Yashica Penta J

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The Penta J is a 35 mm SLR camera made by Yashica from late 1961 to 1964[1]. It was the first of a line of cameras that became known as the Yashica J series (Not to be confused with the Yashica J rangefinder); the successors of the Penta J include the J-3, J-5, J-4, J-7 and J-P[2]. It was also sold in some markets as the Reflex 35 J[1].

The Penta J series succeeded the Pentamatic series of cameras, with the primary revision being the use of a standard M42 screw lens mount in place of the Pentamatic's proprietary mount. The standard lens is a 50mm f/2 Auto Yashinon; the minimum aperture is f/16. The camera has a focal-plane shutter with cloth curtains, with shutter speeds from 1/2 to 1/500 second, plus 'B'. It is synchronised for flash (X and FP synchronisation at 1/60 second, with separate PC sockets on the left-hand side of the lens mount[3]) but there is no flash shoe on the camera. The shutter release is rather low down on the front of the body.

The camera has no built-in exposure meter, but a clip-on meter that couples to the shutter speed dial was available. The meter clips to the body by slipping into two slots on either side of the "J" model label on the face of the camera.

The focusing screen has microprism and split-prism rangefinder focusing aids, common to many SLR viewfinders of the era.[4]

Film advance is by a normal lever wind, with a mechanical frame counter, and rewind is by a folding crank. The rewind release is a button in the bottom plate. Also on the bottom plate are a quarter-inch tripod socket and a film type reminder dial.

Japanese advertising of the time suggests that the "J" moniker was chosen to represent the English word "Jaguar", although this connection only appears in contemporary Japanese ads.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover)., p.1029.
  2. M42 Yashica models listed at Yashica.org (archived)
  3. Shown well on the Penta J page at Paul M Provencher's 'Die Cast Pro' site.
  4. Listing for the Penta J in the Collection d'appareils photo de Sylvain Halgand (in French). This includes the comment that the camera is not exactly ugly, but too pointed to be graceful.
  5. The Yashica Penta J - aka Yashica Jaguar on the Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic website.