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Thread: 1958

  1. #21
    EASmithV's Avatar
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  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Noel View Post
    The Pentax was the first SLR with a built in, coupled rangefinder.
    Which Pentax, Jim? I've always thought that Alpa did that -- SLR with coupled RF for luck or something -- first, also last.

  3. #23
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    Which Pentax, Jim? I've always thought that Alpa did that -- SLR with coupled RF for luck or something -- first, also last.
    The KW made Praktina had a direct view finder which was later copied by Pentax with the Asahiflex 1 (their first SLR) I'd guess this is being muddled with a rangefinder.

    Most early SLR's had to be stopped down manually to the working aperture after focussing so the direct finder gave an alternative bright way of framing. It was the lack of instant return mirrors, no preset aperture stop down, which made early SLR's less easy to use. Even early Pentax cameras were poor in this respect.

    It would be interesting to list what cameras etc were released around 1958 because that's the watershed when Pentax brought out the first of their modern Asahi Pentax SLR's with semi-auto aperture control, instant return mirror, better Pentaprism and shutter speeds, that's mirrored by other Japanese manufacturers like Minolta with the SR-2, Nikon joining them a year later.

    So the OP's right to highlight 1958 as a key fime of change.

    Ian
    Last edited by Ian Grant; 04-14-2012 at 03:42 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: missed t from praktina

  4. #24
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    The KW made Praktina had a direct view finder which was later copied by Pentax with the Asahiflex 1 (their first SLR) I'd guess this is being muddled with a rangefinder.

    Most early SLR's had to be stopped down manually to the working aperture after focussing so the direct finder gave an alternative bright way of framing. It was the lack of instant return mirrors, no preset aperture stop down, which made early SLR's less easy to use. Even early Pentax cameras were poor in this respect.

    It would be interesting to list what cameras etc were released around 1958 because that's the watershed when Pentax brought out the first of their modern Asahi Pentax SLR's with semi-auto aperture control, instant return mirror, better Pentaprism and shutter speeds, that's mirrored by other Japanese manufacturers like Minolta with the SR-2, Nikon joining them a year later.

    So the OP's right to highlight 1958 as a key fime of change.

    Ian
    Focusing on a single year or single innovation doesn't help much in understanding how change unfolded. Among the key innovations was marketing--something the Japanese and mostly American agencies had to puzzle out quickly in the late 50s-early 60s. Nikon arguably overshadowed and helped the SLR competition with its huge aspirational cachet, thanks to growing popularity among pro shooters--something Pentax and Minolta just didn't have. The watershed metaphor is a bit misleading.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by CGW View Post
    Focusing on a single year or single innovation doesn't help much in understanding how change unfolded. Among the key innovations was marketing--something the Japanese and mostly American agencies had to puzzle out quickly in the late 50s-early 60s. Nikon arguably overshadowed and helped the SLR competition with its huge aspirational cachet, thanks to growing popularity among pro shooters--something Pentax and Minolta just didn't have. The watershed metaphor is a bit misleading.
    We are talking about generalities and the OP chose the year 1958 in the title. It just happens that 1958 is the year the first modern Japanese SLR's were introduced, Nikon were a few years behind their competitors with the release of their first SLR in 1959 and you're probably over estimating their importance, not all professionals used Nikons quite a number used other makes including Pentax, and others never used 35mm at all.

    1958 was the year that Japanese camera manufacturers began to export en-mass to Europe and North America with models that appealed to the market. It's not one company in particular but a deluge of models from a growing number of Japanese manufacturers from 1958 onwards.

    If we wanted to be more accurate it would probably be better to say that the period between 1958-61 is the time when the modern SLR matured, particularly with the first Japanese camera to have TTL metering the Pentax Spotmatic.

    Ian

  6. #26
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    We are talking about generalities and the OP chose the year 1958 in the title. It just happens that 1958 is the year the first modern Japanese SLR's were introduced, Nikon were a few years behind their competitors with the release of their first SLR in 1959 and you're probably over estimating their importance, not all professionals used Nikons quite a number used other makes including Pentax, and others never used 35mm at all.

    1958 was the year that Japanese camera manufacturers began to export en-mass to Europe and North America with models that appealed to the market. It's not one company in particular but a deluge of models from a growing number of Japanese manufacturers from 1958 onwards.

    If we wanted to be more accurate it would probably be better to say that the period between 1958-61 is the time when the modern SLR matured, particularly with the first Japanese camera to have TTL metering the Pentax Spotmatic.

    Ian
    Nikon's F was a 35mm system camera with lenses and accessories suited to almost any imaginable professional use--that's what sold them. Pentax and Minolta didn't come close in the late 50s/early-mid 60s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CGW View Post
    Nikon's F was a 35mm system camera with lenses and accessories suited to almost any imaginable professional use--that's what sold them. Pentax and Minolta didn't come close in the late 50s/early-mid 60s.
    That's a subjective view in hindsight but remember that Nikon and Canon were the last of the major Japanese manufacturers (of the era) to release an SLR (both in 1959) and that was probably an advantage although Canon made a poorer start. Pentax were the first company to sell 1 million SLR's due to the success of the Spotmatics. Also remember market share differed across the world.

    The first SLR system I came across was about 1964 and I can assure you that Spotmatic system was very comprehensive. In the UK Pentax had an advertising campaign based around many well known professional photographers well worn but still fully functional Pentax Spotmatics, and they preferred them to Nikons.

    Ian

  8. #28
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    That's a subjective view in hindsight but remember that Nikon and Canon were the last of the major Japanese manufacturers (of the era) to release an SLR (both in 1959) and that was probably an advantage although Canon made a poorer start. Pentax were the first company to sell 1 million SLR's due to the success of the Spotmatics. Also remember market share differed across the world.

    The first SLR system I came across was about 1964 and I can assure you that Spotmatic system was very comprehensive. In the UK Pentax had an advertising campaign based around many well known professional photographers well worn but still fully functional Pentax Spotmatics, and they preferred them to Nikons.

    Ian
    Innovators don't always become--or remain--market leaders, I guess. Pentax 35mm didn't really crack the 1960s PJ or professional market in N. America.

    Now, Sony seems to be upending the digital market with MILC/EVIL cameras that make Nikon/Canon DSLRs look antiquated. Change never rests.

  9. #29
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    I was in the military in 1958 and too busy trying to stay alive to take any notice of what was happening in the cameras world.
    Ben

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