Did the camera industry experience a major manufacturing change in the mid to late 50's?
The more I learn about old brands and models the more I think i notice that 1958 seems to be "the" year everything changed from folding cameras, to rigid bodies.
Does anyone know which company came out with the very first camera that wasn't a folding camera?
I think it was Minolta's SR-2 that changed it all. Sure there might have been a SLR before but this was the mass market game changer (I could be wrong though)....
If you have to say 1958, Thanks to the Original SLR the Kine Exakta in 1936, lead to the modern SLR lay out with the 1957 Asahi Pentax. And thanks to all that you get a Nikon F in 1959.
*If you ask that, the old Kodak brownie is a Box camera instead of a folder. So you'll have to think sometime before that even.
maybe it had something to do with charles bronson ( man with a camera )
or the first IHOP opening ?
The Argus C3, a 35mm rangefinder goes back to about 1939. I bought mine at the very end of 1957 or so and I remember prior to that drooling over the Exactas and such that were way beyond what I could afford. Plus TLRs go farther back, at least to the thirties. It might be that the post-WWII recovery of manufacturing in Europe and Japan combined with the relative prosperity of the 1950s may have expanded the market and encouraged more use by "the masses."
By 1958 it was the advent of the Japanese cameras that was radically changing the market place. It wasn't particularly any one make although Nikon were spearheading the professional market for photojournalists.
In contrast American and European manufacturers were mostly making lack lustre often clumsy cameras, there were exceptions like Leica and Hasselblad, and some of the more innovative European cameras were being made in East Germany but poor quality control held them back. The Praktina system was the firts full SLR system with a motor drive etc.Later the Prakticamat was the first SLR with TTL metering just beating the Spotmatic into the dealers.
Looking at adverts for the time it's easy to spot the complacency in companies like Kodak who were still selling Box bownies and a motley range of other cheap cameras, in comparison Fuji were offering high end SLRs and Rangefinder cameras.
Perhaps the biggest mistake after WWII was the reliance on leaf shutters in many West German cameras this made SLR design particularly awkward and the arrival of well engineered, well designed, reliable Japanese cameras with their clean ergonic styling which also made them much easier to use just devastated the German market which couldn't repsond quickly to change.
Folders were produced after 1958 but the popularity of the TLR & SLR were by far outpacing the demand for them. So I guess you could say that year might have been a turning point.
For most of the last 4 decades I've used SLR's & TLR's. It's only in the last few years I've found a fondness for the folders.
6x6, 6x9 & 4x5 (Crown Graphic) folders that are starting to see some use now.
Perhaps the Hasselblad 500C introduced in 1957 was the trigger?
i think it was elvis presley's enlistment in the army
... or the last tom and jerry cartoon..
could have been a lot of things ;)
Originally Posted by ChristopherCoy
That was the watershed year. Nikon F debuted. Rangefinders are dead. Long live SLRs.