Copyright Texte und Bilder: Frank Mechelhoff 2021 (NEW Oct.2021)

COSINA CT1 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.


The 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.

The Cosina CT1
          super* opened

The Cosina CT1
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 49,5).

The Cosina CT1
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 Cosina CT1
          super* lens mount
The "Super Star" was the last of the series with sleeker prism than previous models.

CT1 on a scale
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 available.
That's all as true for the Cosina CT1 Super Star, plus it's smaller, easier to handle, and weight's 1/3 less.

The Cosina CT1
            super* with manual
Sold as a "Carena" by Photohaus Porst Köln according to original bill.

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 FX-3
            with 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)

Yashica FX-3 super
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.

Yashica FX-3 super
            lens mount
No 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)? No clue.
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 way.
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
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Listing of Cosina made SLR’s from Yahoo’s Vintage Camera User’s group
Accordhing to Mr. Lozia (*not my oppinion*)

ARGUS        STL-1000                   
BAUER        RX1                   
BAUER        RX2                   
CANON        T60                   
CARENA        CX-300                   
CARENA        CX-500                   
CARENA        KSM-1                   
CARENA        KSM-2                   
CAVALIER    MSTL                   
CHINON        CE II                   
CHINON        CM3                   
CHINON        5000SE                   
CHINON        GAFL-ES                   
CHINON        CHINONFLEX               
CHINON        CE-3                   
CHINON        CS-4                   
CHINON        CM-5                   
CHINON        CM-7                   
CHINON        CG-5                   
CHINON        CX II                   
CHINON        CP-X                   
CIMKO        LS-1                   
COSINA        C1                   
COSINA        C2                   
COSINA        CT-1                   
COSINA        CT-1EX                   
COSINA        CX-2                   
COSINA        CT-1A                   
COSINA        CT-1G                   
COSINA        CT-1 SUPER               
COSINA        CS-1                   
COSINA        CS-2                   
COSINA        CS-3                   
COSINA        CT-4                   
COSINA        CT-7                   
COSINA        CT-7D                   
COSINA        CT-9                   
COSINA        CT-10                   
COSINA        CT-20                   
COSINA        CT-90                   
COSINA        EL SOLAR               
COSINA        HI-LITE                   
COSINA        HI-LITE HDL               
COSINA        HI-LITE EC               
COSINA        HI-LITE 405               
COSINA        CSM                   
ELICAR        MN-1                   
EXAKTA        TWIN TL                   
EXAKTA        HS-2                   
EXAKTA        HS-4                   
EXAKTA        HS-3                   
EXAKTA        HS-10                   
EXAKTA        HS-40                   
EXAKTA        KE-5                   
HAKING        HG1                   
HAKING        HG2                   
HANIMEX        DR-1                   
KENLOCK        KG1                   
MIRANDA        MS-1                   
MIRANDA        MS 2                   
MIRANDA        MEMOFLEX               
NIKON        FM-10                   
NIKON        FE-10                   
OLYMPUS        OM-2000                   
PANAGOR        CT1EX                   
PANAGOR        CT90                   
PENTAX        P30T                   
PETRI        GX-1                   
PETRI        GX-2                   
PETRI        GX-3                   
PETRI        GX-4                   
PETRI        MF2                   
PETRI        MF3                   
PETRI        MF4                   
PETRI        MF101                   
PETRI        MF102                   
PETRI        MF103                   
PETRI        MF104                   
PORST        COMPACT REFLEX               
PRINZFLEX    SUPER TTL               
QUANTARAY    R400                   
QUANTARAY    RZ800                   
QUANTARAY    DZ-RZ                   
RICOH        XR-1                   
RICOH        KR-5                   
RICOH        KR-500                   
RICOH        KR-5 SUPER2               
RICOH        SINGLEX TLS               
RICOH        KR-10 SUPER               
SEARS        SL2                   
SEARS        TLS                   
SEIMAX        SV7                   
SEIMAX        SV9                   
SOLIGAR        SC-1                   
TOPCON        AM-1                   
VIVITAR        220SL                   
VIVITAR        420SL                   
VIVITAR        650SL                   
VIVITAR        XV2                   
VIVITAR        XV3                   
VIVITAR        V2000                   
VIVITAR        V6000                   
VOIGTLANDER    VSL 43                   
YASHICA     FX-3 SUPER 2000               
ZODEL        2MTL