Yashica’s Little Radio – still rockin’ at 60!

From 1959 – one of two transistor radios Yashica introduced in late 1959. This one, the YT-100 was priced at $34.95 which was big bucks back in the fifties!

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Works like a charm! 

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1950s tech from Yashica and proudly advertised that it was manufactured in Tokyo, Japan even though the camera factories were in Nagano Prefecture (Suwa and Shimosuwa). There’s a chance that Yashica assembled their electronics in Tokyo at an unknown to me factory or they simply wanted to flaunt their business and marketing headquarters which was in Tokyo. A cool little thing from a time long ago. Here’s the copy from an advertisement –

From Yashica’s ad for this radio in Life magazine – December 1959
6-Transistor Pocket-Portable Radio
“Powerful little receiver with built-in antenna and loudspeaker.
Fits pocket or purse. Works everywhere – indoors and outdoors;
brilliant, clear reception – superb tone. With battery,
carrying case and miniature earphone for private listening. $34.95″

A bit of marketing hype but hey they were proud of their radio!

By the way, if you get a chance to visit my shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com you’ll see more pics of this amazing set.

Studio camera – Fujifilm X-A10 with Fujinon Aspherical Lens XC 16-50mm f/3.5

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.

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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Yashica TL Electro-x

One of the best cameras that Yashica made – in 1968 Yashica produced an exciting 35 mm SLR with a built-in computer! Well, integrated circuits and an electronic “brain”.

It was my first SLR and I fell in love with its looks and the feel of it in my hands. This one is from my rather silly large collection of Yashica cameras and I’ve decided to make it available in my online shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

This one is from around 1970 and besides being in stunning mint condition it works like new!

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Gotta love the gothic “Y” on the pentaprism – pure Yashica!

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The battery for this camera is still readily available today and isn’t very expensive.

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I’ve always felt that the satin silver finish on this model was the best – it holds up well and it’s easy to keep clean.

The camera will come with a fresh (new) battery, the original leather case, an unopened vinyl strap, a roll of Fujicolor film and an instruction booklet. The beauty of this Yashica is that it accepts a wide array of M42 screw mount lenses which are available everywhere for very fair prices.

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Studio camera – Fujifilm X-A10 with a Fujinon Aspherical Lens – Super EBC XC 16-50mm f3.5 OIS II

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 35 YL – 1959 Rangefinder

A classic 35mm rangefinder film camera from Yashica. This one was built in November 1959. I like the feel of this camera – it’s a tad heavy at just over 700 grams with no film loaded and it feels “heavy” in your hands. It’s “chunky” design with the prominent black top plate is either a love it or hate it feature. I will say this, the view through the large viewfinder is outstanding. Bright and clear with an easy to focus double image focusing spot.

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I kinda like the feel of the odd and different black plastic rectanglar shutter release button – it has a nice touch. The film advance lever is silky smooth and it’s easy to load a film cartridge – lots of space in there for chunky fingers.

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If you’re looking to get into using a late 1950s Japanese made rangefinder I highly recommend the YL or its similar cousin the Yashica 35 YK.

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 © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Yashica Lynx – the ‘Wildcat’ in Yashica’s den!

Recent finds and some good detective work by my friend Paul Sokk have gone on to lend support that Zunow did make some of the lenses on the Yashica Lynx and now it looks like they first appeared on the Yashica 35 YL. More to come!

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

We haven’t paid much attention to rangefinder cameras here on the “Fanatic” – it’s not that we don’t find them interesting – quite the opposite, many rangefinder cameras associated with Yashica are groundbreaking and historically significant and are worthy of further research.

The Yashica Lynx – aka the Lynx-1000. It was the first in a long line of successful fixed-lens rangefinder cameras from Yashica in the early 1960s. The first Lynx was made in May 1960 based on the serial number of the camera in an early sales brochure (in English below).

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We find early sales brochures extremely helpful when attempting to place a date of production of a camera. In this case, the serial number NO. 650048 would indicate that the Lynx was first produced in May 1960 (6 = 1960, 5 = May, 0048 = number 48th made).

This early box (below) confirms that Yashica referred to…

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Time Capsule – 1960

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A nice example of Yashica’s first 35mm SLR – the Pentamatic. Also known as the Pentamatic ’35’. This 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. It’s my contention that the original Pentamatic was not available in Japan and that it was initially available only as an export model. By 1961 however, Yashica realized that the Pentamatic was not doing well anywhere so the decision was made to release the Pentamatic (original model) in Japan alongside the Pentamatic II. Odd marketing but that was how Yashica operated – oddly.

As always, 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 © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

The Yashica 35 – Yashima’s first 35mm camera – a visual tour.

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The Yashica 35 was produced starting in April 1958. This camera (above) is one of the last of the series to roll off the assembly line at Yashica’s factory in Shimosuwa, Nagano Prefecture, Japan in December 1960. Little changed from its original design – minor tweaks here and there but never anything major.

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The lens was made by Tomioka Optical and was produced in two models – the f/1.9 and f/2.8, 4.5cm fixed lens.

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Close-up of the front group removed.

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Very similar to other Tomioka made lenses of the period.

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With the front lens group removed we can see the Copal shutter assembly – here a mix of parts produced a hybrid. Is it an MXV or SV shutter? It would appear that Yashica was cleaning out its parts bins when this late model was built. Notice that the focus scale is in feet.

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10 blade aperture.

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Original early sales brochure – the sharp-eyed will notice that the name on the lenses is “Yasinon” vice “Yashinon”. Changes were made even as the brochure went to press.

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About $47.00 USD for the f/1.9 and $32.00 for the f/2.8 – add another $2.77 for the leather case.

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The 35 “F” variant. Not a new model just a changeover to a different style of serial numbers. The serial number decodes as follows: 6 = 1960, 12 = Dec, and 1150 = sequence number for that month’s production.

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From this point of view, it looks just like it did in April 1958.

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A beauty in black & white.

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Yashica 35 & Yashica Pentamatic 35 – Yashica’s first rangefinder and first SLR.

The Yashica 35 is certainly a worthy addition to any early 35mm rangefinder collection. If you like to collect “firsts” then may I recommend that you check out the Yashima Pigeonflex, Yashimaflex, the Yashica 35 and the Yashica Pentamatic 35 – each of these wonderful cameras was a major milestone in the development of the Yashica Company.

So there you have it, a brief visual tour of the Yashica 35. If you would like to know more, much more, cruise on over to my good friend Paul’s website.

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris

 

Yashica’s Factory in the late 1950s – Shimosuwa, Nagano Prefecture

I’ve been on a rather long quest to discover Yashica’s roots during their earliest days as a start-up in the tech-savvy region along the shores of Lake Suwa – also known as the “Switzerland of the Orient”.

With the help of my good friend Paul Sokk from Australia (www.yashicatlr.com), we’ve nailed down the location of Yashica’s second factory which was opened in 1956. I say second because Yashica’s (then Yashima) first factory was located across Lake Suwa in the town of Suwa – possibly established as early as the late 1940s. Yashica likely operated its first camera factory in Suwa – an early 1954 advertisement in English claims that the head office was located at 244, 4-Ku Ohwa, Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture, Telephone: Suwa 1350-4 (see scan below). My thinking is that is a less than an accurate translation of the Japanese to English. I’ve had more luck in finding the general area on today’s maps by using 2-4-4 Owa, Suwa which brings me very close to the present day Seiko-Epson headquarters.

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Likely 1954 advertisement in an English language newspaper circulated in Japan. As best as I can tell it may be the first ad for the Yashima Flex in English.

My fear all along during this search was that since Yashica was bought out by Kyocera in 1983 that the fate of the factory in Shimosuwa would be lost in time since Kyocera’s current factory in Okaya is not related to the Shimosuwa factory.

With Paul’s sharp eyes, attention to detail, and sheer determination he was able to find Yashica’s old factory in present-day Shimosuwa.

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Yashica’s “new” factory in Shimosuwa as it looked in late 1956 (at least to the artist). Lake Suwa and the distant shoreline can be seen in the distance.  Of note, this artists rendering is in no way even close to scale – many of the buildings are in the wrong location and the smokestacks seem to be placed for artistic “balance” vice accurate representation. Of course, this drawing may be more conceptional and not reflective of reality.

The image above is an artist’s rendering of the Shimosuwa factory complex before the addition of the massive gym structure (see below) and before the central administration building was built.

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Looking south across Yashica’s factory campus as it appeared in the mid-1960s. The large building on the bottom center in this picture is Yashica’s gym and auditorium. The administration building is shown about centered in this scan.

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The famous and easily identifiable Yashica factory administration building at night.

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Aerial view of the Yashica factory campus from around 1959 or so. The gym building is on the extreme upper left in this picture. The factory administration building with the large verticle “Yashica” on it can be seen from behind (from the south looking north).

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This image is from a 1958 Yashica sales brochure. The distinctive Yashica factory administration building as it looked when new. At this point in time, it still had the covered parking area just to the building’s right – two modern full-sized “service” vehicles are parked underneath.

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A view of the Yashica factory campus from around 1960. I would guess that the view is taken from the hillside that overlooks the grounds. Very similar view of the artist’s rendering from 1956. (Document scan courtesy of Paul Sokk)

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Current view of the original site of Yashica’s first factory in Shimosuwa, Nagano Prefecture. The present use of this site is by Mutoh Industries, Ltd. – a maker of large-scale inkjet printers for commercial use and sold around the world.

In the above capture, Yashica’s gym building (large silver roof structure in the upper left portion of the highlighted area) can still be seen. Most of the original buildings appear to have saved.

It’s been a long but enjoyable process searching for this site. For a Yashicaphile such as myself, I would love to be able to visit the site and tour the facilities. I would like to meet with previous employees of Yashica and speak with them about their experiences while working for Yashica. Maybe someone knows the exact location of Yashica’s first factory in Suwa. That would be neat. I’ve reached out to the Mutoh company and have inquired if they would be interested in acquiring any of my collected scans of the factory from its earliest days.

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris

 

Yashica Pentamatic II – The Phantom

A new Pentamatic joins the family – this one was made in September of 1960.

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Seldom seen in the wild, Yashica’s “Phantom” camera – the P2

The Pentamatic II was fitted with a limited production lens made by Zunow Optical – a 5.8cm f1.7 Auto Yashinon with 10 aperture blades. It’s a massive camera with a ton (1,028 grams) of brass and glass.

It’s a distinctive design – very modern but classic at the same time. A clean pentaprism without the cold shoe mounted on it – in fact, the cold shoe (accessory shoe) is mounted on the camera’s left shoulder just above the hidden rewind knob.

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The serial number (NO. 96000944) indicates the “when” of this camera. The “9” is for September and the next digits, “60” is for 1960. The last 5 digits are the sequence number or production number. This one is the 944th made since production began in August 1960.

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A rather unique lens for its time – I feel that the lens was made by Zunow Optical for Yashica and was only produced in an extremely limited number for the short run of the Pentamatic II (about 6 months). This is one of Yashica’s hardest cameras to acquire – there may only be less than 500 of these (if that much) left in the wild.

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris

Yashica’s ‘Sailor Boy – Christmas Elf’?

We’re super lucky to have run across a rather hard to find Sailor Boy – this one came to our attention from a visitor to our blog – then through eBay by way of South Africa to Florida! Welcome home, little guy!

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This unique version of Sailor Boy – complete with his Yashica 35mm camera.

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Cousins, not brothers. The only thing missing on our little guy is his green decal which should be on the front of his hat.

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Sailor Boy convention. The new guy cleaned up nicely. A little bit of warm soapy water and a soft brush and he’s good as new!

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Made in Japan is about all we know at this point. We’re not even sure about when he was made.

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Cool shoes – but are they “elf” shoes?

More about the history and variations of Yashica’s advertising figurine soon. As always, feel free to share your Sailor Boys with us – we’re looking to add to our collection with new versions of this cute guy.

Thanks

Chris and Carol