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06-10-2009, 05:54 AM   #16
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pentax history - Google Search
1952 - Asahi Optical introduced its first 35mm SLR in 1952, the Asahiflex I, which was also the first Japanese SLR. Asahi Optical's first SLR in its modern, pentaprism equipped form was the Asahi Pentax. Asahi bought the name "Pentax" from the East German camera ...Asahi Optical introduced its first 35mm SLR in 1952, the Asahiflex I, which was also the first Japanese SLR. Asahi Optical's first SLR in its modern, pentaprism equipped form was the Asahi Pentax. Asahi bought the name "Pentax" from the East German camera manufacturer VEB Zeiss Ikon, which probably derived it from PENtaprism and conTAX, because it also incorporated the use of a 42mm screw mount. This screw mount was originally used by the Zeiss Contax S
Yes some of us have known this for years........... We were just keeping it "our secret".
BTW: Pentax bought the optical coating formulas from a California company. The only thing they originally did was find a way to apply it economically........
And Pentax was working w/ Zeiss a lot:
Lenses coating dates back from 1935, when it was invented by Alexander Smakula, working for Carl Zeiss. While multi-layers coating (multi-coating) was invented in 1938 by Katharine Burr (at General Electric), it was not widely used on camera lenses untill the 70s.

Early multi-coating were easily scratched (or even wiped), so during a lot of years only single layer coatings were used.

During the late 60s, there was a cooperation between Asahi (the company which was latter renamed as Pentax) and Carl Zeiss Oberkochen. At this time, Zeiss was trying to partner with a Japanese manufacturer in order to produce a range of SLR cameras. (but finally partnered with Yashica to produce the Contax SLR)

The result of this cooperation brought the K mount (designed by Zeiss), the 15/3.5 rectilinear lenses (with some variations between the Asahi and Zeiss versions), and a new multicoating process. (it is unclear which company played the most important part within this)
This process allowed to apply resistant multicoating at a reasonable cost, and to increase the number of coating layers. The resulting multi-coating was said to only have a light loss of 0.2% per surface, ie a transmission factor of 0.998.

In 1972, Asahi used their strong multi-coating as a marketing argument, introducing the "Super Multi Coated" lenses (renamed to "SMC" slightly after), and claiming to use up to 9 coating layers.
Zeiss, which was then using a similar coating (same process but potentially different chemicals) renamed their T coating into T* in 1973, in order to use this as a selling point.
(T coating was originally single layer coating, but was improved through the years)

Those advanced multi coating were really a breakthrough, so competitors quickly reacted to this. Fuji stated that they would start using their EBC multicoating, featuring up to 11 layers, for camera lenses (it was already in use for their cine lenses). Nikon stated they where already using up to 4 coating layers), and Leitz and Canon stated that they were already working on similar multi-coatings.

http://gabriel.mp3-tech.org/blog/comments.php?y=09&m=02&entry=entry090203-15...7064786e1a01c0


Last edited by jeffkrol; 06-10-2009 at 06:02 AM.
06-10-2009, 06:39 AM   #17
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Why does Asahi 1919 date matter ?

I've got a piece of Pentax gear new in the box that also came with special insert sheet of paper saying pentax no longer had a relationship with "Asahi".

So I'd say 1919 is meaningless to Pentax as they severed those ties years ago now & absolutely meaningless to Hoya Corporation, who owns Pentax logo outright.

QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
Well, nothing new there, there are severall sources on the web that cover in parts this and combined together all of this and more. Cannot really comment on weather this is a nice write up since the google English is not that good.

It is known from other sources that the Asahi Kogaku Goshi Kaisha was founded in November 1919. Since we are therefore approaching the 90 years birthday of Pentax, it would be nice to known the exact date that Asahi Kogaku was founded. Worth a celebratrion at the forum I believe. Probably there is some document from the registration of the company, if it still is preserved. I have not been able to find out the exact date from any web sources. Does anyone know? Perhaps we should write to Pentax and ask?

BTW, other sources also claim that Pentax was suggested when Nikon was looking for a good name...but the suggestion was rejected!
06-10-2009, 07:04 AM   #18
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Wars are hell.......

QuoteOriginally posted by Samsungian Quote
I've got a piece of Pentax gear new in the box that also came with special insert sheet of paper saying pentax no longer had a relationship with "Asahi".

So I'd say 1919 is meaningless to Pentax as they severed those ties years ago now & absolutely meaningless to Hoya Corporation, who owns Pentax logo outright.
Asahiflex
In 1945, most of the Asahi’s factory buildings in Tokyo were destroyed. This also caused the loss of many, if not all, documents describing the activities of the company during the Taisho Era (which lasted from 1912-1926) and pre-war and wartime Showa Era (1926-1945). After the war, the company was forced to dissolve. This situation only lasted until 1948 when it started again as the Asahi Optical Company, Ltd. (Asahi Kogaku Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha, the current official name), led by Mr. Saburo Matsumoto

http://www.aohc.it/selart17e.htm

Last edited by jeffkrol; 06-10-2009 at 07:23 AM.
06-10-2009, 07:04 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by RiceHigh Quote
In fact, Pentax has been the most Western/European style name for a Japanese brand name. Just think about Canon, Nikon, Minolta or Fuji etc. All these are just Japanese pronounced names!

Only Pentax is a name with true English meaning.
Um... 'Olympus?' Can't get much more 'Western' that a mountain in Greece. By the way, Olympus took their name (in 1921) from the Greek mountain of the gods because the previous name of the company was Takachiho, which is a Japanese mountain of gods.

06-10-2009, 08:50 AM   #20
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Why is this on news and rumors?
06-10-2009, 09:07 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hannican Quote
Why is this on news and rumors?
While none of this is news, parts of it could be considered rumors...
06-10-2009, 10:12 AM   #22
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MORE rumors.....

QuoteOriginally posted by OregonJim Quote
While none of this is news, parts of it could be considered rumors...
Andre,

As far as I know, things were more complicated tha stated by Mr. Gandy.

Both Asahi and Zeiss "invented" the name Pentax for their own purposes, in
different times and unaware each other. Then, when Asahi Pentax cameras were
put on sale internationally, Asahi folks discovered that Carl Zeiss already
registered the Pentax trade name for some movie projectors on sale on
certain markets (South Africa, East Germany and maybe Finland). So Asahi
Pentax cameras sold in those markets were called either Asahiflex (like
older models) or Asahi Pentar for a few years.

In that same period Western and Eastern Zeiss companies were fighting for
getting Carl Zeiss and other famous Zeiss-related brand names, but the
Pentax trade mark was of very minor interest for them, since it was never
used for renowned Zeiss equipment.
At the end, Zeiss Jena lost the suit and all Zeiss brand names (such as
Contax, Sonnar, Tessar, and so on).

Later, when Pentax name was well established worldwide, I believe that Asahi
probably bought from VEB Pentacon (or maybe from Zeiss Oberkochen?) the
rights for using the Pentax name in those small markets too. I think it had
to be a cheap agreement, since at that time everybody "knew" that Pentax was
a Japanese camera company and not a Zeiss trade name. It is also possible
that Asahi paid nothing, since Eastern VEB Pentacon was no longer capable to
claim their old Zeiss trade marks on international markets. Just my guess
here.

Dario Bonazza
AOHC website
Re: Pentax, a trademark bought from Zeiss???
AND on to multicoating..........
As I already wrote, Asahi didn't invent the multicoating, since they bought
patents from Optical Coatings Laboratories Inc. (OCLI), based in California.
The merit of Asahi Opt. Co. was to understand the importance of
anti-reflective coating, looking for the proper technology, developing their
own industrial process and put it into production at acceptable costs. That
marked a turning point in the evolution of photographic optics, allowing the
development of modern ultrawide-angle and wide-range zoom lenses

http://www.mail-archive.com/pdml@pdml.net/msg04299.html
06-10-2009, 10:58 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffkrol Quote
The result of this cooperation brought the K mount (designed by Zeiss), the 15/3.5 rectilinear lenses (with some variations between the Asahi and Zeiss versions), and a new multicoating process. (it is unclear which company played the most important part within this)
The 15/3.5 is a well-known example of Pentax and Zeiss using the same lens designs. One more lens that was manufactured by both Zeiss and Pentax is the SMC Pentax 1:2/28 which is exactly the same as the Zeiss 28mm f/2 Distagon.

The Pentax variant is rare nowadays; I'm happy to own one.



06-10-2009, 11:01 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by woof Quote
"By 1954, the company had launched the next generation of Asahiflex cameras. In the meantime, the company began developed of a new camera design, the world's first SLR camera to incorporate a pentaprism. This camera was launched in 1957 as the Pentax, and it thrust Asahi onto the world camera stage."
The Contax S from 1949 was the first 35mm SLR to have a glass pentaprism, so I feel sorry for us Pentaxians
06-10-2009, 11:10 AM   #25
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I've known that for at least 2 years, RH.
06-10-2009, 11:27 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Here is an article from Asahi Optical Historical Club, published in their Spotmatic Magazine, No, 32, in April, 2002 A Brief History of the Asahi Optical Corporation.

There is absolutely NOTHING new here.
So what? To anyone who was not already informed on the subject (which includes almost everyone), it is all new. Does every piece of information shared on this site have to be original?

Rob
06-10-2009, 11:28 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Asahiflex Quote
The Contax S from 1949 was the first 35mm SLR to have a glass pentaprism, so I feel sorry for us Pentaxians
Everyone forgets the "japanese" part, devils in the details:
Milestones
First Japanese SLR with fixed pentaprism. First pentaprism SLR from Asahi Opt. Co. and first example of stylish and rational design in a pentaprism SLR. This SLR set industry standard about styling and controls layout, then copied by Japanese and German industry.

Same w/ the multicoating.....
1971 - Super-Multi-Coating
World's first multi-layer anti-reflective coating on consumer lenses.

Trying to spot the most important milestones in the post-war development of the 35mm SLR, you'll see that five out of ten have been set by Pentax (instant-return mirror, spot metering, TTL metering, aperture priority auto exposure, autofocus), while the remaining five are shared between five different manufacturers (either Pentacon or Rectaflex for pentaprism viewfinder, Topcon for full-aperture TTL metering, Konica for mass-produced shutter priority auto exposure, Olympus for TTL flash and Nikon for multi-pattern metering).

Of course there were also many other improvements, and many of them are due to Pentax again. Maybe somebody could claim different innovations as being more important than the above mentioned ones. I feel not too far from being correct when listing the above improvements as the 10 most important; anyway this is matter of opinion, and discussion could be endless. Nevertheless, should you replace some "top milestones" with different ones at your leisure, you see that conclusion remains substantially unchanged: no other manufacturer can even approach Pentax as the leader in the development of the modern SLR concept.
In the late Sixties / mid-Seventies, Pentax manufactured more SLR's per month that Canon and Nikon together, thus making well visible how much successfull they were at the time.

PENTAX camera birthdate:
the new camera, called the ‘Asahiflex’ was put on sale on the Japanese home market in May 1952

Last edited by jeffkrol; 06-10-2009 at 11:53 AM.
06-10-2009, 11:32 AM   #28
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This has been a very informative thread as I really didn't know much about the history of the Pentax name or even the origin of the "SMC" on most lenses.
06-10-2009, 01:52 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Asahiflex Quote
The Contax S from 1949 was the first 35mm SLR to have a glass pentaprism, so I feel sorry for us Pentaxians
Thanks for the correction. I was quoting source.

While it does not go to the point I was trying to make, your correction is nonetheless a valuable addition to this thread.

Why do you feel sorry?

The 1957 AP was one of the most innovative cameras of its time. The distinction that was lost on the author of that quote was that it WAS the first camera with both and eye-level (penta)prism AND an instant return mirror. It was also the first SLR with a rewind crank and quick lever advance. Some authors have stated that it is the first SLR with a fresnell-lens matte screen focusing aid on the focusing screen. Little to be sorry about I think.

Oh, and just to clarify the record a little more, the Rectaflex was born in Rome in the same year that the Contax was introduced. It too had a pentaprism, so perhaps the Rectaflex and the Contax share the distinction of being the first pentaprism SLRs? Camerapedia certainly supports that view. Rectaflex - Camerapedia.org Or is that perhaps putting too fine a point on this?

Thanks again and kind regards,

Seaain
06-10-2009, 02:08 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by woof Quote
. It was also the first SLR with a rewind crank and quick lever advance.
I believe the second feature was introduced by Ihagee. The Exakta had a quick-advance lever, but it was on the LEFT side of the body.
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