Extracts from PhotoHistory by Photo Guid Japan
"Shashin Geppo," a photo magazine, was started by Konishi Honten, a photo supply shop. Another magazine called Shashin Shinpo
was published by Asanuma Shoten, another photo supply shop. These magazines revealed the trade secrets of pro photographers and
further sparked interest in photography among amateurs.
The Cherry Portable, the first portable Japanese camera, is made by Konishi Honten (forerunner of Konica). The box-shaped camera
used a magazine which held twelve 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 in. dry plates. Konishi Honten went on to make various other cameras. Paper-backed
roll films were still not made in Japan. Only sheet film and glass plates were being made in Japan. Imported roll films were still very
expensive and usually arrived in poor condition because there were no refrigerated cargo holds.
In June, Konishiroku Honten Co. introduces the Pearlette camera, an imitation of the highly successful Vest Pocket Kodak. It had a
bellows and an imported lens and shutter. It used 127-type roll film. The Pearlette line was in production for 20 years and was improved
Konishiroku Honten changes its name to Konishiroku Co., Ltd. and began making aerial cameras and X-ray photographic equipment.
Japanese camera makers are no longer required to engrave their products with "Made in Occupied Japan."
Asahi Optical Co. introduces its first camera, a 35mm SLR called Asahiflex--Model 1. It was the first Japanese SLR camera. The
"Takumar" label also appears on its lenses for the first time. The lens was a 50mm f/3.5 lens based on the Carl Zeiss Tessar lens. In 1976,
Asahi lenses were renamed Pentax SMC (Super Multi Coated) since they fit on a different mount.
The venerable Nikon F camera is introduced.
In May, Canon markets its first SLR camera, the Canonflex.
The Konica F camera has the fastest SLR shutter speed at 1/2000 sec. and the world's first focal-plane shutter with metal curtains. It a
built-in exposure meter (selenium photocell).
The Pentax SP is introduced, the first SLR camera with a through-the-lens exposure system.
Semi-automatic exposure control soon became popular with pro photographers. TTL exposure systems
are now found in virtually all SLR cameras.
The Canon F-1 is introduced, Canon's first professional SLR camera forming the core of an SLR system.
The Asahi Pentax ES (Electronic Shutter) is the first SLR camera to have an electronic focal-plane shutter. It is also the first camera to
have an aperture-priority exposure control system. Within the following ten years, virtually all camera makers incorporated
aperture-priority exposure control.
In July, the Olympus OM-1 (M-1 in Japan) camera is introduced with unprecedented compactness and lightweight for a camera of its
The Konica C35AF, the world's first practical autofocus 35mm compact camera, is marketed in Nov. by Konishiroku Shashin Kogyo. It
incorporated Honeywell's VAF module.
The Nikon F3 camera is introduced in Feb. as the successor to the Nikon F2 which is discontinued. The F3 is the first flagship Nikon to
have a liquid crystal display in the viewfinder and an electronic shutter.
The Minolta alpha 7000, the world's first 35mm autofocus camera with a built-in lens-driving motor, is marketed in Feb. The fully
automatic SLR becomes a major hit product.