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Alpha’s Silver Jubilee

The Alpha System celebrates its Silver Jubilee or 25th Anniversary this month.

We have a full length revision of the article which appears in the latest Photoworld now online as a page here.

Read our 25th birthday review of the Alpha system’s history now!

1 comment to Alpha’s Silver Jubilee

  • johnb74

    I was very interested to read David’s history of the alpha system, however there is an omission which concerns me. In 1984/5 I took out a provisional patent on using infra-red communication to link a flash or incident light meter and a camera. Exposure information was transmitted directly to the camera and the shutter could be fired from the meter. I sold the patent to Minolta and they brought out the Flashmeter IV and the 9000 camera which could be used together. Sadly they didn’t engineer the system as flexibly as I had planned and users had to purchase the expensive meter as well as an attachment to fit on the flash shoe of the camera — I still feel that this was why the system didn’t achieve the sales I had hoped for. In addition the Minolta version had a serious flaw in that out-of-range information wasn’t communicated properly to the camera, For example, if the meter suggested f/2.0 at 1/250 and the camera had a f/2.8 lens, no error message was created and exposure was made at f/2.8 and 1/250.
    My system required a very simple light receptor which communicated by an infra-red beam to a receptor on the camera and then the camera’s own computer processed the exposure information. Out-of-range exposures would then trigger an error message on the camera. As described in the patent, the system could be used on video as well as still cameras.
    I feel this is another example of how far in advance of other makes Minolta were and how they so often failed to interest the professional world.