Exacta introduced the 1st practical SLR and there were offerings from Contax such as the Contaflex and Contarex. Also, Alpa but, not a major market player. In the '50s with the introduction of the 1st slr with the now common mechanical layout, the Contax and then the Ashahiflex (think it was called that), the slr market was established. When Ashahi added the internal metering (Spotmatic), the die was cast against all other designs that made up the majority of the market. I remember attending a photo show as a kid after the slr offerings took hold and a marketing manager from Asahi said every camera maker had to either go slr or go broke. It was like the transition from tubes to solid state, persons could not get rid of obsolete Rolleiflexes, Leicas, Nikon and other rangefinders and cameras like the Speed Graphic and other mf and lf cameras used by news agencies, etc. were relegated to the scrap heap as suddenly the 35mm was legit where for deacades before, none would consider it good enough to use even for a newspaper photo. A great time to collect some great vintage cameras for next to nothing.
Brian, you're muddling the early SLR Contax cameras with focal plane shutters made in Dresden by Zeiss Ikon just after WWII with the quite differeent West German, Stuttgart, made Contaflex/Contarex etc which used leaf shutters. The East German Contax S, D etc, is the now classic simple layout, later renamed as Pentacon.
There's an interesting article in the BJP written in 1950/1 by HS Newcombe author of the 35mm -Miniature CameraPractice, as well as other books and article. Newcombe was also the owner of a large retail shop and discusses the dire shortage of good high quality cameras at the time. In the UK this was partly due to severe import restrictions but also because quality UK made cameras were in short supply and more basic cameras were of poor quality.
Miniature Camera Practice details the main serious 35mm cameras of it's time and one striking thing is the number of companies who had disappeared bt the 1960's or stopped camera manufacture.My copy (1953) lists 45 manufactuers across the world, and only one of the companies Hansa (Canon) still makes cameras. Of course two other names are in use Voightlander and Zeiss but on Cosina made cameras.
This really highlights the major shift from European made cameras nwhich had dominated between the wars and early 1950's and the growth of the Japanese brands which began in the mid 1950's and had become noticable by 1958.
I think I have a late 1960's or early 70's BJP Annula article highlighting these changes, I may well have scanned it.
My oldest non-folding cameras date from 1936 and 1939 respectively - both Zeiss Ikon. Voigtlander introduced their Vito B in 1954 to replace the folding Vito II.
Certainly, the cameras being produced in 1960 were very different to those produced in 1950. But I don't think you can put an exact date on it. There were many small gradual changes to camera designs over the decade.
Ian, m'friend, please don't tar the Contarex with the Contaflex brush. The Contarex was a heavy somewhat klutzy very complex 35 mm SLR with a focal plane shutter and superlative optics, was improved considerably over time. The Contaflex was a cheap complex 35 mm SLR with leaf shutter.
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
They were all in the market when was setting up but I couldn't justify buying any German (BRD, DDR) 35 mm SLR. At the time my quartet's second violinist was a Leicanut, spoke fervently about the Leicaflex "if you must have an SLR." Not for me, and none of that lot ever will be. But Contarexes are lovely artifacts.
Dan you're right the last Contarex cameras were the best, I remember being photographed by one of my school teachers who used one and still have some prints. In fact the late models where innovative in their own way taking interchangable 35mm backs.
Originally Posted by Dan Fromm
But your "Klutzy" comment sums them up along with many other West German SLR's of the era, UK buit cameras like the Wraflex were even worse, it took the Japapnese to streamline and popularise the SLR and also introduce good modestly priced Rangefinder cameras.
The Pentax was the first SLR with a built in, coupled rangefinder.
Originally Posted by ChristopherCoy
European Economic Community (EEC) founded.
First Carrefour store opens, in Annecy.
January 4 Sputnik 1 (launched on October 4, 1957) falls to Earth from its orbit and burns up.
January 8 14-year-old Bobby Fischer wins the United States Chess Championship.
January 18 Armed Lumbee Indians confront a handful of Klansmen in Maxton, North Carolina.
January 20 Anne de Vries releases the fourth and final volume of Journey Through the Night.
January 28 Hall of Fame baseball player Roy Campanella is involved in an automobile accident that ends his career and leaves him paralyzed.
January 31 The first successful American satellite, Explorer 1, is launched into orbit.
February 1 Egypt and Syria unite to form the United Arab Republic.
February 2 The word Aerospace is coined, from the words Aircraft (aero) and Spacecraft (space), taking into consideration that the Earth's atmosphere and outerspace is to be one, or a single realm.
Gamel Abdel Nasser is nominated as the first president of the United Arab Republic.
The Tybee Bomb, a 7,600 pound (3,500 kg) Mark 15 hydrogen bomb, is lost in the waters off Savannah, Georgia.
February 6 Seven Manchester United footballers are among the 21 people killed in the Munich air disaster in West Germany on the return flight from a European Cup game in Yugoslavia. 23 people survive, but four of them, including manager Matt Busby and players Johnny Berry and Duncan Edwards, are in a serious condition.
The strongest ever known solar maximum is recorded.
Marshal Chen Yi succeeds Zhou Enlai as Chinese Minister of Foreign affairs.
Ruth Carol Taylor is the first African American woman hired as a flight attendant. Hired by Mohawk Airlines, her career lasts only six months, due to another discriminatory barrier the airline's ban on married flight attendants.
February 14 The Hashemite Kingdoms of Iraq and Jordan unite in the Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan with Iraqi King Faisal II as head of state.
February 17 Pope Pius XII declares Saint Clare the patron saint of television.
February 20 A test rocket explodes at Cape Canaveral.
February 21 A peace symbol is designed and completed by Gerald Holtom, commissioned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, in protest against the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment.
Cuban rebels kidnap five-time world driving champion Juan Manuel Fangio, releasing him 28 hours later.
Arturo Frondizi is elected president of Argentina.
February 24 In Cuba, Fidel Castro's Radio Rebelde begins broadcasting from Sierra Maestra.
February 25 Bertrand Russell launches the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
February 28 One of the worst school bus accidents in U.S. history occurs at Prestonburg, Kentucky; 29 are killed.
March 1 The Turkish passenger ship Uskudar capsizes and sinks at Izmit Bay, Kocaeli, Turkey; at least 300 die.
March 2 A British team led by Sir Vivian Fuchs completes the first crossing of the Antarctic in snowcat caterpillar tractors and dogsled teams in 99 days.
March 8 The USS Wisconsin is decommissioned, leaving the United States Navy without an active battleship for the first time since 1896 (it is recommissioned October 22, 1988).
March 11 A U.S. B-47 bomber accidentally drops an atom bomb on Mars Bluff, South Carolina. Its conventional explosives destroy a house and injure several people, but no nuclear fission occurs.
March 17 Convention on the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) enters into force, founding the IMCO as a specialized agency of the United Nations.
March 17 The United States launches the Vanguard 1 satellite.
March 19 Monarch Underwear Company fire in New York.
March 24 The U.S. Army inducts Elvis Presley, transforming The King Of Rock & Roll into U.S. private #53310761.
March 25 Canada's Avro Arrow makes its debut flight.
The United States Army launches Explorer 3.
The 30th Academy Awards ceremony takes place; The Bridge on the River Kwai wins seven awards, including Academy Award for Best Picture.
March 27 Nikita Khrushchev becomes Premier of the Soviet Union.
April Unemployment in Detroit reaches 20%, marking the height of the Recession of 1958 in the United States.
April 1 The BBC Radiophonic Workshop is established.
April 3 Castro's revolutionary army begins its attacks on Havana.
April 4 April 7 In the first protest march for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament from Hyde Park, London to Aldermaston, Berkshire, demonstrators demand the banning of nuclear weapons.
April 4 Cheryl Crane, daughter of actress Lana Turner, fatally stabs her mother's gangster lover Johnny Stompanato (the stabbing is eventually ruled as self-defense).
April 6 Soraya Esfandiary Bakhtiari divorces the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi after she is unable to produce any children.
The satellite Sputnik 2 disintegrates in space after several orbits.
Van Cliburn wins the Tchaikovsky International Competition for pianists in Moscow, breaking Cold War tensions.
April 15 The San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 80 at San Francisco's Seals Stadium, in the first Major League Baseball regular season game ever played in California.
April 17 King Baudouin of Belgium officially opens the World Fair in Brussels, also known as Expo '58. The Atomium forms the centrepiece.
April 21 - United Airlines Flight 736 is involved in a mid-air collision with a U.S. Air Force F-100F-5-NA Super Sabre jet fighter near Las Vegas, Nevada. All 49 persons in both aircraft are killed.
Arturo Frondizi becomes President of Argentina.
The Nordic Passport Union comes into force.
May 9 Actor-singer Paul Robeson, whose passport has been reinstated, sings in a sold-out one-man recital at Carnegie Hall. The recital is such a success that Robeson gives another one at Carnegie Hall a few days later; but, after this, Robeson is seldom seen in public in the United States again. His Carnegie Hall concerts are later released on records and on CD.
May 10 Interviewed in the Chave d'Ouro cafι, when asked about his rival Antσnio de Oliveira Salazar, Humberto Delgado utters one of the most famous comments in Portuguese political history: "Obviamente, demito-o! (Obviously, I'll sack him!)".
May 12 A formal North American Aerospace Defense Command agreement is signed between the United States and Canada.
French Algerian protesters seize government offices in Algiers, leading to a military coup.
During a visit to Caracas, Venezuela, Vice President Richard M. Nixon's car is attacked by anti-American demonstrators.
May 15 The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 3.
May 18 An F-104 Starfighter sets a world speed record of 1,404.19 mph (2,259.82 km/h).
May 20 Fulgencio Batista's government launches a counteroffensive against Castro's rebels.
May 21 United Kingdom Postmaster General Ernest Marples announces that from December, Subscriber Trunk Dialling will be introduced in the Bristol area.
May 23 Explorer 1 ceases transmission.
May 30 The bodies of unidentified United States soldiers killed in action during World War II and the Korean War are buried at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.
Charles de Gaulle is brought out of retirement to lead France by decree for 6 months.
Iceland extends its fishing limits to 12 miles (22.2 km).
June 2 In San Simeon, California, Hearst Castle opens to the public for guided tours.
June 4 French President Charles De Gaulle visits Algeria.
June 8 The SS Edmund Fitzgerald is launched; she will be the largest Lake freighter for more than a dozen years.
June 16 Imre Nagy is hanged for treason in Hungary.
June 20 The iron barque Omega of Callao, Peru (built in Scotland, 1887), sinks on passage carrying guano from the Pachacamac Islands for Huacho, the worlds last full rigged ship trading under sail alone.
June 27 The Peronist Party becomes legal again in Argentina.
June 29 Brazil beats Sweden 52 to win the football World Cup.
July 5 Gasherbrum I, the 11th highest mountain in the world, is first ascended.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Alaska Statehood Act into United States law.
The first International House of Pancakes (IHOP) opens in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles.
July 9 A 7.5 Richter scale earthquake in Lituya Bay, Alaska, causes a landslide that produces a huge 520-meter high wave.
July 10 The first parking meters are installed in Britain.
July 11 Count Michael Rhιdey von Kis-Rhιde, direct descendant of Samuel Aba, King of Hungary, at the age of 60 is pistol-whipped and murdered over a few hectares of land by Czechoslovak Communists during the collectivization process at his residence in Olcsvar, Slovakia.
July 15 In Lebanon, 5,000 United States Marines land in the capital Beirut in order to protect the pro-Western government there.
July 17 British paratroopers arrive in Jordan; King Hussein has asked help against pressure from Iraq.
July 19 - The Beatles, then The Quarrymen, pay 17 shillings and 6 pence to have their first recording session where they record That'll Be The Day by Buddy Holly and In Spite Of All The Danger by Paul McCartney and George Harrison.
July 20 Various rebel groups in Cuba join forces but the communists do not join them.
July 24 The first life peerage under the Life Peerages Act 1958 is created in the United Kingdom.
Explorer program: Explorer 4 is launched.
Elizabeth II gives her son and heir apparent The Prince Charles the customary title of Prince of Wales.
July 29 The U.S. Congress formally creates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
July 31 Tibetan resistance movement against rule by China receives support from the United States Central Intelligence Agency.
August 1 The last Tom and Jerry episode (Tot Watchers) made by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera is released. Tom and Jerry will not be released to theatres again until 1961.
August 3 The nuclear powered submarine USS Nautilus becomes the first vessel to cross the North Pole under water.
August 6 Australian athlete Herb Elliott clips almost three seconds off the world record for the mile run at Santry Stadium, Dublin, recording a time of 3 minutes 54.5 seconds.
August 14 A 4-engine Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation aircraft belonging to KLM crashes into the sea with 99 people on board.
August 17 The first Thor-Able rocket is launched, carrying Pioneer 0, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 17. The launch fails due to a first stage malfunction.
Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel Lolita is published in the United States.
Brojen Das from East Pakistan swims across the English Channel in a competition, as the first Bangali as well as the first Asian to ever do it. He is first among 39 competitors.
Chinese Civil War: The Second Taiwan Strait crisis begins with the People's Liberation Army's bombardment of Quemoy.
President of the United States Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Federal Aviation Act, transferring all authority over aviation in the USA to the newly created Federal Aviation Agency (FAA, later renamed Federal Aviation Administration).
August 27 Operation Argus: The United States begins nuclear tests over the South Atlantic.
August 29 Michael Jackson, King Of Pop entertainment legend is born in Gary, Indiana.
August 30 September 1 Notting Hill race riots: Riots between blacks and whites in Notting Hill, London.
September 1 The first Cod War begins between the United Kingdom and Iceland.
September 6 Paul Robeson performs in concert at the Soviet Young Pioneer camp Artek.
September 12 Jack Kilby invents the first integrated circuit.
September 14 Two rockets designed by German engineer Ernst Mohr (the first German post-war rockets) reach the upper atmosphere.
September 27 Typhoon Ida kills at least 1,269 in Honsh?, Japan.
September 28 In France, a majority of 79% says yes to the constitution of the Fifth Republic.
September 30 The U.S.S.R. performs a nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya.
Tunisia and Morocco join the Arab League.
NASA starts operations and replaces the NACA.
October 2 Guinea declares itself independent from France.
October 4 BOAC uses the new De Havilland Comet jets, to become the first airline to fly jet passenger services across the Atlantic.
October 9 Pope Pius XII dies.
October 11 Pioneer 1, the second and most successful of the 3 project Able space probes, becomes the first spacecraft launched by the newly formed NASA.
October 16 First broadcast of the long-running BBC Television children's programme Blue Peter.
October 21 The Life Peerages Act entitles women to sit in the British House of Lords for the first time. The Baronesses Swanborough (Stella Isaacs, Marchioness of Reading) and Wooton (Barbara Wooton) are the first to take their seats.
October 26 First transatlantic flight of a Pan American World Airways Boeing 707.
October 28 Pope John XXIII succeeds Pope Pius XII as the 261st pope.
November 3 The new UNESCO building is inaugurated in Paris.
November 10 The Bossa nova is born in Rio de Janeiro, with Joγo Gilberto's recording of Chega de Saudade.
November 18 - The SS Carl D. Bradley sinks in a storm on Lake Michigan, killing 33 of the 35 crewmen on board.
November 22 The Menzies Liberal government in Australia is re-elected for a fifth term.
November 23 Have Gun, Will Travel debuts on American radio.
November 25 French Sudan gains autonomy as a self-governing member of the French colonial empire.
November 28 Chad, the Republic of the Congo, and Gabon become autonomous republics within the French colonial empire.
November 29 - Ted Kennedy marries Joan Bennett at St. Joseph's Church in Bronxville, New York.
November 30 Gaullists win the French parliamentary election.
Adolfo Lσpez Mateos takes office as President of Mexico.
Our Lady of the Angels School Fire: At least ninety students and three nuns are killed in a fire in Chicago.
Subscriber trunk dialling (STD) is inaugurated in the UK by the Queen, when she dials a call from Bristol to Edinburgh and speaks to the Lord Provost.
The Preston bypass, the United Kingdom's first motorway, opens to traffic for the first time. This stretch is now part of the M6 and M55 motorways.
December 6 The 3rd launch of a Thor-Able rocket, carrying Pioneer 2, is unsuccessful due to a 3rd stage ignition failure.
December 9 The right-wing John Birch Society is founded in the USA by Robert Welch, a retired candy manufacturer.
December 14 The 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition becomes the first ever to reach the Southern Pole of Inaccessibility.
December 15 Arthur L. Schawlow and Charles H. Townes of Bell Laboratories publish a paper in Physical Review Letters setting out the principles of the optical laser.
December 16 - A fire breaks out in the Vida Department Store in Bogota, Colombia and kills 84 persons.
December 19 President Dwight D. Eisenhower broadcasts a message from a Project SCORE satellite.
December 21 General Charles de Gaulle is elected president of France with 78.5% of the votes.
December 24 A BOAC Bristol Britannia (312 G-AOVD) crashes near Winkton, England during a test flight.
December 25 Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker (the George Balanchine version) is shown on prime-time television in color for the first time, as an episode of the CBS anthology series Playhouse 90.
December 28 The Baltimore Colts beat the New York Giants 2317 to win the NFL Championship Game, the first to go into sudden death overtime and "The Greatest Game Ever Played"..
December 29 Rebel troops under Che Guevara begin to invade Santa Clara, Cuba. Fulgencio Batista resigns two days later, on the night of the 31st.
December 31 Tallies reveal that, for the first time, the total of passengers carried by air this year exceeds the total carried by sea in transatlantic service.
Nikita Khrushchev orders Western allies to evacuate West Berlin within 6 months but backs down in the face of the allies' unity.
USA, USSR and Great Britain agree to stop testing atomic bombs for 3 years.
During the International Geophysical Year, Earth's magnetosphere is discovered.
The last legal female genital cutting occurs in the United States.
Denatonium, the bitterest substance known, is discovered. It is used as an aversive agent in products such as bleach to reduce the risk of children drinking them.
The Jim Henson Company is founded.
Instant noodles go on sale for the first time.
The Japanese 10 yen coin ceases having serrated edges after a 5-year period beginning in 1953. All 10 yen coins since have smooth edges.
The British Rally Championship begins its first year.
The Amirkabir University of Technology is founded in Tehran.
The University of New Orleans established
Illinois observes the centennial of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates.
Sicilian writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's novel Il Gattopardo is published posthumously.
Welsh cultural critic Raymond Williams publishes Culture and Society.
Based on birth rates (per 1,000 population), the post-war baby boom ends in the United States as an 11-year decline in the birth rate begins (the longest on record in that country).
January 1 Grandmaster Flash, African-American hip-hop/rap DJ
January 2 Vladimir Ovchinnikov, Russian pianist
January 4 Matt Frewer, Canadian/American actor (Max Headroom)
January 4 James J. Greco, American businessman
January 9 Mehmet Ali A?ca, Turkish militant, would-be assassin of Pope John Paul II
January 11 Vicki Peterson, American rock musician
January 13 Ricardo Acuρa, Chilean tennis player
January 15 Boris Tadi?, Serbian president
January 20 Lorenzo Lamas, American actor, martial artist and reality show participant
January 21 Hussein Saeed Mohammed, Iraqi football player
January 24 Jools Holland, British musician
January 25 Dinah Manoff, American Tony-winning actress
January 26 Ellen DeGeneres, American actress and comedian
January 27 Kadri Mδlk, Estonian artist and jewelry designer
January 28 - Lagaf', French singer, humorist, animator TV and actor
January 29 - Stephen Lerner, American labor and community activist
February 1 Ryo Horikawa, Japanese voice actor
February 4 Tomasz Pacy?ski, Polish writer (d. 2005)
February 8 Sherri Martel, American professional wrestler (d. 2007)
Michael Jackson, British broadcasting executive
Regina Marνkovα, Czechoslovakian tennis player
February 13 Pernilla August, Swedish actress
Grant Thomas, Australian rules footballer
Francisco Javier Lopez Pena, Basque separatist
February 16 Ice-T, African-American rapper, songwriter, and actor
February 19 Steve Nieve, English musician
Jake Burns, Irish punk singer
Mary Chapin Carpenter, American singer
February 25 Kurt Rambis, American basketball player
February 26 Susan Helms, American astronaut
February 28 Natalya Estemirova, Russian activist (d. 2009)
March 1 Nik Kershaw, English singer
March 3 Miranda Richardson, English actress
March 5 Andy Gibb, English-born singer (d. 1988)
Rik Mayall, English comedian and actor
Donna Murphy, American actress and singer
March 8 Gary Numan, British singer
March 9 Linda Fiorentino, American actress
Steve Howe, American baseball player (d. 2006)
Sharon Stone, American actress and producer
March 13 Linda Robson, English actress
March 14 Albert II, Prince of Monaco
Kayo Hatta, American film director (d. 2005)
John Elefante, American singer and producer (Kansas)
March 20 Holly Hunter, American actress
March 21 Gary Oldman, English actor and filmmaker
March 25 James McDaniel, American actor
March 26 Todd Joseph Miles Holden, American-born social scientist, author, basketball coach
March 27 Jessica Soho, Philippine television celebrity and reporter
Bart Conner, American gymnast
Edesio Alejandro, Cuban music composer
Mr. Perfect, American professional wrestler (d. 2003)
Alec Baldwin, American actor (30 Rock)
Francesca Woodman, American photographer (d. 1981)
April 4 Cazuza, Brazilian poet, singer and composer (d. 1990)
Yefim Bronfman, Russian-born pianist
Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, African-American musician and record producer
April 11 Luc Luycx, Belgian coin designer
April 12 Ginka Zagorcheva, Bulgarian athlete
Keith Acton, Canadian ice hockey player and coach
Benjamin Zephaniah, British writer and musician
April 21 Andie MacDowell, American actress
April 24 Brian Paddick, British former deputy assistant commissioner and most senior openly gay police officer
April 25 Fish, Scottish singer
April 28 Hal Sutton, American golfer
April 29 Michelle Pfeiffer, American actress
May 4 Keith Haring, American artist
May 10 Rick Santorum, former U.S. Senator
May 11 Christian Brando, American actor and eldest child of Marlon Brando (d. 2008)
Dries Van Noten, Belgian designer
Eric Singer, American rock drummer
May 15 Ron Simmons, American professional wrestler
May 18 Toyah Willcox, English actress & singer
May 20 Ron Reagan, political pundit and son of U.S. president Ronald Reagan
May 21 Tom Feeney, American Republican politician from the state of Florida
Mitch Albom, American author
Drew Carey, American comedian and actor
Lea DeLaria, American comedian and actress
Paul Weller, English singer-songwriter
Carrie Newcomer, American Singer-Songwriter & Musician
May 26 Margaret Colin, American actress
May 26 Moinul Ahsan Saber, Bangladeshi writer, editor.
May 27 Neil Finn, New Zealand singer and songwriter
Annette Bening, American actress
Juliano Mer-Khamis, Israeli actor, director, filmmaker and political activist (d. 2011)
May 30 Marie Fredriksson, Swedish singer-songwriter