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10-06-2016, 08:39 PM   #4621
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
Finally acquired a Canonflex with its "Exclusive trigger action" - film advance under the body. What a concept . . .
Interesting looking. It looks like they did it at the expense of moving the tripod mount to the end, though.

10-07-2016, 05:14 AM - 2 Likes   #4622
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
Finally acquired a Canonflex with its "Exclusive trigger action" - film advance under the body. What a concept . . .

It is interesting to see how each brand conceived what their first slr would look like.
With so many cameras, it is easy to forget the features of some of them . . .
I remember when each of those cameras was introduced. The Pentax is not the first Asahi model. Their first SLR released in the USA had only a waist-level finder and was sold by Sears under the latter's "Tower" brand. Canon lost ground to Nikon right from the start because that base-plate winder, supposed to be operated by your left-hand middle finger, was uncomfortable and clumsy to use compared to the thumb lever on the upper right that Pentax pioneered and that became essentially universal*. It was also more difficult to keep the Canon aligned with a subject when using that winder. It may have been inspired by the better-designed optional base-plate winder offered by Leica for the early M series rangefinders. Topcon was clever for the time, but in the long run made a mistake by adopting the Exacta bayonet and external diaphragm operating mechanism, which they eventually abandoned probably because the front-mounted, push back shutter release was just not as natural to use as the top-right press down release that again became essentially universal in 35mm SLRs. However, Topcon used to include a test strip of B&W film, allegedly taken with the accompanying camera body, which gave the actual exact shutter speed for each nominal shutter speed setting, so you knew that if you selected 1/125 the shutter was actually exposing for 1/118 second, as if you could compensate with the aperture for that, or if such a minute deviation in exposure would be detectable in even the narrowest latitude slide film. However, it gave an air of high precision to Topcon which advertising could exploit.

There were other design flaws in these models that were later corrected. Pentax had dual shutter speed dials, the upper high-speeds dial was a lift-and-drop design that rotated during exposure. The single non-rotating dial of the Nikon F & Canonflex was quickly adopted by Pentax. Notice that the Nikon F shutter release is set toward the back edge of the top plate, a minor detail that isn't quite as comfortable-natural to use as the front position shutter release of the Pentax and Canonflex.

*Most people are right-handed, right-eye dominant. Wind levers at upper are therefore slightly away from your face, to the right of your right eye. Holding the original Canonflex up to your right eye, the winder is right in front of your face and tends to come back against your nose, upper lip or left cheek. Clumsy! The now very rare Leicavit base plate winder, also operated by fingers of the left hand (typically index & middle fingers together, sometimes with ring finger as well) was pulled toward the left end of the camera, not swung back against your face. It was intended for fast action (shoot with right hand, wind with left) but in fact is more awkward, even slower than using the top-right thumb winder, and it's more difficult to follow action because it disturbs the steadying grip of the left hand, which also did the focusing. Wind-and-shoot with the right hand, focus and hold camera steady with the left very quickly became THE WAY for camera design.

Last edited by WPRESTO; 10-07-2016 at 05:29 AM.
10-07-2016, 06:46 AM   #4623
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
With so many cameras, it is easy to forget the features of some of them . . .
True, but I need to make the rounds among them more often. They'll stay in better shape if I give them more exercise.
10-07-2016, 08:26 AM - 1 Like   #4624
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Canon had a history of baseplate winders before the Cononflex. In the early 50s they made a rapid winder trigger operated baseplate for their rangefinder models, that appears to be copied from Leica's Leicavit, but I have both, and the Canon version is better made. Then in 54-55 in response to the Leica M3, they came out with the Canon VT, with the baseplate trigger wind permanently built-on with back-loading for film. But for tripod use you could still pop-up a wind knob on top. That was followed by the VI-T with improved finder and single-dial shutter speed, near the time of the Canonflex. Their chief designer at the time strongly favored the baseplate winder, and claimed you could shoot faster sequences with it than with a top thumb wind lever. (Which was true, as long as you didn't need to focus between shots.)
I find my Canonflex winder an improvement over their rangefinder trigger winders, but prefer to have my left hand the primary camera support with fingers free to focus.
Canon also made top lever wind version of the V and VI at the same time as the Trigger versions, but felt the Trigger would win out long term.
They quickly came out with other Canonflex models with thumb wind, but the Canonflex lenses had complex and troublesome auto diaphragms, such that the camera body had two different mechanisms to operate it: one to trip the diaphragm to close (and spring return open), and a second linkage that re-cocked the lens mechanism when the film was advanced.
They finally got their SLRs refined with the F series - FX, FP, Pellix, and FT. I switched from my Pentax H1a to a Canon FT (and FP) around 1967, before finding FL mount lens diaphragms tended to get sluggish and give uneven exposure across the frame.

10-07-2016, 07:49 PM   #4625
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QuoteOriginally posted by asharpe Quote
Interesting looking. It looks like they did it at the expense of moving the tripod mount to the end, though.
That was probably the least of their worries.

---------- Post added 10-07-16 at 10:54 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
I remember when each of those cameras was introduced. The Pentax is not the first Asahi model. Their first SLR released in the USA had only a waist-level finder and was sold by Sears under the latter's "Tower" brand.
The original Asahi Pentax was in fact the first "Asahi Pentax" as it was Asahiflex previously. And of course the "pen" was for the pentaprism which was first added.

Thanks for the additional info - great stuff!

Of course quite a few years later, I don't consider those things "design flaws" just interesting differences.

---------- Post added 10-07-16 at 11:05 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
I find my Canonflex winder an improvement over their rangefinder trigger winders, but prefer to have my left hand the primary camera support with fingers free to focus.
Great insight Tom. Personally, I tried a few rangefinders but just prefer the SLR format.

Last edited by LesDMess; 10-07-2016 at 07:56 PM.
10-08-2016, 04:03 AM   #4626
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
The original Asahi Pentax was in fact the first "Asahi Pentax" as it was Asahiflex previously. And of course the "pen" was for the pentaprism which was first added.

Thanks for the additional info - great stuff!

Of course quite a few years later, I don't consider those things "design flaws" just interesting differences.
I'd forgotten about the "Asahiflex" but I think that came after the "Tower" when Asahi decided to sell the waist-level camera through outlets other than Sears. Sears Roebuck at one time or another offered some amazing or unexpected products. For a while they offered their own automobile (as did Abercrombie & Fitch), and at one time you could order an entire pre-fabricated house, small, but certainly livable for a single, couple, or a couple with a pre-schooler. I have an old catalog that offers a house and many other curious products.

I look for design-flaws in several ways: 1) does the design serve it's function? 2) does the design compromise function for something else, such as innovation or uniqueness for their own sake, or esthetic appeal? 3) Is there a different design that is significantly more convenient and effective? The shutter release button on 35mm SLR's has been positioned: 1) left side front facing forward (Exacta); 2) right side front facing forward (Alpa, Topcon); 3) right side front obliquely angled (Contax S, some later Topcon models and I think one early Petri); 4) top right toward rear (original Nikon F); 5) right top toward front (originated on a 35mm SLR by Pentax but really dating from roll-film folders; Nikon moved the release forward on the F2, probably earlier on their "consumer" bodies, and Topcon did the same); 6) top right centered on the wind lever (some Minolta SLRs, possibly inspired by the release position of Leica M bodies, which in turn was probably inspired by the elegant design of the Contax rangefinder body which still had a dial winder).

How many SLR's made after let's say 1970 have the shutter release in a position other than top right toward the front? The main difference on modern DSLRs is that the release is slightly angled, as if the Contax S design had been moved up level with the top plate. The top right forward position is overwhelming preferred because it is ergonomically better, it "feels right" to the hands of the vast majority of photographers. Positioned top-right-forward, the release "falls naturally" under the index finger when the camera is held up to the eye. NOT the best position if you are using a tilt-screen and holding the camera LOW. In that position, the top release may be triggered with a thumb. With the camera body held low, a front push-back lease is ergonomically better as on Hasselblad, Bronica and SFAIK just about every TLR that was ever made. P&S cameras have top-right releases as well, but commonly centered rather than toward the front. Many users hold these tiny cameras differently than most hold a DSLR, using right thumb on the bottom and index finger on the release, the left hand providing 90% or the secure grip, sometimes also left thumb on bottom, index finger on top.

Last edited by WPRESTO; 10-09-2016 at 06:43 AM.
10-08-2016, 04:55 AM - 2 Likes   #4627
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Treason update:


(left to right: Canon nFD35mm f/2, nFD 28mm f/2, nFD 50mm f/1.4)

I've already done a little comparison of my 28mm lenses (nFD28/2, Minolta MC28/2.5, Pentax K28/3.5)
Test: Canon nFD28/2 vs Minolta MC28/2.5 vs Pentax K28/3.5

The K28/3.5 wins, as expected...

Last edited by Boris_Akunin; 11-08-2016 at 08:09 PM.
10-08-2016, 10:06 AM   #4628
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QuoteOriginally posted by Boris_Akunin Quote
I've already done a little comparison of my 28mm lenses (nFD28/2, Minolta MC28/2.5, Pentax K28/3.5)
Test: Canon nFD28/2 vs Minolta MC28/2.5 vs Pentax K28/3.5

The K28/3.5 wins, as expected...
Looks like a well executed test. Thanks for sharing.

10-08-2016, 07:20 PM - 2 Likes   #4629
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Field Test: Program Plus with Winder ME II

10-08-2016, 11:59 PM   #4630
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QuoteOriginally posted by Boris_Akunin Quote
Treason update:


(left: nFD 35/2, right: nFD50/1.4)
left to right: Canon nFD35mm f/2, nFD 28mm f/2, nFD 50mm f/1.4

I've already done a little comparison of my 28mm lenses (nFD28/2, Minolta MC28/2.5, Pentax K28/3.5)
Test: Canon nFD28/2 vs Minolta MC28/2.5 vs Pentax K28/3.5

The K28/3.5 wins, as expected...
An efficient comparison of the 28mm lenses. There's definitely something to be said for lenses which, although slow, are sharp and contrasty from the start.

That's a nice collection of FD lenses too. I don't think I've ever handled any Canon FD gear as it tends to sell for more than it's equivalents from other makers (except Nikon) because people have this notion that Canon gear will be better.
10-09-2016, 01:28 AM   #4631
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
film advance under the body. What a concept . . .
Did they copy the Rikoh S2 I wonder?
10-09-2016, 04:24 AM - 1 Like   #4632
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The advance lever under the body was actually a fairly common solution early on, although not always with the downward pointing trigger. IIRC, some (all?) of the German-made Kodak Retina reflexes had their advance underneath as well:



QuoteOriginally posted by arnold Quote
Did they copy the Rikoh S2 I wonder?
10-09-2016, 04:42 AM - 1 Like   #4633
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
The advance lever under the body was actually a fairly common solution early on, although not always with the downward pointing trigger. IIRC, some (all?) of the German-made Kodak Retina reflexes had their advance underneath as well:
Yes, other than the 1a and 2a Retinas the others had the lower advance levers. I was addressing the the unfolding trigger aspect on the Rikoh S2 rangefinder.
[IMG][/IMG]
10-09-2016, 06:41 AM   #4634
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I will observe that both the Retina and the Ricoh have another design flaw of some 50's 35mm cameras: the tripod socket is at the center of an elevated metal boss. This provides an inadequately small friction surface to prevent the camera from twisting when mounted on a tripod. I had a Zeiss Ikon folder that had a similar but lower metal boss that never worked properly on the pan-tilt head of the tripod I purchased, and was barely able to hold on the tiny ball head of my dad's old tripod (flimsy thing with pull-out snap-lock legs). That ball head had an all-metal disk about an inch in diameter at the base of the screw thread which could be tightened reasonably well against the considerably smaller metal boss on the camera
10-09-2016, 07:32 AM   #4635
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QuoteOriginally posted by arnold Quote
Did they copy the Rikoh S2 I wonder?
Do you know when that was released as the Canonflex was released in 1959.
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