(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.

Happy SUNday! – Yashica movie camera 1961

Making home movies in the 1960s.

Yashica 8mm Movie Set

Complete kit. BTW, the little hang tag from LIFE depicts a cover from 1947.

Yashica 8 U-matic 1961

Super-fast Yashinon f/1.8 zoom lens.

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Yashinon 9-28mm zoom lens.

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Thanks for stopping by and have a beautiful day! – 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 © 2015-2020 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.

The YK – a simple little gem from Yashica

Often overlooked and most likely an unknown 35mm rangefinder from Yashica. This example is an early version from June 1959. Very similar to Yashica’s first 35mm camera the Yashica 35 but with fewer features. It listed for $39.95 and the leather case could be had for an additional $7.95

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Handsome camera from Yashica. It features a bright viewfinder, easy to operate controls and a high-quality Yashinon f/2.8 lens.

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A view from above – simple layout and big easy to use controls. Note the distance scale is only in feet (typical of the time period) and the Copal-SV shutter ranged from “B” to 1/300

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An ASA/DIN reminder dial, the eyepiece and the company name grace the back of the camera.

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Side-by-side comparison with the Yashica 35 “F” (left). Yashica didn’t deviate much from the basic foundation of the 35 model which was first built in April 1958. The Yashica 35 pictured here is actually from December 1960 which puts this YK a full year and a half earlier than the 35.

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If you’re interested in trying out an early Japanese rangefinder then the Yashica YK is certainly a worthy camera to go after (whenever you can find one). We were lucky to find this wonderful example recently as it makes a nice addition to our collection.

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris

 

New Toy – Yashica U-matic

Wonderful 8mm film camera from around 1961 –

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Complete kit – I’m only missing the original batteries. Not pictured is the wired remote control.

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LIFE magazine ad from 1961

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From the Australian catalog by Swift & Bleakley c1962

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“Oh no”, she exclaimed! “Not movie cameras too!” Carol to Chris upon seeing the new toy.

More to come. Thanks for stopping by!

Chris

 

Yashica’s Ultra Rare “Yasinon” Lenses

Are these previously unknown lenses made by Zunow Optical?

My good friend Paul Sokk (www.yashicatlr.com) spotted a rather unique lens name in a Yashica catalog that I sent him. The catalog is from 1958.

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Look closely at the two boxes in the lower center part of the scan. Plainly marked is the name “Yasinon” and Yashica. Just to the right are two boxes made in the same style that displays the lens maker “Zunow”.

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From the same year Yashica catalog here’s a grouping of three 8mm movie camera lenses – two marked made by Zunow and one marked with the name “Yasinon”.

What’s the most interesting about this discovery is that the name Yasinon was unknown to us prior to seeing these catalogs.

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Yashica’s first 35mm camera – the Yashica 35. If you look closely at the camera lenses you’ll see that they’re marked with the Yasinon name.

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Yashica incorrectly labels the lenses as Yashinon in the banners even though the lenses in the pictures say Yasinon.

Shortly after the marketing people put these catalogs together someone made the decision to change from Yasinon to Yashinon. It appears that some of these lenses have made it into the marketplace as Paul has shared some findings of such from Japanese auction sites. Of course, Yashica stayed with the Yashinon name from this point onward. Does this make the lenses marked Yasinon rare? In my view it does. Does it mean these lenses were made for Yashica by Zunow? Yes, in my mind it does. Do I have solid proof? No, but the circumstantial evidence points strongly towards Zunow as being the manufacturer.

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Further proof as to how close Yashica’s relationship with Zunow was.

The box above in my mind is super unique – it places Zunow’s logo with Yashica’s logo on the same box – not something that was seen during the late 1950s in Japan.

Comments? Do you have a rare Zunow hiding in your closet? If you do let me know – I am actively looking to add some to my collection.

Thanks

Chris

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

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 the camera as just the Lynx vice Lynx-1000 when it was first released. The success of the Lynx paved the way for the subsequent versions of the camera.

Yashica Lynx Box

Yashica Lynx Box 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided to get a Lynx mainly because of the reputation of its fast Yashinon f/1.8 4.5cm lens. The Lynx we received (below) has a working shutter and super clean glass. The camera’s exposure meter does not work which is typical for these nearly 60-year-old cameras.

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An overall clean example but missing an important piece – the rangefinder window is obviously missing with some damage visible to the internal pieces of the finder (top center above the lens).

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Our camera was produced in August 1960 and was the 723rd made.

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This lens (our camera) features a unique serial number (only 6 digits long) and is in a font that’s not consistent with earlier versions or versions that came later. We feel that this type of lens was made by Zunow Optical vice Tomioka Optical.

The lens on the Yashica Lynx has earned high praise and its reputation amongst photographers is top-notch. For the time period having a fast f/1.8 aperture combined with a leaf shutter (Copal-SV) with a top speed of 1/1000 second was a nice feature in a low-cost rangefinder.

***There is some chatter on more than a few Japanese blogs that some of the earliest lenses for the Lynx were made by the Zunow Optical Company. The majority of the lenses were made by Yashica’s normal lens maker, Tomioka Optical of Tokyo. No verifiable references or links are given in these Japanese blogs as to the source(s) of this claim – it would appear that at this time it may be a case of one blogger makes the claim and others simply followed suite. We’re not disputing these claims, in fact, we’re intrigued by them and have set out to either prove or disprove them. Zunow has an interesting place in the Japanese camera industry of the 1950s. In early 1958, Zunow made one of Japan’s first modern 35mm SLR cameras with a semi-automatic lens and instant return mirror. Interestingly the Zunow 35 and the Yashica Pentamatic 35 (Yashica’s first 35mm SLR –  1959) share a related look and design style that goes beyond coincidence. More on this in another post.

Back to Zunow Optical and the possible connection to the Lynx. Below is an example of a very similar looking f/1.8 4.5cm lens from Zunow made in about 1959 and was fixed to the Neoca-SV.

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Zunow f/1.8 4.5cm lens on the Neoca-SV. Compare the lens ring font with the font on the Yashinon lens pictured earlier in this post. To us, these were made by the same manufacturer.

One of the biggest clues for us that some of the Japanese bloggers claim that Zunow and Tomioka made the lenses for the Lynx are the similarities of the serial number fonts. The lens with the serial number No 40450 (Zunow pictured above) is in the same style as the serial number on our Yashinon lens (No359708). We have another Lynx headed our way with what we feel is a Tomioka version of the lens. We’ll take both lenses apart to see if there are differences in the design.

Thanks for stopping by! If you have additional information about anything we’ve blogged about please feel free to contact us. We’re never too old to learn something new!

Chris and Carol ^.^

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Zunow lens on the Neoca-SV

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Zunow? lens of the Yashica Lynx.

 

Yashinon Lenses – 1962*

That date* might be a bit misleading as the sales brochure this was scanned from is undated (as is most Yashica marketing stuff). Our only clue as to the date is that it (the brochure) features the newly released J-3 and doesn’t include any other Yashica SLR. No Penta J or Reflex 35 (same camera different markets) and no J-5.

We like it because it features the Yashinon lenses available at that time. If you look closely at the mounts of the lenses, you’ll see the M42 screw-in mount. Yashica does state in the brochure that all of these lenses are available in both the Yashica Pentamatic bayonet mount and the M42 mount. My friend Paul, see An Interview with Paul Sokk – Site Author of the popular YashicaTLR.com , has proposed that Yashica may have distributed these lenses to dealers (market dependent) with both mounts – meaning that they were shipped with the “new to Yashica” M42 mounts but could be converted easily at the dealer level to bayonet mounts for the Pentamatic. Sounds very possible. At this time, Yashica also sold adapter rings for mounting their M42 lenses to Exakta mount bodies and for mounting Praktica mount (M42) lenses to their Pentamatics. Confusing? Yes. Yashica guessed incorrectly when they choose to design their own bayonet mount for the Pentamatic back in 1959. Was it Yashica or was it Tomioka’s designers? How about the ex Nicca and Zunow designers? We may never know but it doomed the Pentamatic right out of the gate.

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Excellent snapshot of the lenses that were available at the time. The dual mounts (bayonet and M42) reflects Yashica’s indecision as to which mount to embrace.

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Cover of the sales brochure that was included with our Yashica J-3 when new.

It is generally believed that all of these lenses were made by Tomioka Optical of Tokyo.

While some early Pentamatic bayonet mount lenses bear the Tomioka and sometimes Tominon names, most only carry Yashica and Yashinon. The same applies to the M42 mount lenses. Some can be found with Tominon but most simply have Yashinon. We don’t have positive proof that some lenses (both types) may have been made by another lens manufacturer. But whom? Taiho Optical (which was the former Nicca Camera hidden away in Suwa) but was really Yashica, or or or. We just don’t know. Pure speculation to think that another company did, but then again, no proof that there wasn’t another maker.

Thanks so much for your visit! If you made it this far you just may be a “Yashicaphile” or just Yashica junkies like us. Do you have something to contribute??? We’d love to hear from you and would love to include your info in our blog. Thanks! ^.^

Chris & Carol

Pentamatic II Brochure

We finally have our proof that the original Pentamatic ’35’ and the Pentamatic II were advertised and sold in the Japanese domestic market. This brochure is dated February 1961 which validates the general release date of the model II. We have proof (via advertisements and brochures) that the Pentamatic S was also available for sale in Japan towards late 1961 (September?). By the way, included is this photo stream is a nice aerial view of Yashica’s factory complex in Suwa, Nagano Prefecture.

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