Copyright Texte und Bilder: Frank
Mechelhoff 2021 (NEW Oct.2021)
super* and Yashica FX-3 super 2000
The "perfect normal", generic SLRs
Cosina started as a
camera producer in 1973, concentrating on manual SLR cameras for
the warehouse and mass market. They were sold under varied names.
They were cheap, but sturdy cameras for people who didn't care
about names like Nikon, Canon, Pentax, leave away Leica, but want
a inexpensive tool for simply taking photographs. They had
everything what was needed for it, and since they were low-priced,
included no specials, no automatic exposure and no autofocus
(which was in its infancy anyway). Most of them were M42 and later
K-mount, except these models made for Nikon, Olympus,... and
Yashica/Zeiss? I don't know.
Cosina CT1 super* was the last of this series, introduced
1986. It has one special feature, the 1/2000s. This
was because the Copal sectional shutter had it at some stage.
The Copal CCS (CCS-M) was one of the best focal plane shutters
of this era: Fast (synch speed 1/125s), reliable, long-lived,
serving at all conditions and temperatures, not particular
quiet, but quieter than most other metal plane shutters.
Consequently, it was built-in a lot of cameras of this era by
most of the big camera makers, and also Cosina. From about
1985 the 1/2000s became standard. For the Bessa rangefinder camera, a front
curtain (light grey) need to be added to increase light
tightness, because of the lacking mirror.
All of the controls and dials were at common
places where to expect them to be. The lens design was an old
(discontinued license) Zeiss Planar, like used by most other
lower-class lens makers. Size of the body is 133 x 85
x 50mm, which is hardly distinguish-able from the SLR
small size standard set by Pentax ME (131 x 82,5 x
In the decade earlier (1970's) the Cosina SLR
cameras were much larger, bulgier, quite crude, like designed
to handle with builders gloves - quite the opposite to the
full-mechanical, cloth-shutter, precision masterpiece of a
PENTAX MX - which was
abandoned without replacement. The 1980's Cosina CT1 super was
quite a compromise between these extremes - probably easier to
handle for people with average sized hands.
The "Super Star" was the last of the series with
sleeker prism than previous models.
On a scale. Lightweight at 416
gramms, because of simplicity of design, and outher shells
made of plastic. That's really low for a 35mm SLR. But it
don't feel weak in hands.
-- The Pentax K1000 was often captioned as a "students
camera", means a simple, reliable camera to learn all
the basics of photography including lots of cheap lenses
That's all as true for the Cosina CT1 Super Star, plus it's
smaller, easier to handle, and weight's 1/3 less.
Sold as a "Carena" by Photohaus Porst Köln according to
Yashica FX-3 super
Now to a slightly different beast of the same era
(about 1986), the Yashica FX-3 super, shown here
with the incredible Zeiss Planar 85/1.4 ...
Yashica produced the CONTAX RTS in
C/Y-mount, a high-priced, professional grade SLR, introduced
in 1975 with tons of marketing effort paid by Zeiss, and the
not less great the CONTAX 139 - mid-range, aperture
priority, with electronic shutter (a Seiko MFC-E),
introduced in 1979. A low-priced fully-mechanical C/Y-mount
camera was also introduced, the Yashica FX-1 (1975), FX-2
(1976), followed by a much more compact FX-3 (1979) which
eventually evolved to the FX-3 Super 2000 (1986)
You may notice that the ISO-dial isn't at the
same place as it is on the CT1 super. Finder view
(positions of metering LEDs) is different with both cameras
too. A very basic, three LED's, showing overexposure above
(red), correct exposure in the middle (green), and
underexposure on bottom (red). The CT1 super has the LED bar
on the left, FX3 Super on the right side
and less protruding into the image. Metering is performed by
two Cadmium Sulfide (CdS) cells in the Cosina CT1 super,
cheaper and not as precise in low light than the more
sensitive Silicone Photo Diodes (SPD) on the FX-3 super.
(The Bessa cameras all had SPD cells and were well known for
metering precision). They are all working with a set
of two LR44 or SR44 cells. Prism finder field of view is
about 92% with both.
edges on the outer shells, upper and lower edge is
"Contax-like" smoothly rounded. The dials are different from
the upper camera, but on the same places. Shutter model is
obviously the same.
When there is no real familary resemblance with the
Contax 139 - picture
here - it has to do with some controls of mechanical
cameras, like shutter speed dial, which can't be shifted
from one side of the camera to another for mechanical
reasons. All electronic triggered Contax C/Y cameras had
the shutter speed dial on the left side (like the Contax
Rangefinder camera). The reason why they had it on the
"wrong" side, they kept to it even in the N-system (2005)?
But there is also no evidence that Cosina manufactured
this camera. If you screw-off the baseplates of
both you see very different chassis. Different parts,
different assembly lines. This would not have made sense
for one company. The controls are at (nearly) the same
places for mechanical reasons in mechanical cameras.
I had used both Contax 139 and Yashica FX-3 and found no
similarities. Sometimes it was even claimed that Cosina
had manufactured the CONTAX S2.
I think, these rumors have a lot to do with the same
shutter types build in these models. They "feel" similar
from trigger and sound. Even the SEIKO and COPAL shutters
- from two different companies - sounds similar and have
about the same dimensions, for mechanical reasons and
because the camera makers asked them to build them that
Anyway: In case of the NIKON FM10 or OLYMPUS OM2000 there
is little to no doubt who manufactured it, because their
baseplates are clearly engraved "COSINA JAPAN".
Continue with: VOIGTLÄNDER BESSA cameras
made by Cosina
Back to Camera
Listing of Cosina made SLR’s from Yahoo’s Vintage Camera User’s
Accordhing to Mr. Lozia (*not my
PRINZFLEX SUPER TTL
VOIGTLANDER VSL 43
YASHICA FX-3 SUPER 2000