Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
03-02-2014, 01:39 PM   #16
Pentaxian




Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Oklahoma USA
Posts: 1,490
In the '70s I migrated from Topcon (which produced multiple, incompatible models) to a Spotmatic (which promptly developed its own compatibility issues, of course), eventually accumulating quite a few SMCT lenses. Then in the '80s I migrated to Canon, yet again getting stuck with incompatible FD lenses.

Nikon pretty much rules in the '70s, but I'd lump Pentax and Minolta and (particularly as the '70s went on) Canon and Olympus as being pretty close outside the pro market. The Canon F-1 didn't come along until '71 or so, and then it took a while to even be considered alongside the Nikon F. Obviously there was a separate market for things like Leica, but it was really separate from the mainstream slr crowd.

I'll say this about the '70s: it seemed like the 3rd party lens makers were more or less equally on board with almost every semi-mainstream camera brand. I don't recall it being like today, where if you have a non-Canikon, you have to be lucky to get last-decade hand-me-down lens designs.

The K1000 was never a well-respected camera. It was regarded as a stripped-down and generally poorly assembled remnant from a past generation, even when it was first introduced.

03-02-2014, 01:52 PM   #17
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 27,152
QuoteOriginally posted by MadMathMind Quote
was Pentax THE camera in the 1970s? Or at the very least, was it a Canon/Nikon equivalent of today?
Yes and no. Canon was not the powerhouse that it is today during most of the '70s and had second tier (barely) market status for most of the decade. Nikon was still on top with Olympus, Pentax, and Minolta not far behind. Konica and several other brands were below that. At least that is how I remember it.


Steve
03-02-2014, 02:31 PM - 2 Likes   #18
Veteran Member




Join Date: Nov 2011
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 451
Okay, here we go...

I worked for Dixon's Photographic from 1967 to 1971, and ran a camera club till the mid 70s, and if my memory serves me well there was a lot of churning going on in the market at that time in the UK.

The absolute rock bottom entry level SLR was the zenith, sold with an uncoated f1.8 lens that was a flare monster, or an even more lowly button lens that was built like, or even from, a rock. I dropped my zenith with that button lens two metres directly onto the lens and the only damage was to the paving stone. This camera was also sold by Dixon's under the name Prinzflex, for ten pounds more, and they got away with it - people were willing to pay the extra for Dixon's own repair setup, which was very good I admit.

Stepping up from that we had the Practica, which was a chunky German SLR that seemed to like zebra striped lenses, the Pentacon 50/1.8 I believe. Not a bad lens really, but there was also the 50/2.8 Tessar, which was excellent, but seems to be rarely mentioned as a classic legacy lens on this forum. Because of the respect for German build quality, you might also see an Exacta, a well built but very simple SLR. And of course me and my workmates would sometimes visit Hove Cameras and gaze with reverence at the Leicas and Speed Graphics on display, at many times the price of the Praktica.

Then the Japanese SLRs started to take over. John DAV got it right, the Topcon RE super was an early cutting edge model. I had one, and it was glorious. The back came off. The pentaprism came off. The focussing screen was interchangeable. In truth, it was professional level quality, a real system camera. But without a system - I was probably 1 of the only 10 owners in the UK

---------- Post added 03-03-14 at 05:55 AM ----------

Aaagh, because of the poor edit function on my tablet this has to be a serial post, sorry.

At the end of the 60s the Japanese brands took over, mainly because of their innovation and ease of use. Probably the star was the Spotmatic, but I also sold a lot of Mirandas and Chinons, Dixon's rebranded SLR lines. Probably made by Cosina. Minolta and Mamiya were nice, but rarer. The Nikon was the professional's camera, and Canon were halfway between P and N, both quality and price wise.

Praktica started to die off, due to stupid development decisions, seeming to make themselves LESS compatible with any other lens mount, rather than more. At this time M42 ruled, as did K mount when it arrived later - but Ricoh botched it with that dreaded pin that meant their K mount lenses were mechanical Trojans able to damage some other K mount brands.

---------- Post added 03-03-14 at 06:06 AM ----------

The Canon AE-1 was well respected, and magazine reviews showed that it had the best kit lens, even better than the lens on the Nikon, which was considered as the true professional's camera, at a price much higher than the Spotmatic. The Nikon was built much better than the Spottie though - I once dropped and damaged Spotmatic's back, and bent it back into place by hand...

Then the K1000 appeared, and was a game-changer. And here we are, bid sniping for its lenses 40 years later.

Last edited by Bagga_Txips; 03-02-2014 at 02:41 PM.
03-02-2014, 03:42 PM   #19
Loyal Site Supporter
OrchidJulie's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Magic City
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,286
Mid-70s to mid-80s, I worked in an ad agency production department. We had two full time professional photographers (and I did some stuff occasionally when needed). Photographer #1 used Spotmatics for 35mm, Mamiya for medium format, a 4x5 for larger format (I forget the make/model). Photographer #2 used Nikon Fs for 35mm, Hasselblad for medium format, and I think he had a 4x5 also. There was also a Rolleiflex twin-lens (I used it a few times for publicity shots -- the governor signing a bill, etc.). The Pentax/Nikon "war" was friendly and both photographers got on well, appreciated each other's gear and work.

03-02-2014, 04:27 PM   #20
Banned




Join Date: May 2010
Location: Back to my Walkabout Creek
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,541
Pentax lost momentum in late 1970’s, early 1980’s. When Nikon and Canon started investing in marketing heavily, sponsorships, the new tech (AF), face new challenges (new photography markets), Pentax went easy peasy with mass market cameras aimed to please beginners. And licensing the SMC. That has lulled them into sleep.

They lived in an illusion that if the industry was depending on their patents and that if every manufacturer knew all about them, that they don’t need to spend on marketing to end customers and cater for new markets and developments. It was exactly the opposite of what Nikon and Canon did. They lost momentum because they were nowhere to be seen in magazine ads and publications that ruled the end user communication especially from late 1970s to mid-1990s, with advent of cheaper colour print. But Nikon and Canon were to be seen everywhere.

Since then a whole generation grew up knowing nothing or little bout Pentax, and living in the world of Nikon and Canon ads and sponsorships. Pentax slowly disappeared. They knew about Pentax because their parents used Pentax. Today, it means our grandparents used it.

The LX experiment was their only initiative to do something in the pro market, but it was a shy, fully manual experiment, without any clear path of evolution and advancement and it practically a whole decade passed and the camera did not evolve into anything worth mentioning.
03-02-2014, 04:28 PM   #21
Veteran Member




Join Date: Nov 2011
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 451
@OrchidJulie

Yeah, I think the continuing brand wars, in many different fields, tend to just suggest that the ""warriors"" don't really know enough about the topic. In the 70s I was asked by a colleague to shoot her wedding, and the lurking freelance photographer sneered at me, because I wasn't using a Spotmatic. I just smiled inwardly, wondering why he wasn't using a Nikon F1.

Even nowadays, even here, that competitive instinct lives, on, but I dunno why. The fact that I love Pentax best doesn't mean the rest are rubbish. They are just lacking in the things I need most.

But I must admit I love to laugh at camera snobs. I recently went on a trip with a local camera group here in Chengdu, and the guy carrying two 5D mk III didn't seem to take a single photo. The lady who spent fifteen minutes setting up a portrait using her top of the line giant carbon fibre tripod while we were patiently waiting to take the group shot didn't use a remote, she just jabbed at the shutter release button. All the photos people posted online were of each other with their gear, none of them were of the place we had driven 5 hours to visit...

But we are all only intelligent monkeys, after all.
03-02-2014, 04:45 PM   #22
Pentaxian
fgaudet's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Ontario
Posts: 726
QuoteOriginally posted by Bagga_Txips Quote
The lady who spent fifteen minutes setting up a portrait using her top of the line giant carbon fibre tripod while we were patiently waiting to take the group shot didn't use a remote, she just jabbed at the shutter release button.
Probably for a shot that could be easily done hand held too... I've seen so many of these... Taking forever to setup, portable lightmeter and all... just to hit the shutter button as hard as they can, while in full auto mode...
03-02-2014, 05:19 PM   #23
Veteran Member




Join Date: Nov 2011
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 451
Whereas when we do that. and are challenged about it, we know enough to be able to say ""It doesn't matter, I am using 1/8000 to prevent camera shake, at F1.4 so that I get reduced depth of field and nice bokeh. The incident light meter is just to check the camera's reading, and to help me to decide on the EV adjustment I need to get the artistic effect I am aiming for""

Am I right?

While on the trip was when I was able to play with the gear of the only real photographer there - the group's camera instructor. She had a Sony A7 and an A7r, which was the first thing that interested me. I think she was using a Canon 70-200 on an adapter, or something similar, and several of the other had similar light grey zooms. But, aren't they enormous?? And so heavy, I mean, HEAVY! I showed her my DA70 and she guessed it was a 28, and I don't think she believed that my 40 XS was a lens at all.


Last edited by Bagga_Txips; 03-02-2014 at 05:28 PM.
03-02-2014, 05:38 PM   #24
Pentaxian
fgaudet's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Ontario
Posts: 726
QuoteOriginally posted by Bagga_Txips Quote
I showed her my DA70 and she guessed it was a 28, and I don't think she believed that my 40 XS was a lens at all.
Yup, Pentax lenses at their best...
03-02-2014, 05:51 PM   #25
Banned




Join Date: May 2010
Location: Back to my Walkabout Creek
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,541
QuoteOriginally posted by Bagga_Txips Quote
...
While on the trip was when I was able to play with the gear of the only real photographer there - the group's camera instructor. She had a Sony A7 and an A7r, which was the first thing that interested me. I think she was using a Canon 70-200 on an adapter, or something similar, and several of the other had similar light grey zooms. But, aren't they enormous?? And so heavy, I mean, HEAVY! I showed her my DA70 and she guessed it was a 28, and I don't think she believed that my 40 XS was a lens at all.
Isn’t it wonderful today when most instructors have certificates that excuses them for general ignorance?
03-02-2014, 06:41 PM   #26
Site Supporter
sundr's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 123
QuoteOriginally posted by Johndav Quote
Back in the 70s things didn't seem so polarised. Today Canon and Nikon dominate the market. In the 70s I recall Nikon didn't seem to have much of a foothold in entry level SLRs until the advent of the dinky Nikon EM, I went with the Fujica system and got results that often beat results I saw from shooters with Canons, Olympuses and other big boys.
Certainly in the UK there were a 'Big Five' of manufacturers - Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Minolta and if I recall correctly Pentax. But down at entry level the Soviet bloc dominated with Prackticas and Zeniths selling at about half the price of the popular Japanese offerings from the likes of Ricoh and Cosina.
But there was a lot of different manufacturers back then (at least at the start of the 70s) anyone remember Petri, Miranda, Mamiya, Rollei, Voigtlander and my personal favourite Topcon?

---------- Post added 03-02-14 at 07:49 PM ----------



I'm pretty sure Topcon produced the first 35mm SLR with TTL metering Topcon RE Super: The First 35mm SLR With TTL Metering | Shutterbug
I double checked my source (Todd Gustovson, Camera: a history of photography from daguerreotype to digital). He said the 1960 prototype Spotmatic was the first SLR with TTL, but it wasn't introduced till 1964. It seems Topcon beat Asahi in bringing TTL to market in 1963.
03-03-2014, 07:08 AM   #27
Site Supporter
Elroy Jetson's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2012
Photos: Albums
Posts: 13
I ran a high school camera club in the late 1960s. We all had Spotmatics, except for one fellow with a Contax. The club had a Petri rangefinder and a Yashica D (6x6). Pentax was the dominant brand in my corner of Ontario at the time. Pros shot Nikon and Canon was not popular. The big discussion back in the late 60s was whether it was better to stick with the M42 screw thread mount or if the 'other guys' were onto something with bayonet mounts. That question seems to have been answered. We all wanted Hasselblads and Linhofs (still can't afford them!) but the market was vibrant, with many brands now long gone.

To clarify an earlier remark above, there was a motor drive for the Spotmatic. I have a 1972 sales brochure for Asahi Pentax (Canada) showing the SP II Motor Drive camera f1.4 chrome for $360.00 ; the drive itself was another $360 and, depending on the accessories you wanted, the whole deal could cost between $823 and $1167(Cdn). For you youngsters out there, that was a whole awful lot of cash back then. The same brochure quotes $349.50 for the SP II f1.4 (chrome; $10 more for black) and $539.50 for the ES f1.4. Like so many others, I veered off the Pentax path when Minolta introduced the autofocus Maxxum 35mm series, but have returned to the fold with a K-5. I've always liked Takumar/Pentax glass and use a Pentax adapter to put the M42 lenses on the K-5 body. Pentax did seem to fall victim to complacency. Let's hope it endures for a good while yet.
03-03-2014, 07:40 AM   #28
Senior Member




Join Date: Aug 2013
Photos: Albums
Posts: 112
LOL Dave, I do believe you're spot on!

I recal it was exactly that way, I couldn't afford a Pentax so I got a Mamiya. Later, living abroad as a 'guest' of the Federal Republic of Germany courtesy of the US Army I bought a Canon A-1 at the PX. Still have that and I finally got that coveted Pentax K1000 almost forty years later.

I'd say that back then, Pentax and Nikon were the game but as I recall, discriminating shutterbugs used Pentax!

QuoteOriginally posted by Dartmoor Dave Quote
The camera ďeverybody learned onĒ in the 70s was the K1000, and for many of us (me included) it still defines photographic perfection. I got my first K1000 for Christmas in 1980 when I was 16, half as a gift from my parents and half paid for with my earnings from a summer job, and Iím still using that exact camera body today. As far as my own memories go, my perceptions of the different camera brands in those days were:

Nikon: The professionalís camera, with the best range of lenses and the most flexible system, but also way out of my price range.

Pentax: Second best to Nikon, with great lenses at much better prices, and a system that offered a clear upgrade path from the K1000 all the way up to awesome LX.

Olympus: Cool and ďartyĒ, but overpriced for the actual quality.

Canon: Over-automated crap for people who couldnít be bothered to learn how to use a camera properly (some things never change).

Fuji, Minolta, Yashica, etc: Strictly for amateurs.

Iím sure others will have different memories and will disagree, but thatís that way I recall thinking about the different brands in those days. And truly happy memories they are.
03-03-2014, 09:44 AM   #29
Site Supporter




Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Texas
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,142
The Pentax glory days started much earlier than the 70s, and I believe were strongest in the US. In the early 50s it was the US occupying administration that pushed Japanese companies into camera manufacturing for export to provide cash for reconstruction of the country, and so made export to the USA a priority. Both Asahi and Nippon Kogaku (Nikon) had been suppliers of military optics through the war years, and neither had made cameras. Canon had started very small pre-war to copy Leica, but it was the post-war push for exports that really got them started too. Nippon and Canon both were improved copies of Geman rangefinder cameras during the 50s, and were well regarded and grew their businesses well. (German patents were dis-allowed due to the war, to encourage such copying to get industry moving in civilian markets.)
Asahi claimed they didn't copy anyone with the Asahiflex, but there were similarities to the Praktiflex. In any case, Asahi and Miranda were the primary Japanese SLRs during the 1950s. The Pentax of course started in 1957, after Asahi had 5 years experience with SLRs. Nikon and Canon both introduced their first SLRs in 1959: the "F" for Nikon and the Canonflex for Canon. Nikon did it right: being primarily a lens company the had a huge variety of lenses already in production for the F at the time it was launched. Pentax and Canon tried to grow their lens lines after launch, and professionals noticed. I still have a Canonflex, which is unusual with the film wind on the bottom of the camera. They didn't really succeed with SLR until the FT.
But going into the 60s Pentax SLR sales grew the fastest, as the sold to the consumer market from an earlier established position. They were easily the first to sell a million SLRs, and I've heard outsold Nikon and Canon combined in those years. In the USA Honeywell supported the marketing well with investment in service centers and companion photo lines to build the Honeywell brand. (I still use Honeywell-Nikor stainless film developing tanks, which were the best quality available.)
I'd say Pentax peaked in the market during 1961-65 when the SV was very well accepted by respected photographers, and Canon and Nikon were still building. I started with Pentax before the Spotmatic. The Spotmatic was very successful, but by then many other makes had caught up on features and marketing campaigns, so Pentax didn't stand out the way it had. The fact that most "pros" used Nikon was not a factor for most of us once we handled the Nikon F compared to other makes, but the Nikon hype was building.
When I "upgraded" from my H1a I went with the new Canon FT instead of the Spotmatic or Nikon F. I'd used both, but didn't care for the feel of the Nikon, and liked the Canon lens mount and limited-area TTL meter of the FT. The screw-mount of Pentax seemed old-fashioned, but this was more impression than real advantage to me, as I seldom needed to change lenses faster.
The Canon AE1 and Minolta autofocus models may have had a great impact in the general market, but not on many of us who were established with manual cameras. I never wanted autofocus or auto exposure (and still don't). After going back to Pentax with the MX I also got an LX when it came out, and found the "moving flag/changing LED" manual exposure clumsy - so it was best in auto exposure. That thinking prompted the design of most cameras since then: design for the automatic features, but provide less-convenient manual control so they could say it was supported. I went back to the MX and never tried another Pentax until the K-5.
03-03-2014, 11:34 AM   #30
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 27,152
QuoteOriginally posted by Elroy Jetson Quote
Pros shot Nikon and Canon was not popular. The big discussion back in the late 60s was whether it was better to stick with the M42 screw thread mount or if the 'other guys' were onto something with bayonet mounts.
You are absolutely correct regarding Canon. The optics were respected but people were suspicious of the breech-lock mount and the late-60s Pellix (stationary, half-silvered mirror) camera line did not help things. Topcon was as popular, if not more so, as Canon. I was actively camera shopping in 1970 and don't remember seeing Canon on the shelves at any of the camera stores. In fact, the first time I saw a Canon camera was in the Fall of 1969 when a family friend was showing us his new camera. It was not until the development of the AE-1 (1976) that Canon gained market share. The camera was sophisticated and inexpensive compared to similar models offered by the competition. With the AE-1 Program and A-1 cameras, Canon finally rose to 1st tier rank.

I also remember the M42 vs. bayonet discussions. M42 fans claimed that bayonet mounts were prone to wear and were overly proprietary, driving lens prices up. Bayonet fans claimed (rightly) that M42 was slow to mount and had risk of cross-threading (possible, I guess). They also made the claim that M42 stop-down metering was inherently more accurate. In the end, the bayonet mounts won due mostly to the sophistication of coupling that is possible when the lens always has the same fixed orientation.

Is for me and my camera purchase, I bought into the stop-down metering logic and really wanted a Pentax. Unfortunately, I did not have the money and was shopping for Mamiya or possibly Yashica instead. I ended up with a Ricoh Singlex TLS which served me very nicely for the next 15 years or so.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-03-2014 at 11:40 AM.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
35mm, brands, camera, entry, glass, k-mount, lens, lenses, m42, market, nikon, pentax, pentax help, pentax the camera, photography, post, praktica, price, quality, release, slr, spotmatic, system, topcon, ttl, wikipedia
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
People Since the D800E was sent in for a cracked LCD.... D4rknezz Post Your Photos! 4 10-15-2013 08:30 PM
Question Was I the only one the forum was "down" for in the last ~22 hours? Quazimoto Site Suggestions and Help 6 06-27-2013 08:25 PM
Was the K-01 the 'beta test' for the K-30? Sagitta Pentax K-30 & K-50 3 04-22-2013 07:00 AM
Black & White The FA31 and FA77 lens performance in the film camera on the excellent, fascinating. benny_h_z Post Your Photos! 6 03-19-2013 06:45 AM
The Pentax K-7: The era of in-camera High Dynamic Range Imaging has arrived! HermanLee Pentax News and Rumors 2 05-20-2009 10:40 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:14 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top