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03-05-2014, 01:37 PM   #46
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Something that probably contributed to Pentax's popularity was their use of the M42 thread mount. That made Pentax lenses compatible with a variety of other cameras and vice versa. I'm not sure why, but even after Pentax went to the K-mount, there were a several other manufacturers who also built cameras with a K-mount. It was almost like they made it available to anyone who wanted it.

03-05-2014, 02:03 PM - 1 Like   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by MadMathMind Quote
I got into Pentax because my dad shot it way back when, so because of Pentax's bravo legacy support, I was able to inherit his collection of lenses. He said that he chose Pentax back then because a friend said that Pentax glass was by far the best. I've heard a couple other things that may or may not be true:
- That Pentax used to manufacturer glass for Canon and Nikon
- There was some small camera Pentax made that "everyone learned on" (can't remember the model!)

So my question is for those who were around then: was Pentax THE camera in the 1970s? Or at the very least, was it a Canon/Nikon equivalent of today?
Contax was first to develop the SLR, using the penta-prism that enables you to look directly through the lens. However, the Asahi Optical Corporation was the first company to mass-produce the SLR, calling it Pentax after the penta-prism and reflex. Some people claim that Nikon gained prestige from being the company to win the segment of market of professionals using 35 mm SLRs. They did this by being the first to produce an entire system to complement the camera body, i.e., lenses in a variety of focal lengths, motor drive, bulk film back, data back, flash, etc. Because that segment of the market is so small, virtually all professional 35 mm SLR users bought into it, which in the eyes of the general public meant that Nikon was the choice of professionals, effectively excluding other brands from the professional market. I haven't seen an explanation of how Canon managed to wedge their way into the professional market. Perhaps it was due to throwing lots of money from their photocopier business into marketing and product development. Maybe it took many years of this before their camera business became profitable.
03-05-2014, 02:15 PM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
Something that probably contributed to Pentax's popularity was their use of the M42 thread mount. That made Pentax lenses compatible with a variety of other cameras and vice versa. I'm not sure why, but even after Pentax went to the K-mount, there were a several other manufacturers who also built cameras with a K-mount. It was almost like they made it available to anyone who wanted it.
I believe Asahi licensed the K-mount to a lot of other brands. Many of us have seen or owned Sears, Ricoh, Vivitar, bodies among others to use the K-mount. Perhaps Asahi did this to counter their tardiness with releasing a bayonet mount to the marketplace? I have read that the original k-mount has been in the public domain for a while.

M
03-05-2014, 02:35 PM   #49
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In the '60's they sold Pentax at the PX (the on base military store). I bought a K1000 w/50mm lens and later a 135. They must have been really cheap because I was one poor soldier. The recreation center had a dark room with 6 or so enlargers that were always being used.

I believe the reason that Nikon caught on for pros is that it was bigger and back then everyone knew that, like cars, bigger is better.

03-05-2014, 03:30 PM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
I believe Asahi licensed the K-mount to a lot of other brands.
The mount was originally created in collaboration with Carl Zeiss (Oberkochen). My understanding was that licensing was an easy matter and that the spec for the K-mount was essentially "open". As a result, there was a proliferation of K-mount cameras and lenses from other makers very soon after the initial announcement of the K-mount system. IIRC, Ricoh was first with the release of their XR line of K-mount cameras and lenses within six months of the Pentax release of the K-series.


Steve

---------- Post added 03-05-14 at 02:41 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by DeepThrob Quote
I believe the reason that Nikon caught on for pros is that it was bigger and back then everyone knew that, like cars, bigger is better.
The size and weight of the cameras was an issue at the time and a problem that Nikon shared with several other makers in the early 1970s. Most other SLRs were almost as big and heavy as the Nikon F2 with Photomic prism. Until the introduction of the Olympus OM-1, Pentax was the most compact SLR system. I think what the pros liked about Nikon was the depth of the system and the build quality of the body and titanium-curtain shutter.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-05-2014 at 03:44 PM.
03-05-2014, 09:33 PM - 1 Like   #51
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This link shows an interesting pictorial of the SLR releases from at least the top 4 Japanese makers -> SLR

I don't believe that the others were as prolific - Olympus, Konica, Yashica, Ricoh, Chinon, and others.
03-05-2014, 10:46 PM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
This link shows an interesting pictorial of the SLR releases from at least the top 4 Japanese makers -> SLR

I don't believe that the others were as prolific - Olympus, Konica, Yashica, Ricoh, Chinon, and others.
This list is not complete. See if you can find the missing Nikon and Pentax models

As for the other Japanese makers my memory is that they were actually fairly prolific during the 70s. I did a little research and managed to confirm that Mamiya/Sekor released multiple (nine, I think and some very innovative) models as did Konica (seven models). Yashica fielded four or five new models. Ricoh released eight or nine new cameras, most of which were in K-mount. Chinon and Olympus were both newcomers with few models, but both did well in sales.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-05-2014 at 10:54 PM.
03-06-2014, 08:49 AM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
You couldn't get a motor drive for a Spotmatic, which was a differentiator in the pro market
Yep there was a Spotmatic Motor Drive:

Pentax Spotmatic Motor Drive - Pentax M42 Screwmount Film SLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

Phil.

---------- Post added 03-06-14 at 08:04 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
I believe Asahi licensed the K-mount to a lot of other brands. Many of us have seen or owned Sears, Ricoh, Vivitar, bodies among others to use the K-mount. Perhaps Asahi did this to counter their tardiness with releasing a bayonet mount to the marketplace? I have read that the original k-mount has been in the public domain for a while.

M
Pentax started using the bayonet mount for the 6x7 system in July 1969, but not until June 1975 for the 35mm system. They probably waited because the M42 mount & Spotmatic were still very popular.

Phil.

03-06-2014, 09:07 AM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeepThrob Quote
In the '60's they sold Pentax at the PX (the on base military store). I bought a K1000 w/50mm lens and later a 135. They must have been really cheap because I was one poor soldier. The recreation center had a dark room with 6 or so enlargers that were always being used.

I believe the reason that Nikon caught on for pros is that it was bigger and back then everyone knew that, like cars, bigger is better.
In the early 70's the "pros" if you want to call them that often used the Nikon over other brands not that it took better pictures but because it was built like a tank. You would see sports photographers at events with two Nikon F's around their neck running down the sidelines with the cameras banging into each other. They would take a beating for sure and had options that Pentax didn't offer. Pentax (Asahi) simply chose not to build a tank. I like many others lover the smallness and simplicity of the Spotmatic. Pro's I met in Europe only used the little Leica rangefinder cameras with no meter. They simply knew the film and the conditions and didn't need no stinking meter... ;-) But I sure did!
03-06-2014, 09:15 AM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
Yep there was a Spotmatic Motor Drive:

Pentax Spotmatic Motor Drive - Pentax M42 Screwmount Film SLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

Phil.

---------- Post added 03-06-14 at 08:04 AM ----------


Pentax started using the bayonet mount for the 6x7 system in July 1969, but not until June 1975 for the 35mm system. They probably waited because the M42 mount & Spotmatic were still very popular.

Phil.
<sigh>

My point is that Pentax was too late to the game to satisfy photojournalists, which was an influential audience. The Pentax motor drive you quote was rare. It was also released in 1969, nine years after Nikon's F250 motor drive. That matters in history.

I believe Pentax was among the last to adapt bayonet mounts for 35mm cameras because of some inward facing corporate cultural issues that still plague the brand and hinder its relevance to most photographers.

M
03-06-2014, 09:54 AM   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by woodywesty Quote
In the early 70's the "pros" if you want to call them that often used the Nikon over other brands not that it took better pictures but because it was built like a tank
At one time I had a Takumar 500/4.5 which came with a molested removable mount. The mount had been converted from M42 to Nikon bayonet using a T-threaded extension. Fooling around on the internet I found an article about AP converting from Pentax tio Nikon in 1970 and how a technician in their New York offices hacked this conversion for quite a number of their Tak 500's and Tak 1000's.

Following the advice in the web post, I was able to attach a vintage T > K-mount adapter and the lens actually focused to infinity.

IMHO, IF - repeating IF - that story about AP changing brands is actually true (given the reportage dominance of the Associated Press at the time), 1970 is as good a year as any in the time period to suggest Pentax lost out to Nikon as the dominant or "Professional' brand.

Last edited by monochrome; 03-06-2014 at 10:23 AM.
03-06-2014, 10:02 AM - 1 Like   #57
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Pentax sold a huge number of Spotmatics.. they didn't change in part because they didn't have to, to move product. That caught up with them later. You may not know this, but one of the things we practiced back in 67 was learning how to advance the shutter seamlessly so we didn't need a motor drive. A little flick of the wrist, if you held the shutter release button down, the shutter released as soon as the advance lever got past a certain point. No need to cock and shoot, the shooting was automatic. IN my prime I could shoot 3-4 frames a second, in acceptable focus. So even for folks who wanted to shoot rapidly, most of us chose practice over a motor drive. It wasn't as essential as you might think. In '67 TTL metering was not available on any mount except a Pentax Spotmatic and it sold a huge number of cameras instantly. Motor drive was an expensive luxury item of interest only to pros. And motor drive didn't really come into it's own until AF arrived. Then it really took off. Except for a few very small segments of the photographic industry, the Spotmatic was the rage, and as far as I can tell there wasn't another rage until Nikon came out with AF. I still remember a few friends with their F4s and AF and motor drives, now that was impressive. The reason Pentax fell behind IMHO was that they still sold a lot of cameras even after AF and Digital started to take over. My last two bodies I bought after AF was available on Pentax, and I didn't go for AF on either of them. If all you want to do is do what you've been doing, the fact that there is something better doesn't make any difference. There were many Pentax customers like myself who just didn't want to pay for the extras, who just wanted to take a few pictures every now and then, and for whom an MF film Pentax was just what they wanted.

And as I've said many times, if Pentax made a barebones no menu , all the controls on the dials FF camera like the K-1000, that used all my Pentax glass, with no bells and whistles, I'd buy it. The fact that I have to buy 15 different menu screens doesn't mean I want to. Everyone wants to talk about minor advances, who got what first... forget that. The major advances were TTL metering, then AF. Everything else didn't affect the whole camera industry, only segments of it. And the segments were truly segments The average consumer could care less what photojournalists used, and to be honest, in '67 most of them were still using 4x5s or 5x7 rangefinder cameras. I remember the Globe and Mail photographer who shot my picture at a football game. He had a 4x5 view camera. He focussed on the spot where I might go if the play came his way, I broke a couple tackles and took off for a 70 years touchdown run, and he got me right in the middle of my cut in a heisman pose.. a view camera, one shot, no motor wind, you had to open the back of the camera to put in the next piece of film, and that guy got a shot most people on this forum couldn't get with 8 frames a second on a digital camera with a fast zoom lens. And the picture is still on my wall. And the image and Globe and Mail story are still in my scrapbook.

People used to expect to have to know what they were doing to get good images. These days people seem to think all they have to do is buy a good camera.

Lets not go imagining how it was and how it wasn't based on some speculation from those who weren't there. Not while those of it who lived it are still around anyway. Once we're dead , revise as much as you want. If people keep making up stuff, no one will know any better.

Last edited by normhead; 03-07-2014 at 06:42 AM.
03-06-2014, 10:58 AM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
The Pentax motor drive you quote was rare. It was also released in 1969, nine years after Nikon's F250 motor drive. That matters in history.
The SP MD was actually released in 1965.

Phil.
03-06-2014, 10:58 AM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
a view camera, one shot, no motor wind and that guy got a shot most people on this forum couldn't get with 8 frames a second on a digital camera
Pre-positioining for one shot is still taught in some high school photography curricula. Oursa teadhes extra-curricular subjects vocationally, so Photography leads into P-J and Juried display competitons. Some 11 or 12 years ago SI ran a feature on long-running High School football rivalry games. Ours was one of the games covered.

SI sent a team to St. Louis for the week prior to the game (held every Thanksgiving Day) both to cover the elaborate festivites leading up to the game and to conduct workshops for the P-J students (writers, editors and photographers) at the high schools (conducted for the students of both schools together to foster companionable competition). My daughter was Photography Editor of the Yearbook at the time. They were still using K1000's and wet printing (for just another year or two).

The point is, the SI 'teacher' emphasized sideline positioning, pre-focusing, centering on the runner's (or receiver's or passer's or defender's or tackler's) navel but capturing the eyes - getting the eyes looking at the 'action' was optimal - and capturing action. Clearly this meant one shot with a K1000.

The SI photographer actually did a workshop on how football is played to help with anticipating positioning. My daughter invited me to sit in and comment if appropriate, since I played - it NEVER WAS!

Finally, there was a juried competiton afterward.

I believe that experience was pivotal in leading my daughter into the news business, thoughn she ended up in television.

My daughter once criticized me for using just three shutter releases in AF.C shooting my son playing college Lacrosse.

Last edited by monochrome; 03-07-2014 at 12:51 PM.
03-06-2014, 12:21 PM   #60
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I can't work out if this one has a motor drive or not 500px / ????????? by M kun2
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