35mm SLR Cameras: Fujica v Pentax

The Fuji Image Film Organization was proven in 1934, and initially manufactured photographic movies for the Japanese house market place. In the early 1940s, they began to generate optical glass for army use, and in 1948 commenced generating cameras. In 1971, Fuji produced their initially 35mm SLR digital camera – the Fujica ST701.

In the early 1970s, the 35mm SLR digital camera most favoured by critical novice photographers was the Pentax Spotmatic. Other manufactures produced types that were quite possibly just as superior, but none commercially rivalled the dominance of the Spotmatic.

The FujicaST701 boasted quite identical specifications to the Spotmatic II – it even shared the same M42 threaded lens mount – but Fuji stepped in advance of their competitors by currently being the very first corporation to use silicon blue photocells as an alternative of CdS. Silicon cells have been claimed to respond substantially more quickly, and react to a broader vary of mild concentrations than CdS. Indeed, all camera makers finally adopted Silicone cells. In addition, the ST701 was scaled-down, lighter, and experienced a brighter viewfinder than the Spotmatic II.

In 1972, a 2nd Fujica SLR digicam was released – the ST801. This available open up aperture metering (through Silicone cells), a lens locking process, and 7 LED viewfinder indicators rather of a typical needle. The open aperture metering (and lens locking method) expected a new modified lens mount, and marked the start out of a divergence from the founded M42 mount. The claimed gains of the LED process was the absence of a mechanical mechanism, reducing meter deviation brought about by shock or mechanical failure, moreover it was superior for lower mild capturing. Though none of these options ended up innovations, the ST801 was one particular of the initially cameras to carry together all of these characteristics.

In 1973, the Pentax Spotmatic F was released. It was in essence an open up aperture metering variant of the prior Spotmatic, and it as well needed a new modified lens mount. Fujinon and Pentax lenses ceased to be wholly interchangeable (a point that would seem to elude numerous of modern next-hand picture tools sellers). On paper, the ST801 was nonetheless a improved-specified camera.

In the meantime, Pentax had been working on a new sort of car-exposure program. In 1971 the ES was introduced (an enhanced version of the Electro Spotmatic, which was sold only in Japan). This digicam highlighted open up aperture metering with quickly chosen shutter speeds, indicated by a viewfinder pointer (aperture priority auto-exposure). In 1973 the ES was upgraded as the ES II, with an modern electronic step-less shutter. The ES and ES II ensured that Pentax remained a dominant drive in beginner SLR cameras.

In 1974, Fuji introduced a rival to the Pentax ESII: the Fujica ST901. It way too featured open aperture metering with mechanically picked phase-significantly less shutter speeds (aperture priority automobile-exposure), but claimed one more first in camera design and style: a electronic LED shutter pace indicator in the viewfinder (as first found in early 70’s calculators and digital watches). When again, Fujica appeared to be technologically ahead of Pentax.

Regrettably, shortly just after the introduction of these major good quality cameras, the race involving Fujica and Pentax experienced run its program, and the glory days of each companies had been successfully about.

1975 was a year of important change for Pentax. The business introduced its possess lens mount, the K bayonet (which integrated a lens locking technique), alongside with a new established of small-lived “K” cameras based heavily on the Spotmatic format. A calendar year later, Pentax deserted the Spotmatic overall body condition, and released a band new lesser digital camera assortment (the M sequence), possibly thanks to escalating popularity of the Olympus OM-1 (and variants), which has set new standards of compactness.

The ME was an aperture precedence vehicle exposure digicam (with no manual override), and the MX was a thoroughly guide camera. Both equally highlighted substantial bright viewfinders (as discovered in Fujicas), but neither was impressive. The MX, for instance, was tiny additional than a miniaturise Spotmatic F.

In the meantime, Fuji stuck with their variation of the M42 lens mount, and manufactured a different new digicam in 1976: the ST601. Just like the new Pentax cameras, the layout lacked innovation, and was in essence a variant of the five-calendar year-old ST701. However, the 600 series camera sold well in the price range sector of the SLR industry.

Elsewhere in 1976, other businesses were being gaining prominence. Canon’s AE-1, for case in point, released the initial use of microprocessors, and steered the upcoming of digicam style and design in a new path.

Pentax ongoing to make insignificant M collection variants (primarily lesser models following the 1980 ME Super). Fuji likewise and trivially current their digicam vary: the ST601 grew to become the ST605 in 1977, the ST605n in 1978, and the ST605 II in 1979. The ST701 turned the ST705 in 1977, and then the ST705w in 1978. The ST801/ST901 were replaced by a lesser hybrid – the AZ-1 – in 1978. All have been really dull choices, but the product variety was provided a further lease of existence in 1980 as the STX sequence when, like Pentax experienced performed previously, Fuji introduced they have lens bayonet mount method.

Neither corporation had any even more layout triumphs that restored their placement as industry leaders, or built their merchandise significant rivals to the new industry leaders. By the mid 1980s, Fuji withdrew fully from the 35mm SLR sector, even though Pentax struggled on, but mainly grew to become a next rate brand name.