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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yashinoff View Post
    I would argue that the instant return mirror is not especially useful unless used in conjunction with an automatic diaphragm.
    I guess you really had to be there to appreciate what the instant mirror return meant - even without an automatic aperture.

    I was shooting a lot of college sports photography and the instant mirror return was game changing. Typically I was shooting at close to full aperture to maximize my shutter speed and did't miss not having an automatic aperture.

  2. #12

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    You might argue auto diaphragms but you have to know at that time just how big instant return mirror was as no SLR survived without.

    Keep in mind that Nikon was already a huge company and their rangefinders were commanding huge prices, Canon rangefinders were also successful while all the other Japanese companies didn't have those resources. I am not sure where Topcon was in terms of resources but it didn't seem like they were in the league of Nikon and Canon. Minolta was innovative with the SR2 but limited lenses may have been what held back their success. Pentax obviously wanted to tap the existing M42 lens selection.
    Last edited by Les Sarile; 12-31-2012 at 04:50 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #13

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    I have several SLRs without instant return mirrors, and in my experience not having an automatic aperture is a far bigger hindrance to capturing a shot than not having an instant return mirror. Other's experience may differ, but one could also point out that many manufacturers considered the automatic aperture more important than the instant return mirror too.

    If you're shooting nature for instance, and a bird pops out of a tree, you're going to be pretty lucky to stop down a preset lens and get your shot. You cannot leave the lens stopped down either if you need to adjust focus quickly. For candid situations the automatic diaphragm is basically a necessity, an instant return mirror is simply a convenience.

  4. #14

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    No doubt there were well built machines that have stood the test of time. It is hard not to look at these things from your own personal preferences as I am sure there may have been things you would have much rather have continue on. History has already shown no SLR's met with success without instant return mirror. Can you imagine SLRs today without instant return mirrors? However, we see even today's users adopt manual lenses on their auto everything cameras and are using these old lenses in stop down mode.

  5. #15

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    Thinking more about the early SLRs, the microprism viewfinder used by Pentax was also very important and greatly simplified focusing.

  6. #16
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    My first "real" 35mm was a Pentax SV bought at a PX in Vietnam. The focusing with this prism was great.. back when when my eyesight was young. Now, not so much. I still have it though and occasionally take it for a spin.
    WYSIWYG - At least that's my goal.

    Portfolio-http://apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=25518

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yashinoff View Post
    The thing is, the Edixa of 1954 was the first to use the layout that Pentax copied. Here is a 1955 Edixa Reflex:

    It only lacked the rewind crank. It has been repeated ad infinitum that the Pentax was the first to combine right hand lever wind, pentaprism viewing, center tripod socket and bottom rewind button... but that's obviously not true. Asahi basically took the Edixa design and added their previously invented mirror return system (which was itself modified from the pre-war Praktiflex).
    According to Pentax history, Pentax came from Pentacon and Contax and was the source of their pentaprism design and not Edixa.

    The original Asahi Pentax did in fact incorporate all those features + rewind crank and the more important instant return mirror first. All these features were incorporated into all successful cameras thereafter.

    Other Pentax Milestones

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by desertratt View Post
    Quibble all you want there was nothing like the Nikon F when it came out. Pentax had to get rid of its screwy screw thread lens mount before it could make it with the grownups. Although they did make fine cameras for casual users. If you weren't there you have no idea what things were really like. And as they say "history is mostly lies told by to those who were not there when it happended."
    I agree that the Nikon F was the first to put everything together- the general layout, instant return mirror, rewind crank, plus auto diaphragm, and established itself as most versatile with interchangeable finders and focusing screens, scads of accessories, a large high quality selection of lenses and so on. And its singular significance has been shown by its wide adoption by professionals, its 15 year run, and the fact that it remains pretty much as usable as any other 35mm SLR, if using manual focus and exposure.

    However, in the 60's into the 70's quite a few photojournalists liked the Spotmatic for its lesser size and weight, and the quality of the Takumar lenses. Lens changes were not a big deal to a lot of them, because in fast happening situations there was seldom time to change lenses anyway. Usually, two or three bodies were carried, with a wide angle, short tele and normal lens used. One of the best known I can think of offhand, was Charles Moore, who took many of the pictures of the civil rights demonstrations and persecution of the demonstrators, and had close access to King and others in the movement. Minolta also had adherents, the best known of which was probably W. Eugene Smith. His Minimata work was taken with SR-T 101's.

    Canon FT's, SR-T's, Spotmatics, and others were used by a lot of people who were more than "casual users".
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  9. #19
    AgX
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    Quote Originally Posted by Les Sarile View Post
    According to Pentax history, Pentax came from Pentacon and Contax...
    -) Contax itself is derived from Contessa-Nagel Company

    -) Pentacon itself was derived from Pentaprism and Contax, due to legal issues as result of the division of Germany and the splitting of companies (the original manufacturer of the Contax added with many other manufacturers formed the new company Pentacon)

    -) Pentax seemingly was established similarly, as stated above.

    -) Pentax was a trade name of 8mm cine projectors made by Pentacon

    -) after the retraction from the manufacture of these projectors the tradename Pentax was sold to Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō K.K. (or its successor).
    Last edited by AgX; 12-31-2012 at 06:35 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Les Sarile View Post
    According to Pentax history, Pentax came from Pentacon and Contax and was the source of their pentaprism design and not Edixa.

    The original Asahi Pentax did in fact incorporate all those features + rewind crank and the more important instant return mirror first. All these features were incorporated into all successful cameras thereafter.

    Other Pentax Milestones
    Yes the 1957 Pentax used the layout introduced on the 1954 Edixa. There's no getting around the fact that the Edixa was introduced in 1954, and the Pentax came out in 1957. You will not find a 35mm SLR with right handed lever advance, pentaprism, bottom rewind button, and ASA reminder dial around the rewind made before 1954. The Pentax is often presented a big leap forward in SLR design "setting the pattern", but really all they did was bring something they had already invented in the Asahiflex II to a design layout that had already been proven by the earlier Edixa SLR.

    If you take a good look at the original Pentax, you'll see something interesting about the styling of the pentaprism cover:

    Pentax AP by Aaron Raisey, on Flickr

    Compare the shape of that prism to those used by Exakta, Miranda, Topcon, Pentacon/Contax in the 1950s, and you'll see little resemblance. It does however bear a rather interesting resemblance to the prism of one particular German SLR dating back to 1954.

    Quote Originally Posted by Les Sarile View Post
    History has already shown no SLR's met with success without instant return mirror. Can you imagine SLRs today without instant return mirrors? However, we see even today's users adopt manual lenses on their auto everything cameras and are using these old lenses in stop down mode.
    Modern SLRs do have automatic diaphragm operation though. It is not the manufacturers who are selling people lenses which are incompatible with the diaphragm mechanism in their cameras. Most of the people adapting lenses seem to be photographing flowers, cats, and other inanimate or lethargic subjects. Otherwise they are using cameras which are not constrained by mirror/focus screen/prism technology. In any event I don't think Canon will say their next line of lenses will be preset only.

    The only 35mm SLR I can think of which survived the 1960s without an automatic aperture would be the Zenits. And only because they had to be the cheapest of the cheap. Even the lowly Exa recieved internal diaphragm operation (although never an instant return mirror, and it survived into the 1980s).

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