Camera Companies no longer

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Dusty
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Camera Companies no longer

Unread postby Dusty » Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:42 pm

I got to thinking the other day of all the camera companies I miss seeing in the camera store. (I also miss the local photo shop, but that's another topic.)

Many companies never recovered or made the switch to autofocus systems. That seems to be the demarcation point. So, starting with 1985, what companies that previously produced SLR cameras - 35mm and medium format both count - can you name that are no longer in the SLR marketplace. If they ONLY do P&S now, that means they're out of the SLR market.

I'll start of with a few obvious ones:

Minolta, Konica, KonicaMinolta
Ricoh
Bronica (Med Format)
Contax
Yashica

Add what you will, the mere mention of the name may bring both a smile for the fond memories and bit of sadness at the loss.

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Re: Camera Companies no longer

Unread postby Javelin » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:51 pm

Praktica. I don't think they ever had AF but they were still around while maxxums were flying off the shelf. They had a really nice mechanical camera too with no meter.

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Re: Camera Companies no longer

Unread postby Dr. Harout » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:39 pm

Chinon
Vivitar (yes, they made cameras)
Voigtlander

These came to my mind. And, Dusty, was it necessary to make me (and probably others too) feel that we're getting old... :(
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Re: Camera Companies no longer

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:27 pm

Vivitar didn't actually make anything, they were just a brand name. The Vivitar cameras were made by Cosina, who are still in business making cameras. Voigtlander also were not a maker, they were a trademark of a camera brand which ceased manufacturing in the late 1960s but was revived - again, for Cosina and others (including Rollei Singapore) to make cameras with that label. Braun also had cameras from the same stable.

Chinon is not defunct and does still make cameras, probably including SLRs. It's one of Japan's largest manufacturers, in which Kodak has a large share (maybe a majority, can't remember) and the only thing it does not do right now is sell under the Chinon name. This was often the case in the past, where each country would have a different name for Chinon products.

Technically, Polaroid has ceased to make cameras, because although the name continues, they no longer manufacture. However, a revived SX model (technically an SLR) may be produced by the LOMO people who are working with ex-Polaroid staff to create new film and cams. Vivitar branded cameras can still be found, just not in all markets.

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bfitzgerald
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Re: Camera Companies no longer

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:46 pm

Are there any makers still doing MD mount bodies?

I know I have seen some still bashing out pentax MF ones.

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Re: Camera Companies no longer

Unread postby Dusty » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:28 pm

bfitzgerald wrote:Are there any makers still doing MD mount bodies?

I know I have seen some still bashing out pentax MF ones.


Seagull was making some for a while, but last time I looked on their site, they didn't list any. Maybe I should add them to the list as well.

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Re: Camera Companies no longer

Unread postby bakubo » Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:13 am

In addition to the ones already mentioned, here are a few more:

Mamiya/Sekor
Fujica
Miranda
Petri

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Re: Camera Companies no longer

Unread postby AndyG » Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:39 pm

also dead and gone:
Topcon (nearly bough one once...)
Zenith

... and probably more.

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Re: Camera Companies no longer

Unread postby braeside » Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:03 pm

Another: Halina - my first 35mm camera.
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Re: Camera Companies no longer

Unread postby AndyG » Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:29 pm

Ah Halina... my 2nd camera was a Halina Simplette EE (126 cartridge film) bought for me from Dixons when I was 11 (my Grandad thought an Agfa 35mm rangefinder would be too complicated...). Lasted me 6 years until a friend got a Zenith E SLR after which I got the bug seriously and bought a Pentax SP500.

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Re: Camera Companies no longer

Unread postby braeside » Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:58 pm

AndyG wrote:Ah Halina... my 2nd camera was a Halina Simplette EE (126 cartridge film) bought for me from Dixons when I was 11 (my Grandad thought an Agfa 35mm rangefinder would be too complicated...). Lasted me 6 years until a friend got a Zenith E SLR after which I got the bug seriously and bought a Pentax SP500.

Andy


Hi Andy - My camera was the Halina Paulette - not even the "Electric" version which had an exposure meter built-in.
http://www.camerapedia.org/wiki/Halina_Paulette

I mainly shot slide film and thought it was OK at the time. When I think back it was I must have been about 13 or 14 when I got it and it had no rangefinder, you had to estimate or measure distance. I did have a Weston exposure meter (a cine model in fps rather than shutter speed), it probably was worth more than the camera.

Here is a Kodachrome from 1966-7
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Re: Camera Companies no longer

Unread postby Wes Gibbon » Sat Apr 11, 2009 12:15 pm

bakubo wrote:In addition to the ones already mentioned, here are a few more:

Mamiya/Sekor
Fujica
Miranda
Petri


As far as i am aware, Mamiya are still making the 6x7 RB/RZ systems, and they are producing 645AF & digital MF cameras, leses and accessories. 645 manual focus was replaced by the AF system.

Worth noting that Fuji 35mm SLR's died out a long time ago, but their 6x8 Medium Format monsters were only discontinued recently. I am told their lenses were stunning. It has also been suggested that they have/had a very close relationship with Nikon. Anyone know anything about this?

Another blast from the past: Pentacon, makers of both 35mm and 6x6 rollfilm SLR systems. I once used Pentacon Six - the lenses were big and heavy (most required 86mm filters), but particularly the late 'MC' version lenses were excellent. n.b. I once saw in a shop in Prague (it was 1993), a 'Pentacon Four'. I didn't buy it at the time because I would have had almost no money left (cash machines hadn't yet appeared in the Czech Republic) and the shop didn't speak English (just a bit of halting German) and they didn't take credit cards. I assume this was a 'baby' version of the Pentacan Six using 127 film, but I've never seen any reference to it ANYWHERE. A prototype perhaps. Very collectable and I wish I had bought it, even though it would probably be useless now. I doubt if there were every any lenses other than the standard, which would then be interchangeable only with itself. In addition to the Pentacon Six, there was also an Exakta 66, using a Pentacon Six mount and made from Pentacon parts. I am not sure which part of Exakta that was, and what they or any possible successor companies might be up to now.

Kowa is another 6x6 medium format SLR that disappeared many years ago. Was it a Kowa 6 or Kowa 66?

A colleague once purchased a small Medium Format system named Kaleinar (the spelling is probably incorrect) with three lenses. Apparently of low quality, a review once stated that edge definition could not be evaluated because there wasn't any!

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Re: Camera Companies no longer

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:44 pm

The Exakta 66 was assembled in West Germany and I believe the main sponsor of the camera - if not the actual maker - was Schneider. They wanted a platform to build lens sales on. You can find part of its heritage in some of the odd medium format things floating around from Leaf, Rollei and Sinar today. It was clunky because the innards were still just old Pentacon Six.

The Kowa 6 may be gone but as far as I know Kowa remains as an optical manufacturer. The Kalimar 66, an inferior camera optically, has gone (so has the company). The Rittreck or Norita 66 survived a fair time, it was a 6 x 6 made by the same company which made Horseman. That company also survives - they built the Hasselblad XPan for Fuji/Hasselblad, it was in fact their concept not an original brilliant idea as Hasselblad tried to get us to think. I believe that they also made many cameras for Fuji (the 6 x 9s etc have a distinct Rittreck-Horseman look to them) and in all probability, they are still making cameras or large parts of them - probably the Hasselblad digital SLRs, which are officially Fuji brand in Japan.

The claim that Mamiya/Sekor is gone is true - it was an entirely separate division from Mamiya's medium format. Mamiya is now owned by Phase One, who bought it last month. The Mamiya line and the Phase One range will both continue. Phase One is actually putting a lot of innovation into the system and it is likely to see off Hasselblad in the long run. Calumet just dropped the Leaf camera system as a distributorship, my guess is there will be battle now between Colour Confidence (Typemaker Ltd, Geoff Clements's company which has grown from nowhere to be an industry international leader) and Calumet to secure European distribution.

David

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Re: Camera Companies no longer

Unread postby Greg Beetham » Sun May 17, 2009 3:31 am

This is an interesting site, http://www.hotbuyselectronics.com/company_sub_list.php?company=28&category=1&subcategory=199&format=1000 but I don't know how you would get on for warranty for some of the now out of production brands...like Bronica..pity.
Greg


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