Rare Zunow 35mm SLR Set

A very rare, no let me say, ultra rare Zunow camera and lens set is for sale via an online auction in Japan. The Zunow was made in extremely limited numbers in 1959 and few remain this complete in the present collector world. Yashica’s first 35mm SLR was designed in early to mid-1959 shortly after Yashica acquired Nicca camera in 1958. The Yashica Pentamatic ’35’ started production in December 1959 with the first units reaching the US market in the Spring of 1960. The Pentamatic and the Zunow share some similar DNA as Yashica purchased lenses from Zunow (mostly cine lenses) and they were for a time dual branded.

Not often seen together original box, lens cap, case with strap, camera body and lens.
Beautiful together.
Here’s a snip of a completed auction for just the brochure.
Here’s my first Pentamatic ’35’ with a super-rare Tominon and Yashica branded wide-angle lens.

Looking at the Zunow and the Pentamatic it’s not hard to let your imagination run wild that maybe Zunow, Nicca, and Yashica all shared some design features with one another over a drink or two at a local bar on the outskirts of Tokyo.

This could be another sales brochure or brochure and instruction booklet combination.
Zunow and Yashica branded box for an 8mm cine camera lens.
An advertisement for a rare dual offering from a well-known Japanese camera dealer a few years back.

If you’re so inclined to bid on the current set online, here’s the link https://www.easyauctionjapan.com/YahooAuction-Yahoo-607566-j736361126.html

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your day and please feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com


Wednesday’s Camera – Yashica Pentamatic

The original Pentamatic 35 with a rare Tominon branded lens.

In the field.
In the studio.

The Yashica Pentamatic is a very worthy camera to chase after. About 20K were made but since it wasn’t considered a collectors camera not many were saved in mint condition. The next camera was the Pentamatic II and it was only available for purchase in Japan. The final model was the Pentamatic S and only about 5K were made.

I’ve always loved the lines of the Pentamatic – so modern and uncluttered but so retro at the same time. BTW, there’s no self-timer on this model and the shutter button was mounted on the front – right where your pointer finger naturally wants to be.

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

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, Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2021 Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris (Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic), Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

(almost) wordless wednesday

yashica pentamatic big time

Have a beautiful and safe day and many thanks for stopping by! – Chris

I have some interesting new items in my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com which is hosted by Etsy.

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 © 2015-2020 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

A rare Yashica Pentamatic II instruction booklet surfaces.

Every now and again something new turns up in our never-ending search for the complete history of the Yashica Pentamatic series of 35mm SLR cameras. The first model of the Pentamatic was dated (by serial number) in December 1959 and the last, the Pentamatic S ended in March 1962. In between the Pentamatic II had a short run from August 1960 to January 1961. Fewer than 26,000 Pentamatics were made (of all models) during its brief run which makes the Pentamatic one of the hardest to find models in Yashica’s historical line-up of SLR cameras.

A recent online auction featured this never before seen instruction booklet (below).

Yashica P2 book lolo

It’s not much to look at as the cover is devoid of any attempt to market the camera.

My best guess is that the booklet is an English edition of the Pentamatic II instructions. The Japanese edition (below) is much more in keeping with the style of the other books. My good friend and Yashica collaborator Paul Sokk and I agree that the Pentamatic II was never released for sale outside of Japan which makes the discovery of this white cover booklet for the Pentamatic II that much more interesting.

pentamatic 2 collage

Front and back covers of the Pentamatic II instruction booklet. It’s the only manual found so far that’s printed in Japanese.

Here are all three of the instruction booklets for the Yashica Pentamatic (below).


Up to this point, these were the only known Pentamatic instruction booklets.


Here’s a scan of the first page inside the white covered booklet – pictured is a Pentamatic II with it’s Zunow sourced 5.8cm f/1.7 lens. The camera is still identified as the original Pentamatic in this image, however.

So the big question is why did Yashica print this instruction booklet in English when from all evidence the Pentamatic II wasn’t released for sale outside of Japan? A secondary question is why did they choose to not title the booklet as being for the Pentamatic II? Our best guess is that a few Pentamatic II models were in fact sold in Japan possibly in military exchanges and in duty-free shops and an English version was needed. It’s also possible that a few Pentamatic II’s were sold outside of Japan and the booklet was produced to supplement the camera. Nothing yet to prove that the Pentamatic II was sold outside of Japan but the existence of this book adds a new wrinkle to the history of this camera.

Thanks for stopping by and as always, if you have additional info about any of the three Pentamatic models please share it with us. 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.

Time Capsule – 1960

Another look at this post from last year. New evidence shows that the Pentamatic (original model) was released in Japan in January 1960 but as of this reblog still no instruction booklets found printed in Japanese – only English. The Pentamatic made its first appearance in the US around March-April 1960 with the first ads appearing in May.

Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris

yashica pentamatic set The original Pentamatic.

A nice example of Yashica’s first 35mm SLR – the Pentamatic. Also known as the Pentamatic ’35’ in its earliest advertisements and sales brochures. This particular camera is from August 1960 – the same month that Yashica started production of the Pentamatic II – a model that was destined for the Japanese home market and not for world export. The Pentamatic II stayed in production only until January 1961 when it was replaced a few months later with the Pentamatic S. The original Pentamatic was first produced in December 1959 but widescale production didn’t begin until January 1960. As of this update (Oct 11, 2018), I still haven’t found evidence of an instruction booklet printed in Japanese – only English booklets so far. I would think that there must be booklets in Japanese and at least 2 or 3 other languages but none found. The Pentamatic II…

View original post 65 more words

Pentamatic Microscope Adapter – 1960

I have yet to use a microscope adapter in nearly 50 years of 35mm photography – but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t collected them and enjoyed the thought of someday using one. I’ve had a few Canon adapters over the years too.

The first step would be actively looking for a microscope to purchase on one of the many online auction sites. Something I will do.

Here’s a nice adapter from Yashica with the Pentamatic bayonet mount. It’s one of the first accessories to appear in the early Pentamatic instruction booklets from 1960. List price was ¥2,500 which was fairly expensive back in the day.


The adapter mounts directly to the body of the camera – no lens needed.

p1 acc page

A scan from an early Pentamatic sales brochure.



These instructions are from a later booklet featuring the adapter for the M42 screw mount.



I believe that the microscope depicted here is a Yashima microscope but it’s not made by Yashica. Yashima was the first name that Yashica went by in the early 1950s.


Not made by Yashica but still a super cool vintage microscope.


Typically you’d use a right angle finder such as this one to make it a bit easier to use the adapter on a microscope.

What’s always amazed me is just how many different camera manufacturers made microscope adapters – Canon, Olympus, Nikon just to name a few and how many are still available for purchase online from various auction sites that are unused, still new in their boxes.


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.

Yashica Pentamatic – 1960

Gettin’ its 1960s groove on with a little bit of fun in the studio.

25831138090_6ba21c9c58_o (1)

Yashica ヤシカ Pentamatic ’35’

The Pentamatic was Yashica’s first 35mm single lens reflex (SLR) camera. For a company known for building quality twin lens reflex (TLR) cameras, it was a big step forward for them. It wouldn’t have been possible without the combined expertise of the engineers, designers, and craftspeople from Nicca Camera Company which Yashica had acquired in early 1958.

22809875259_185bf3d0d8_o (1)

The Pentamatic with its placement of the cold shoe on the camera’s left top plate moved this clip on exposure meter away from the shutter button and film advance lever. A much more convenient location.

It’s a uniquely beautiful camera with all sorts of interesting angles and that forward facing shutter release button. (see below) The cold shoe (accessory shoe) wasn’t mounted on top of the pentaprism as was common (well most SLRs didn’t have a cold or hot shoe yet) but instead was located on the upper left side of the camera and combined with the rewind lever. (see above)

25959470461_6afe08f43e_o (1)

That wonderful shutter release button – right where your “trigger” finger wants to be when holding such a heavy camera.


A crop of the full-page ad from the June 1960 issue of Modern Photography. Yashica’s first public advertisement of their new SLR.

24421397892_036c1371dc_o (1)

A complete set as it would have come from the factory with the exception of the lens. I swapped out the standard Tomioka made 5.5cm f/1.8 lens for this beauty.


Earliest known sales brochure (from Japan) for the Pentamatic. We’re unsure of its exact month of issue but it appears to be at least from the first half of 1960 as it talks about the cooperation between the designers at Nicca and Yashica to bring this camera to market. Many thanks to my good friend Paul Sokk for the kind use of his brochure. For more from Paul, stop by his amazing site at http://www.yashicatlr.com

Thanks for stopping by and hopefully you’ve learned a bit more about this wonderful camera from Yashica. – 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-Tomioka Pentamatic Lens – Available for Purchase

We’ve decided to make one of our nicest Yashica Pentamatic lenses made by Tomioka Optical available for purchase. This is a special lens from our personal collection. The Super Yashinon-R f/ 2.8 3.5cm wide angle lens is from the earliest production of these hard to find lenses. It is marked Yashica Tominon and a relatively small number were produced in late 1959 and very early 1960.

This lens set is extra special as it includes the original Yashica brown leather case with strap and original metal Yashica front lens cap (52mm). The lens features a super low serial number and a fast f/ 2.8 aperture. The world famous Tomioka made glass is crystal clear and the lens barrel is factory fresh looking. No issues with this beauty – everything works as it should and frankly the lens looks new.

If you’ve been a regular reader here at the ‘Fanatic’ you’ve come to appreciate just how rare high-quality Pentamatic lenses, cameras, and accessories are. We’ve seen prices slowly creeping up on these rarities as more people realize that they’re just aren’t that many lefts in near perfect condition.

Please note: this lens can be used on modern digital camera bodies. There is an adapter to convert the unique Pentamatic bayonet mount to M42. Then use an adapter to mount M42 to your camera. You’ll love the results!


The lens barrel is flawless – the markings are bright, sharp and clean.


As you can see, the lens is marked Yashica and Tominon. The first run of these lenses featured the Tomioka Optical ‘Tominon’ name. Also note the extremely low serial number, 309. The first two digits are ’35’ which is the focal length. The next four digits are the production sequence numbers.


Rear view of the Pentamatic bayonet mount and the six aperture blades.


The lens barrel still shows a nice factory sheen after all these years. Lens ‘Made in Japan’ at the Tomioka Optical factory in Tokyo.


Smooth as silk. The aperture stops click in and out nicely, the focus is smooth and the lens is simply gorgeous.


The original brown leather case is in exceptional condition.


The stitching is still tight and complete.


The straps are complete and the interior is clean and bright.


The lens mounts securely to a Pentamatic body and looks sharp! Sorry, but the camera body is not included in this opportunity.

So there you have it. A historic lens for Yashica’s first SLR camera made by world famous Tomioka Optical in nearly new condition. Perfect for everyday shooting or for your collection.

If you would like to purchase this lens, please pop on over to our online store at https://www.ccstudio2380.com

We have it at a great value now but if you purchase it through our blog I’ll offer a 10% discount! Perfect for Christmas!

Thanks… Chris & Carol ^.^

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