Pentamatic SLR & the Move to M42

Contents

(Scroll down or click on Links)

Pentamatic Arrives
Pentamatic II
Pentamatic S
Penta J (also Reflex 35)
R.I.P.
Pentamatic Lenses
Pentamatic Accessories
M42 Mount Mystery
Claims of Zunow Sourced 35 mm Lenses
A Mamiya Twist
Production Numbers
Pentamatic Link

Pentamatic Arrives

The original Pentamatic was actually a handsome, up-to-date, modern looking mid-spec camera, a little late but not too late to market. It was keenly priced for its spec level but certainly not a bargain either. Its defining feature is the shoulder mounted accessory shoe - most contemporary SLRs were sans shoe, offering an accessory clip-on type instead. A three position lever on the back allows the rewind crank to pop up and the back to be opened:

Together with the Mamiya Prismat, it followed the 1959 Nikon F, Canonflex and Petri Penta releases which joined Asahi Pentax, Miranda, Firstflex (made by niche maker Tokiwa Seiki, also responsible for the 1955 Pentaflex), Topcon and Minolta Japanese made models. The revolutionary Zunow had already been and gone.

The release date for the historically rather important Pentamatic is contentious. Occurrences on the net are roughly divided between 1959 and 1960 with perhaps 1959 favoured, usually in conjunction with the word, “introduced”, however, there is another claim of a “Yashica/Kyocera sourced” date, March 1960. The Trademark filing date in Japan was 18 September 1959 and in the US, it was 12 February 1960. The official Kyocera Optec website of today lists Tomioka SLR lens production as commencing in 1960. Contributor Chris Whelan believes that he has decoded the Pentamatic serial numbers, with which I concur, and that the camera in the user manual is from December 1959, almost certainly a pre-production example. Series production seems to have commenced in January 1960. Release could have happened at any point from then on. Page 48 of the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper of 4 May 1960 contains an ad placed by Yashica which tells us that the new Pentamatic, and also the new Yashica Mat-LM (plus some others), can be seen at the Delaware Valley Photo Show, or “at your local Yashica dealer”, and this was “their first public showing” after the “introduction at the trade show in St. Louis” (note, the linked ad has been edited for easier viewing). According to Chris Whelan, this was “the 36th annual trade show of the Master Photo Dealers & Finishers Association convention in St. Louis, held March 21-25, 1960.” So perhaps announced in 1959, released in 1960 with March-April pretty close to the mark in the US.

The original model is the only one with evidence of worldwide sales and advertising. Chris Whelan and I have found ads and brochures from Japan, USA, Germany, France, Singapore and Australia. Quite a few of the Pentamatics sold, or for sale, recently are from the UK.

Nearly every reference source implies that the Pentamatic's “proprietary” bayonet lens mount was an impediment to the camera's sales success. Well, yes, but what has to be understood is that every successful bayonet lens mount, including the Nikon F mount, was/is “proprietary” and were usually accompanied by an ever increasing selection of matching lenses designed for the system. In 1960, the M42 screw mount was far from “universal” yet with the main users being the East German Praktica and the Japanese Asahi Pentax with smaller West German brand Edixa and East German Contax (VEB Zeiss Ikon/Pentacon) already declining. However, the problem for Yashica was threefold; the lack of lenses on release, slow development of it's lens portfolio and the lack of automatic lenses.

Much was made of the camera's automatic aperture stop down ability but only the standard f/1.8 5.5 cm lens was “automatic” and even that was a marketing stretch - yes, the aperture automatically stopped down at the time the shutter was released but the return of the aperture to fully open for viewing was only accomplished by cocking the shutter again. At best, a compromise between fully “automatic” and manually cocked “semi-automatic” lenses, although admittedly state of the art only a year or two earlier on the 1958 Minolta SR-2 and some of the German models, but cameras such as the Zunow and Nikon F had already set the standard with others following. The rare and short-lived Pentamatic II was advertised to be fully automatic (my two examples and Chris Whelan's one are not functional enough to confirm that).

More than anything else, an SLR is defined by its lenses. Initially, according to both the user manual and first English system brochure, only two accessory lenses were offered, a 35 mm moderate wide angle and a 100 mm short/medium telephoto and both of these were of the manual pre-set type:

(User manual scan courtesy of Chris Whelan)

This minimalist selection, without even a hint of more to come, must have set some sort of record for interchangeable lens SLRs and undoubtedly would have been a real disappointment for photographers who were looking to SLRs to extend their focal length reach over the limitations imposed by interchangeable lens rangefinders, for example. In comparison, when the small lens maker Zunow introduced its first SLR in 1958, it announced six lenses of which four were fully automatic (not all available initially or even by the time the project folded for quality reasons).

By June 1960, a 135 mm was added and 180 mm and 250 mm lenses followed by the launch of the Pentamatic II around September (featured in the user manual). When the first M42 models were released, lenses in both Pentamatic and M42 mounts were advertised in focal lengths up to 400 mm (the longer telephotos appear to be new types designed primarily for M42), but still no wider than 35 mm. In comparison to major competitors, a very limited range. Incredibly, given the ability of the camera, they all remained pre-set types.

So either Yashica chose to not develop auxiliary lenses with automatic diaphragms for some management reason, or there were technical issues still to overcome with the implementation. Unfortunately, we don't know how Yashica's external lens supplier(s), assumed to be Tomioka in the main or exclusively, fitted in. Tomioka had not produced SLR lenses previously, and possibly not interchangeable rangefinder lenses either (the relatively low volume YE and YF lenses are unknowns). These required relatively complex machined barrels plus the addition of aperture mechanisms, not to mention the “automatic” aperture of the standard lens, compared to the simple threaded tubes of TLRs and leaf shutter viewfinder/ fixed lens rangefinder cameras that were Tomioka's bread and butter at the time. Yashica did quickly offer adaptors for Praktica M42 screw and Exakta bayonet mount lenses (not mentioned in the user manual but are featured in the first system manual already) but these were manual operation only and like Yashica's own preset lenses, they could not use the camera's headline automatic aperture stop down feature that customers were paying for.

Compared to competitors, two other annoying quirks that were likely due to cost cutting were, when loading film, the need for manual frame reset with an easy to accidentally move toothed wheel and the lack of a self-timer (bizarrely, the user manual shows the use of a Walz branded accessory timer - finally rectified in the S model).

Price Comparison USA Market

The table below provides some 1960 and 1962 prices in the US plus key specs of comparative Japanese SLR models. Note, from serial numbers, it looks like the last Pentamatic was made in January 1961. By February 1962, the last examples were being advertised in Modern Photography at the fire sale price of $94.50, therefore the August 1962 Popular Science table is certainly out of date.

Camera
Max.
f/stop
Max.
Shutter
Lens Range
Exposure
Meter
Price
From Popular Science, August 1962
Nikon F
f/2
1/1000
28-1,000 mm
No
$329.50
Cannonflex RM
f/1.8
1/1,000
35-1,000 mm
Yes
$300.00
Topcon C
f/1.8
1/1,000
35-1,000 mm
No
$295.00
Miranda Automex
f/1.9
1/1,000
28-400 mm
Yes
$299.95
Miranda DR
f/1.9
1/500
28-400 mm
No
$169.95
Minolta SR-3
f/1.4
1/1,000
35-600 mm
No
$229.50
Minolta SR-1
f/1.8
1/500
35-600 mm
No
$179.50
Pentax H3
f/1.4
1/1,000
35-1,000 mm
No
$199.50
Pentax H1
f/1.8
1/500
35-1,000 mm
No
$149.50
Pentamatic
f/1.8
1/1,000
35-400 mm
No
*$159.95
Adapted From Modern Photography, February 1960
Minolta SR-1
f/1.8
1/500
35-600 mm
No
$249.50
Pentax H2
f/2
1/500
35-1,000 mm
No
$179.50
Pentamatic
f/1.8
1/1,000
35-100 mm
No
*$159.95

* advertised as $159.95 plus $15 for the ever ready case, total cost $174.95

An Olden Camera Co., New York, ad for the Mamiya Prismat NP released in February 1961 advertised it at $118.50, illustrating what a bargain price might look like. The top speed of 1/1,000 and Canon Exakta mount f/1.9 lens made it competitive. Like Yashica, Mamiya was trying to break into the 35 mm SLR market - this was the company's second model.

(Back to top)

Pentamatic II

A Pentamatic II with claimed fully automatic aperture operation and a different f/1.7 5.8 cm standard lens with depth of field stop-down button (more details further below) was released around September 1960 and by serial numbers, seems to have been produced alongside the original Pentamatic until only January 1961 when production of both ended:

It seems to have only been advertised in Japan and all found examples are from Japanese auctions and websites. A Japanese brochure featuring both models advertises the Pentamatic at ¥34,800 plus ¥2,000 for the ever ready case and the Pentamatic II at ¥37,300 plus ¥2,200 for the case.

(Back to top)

Pentamatic S

Both the Pentamatic and Pentamatic II were replaced by the Pentamatic S in early 1961, although unsold stock of the Pentamatic appears to have lasted into 1962. There is a claimed release date of May 1961, from serial numbers, series production seemed to commence in April so that would fit. The S reverted to the original less than fully automatic aperture and standard f/1.8 5.5 cm lens but added a split-prism rangefinder focusing aid, self-timer and an external exposure meter mounting plate and shutter coupling key-way:

Most found examples are from the US with a small number from Japan (three plus one box bought by contributor, aficionado and collector Chris Whelan). Even so, one Japanese blogger claims that the model was for export only and no Japanese ads or brochures have been found by Chris. He has one US brochure where it appears with the Penta J and J-3 M42 models and there was an ad in Popular Photography (page 90, date unknown).

The “S” could stand for Split-prism rangefinder focusing (according to a Japanese blogger, suggested in an unnamed book), Shutter coupled exposure meter, Self-timer, all three or something else entirely. Yashica's US brochure and ad concentrate on the ease of focusing (shared with the Penta J below).

The US price was “under $200 plus case”, so a premium of $40 over the original model, not exactly cheap for the specification. The clip-on exposure meter was $25.

The last example in my database is from March 1962.

(Back to top)

Penta J (also Reflex 35)

The first M42 model, the Penta J (in Japan and USA, in other markets usually known as the “Reflex 35” even though the “J” is still on the exposure meter mount), was released in 1961 already (production starting in June and a claimed release in September), indicating a degree of panic and lack of commitment to fixing whatever the issue with the Pentamatic was. Although similarly styled and still solidly built, the Penta J cut costs by reducing the maximum shutter speed from 1/1000 to 1/500, dropping the newly added self-timer and the faux-automatic lens aperture in favour of a manually cocked semi-automatic set-up styled along earlier Asahi Pentax lines, increasing the maximum lens aperture to f/2 and of course, changing from the bayonet mount to M42 mount. The shoulder mounted accessory shoe was also dropped and the complicated film rewind and back opening mechanism was simplified. It retained the ability to fit the external exposure meter of the Pentamatic S but the Penta J version's piggy back shutter speed dial is limited to the camera's 1/500 speed:

(This is a very early example. Note the Pentamatic and Pentamatic II style strap lugs, very quickly replaced by the Pentamatic S style lugs, and the black enamel filled in “J”, also changing to a plain outline very early on.)

The name “Penta” makes sense as the aperture is now not automatically cocked so the “matic” has been dropped but what does the “J” stand for? Nobody is absolutely certain but the two known Japanese ads have ジャガー written across the “J”, meaning “Jaguar” (identified for me by contributor Chris Whelan and also noted on several Japanese blog sites). Are the admen playing with us, or is that the real name, noting that the “Lynx” rangefinder was released in 1960?

The Penta J was followed in late 1962 by the J-3 with built-in CdS exposure cell below the rewind crank and re-instated self-timer. A US brochure from the end of 1962, or beginning of 1963, features the Pentamatic S, Penta J and J-3 together. (As far as I can tell from various sources and also serial numbers, the other M42 cameras followed in this order: J-5, J-P, J-4, TL Super, J-7, TL, TL Electro-X, TL-E, TL Electro-X ITS, TL Electro, Electro AX and FFT. The "J" bodies were one related family style-wise with evolving Pentamatic design cues and the rest belonged to the later, more angular bodied "TL" group.)

(Back to top)

R.I.P.

In the US brochure, the Pentamatic S was advertised at “under” US$200 and the Penta J, at “under” US$130, firmly back in the more budget mass market territory that Yashica was familiar with (the original Pentamatic had been advertised at US$159.95). The ensuing models remained well built but were comparatively ordinary until perhaps the late 1960s TL Electro-X with electronically controlled shutter. Sales were also relatively lack-lustre.

To me, it seems as if the Pentamatic was designed by engineers who understood what was necessary to compete in the SLR market as it was developing but that it didn't really fit with the TLR marketing strategy that made Yashica successful - high volumes at low margins through good quality at prices that others could not match. With other new products at this time, this still seemed to be management's guiding principle whereas the Pentamatic was somewhat in the middle with specs and the price, whilst good value, was not a bargain. And of course, there was also the worst lens availability of any comparative model. There was no pretense of professional aspirations but it seemed to be developed with enthusiasts in mind whilst perhaps management was looking for a product for the mass market consumer. To some extent, this is reflected in the advertising material which continued to focus on the value aspect and is rather lacking in technical interest, as are the English user manuals, compared to other brands hungry to get their models noticed by “photographers”.

The Pentamatic was not perfect but certainly seemed to have promise which was not realised for one reason or another.

(Back to top)

Pentamatic Lenses

As noted only the 55 mm f/1.8 and 58 mm f/1.7 standard lenses were “automatic”, all the auxiliary lenses were of the pre-set type. The table below lists the lenses by focal length which is also pretty close to the chronology of the lenses. Later brochures note the availability of the lenses in either Pentamatic or M42 mounts. The later, longer lenses have different cosmetics which seem to have filtered down to later versions of the other auxiliary lenses.

Focal Length
Aperture
Name
Serial Numbers
Comments
Standard Lenses
     
5.5 cm
f/1.8
Yashica Auto Yashinon 591xxxxx & 605xxxxx Standard Pentamatic & S lens, 2 serial number ranges
5.5 cm
f/1.8
Tomioka Tominon 600xxx 1 only, found with earliest Pentamatic S
5.8 cm
f/1.7
Yashica Auto Yashinon 424xxx to 595xxx Standard Pentamatic II lens, continuous serial number range
Auxiliary Lenses
     
3.5 cm
f/2.8
Yashica Tominon Super Yashinon-R 350xxx & 364xxx Two serial number ranges
3.5 cm
f/2.8
Yashica Super Yashinon-R 28xxxx All serial numbers start with “28”
10 cm
f/2.8
Yashica Super-Yashinon 591xxxx 1 only
10 cm
f/2.8
Yashica Tominon Super Yashinon-R 100xxx All serial numbers start with “100”
13.5 cm
f/3.5
Yashica Super Yashinon-R 1350xxx to 1351xxx Most are “1350” until “1350999” reached
13.5 cm
f/2.8
Yashica Super Yashinon-R 1355xxx & 1380xxx “138” lenses have new cosmetics
18 cm
f/3.5
Yashica Super Yashinon-R 180xxxx Relatively rare
25 cm
f/4
Yashica Super Yashinon-R 250xxxx Rare, 1 only found
30 cm
f/5.5
Yashica Super Yashinon-R 30xxxx Rare, 1 only found. 6 digit number
40 cm
f/6.3
Yashica Super Yashinon-R 400xxxx Rare, 1 only found

Note that the auxiliary lenses mostly use the focal length as the prefix for the lens serial number. The exceptions are the second range of the 3.5 cm f/2.8 Yashica Tominon Super Yashinon-R, the renamed 3.5 cm f/2.8 Yashica Super Yashinon-R (uses aperture instead) and the one example of the 10 cm Yashica Super-Yashinon which uses a number similar to the standard lens format and is presumed to be an early type.

The one 5.5 cm f/1.8 Tomioka Tominon found with the earliest Pentamatic S (with very low pre-production like number believed to be made in February 1961 when the very next camera is from April when series production seems to have started) is a complete mystery. There is no way of telling whether it is original to the camera.

(Detail from larger web images)

The ribbing on the focusing ring is not continuous like on the other standard lenses and earlier (most) auxiliary lenses. This style is most common on the longer focal length (later) lenses. Whereas some of the auxiliary lenses feature the “Tominon” name, it is the only Pentamatic mount lens where the “Yashica” brand is replaced by “Tomioka” suggesting that it might be a Tomioka initiative in some way.

(Back to top)

Pentamatic Accessories

The list of available accessories include Exakta and Praktica lens mount adaptors, extension tubes, bellows, microscope adaptor, right-angle finder, lens hoods, filters, copy stand and clip on exposure meter for the Pentamatic S (modified version available for the Penta J). I have recorded examples of all for sale on eBay. The user manual also shows an oscilloscope adapter. Below is a Pentamatic S complete with exposure meter and lens hood:

(Image courtesy of Chris Whelan)

This example is fitted with the 5.8 cm f/1.7 Pentamatic II standard lens.

(Back to top)

M42 Mount Mystery

One other not so well known mystery is that why Yashica, having decided to embrace the M42 mount and refer to it as the “Praktica” mount, it then chose to deploy it using the aberrant Edixa implementation of rotating the mount clockwise by some degrees. Note, the rotation is not related to the lens register as claimed by some, that remains the same. Edixa's reasons are presumed to relate to the external diaphragm coupling on some of its lenses. Yashica didn't use external coupling and seems to have had no reason whatsoever. This was brought to my attention by correspondent John Farrell who noted that “the lens from a Yashica Reflex 35, fitted to a Pentax SV, has the focusing index mark at 11 o'clock - and a Pentax lens on the Yashica, has the mark at 1 o'clock.” There are posts about this on the net and I have also confirmed this behaviour but with a Takumar on a later TL Electro-X, the rotation was closer to 2 o'clock. Manual lenses are unaffected, apart from the normally centered scales being oddly offset, but with automatic and pre-set lenses, the issue is about the ability of the camera to hit the stop-down pin when Edixa mount and non-Edixa mount cameras and lens are mixed and matched. It is a decision that defies explanation.

(Back to top)

Claims of Zunow Sourced 35 mm Lenses

There are persistent rumours on Japanese blog sites that some Lenses fitted to the Lynx 1000 rangefinder released in mid-1960 were made by Zunow. We have already seen the close link with Zunow regarding the cine lenses. Chris Whelan and I have have done some investigation and Chris has even acquired two of the Lynx cameras. We don't know whether there is any truth to the claims but this is what we do know. Early lenses starting with “3” for the serial number (mostly 6 digit but one with 7 digits) until about November 1960 (we know that from the camera serial numbers) have a different style and font for the text on the front of the lens to nearly all other Yashica lenses, both earlier and later. (Incidentally, the presence of “No.” in front of the body serial numbers on cameras made prior to late November 1960 and “L” on subsequent cameras is a largely unconnected coincidence related to new serial numbering for all models, but generally the cameras with the early type lenses are the 1960 examples with “No.” in front of their serial numbers, i.e. Yashica may have taken the opportunity to make the two changes at the same time. That may explain why the new serial numbering started for the Lynx at the end of November 1960 whereas the TLRs and other affected models seemed to start on 1 January 1961. Note, the late November and December numbers start with a “6” instead of the “0” that the new numbering system would have allocated to 1960.)

On the early Lynx lenses, “Number” is abbreviated as “No” (note, no period, or full stop). Also, the lower case “a” is different. Early Lynx lens front group on left, later on right (all later lens numbers are 7 digit, starting with “5” or “6”). The front element also sits deeper in the left early example and there are other physical differences inside.

(Images courtesy of Chris Whelan)

Why is that interesting? As noted, the font on the right lens is representative of most Yashica lenses (assumed to be made by Tomioka, later lenses changed to mostly capitals) whereas the font and spacing on the left earlier lens, and in particular the “No” but also the “a”, are absolutely more typical of Zunow made lenses than not (less so with cine lenses). Below is an f/2.8 4.5 cm Zunow lens on the Neoca SV Super, there was also an f/1.8 4.5 cm lens on the Neoca SV Deluxe with similar style text and numbers on the front. Note both the “No” and the “a”s and the font generally for “Japan” (in the interests of full disclosure, the style of Zunow “a” is also used on the later Penta J and J-3 Auto Yashinon standard lenses - there is no suggestion that they were made by anyone other than Tomioka):

(Detail from larger web image)

The only other Yashica lens featuring this style (with both, the “No” and different “a”), is the short lived f/1.7 58 mm lens released with the Pentamatic II in about September 1960 with the last example of the camera being made in January 1961 (last that I have found). Note, the font for “Japan” is different to the above lenses, more refined and closer to the “standard” Yashica style but still with the other variations noted. This lens, differed from the Pentamatic and Pentamatic S f/1.8 55mm version by featuring a stop-down depth of field preview button, 10 bladed aperture versus 6 and with the aperture ring spinning in the Zunow-like opposite direction (smallest aperture, biggest number, to the right when holding the camera). Pentamatic II f/1.7 lens on left, Pentamatic S f/1.8 lens (same as the original Pentamatic type) on right:

Is it merely coincidence that both the early Lynx lens and the f/1.7 58 mm lenses disappeared at about the time of Zunow's bankruptcy? In all honesty, I can't answer that but it is worth thinking about.

(Back to top)

A Mamiya Twist

Just to confuse the matter more, if the f/1.7 58 mm lens was killed off, it seems to have been resurrected as the standard lens for the unrelated Mamiya Prismat WP, also rebadged as an Argus (on which the lens seems to be more commonly found), reputedly released in July 1962 (first identified by sharp-eyed contributor, Chris Whelan):

(Right photos, detail from lager web images)

Same Pentamatic II in left photos, Mamiya-Sekor top right and Argus-Sekor bottom right. Note, some sources claim that the Argus mount is different to the Mamiya but I believe that is incorrect. For the first Prismat and the Prismat NP, Mamiya used the German Exakta mount. There was a move apparently by at least some Japanese companies to use a standard bayonet - that fell through but Mamiya used it on the WP and I also believe on the rebadged Argus variant. Like Yashica, the following models adopted the M42 screw mount. Apart from being bayonets, as far as I can tell, the Yashica and Mamiya mounts are quite different.

The only differences between the left and right lenses above are the bayonet mount, the colour of the scales (the scales, their placement and fonts themselves appear identical) and the Pentamatic II lens has a button on top as well as a sliding switch on the side whereas the Prismat WP and Argus lenses don't have the button but have the same switch in the same place as on the Pentamatic lens (the knob has a less pointy profile on the Sekors and on those, in the photos is sitting at the opposite end of the slot to the Yashica lens). All the lenses have 52 mm filter threads, 10 bladed apertures and an aperture ring that spins the same way (there was an earlier Exakta mount Mamiya Sekor f/1.7 58 mm with 9 bladed aperture, an aperture ring that spun in the opposite direction and an external shutter coupling - the appearance of this was quite different). Whose design it is and who made it are complete unknowns but if it was a Zunow design, it is possible that the original tooling etc was re-used, perhaps by Tomioka via Yashica, or even by Mamiya via Yashica. Note that there is no hard evidence that it is not an original Tomioka design, just circumstantial differences. Although possible, it is unlikely to be a Mamiya sourced design as it appeared on the Yashica first and follows the signature Yashica Pentamatic lens style. The subsequent Mamiya Sekor M42 f/1.7 58 mm looks completely different but the 10 bladed aperture and aperture ring direction are retained so the two generations may be related. As far as I am aware, the combination of f/1.7 aperture and 58 mm focal length is also limited to the Pentamatic II lens and the three different mount Mamiya lenses.

I haven't been able to find out anything about auxiliary lenses for the Prismat WP but the Argus user manual has details of f/2.8 35 mm and 135 mm Argus-Sekor lenses with fully automatic apertures. I can't tell much from the low resolution images but they appear to share physical characteristics with the standard f/1.7 58 mm lens. So the intriguing question is whether they are newly Mamiya designed and made or share the same source as the standard lens. They could have been designed for the Pentamatic without ever going into production.

Note, prior to the Prismat WP and Argus, Mamiya released the Prismat NP, still with the original Exakta mount and external shutter coupling but with the standard f/1.9 50 mm lens made by Canon complete with Canon markings. There is some debate about whether or not Mamiya made its own 35 mm lenses but clearly, it didn't make all of them.

Whilst much of this is guess work, the existence of the nearly identical lenses and possible Zunow connection are part of the greater Pentamatic mystery.

(Back to top)

Production Numbers

The camera serial numbers for the early SLRs feature a sequence number which counts up production from basically zero (the first numbers are likely taken up by pre-production examples that follow prototypes). This number is the last 5 digits for most early models and the last 4 for the Pentamatic S. Therefore, the highest serial numbers found give us production up to that point. There are always likely to be higher numbers still not found so it is a good indicator but not an absolute. The table below lists the highest sequence numbers for the Pentamatics and early M42 models giving a fairly accurate picture of production:

Model Production
Pentamatic
16,766
Pentamatic II
5,293
Pentamatic S
3,167
Penta J
40,757
Reflex 35
10,943
J-3
37,681

(Note, the sample size of both the Reflex 35 and J-3 is relatively low and therefore these numbers could be significantly under-stated)

The Penta J and Reflex 35 are basically the same camera and should be added together. Whereas the Pentamatic numbers must have disappointed Yashica, the attempted updates faired much worse. Even the M42 models must have been a disappointment remembering that Yashica's sharp pricing relied on volume for profit.

(Back to top)

Pentamatic Link

There is not much information available on the Pentamatics, or indeed the early M42 models. The best collection of information, including photos, brochures and ads is on my friend and contributor Chris Whelan's blog site, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic at https://yashicasailorboy.com/. Look at the sidebar in “Categories”, or just enjoy the read. Chris and I have our differences of opinion but we are on the same wavelength and his discourse is lively, entertaining and intelligent.

(Back to top)