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Birthplace of the SLR - and 42mm Universal

  1. Removed Account2
    I was wondering wether anyone else collect the ORIGINAL M42's?

    The early SLR's dating back to Dresden, DDR, Germany?

    It has been my fortune to be able to net a few camera-bodies and lenses on E-bay Praktica, Praktina and lenses, Carl Zeiss, Meyer and others, plus early japanese T-mount lenmses like Soligor and Tokina.

    Also of course Ihagee, Dresden Exakta and Exa, even if they don't come with 42mm.

    Anyone interested?
  2. Ralph Javins
    Ralph Javins
    Good morning, Erik;

    Yes, I do have some fairly early Praktica/Praktina/Asahi-Pentax "Universal Thread" (M42x1.0) mount lenses. Most of them are from the 1960s. The Praktica/Praktina guys were doing it back in the 1950s as I recall. And there are still people who prefer the Leica Thread Mount or LTM, M39 mount. Aashi-Pentax, Promaster, Soligor, and Vivitar are some of the brands I can recall having with the M42 mount. There are several brands out there. I think even Fred Spira may have had some Spiratone branded lenses in M42 mount. I do know that later he had T-mount. What's the difference in only a silly one quarter of a millimeter in thread pitch anyway? And, yes, I do have a T-mount to M42 Adapter.

    There were people not too many years ago who assured me that the only way to get a properly registered lens mount was with a properly and carefully machined threaded lens mount. The bayonet lens mounting schemes were just too difficult and complicated for the average machinist to get right each and every time. The only bayonet lens mount system that might have met their standards was the Canon FD Breech Lock mount, when it was done right, but that required three hands to successfully operate quickly, and it was even more complicated to machine. But it looks like the convenience of the bayonet lens mount won out after all.

    My Kiev 88C does have several lenses that have an adapter to convert them from the very coarse thread of the Salyut "B" mount to the Pentacon-6 bayonet mount.


    Ralph, Latte Land, Washington
  3. Removed Account2
    Bayonet lens mounts : back in the early 1970's Canon made some noise over the fact that their bayonet mount was the only prescise mount, and the only bayonet that would not be "loose" after some use.

    Looking at some Exakta bodies an their lenses I have to acknowledge that, their Canon breech lock bayonet WAS better than most (and CRC-controlled machine stations took care of those 3-hands approaches....).

    However, I have early Praktina bodies straight from DDR and straight from the late 1950's.

    The model for the Canon breech lock bayonet was no doubt the Praktina breech lock bayonet. It's hell for strong, an intriguing concept, too bad the DDR guys dropped it.

    The T-mount concept, a 42mm 0.75mm pitch, 55mm back-focus lens with adapters for most camera systems at the time, including adapters to 42mm 1mm pitch, with ca 42mm back-focus "Universal mount" is another intriguing concept.

    The DDR guys was there first, the camera industri in Dresden was very inventive, and it was a pity they where locked out from the world market due to cold war politics, but with the T-mount system and the systems that followed them the japanese excelled and pretty soon had the optics market all sewed up.

    I sort of collect old & interesting lenses and have concentrated on Soligor for starters, they had at least 3 separate and fully fledged lines of lenses, T-mount, T-4 and later dedicated lens mounts, and getting them all can be time consuming. Also Soligor was one of the few lens manufacturers that also was a "camera factory", in some financial moves they controlled Miranda, and after dropping the Miranda bayonet, they came out with a M42 line of camera bodies, as well as compact cameras.
  4. Ralph Javins
    Ralph Javins
    Good morning, Erik;

    Thank you for providing commentary that supports the information I had received many years ago. I do agree that the German camera industry was quite innovative in spite of their isolation. That is one of the reasons why there was a certain element of plausibility in the story first heard in the United States through Saul Kaminsky of Kiev-USA that the Kiev 88 camera was not a copy of the Hasselblad 1600 or 1000, but that both the Hasselblad and the Kiev 88 or Salyut were copies of a German camera found in a downed German aircraft during World War II. Noting that the camera was of a size suitable for aerial reconnaisance work, and the interchangeable backs made reloading film unnecessary for a pilot or observer while flying, and the controls could be worked by an airplane crewman using gloves, all of this seemed quite possible. Then there was also the history and the models of the Hasselblad that Victor Hasselblad had in stock, and the point that the Allies did not find such a camera in any of the other German aircraft that came down in their areas, and the USSR claim became just a little less plausible, and even less believable. I attribute this to a USSR propensity for "saving on engineering costs" with many of their "inventions." Even the photographic industry is not without its characters and interesting stories.

    Yes, I am also aware that the Soligor people were among the early ones in Japan to use the T-mount system. I also do want to find a 300mm and a 400mm Soligor telephoto lens. I do have a 200mm here now, but those two additional lenses are ones I would like to have. I cannot really explain why. I just like them.

    On the subject of the camera bodies with M42 mount, there is an early Asahi-Pentax that Debby has which she inherited from her deceased former husband. That is still her camera. I have a Cosina made Vivitar 450/SLD with M42 mount that is the camera I use with my lenses of that type, and I do like the Copal Metal Square shutter in that camera. That is why I spent the money for the full CLA for it after buying it for a pittance. The shipping to get it to me was more than the cost of the camera. There are also some Pentax lenses I use on the Vivitar, and there does seem to be a "warmth" to the Pentax M42 lenses. It seems that only after using a collection of lenses for a while did I begin to see some of these more subtle differences in the personalities of my lenses.


    Ralph, Latte Land, Washington
  5. Removed Account2
    OK Hasselblad: the story is a bit different I think. During the war (planned from before the war, everything became scarce as soon as germany started arming themselves from the early 1930's) Viktor Hasselblads company, which was more of a camera dealership /developing business that also had built box plate-cameras, was contracted to build aerial cameras.

    Abrings books has examples of several air cameras, they where a generic type, that varied over a theme all across europe, plate cameras, film cameras up to 130mm. On page 215 of Abring vol. 1 is pictures of the 1948 prototypes of the Hasselblad 1600 and one of the 500 aerial cameras built during WW2 for the Royal Swedish Air Force.

    It seems these 500 was hand built, as they varied in models and features. The one pictured seem to be a model for 70mm film, a film type used in USA also (Graflex built a giant Nikon S look-a-like). Apparently these cameras did not have interchangeable backs, instead they held 70mm film for many exposures, like 100 pictures, enough for most aerial assignments where split-seconds count.

    The 1948 prototypes show some family resemblence to the aerial camera, but the film backs seem to be a civilian afterthought. I doubt very much that the air force used roll-film cameras, even 70mm was a miniature format for them.
  6. Removed Account2
    Seek out some early Praktica bodies, they are durn cheap, and the build quality is surprizing clse to Zeiss Ikon for a nice, clean example. It is NICe making pictures with a totally manual camera, no auto diapragm, no quick-return mirror, just a simple box with a sharp did I say S.H.A.R.P, lens. Makes you take your time and make a good photograp, not an instant snapshot!
  7. Ralph Javins
    Ralph Javins
    Good morning, Erik;

    Regarding your recommendation for using a "simple" camera that "Makes you take your time and make a good photograph, . . . " I also have some Medium Format 120 film gear here, and there is the 4 inch by 5 inch (100mm by 125mm) SINAR F and F1 here. The SINAR view cameras have made me learn photography all over again. It is amazing what has been done for us with our modern cameras that make taking a photograph downright simple and easy. Using a view camera is a truly humbling experience. There is no way to make an "instant snapshot" with a view camera. At the same time, I can also say that using the view camera has helped in developing more of an "eye" for what I am seeing and what I want to appear on the negative inside the camera.

    Enjoy; Ralph, Latte Land, Washington
  8. Removed Account2
    More from the birthplace of modern cameras :

    Two days ago I got a Pentins SLR from the good(?) old DDR, a nice little camera fitted with a 50mm Tessar lens (they don't come any better than that.....) and I could use my 135mm f:4 meyer Domigor right away, a lens that formerly sat here as an orphan.

    The camera is now loaded with 100 ISO film and sits here waiting for a little bit of better light, this time of the year we only have about 2 hours of decent light here in Norway - if its not cloudy!

    Amazing thing is that the exposure meter is still working properly!---
  9. Ralph Javins
    Ralph Javins
    Good morning, All;

    Learning the history of photography really can come with some twists and quirks. We have already discussed the Hasselblad/Kiev-Salyut or Kiev-88 controversy. Then there is the point that most people seem to agree that an Ihagee Exakta back in the 1930s was the first 35mm SLR camera. However, there does seem to be some evidence that the very first 35mm SLR camera may have been made in Russia. Yes, I realize that this is starting to sound like one of those Russian "We made it first" claims, but there may be something to this one. As mentioned, there is some evidence that the Russians really did make the first working 35mm SLR, but with there also being a Russian penchant for secrecy, and the possibility that any real documentation could have been destroyed during World War II and eliminating any real documentary proof, it looks like the Exakta will remain as the first working 35mm SLR film camera.

    At least with the M-42 lens mount, we do have documentation of the development of the M-42 lens mount for the CZJ Contax-S camera.

    Enjoy; Ralph, Latte Land, Washington
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