) from Yashica.

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Another in Yashica’s short lived series of the Pentamatic 35mm SLR. This one c1961. Yashica’s first SLRs had a steep learning curve for the company. Groundbreaking for Yashica to be sure but a miss overall against the competition. Yashica’s best was still to come. We happen to appreciate the rock solid construction of this often overlooked camera… the Tomioka Optical “normal” lens focal length of 5.8cm was a bit odd but the bayonet mount lenses were sharp and attached very solidly to the body. This was not the lens that was supplied with the S – Yashica went back to the 5.5cm, f/1.8 lens. No batteries needed for either the camera or meter.

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The Pentamatic S wasn’t made in large quantities over a long period of time. Nice working examples are still available and some very nice collector quality examples are still out there. You are much more likely to find a Pentamatic S for sale than a Pentamatic II – probably by a 4 to 1 margin.

Happy hunting!

Chris

Pentamatic S – 1961 to 1962

The Pentamatic S… the last true Pentamatic in the short lived series of SLRs from Yashica. The Pentamatic II is the hardest to find from a collector’s standpoint as they were only available for sale in Japan with the S close behind.

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The Pentamatic S. The last camera in the short lived Pentamatic series.

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Pentamatic cameras tend to have very well designed film paths and film chambers. We rarely find corrosion and the chambers are large and easy to keep clean. The Nicca inspired cloth focal-plane shutter in this example is super clean and shows no white mold spots.

The Pentamatic S pictured above, the serial number is NO. 140572. Our other S is NO. 140294. These numbers decode to… 1=1961, 4=April, and the last four digits equal the sequential production numbers. The S models were not produced in great numbers so it is possible that both of these cameras were made during the same month as they are within 300 units of one another. Another serial number in our database is… NO. 141796 which suggests that it was the 1,796 th unit made in April of 1961. Interestingly the serial number of the model S in Yashica’s instruction booklet is NO. 140893. It is odd that the camera in the booklet has a higher production number than two cameras we own.

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The only difference between the S and the original Pentamatic ’35’ is the notch in the shutter speed dial on the S. It is used to couple the clip-on exposure meter to the dial.

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The biggest changes in the S from the original… the shutter release button is no longer at a 45 degree angle but its position on the body is the same. The S adds a self-timer and the light meter (exposure meter) lug on the face just below the shutter speed dial.

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The lug for the neck strap has been relocated to the front from its previous position (on the side). It’s interesting to note that this lug is super corroded while the lug on the other side is not.

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As we mentioned in the previous post on our blog, the Pentamatic series of cameras are prone to mirror lock-up. This S is currently in the locked-up position and has resisted my attempts at freeing it. It had been working at the higher shutter speeds (1/125 and higher) but now it sticks at all speeds. Ugh!

In summary… the Pentamatic S is a very worthy camera and is built like a tank. The S went back to using the Auto Yashinon f/1.8 5.5cm lens which was the standard lens on the original Pentamatic ’35’. The Tomioka Optical built lens is sharp and smooth. The S allows for the attachment of a separate exposure meter on the front lug (where the “S” is) and can couple with the shutter speed dial. Still a long way from TTL metering but at least headed that way.

Thanks for your visit!

Chris and Carol

Please visit our online store at https://www.ccstudio2380.com for a nice selection of classic film cameras and vintage photo accessories.