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9 Vintage Camera Ads from 1966

June 27th, 2011 No comments

Here are some camera advertisements that I scanned from the 1966 Photography Annual, published by Popular Photography (click on the thumbnails to enlarge). It’s interesting to see that most of the companies in the ads are still around, but a few have disappeared or been bought out. Konica and Minolta merged in 2003, and Sony bought their photography business 2006. Dacora stopped producing cameras around 1972.

It’s also interesting to look at the features and marketing strategies of the different manufacturers – it’s not that much different from today. Some are aimed at the professional and advanced amateur who want as much control and flexibility as possible, while others are aimed at the more casual user who wants to get great images without getting bogged down with too many accessories and features. Some of the ads were directed at the more technical-mided (Nikon especially), while others emphasized their reputation (Hassleblad, Rollei and Leica), quality and value (Konica and Minolta), and simplicity (Dacora and Konica). The only one that showed a photo taken by their camera was Asahi Pentax, which highlighted the creative possibilities of their camera.

In 1966, 35 mm SLR cameras were becoming very popular, and the introduction of built-in light meters (sometimes called electric eyes) was being heavily promoted in the ads.

  1. Asahi Pentax Spotmatic
    This is the only colour camera ad, although colour photography was becoming increasing popular in the 1960′s. The photo in this ad was the grand prize winner of the Asahi Pentax International Photo Contest.  It’s a pretty amazing shot using an 18mm fish-eye lens.
  2. Dacora D 202 Rapid
    I hadn’t heard of Dacora until I saw this ad. It was a German camera company that  specialized in inexpensive but high quality cameras. This model used Agfa’s Rapid 35 mm cartridges, making them easier to load and did not require rewinding after exposure.
  3. Hasselblad 500 C
    Hasselblad is positioning themselves as the “best camera in the world” in this ad. It’s hard to argue against that – they are still highly regarded today! I’d love to own one.
  4. Konica Cameras
    Konica advertised 5 different cameras including a the Konica Auto-S2 rangefinder, the Konica FM professional 35 mm SLR and similar FP (without an electric eye), the simple to use Konica EEmatic Deluxe, and the Konica Eye – automatic and lightweight. They also emphasize quality at an economic price.
  5. Leicaflex
    Leica’s ad is very simple and just states that this 35 mm SLR camera is a Leica. Leica was the top of the line 35 mm rangefinder camera, but SLRs had been recently introduced, and were becoming very popular with photographers. In response, Leica introduced their SLR, but it didn’t do so well, mainly due to its high price and limited range of features and accessories compared to Konica, Minolta, Asahi Pentax, Canon and Nikon.
  6. Minolta SR-1 & SR-7 35 mm SLRs
    The Minolta advertisement emphasizes their technical leadership (the Minolta SR-7 was the first camera with a built-in light meter), high quality and dependability.
  7. Nikkormat FT SLR
    The Nikon Nikkormat FT was positioned as a high quality camera for the 35 mm enthusiast, at a price of  $331.50 ($2277 in 2011 dollars) for the camera and 50 mm f/1.4 lens. Nikon was the only company that published their prices.
  8. Nikon F 35 mm SLR
    This ad is very technical in nature and describes the details of the new Photomic T meter system. The price of the camera with a 50 mm f/1.4 lens was $433, which is quite expensive. Adjusting for inflation, it is equivalent to almost $3,000 in 2011.
  9. Rollei Camera 1966
    The Rollei ad says that it is the best camera for the best results – used by press photographers and prize-winning amateur photographers. It suggests that you will be like the successful photographers if you use a Rollei.  Rollei has an impressive history and was using its reputation to market itself to serious photographers.

The magazine also has some very inspirational photography, but I’ll save that for another post!

 

Nikon Pronea 600i APS SLR Camera (1996)

September 24th, 2010 1 comment
Nikon Pronea 600i APS SLR Camera

Nikon Pronea 600i APS Film SLR Camera

The Nikon Pronea 600i is an APS (Advanced Photo System) SLR camera. The APS film format was introduced by Canon, Kodak, Nikon, Fujifilm and Minolta (and others) in 1996 as an advancement over 135 (35mm) film. The film cartridge automatically winds and rewinds, and in some cameras, such as the Pronea 600i, mid-film exchange is possible – something that would be difficult with 35mm film. Another improvement was data imprinting on the film – date, time, captions and exposure information could be recorded on a magnetic layer on the film and then printed on the back of photos during processing. Not all APS camera took advantage of this feature, but the Pronea 600i has this capability.

The APS format was more popular for point and shoot cameras and never caught on with professionals or advanced hobbyists. The film size is 24mm, which was considered too small for high quality printing. Interestingly, the Nikon DX digital sensor is about the same size as the APS film, and in fact Kodak used it for some of their digital cameras – the DCS series in 1998. The APS-C digital sensor, used by Nikon, Canon, Pentax and Sony for their entry to mid-level DSLR cameras is based on the APS format size.

The film was more expensive to get developed than 135, and specialized equipment was needed – most smaller labs did not want to invest in it. There were also very limited types of APS film available compared to 135. In 2010, APS film is still available but tends to more expensive than 135, and some labs cannot process it. For an interesting history lesson on APS and the reasons that it was introduced and did not get widely accepted, check out this article. When digital cameras hit the market, the APS cameras became obsolete.

The Pronea 600i has specifications similar to the Nikon F70. It is an excellent full-featured SLR that originally retailed for over $800. Now, you can pick them up for about $50! One of the cool things about this camera is its compatibility with Nikon lenses. It works with the 35 mm and DSLR lenses as well as specially developed lighter weight IX-Nikkor lenses (however the IX-lenses only work on the APS cameras).

This is an interesting camera from a photographic history perspective, and is also a a great camera. The APS format is its major drawback as a practical camera for anyone who wants to shoot film. The film is getting harder to find and may eventually be discontinued, unlike 135 film, which will probably be around for a long time.

Related Links

Nikon Archives

Information on Nikon’s APS and IX-Nikkor lenses

The APS Film Format

APS and the Rise of Digital Cameras

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