History of The Single-lens Reflex Camera - Chronology - 1970s

1970s

1970
Mamiya RB 67 (Japan): first 67 medium format system SLR. Took ten exposures of 2¼×2¾ inch (6×7 cm) nominal frames (56×69.5 mm actual frames) on 120 film. Also had "revolving" rotatable interchangeable film backs to easily take vertical photographs with the normally horizontal format and standard interchangeable waist level viewfinder.
1971
Asahi SMC Takumar lenses (Japan): first all multicoated (Super-Multi-Coated) lenses for consumer cameras; for M42 screw mount Asahi Pentax SLRs. Process co-developed with Carl Zeiss (Oberkochen, West Germany). Lenses with glass elements "single-coated" with a very thin layer (about 130–140 nanometers) of magnesium or calcium fluoride to suppress flare producing surface reflections were invented by Carl Zeiss (Jena, Germany) in 1936 and first sold in 1939. They became standard for high quality cameras by the early 1950s. Coating lenses with up to a dozen different layers of chemicals to suppress reflections across the visual spectrum (instead of at only one compromise wavelength) was a logical progression.
1971
Asahi Pentax Electro Spotmatic (Japan; name shortened to Asahi Pentax ES in 1972; called Honeywell Pentax ES in USA): first SLR with electronic aperture-priority (using stop-down TTL metering) autoexposure plus electronically controlled shutter. Earlier mechanical AE systems tended to be unreliable, but reliable and convenient AE systems (as well as other electronic control systems) that electronically set either the camera shutter speed or lens aperture from light meter readings once the other was manually set began with the Electro Spotmatic. Rival electronic AE SLRs included the Canon EF (1973; shutter priority), Minolta XE–7 (1975; aperture priority) and Nikkormat EL (1972; aperture priority), all from Japan. Electronic AE came to most 35 mm SLRs by the late 1970s. The Japanese electronic AE SLR effectively ended the German camera industry when they failed to keep up with their Japanese counterparts. After ailing throughout the 1960s, such famous nameplates as Contax, Exakta, Leica, Rollei and Voigtländer went bankrupt, were sold off, contracted production to East Asia, or became boutique brands in the 1970s.
1971
Praktica LLC (East Germany): first interchangeable lens camera with electric contact lens mount, first camera with electromechanical lens diaphragm stopdown control. Had M42 screw mount modified for open aperture metering. The M42 mount was a very popular interchangeable lens mount system for a quarter century. It was used by almost two dozen different SLR brands, most notably Asahi Pentax. (Asahi became so closely associated with this mount that it was, and still is, often erroneously referred to as the Pentax screw mount.) However, by the early 1970s, the M42's limitations, especially no provision for auto-diaphragm lens open aperture viewing and metering, were becoming serious liabilities. After unpopular and uncoordinated attempts to modify the screw mount to support auto-diaphragm lenses with open aperture metering, Asahi abandoned the M42 screw mount in 1975, effectively ending production of this lens mounting system.
1971
Fujica ST701 (Japan): first SLR with silicon photodiode light meter sensors. Early SLR TTL meters used cadmium sulfide (CdS) cells (see Topcon RE Super and Asahi Pentax Spotmatic above), as they were the first sensors small enough to be internally mounted. However, CdS needed fairly bright light and suffered from a "memory" effect where it might take 30 seconds or more to respond to a light level change. Although silicon's infrared response required blue filtration to match the eye's spectral response, silicon supplanted CdS by the late 1970s because of its greater sensitivity and instantaneous response.
1972
Fujica ST801 (Japan): first SLR with viewfinder light emitting diodes. Had a seven LED dot scale to indicate extreme overexposure, +1 EV, +½ EV, 0 (correct exposure), –½ EV, −1 EV, extreme underexposure readings of its silicon photodiode light meter, instead of the traditional but delicate galvanometer needle pointer. A sister camera, the Fujica ST901 (Japan) of 1974, was the first SLR with a viewfinder LED digital data display. It had calculator-style LEDs showing camera's aperture priority autoexposure set shutter speeds from 20 to 1/1000 second in 14 nonstandard steps. Although they were replaced by more energy efficient and informative LCDs in the 1980s (see Nikon F3, below), the use of LEDs in the ST801/ST901 were major steps in the escalation of electronics in 1970s camera design
1972
Olympus OM-1 (Japan): first compact full-featured 35 mm SLR. At 83×136×50 mm and 510 g, it was about two-thirds the size and weight of most earlier 35 mm SLRs. Excellent mechanical design with excellent interchangeable lenses and large accessory system. Note that the initial production batches were marked as the M-1, but this designation was quickly changed when E. Leitz objected over conflicts with their Leica M-series RFs trademarks. M-1 marked cameras are currently a collector's item SLR.
1972
Polaroid SX-70 (USA): first instant film SLR. Had non-pentaprism mirror reflex system and electronic autoexposure in flat-folding body with bellows and fixed 116mm f/8 lens. Took ten exposure, 3⅛×3⅛ inch frame Polaroid SX-70 instant film packs. The principle of self-developing "instant photography" came to Edwin Land in 1943. The first production instant camera was the non-SLR Polaroid Land Model 95 (USA) of 1948, producing sepia-toned, peel-apart pictures. Steady improvements culminated in the seven year, nearly quarter-billion dollar SX-70 camera and film project to create full-color, self-contained, develop-before-your-eyes, "garbage-free" prints.
1974
Vivitar Series 1 70–210mm f/3.5 (USA/Japan): first professional-level quality close focusing "macro" zoom lens for 35 mm SLRs. Early zoom lenses often had very inferior optical quality compared to prime lenses, but improvements in computer assisted zoom lens design and construction allowed annual Japanese 35 mm SLR zoom lens production to surpass prime lenses in 1982 and zooms became normal on virtually all but the highest end still cameras by the late 1980s. Ponder & Best's designed in the USA/made in Japan Vivitar Series 1 lenses were among the best available (many were the first of their kind) for about a dozen years, before new owners debased the brand.
1975
E. Leitz APO-Telyt-R 180mm f/3.4 (West Germany): first apochromatic lens for consumer cameras (Leicaflex series SLRs). The refractive index of glass increases from red to blue of the light spectrum (color dispersion). Blue is focused closer to the lens than red causing rainbow-like color fringing (chromatic aberration). Most photographic camera lenses are achromatically corrected to bring blue and red to a common focus – leaving large residual green and violet chromatic aberrations that degrades image sharpness; especially severe in long focus or telephoto lenses. If red, green and blue are brought to a common focus (plus other aberration corrections) with very little residual aberration, the lens is called apochromatic. Chromatic aberration was an issue at the dawn of photography (daguerreotypes were blue sensitive only, while the human eye focused primarily using yellow), but apochromatic photographic lenses were considered unnecessary until the dominance of color film. The use of extra-low dispersion glasses made most 1980s professional telephotos and many 1990s amateur telephoto zooms apochromatic.
1975
Mamiya M645 (Japan): first 645 medium format system SLR. Took fifteen exposures of 2¼×1⅝ inch (6×4.5 cm) nominal frames (56×41.5 mm actual frames) on 120 film. Mamiya was never successful at producing 35 mm SLRs, despite a half dozen attempts between 1959 and 1980. However, it was a leader in medium format cameras; first with the Mamiya C series (1956, Japan), the only successful interchangeable lens twin-lens reflex (TLR) cameras ever made, and then with the RB67 (see above) and M645 series SLRs.
1975
Olympus OM-2 (Japan): first SLR with TTL, off-the-film (OTF) flash autoexposure. Had two rearward-facing silicon photodiodes in the mirror box to meter light reflecting off the film. Circuitry could detect when enough light was exposed and automatically quench a specially "dedicated" accessory Olympus Quick Auto 310 electronic flash. Manual flash exposure control for a natural look is complex and convenient TTL autoflash metering became standard in virtually all SLRs by the mid 1980s.
1976
Canon AE-1 (Japan): first SLR with microprocessor electronics. Well-integrated and compact shutter-priority autoexposure design with excellent interchangeable lenses and large accessory system. Backed by a major advertising campaign, including celebrity endorsements, TV commercials and a catchy slogan ("So advanced, it's simple."), that targeted snapshooters, the AE-1 sold five million units and immediately made the 35 mm SLR an important mass-market camera. An improved model, the Canon AE-1 Program (Japan) of 1981, added another four million units to the tally.
1976
Asahi Pentax ME (Japan): first autoexposure-only SLR. Had aperture-priority exposure control only (photographer could not manually select a shutter speed) for simple snapshooter operation. Interchangeable lens autoexposure-only SLRs disappeared in the mid 1980s, because even snapshooters demanded that SLRs (as "good cameras") have a manual mode. However, most recent amateurs never use manual control and even some professionals depend on autoexposure, making the great majority of modern SLRs de facto autoexposure-only cameras.
1976
Minolta 110 Zoom SLR (Japan): first Pocket Instamatic 110 cartridge film SLR. Had built-in zoom lens (fixed 25–50mm f/4.5 Zoom Rokkor-Macro). Took up to 24 exposures of 13×17 mm frames on paper-backed, singly perforated, 16 mm wide film pre-threaded into double-ended cartridge with film supply and take-up spools. Compact, drop-in loading 110 film was introduced by Kodak in 1972. It was briefly an extremely popular non-SLR snapshot format but almost dead by 1982.
1977
Fujica AZ-1 (Japan): first interchangeable lens camera to be sold with a zoom lens as the primary lens. The AZ-1's Fujinon-Z 43-75mm f/3.5-4.5 zoom, despite its modest specifications, was the earliest attempt to supersede the 35 mm SLRs heretofore standard 50 to 58 mm "normal" prime lens with today's ubiquitous zoom lens. The regular Fujinon-Z 55mm f/1.8 lens remained a popular option. The AZ-1 was also one of the last Japanese-made M42 screw mount cameras released. The purchase of a zoom instead of a prime as the first lens became normal with virtually all amateur 35 mm SLRs in the latter 1980s.
1977
Minolta XD11 (Japan; called XD7 in Europe, XD in Japan): first dual mode autoexposure SLR. Had both aperture-priority and shutter-priority autoexposure. Previously, each AE SLR brand offered only one or the other mode, and aggressively touted their choice as superior to other. The XD11 offered both modes and trumped the debate.
1978
Canon A-1 (Japan): first SLR with an electronically controlled programmed autoexposure mode. Instead of the photographer picking a shutter speed to freeze or blur motion and choosing a lens aperture f-stop to control depth of field (focus), the A-1 had a microprocessor computer programmed to automatically select a compromise exposure from light meter input. Virtually all cameras had some sort of program mode or modes by the mid-1980s. It was also the first camera to have all four of the now standard PASM (program/aperture-priority/shutter-priority/manual) exposure modes. Canon's long term emphasis on the highest possible technology eventually allowed the company to dominate the 35 mm SLR market; first at the amateur level, with their AE-1 (see above) and A-1, and then (despite a stumble in the mid 1980s when they came late to autofocus) the professional level in the early 1990s with the Canon EOS-1 (Japan) of 1989. Canon remains the leading digital SLR maker, with a 38% worldwide market share in 2008.
1978
Polaroid SX-70 Sonar (USA): first electronic autofocus SLR. Had active ultrasonic sonar echo-location rangefinder AF system. This unique-to-Polaroid AF system had no influence on any other type of AF SLR. Took ten exposure, 3⅛×3⅛ inch frame, Polaroid Time-Zero SX-70 instant film packs.
1978
Asahi Pentax Auto 110 (Japan): first interchangeable lens Pocket Instamatic 110 film system SLR. Mini-35mm SLR-like programmed autoexposure design with good interchangeable lenses and large accessory system. Was the smallest and lightest SLR ever made – 56×99×45 mm, 185 g with Pentax-110 24mm f/2.8 lens. The Auto 110 and its improved successor, the Pentax Auto 110 Super (Japan) of 1982, were the only interchangeable lens 110 SLRs ever produced and the most advanced 110 cameras ever made, but were unable to prevent the demise of 110 film.
1979
Konica FS-1 (Japan): first SLR with built-in motorized autoloading. Also had autowinding (motorized single frame or continuous up to 1.5 frames per second film advance), but not auto-rewind. A snapshooter's great dislike (and Kodak bugbear) of 135 film was the need to manually thread the film leader into the camera's take-up spool. Built-in, motorized, automated film-transport systems (auto-load/wind/rewind) arrived with the Canon T70 (Japan) in 1984. Completely automated film handling systems appeared when automatic "DX" film speed setting was added to auto-transport in the Minolta Maxxum 7000 (Japan; see below) in 1985 and became standard in virtually all 35 mm SLRs by late 1980s. This is, of course, a non-issue in modern digital SLRs. Although Konishiroku has a rich history including several first rank camera innovations, it was never able to establish Konica as a first tier brand and quit the SLR business in 1988.
1979
Asahi Pentax ME Super (Japan): first SLR with primarily electronic push button controls. Had increase/decrease push buttons for shutter speed selection instead of a traditional shutter speed dial. As digital computerized SLR features multiplied, push button controls also multiplied and replaced analogue electromechanical dial switches in most 35 mm SLRs by late 1980s.
1979
Sedic Hanimex Reflex Flash 35 (Australia/Japan): first SLR with built-in electronic flash. Otherwise a wholly forgettable camera; a cheaply made 35 mm SLR of low specifications and poor quality, with a fixed Hanimar 41mm f/2.8 lens and mirror gate shutter.

Read more about this topic:  History Of The Single-lens Reflex Camera, Chronology

Other articles related to "1970s, 1970":

Barbara Hershey - Career - 1970s
... In 1970 Hershey played Tish Grey in The Baby Maker, a film that explored surrogate motherhood ... Bertha was intended to be a period crime drama similar to Corman's Bloody Mama (1970), or Bonnie and Clyde (1967) ... By the mid-1970s Hershey stated, "I've been so tied up with David that people have forgotten that I am me ...
Howard S. Becker - Bibliography - Books - 1970s
... (Chicago Adline, 1970) collected papers, including two previously unpublished "On Methodology" and "Field Work Evidence." ISBN 978-0-87855-630-4 ...
1970s - Popular Culture - Miscellaneous Trends
... 1970s in furniture Lava lamps Raleigh Chopper bicycles Flokati rugs. ...
Bill Mitchell (designer) - At General Motors Corporation - Vice President, Styling Section - 1970s
... Bill Mitchell retired from General Motors in July 1977 after 42 years of service. ...
Dieter Roth - 1970s - 96 Picadillies
... Initially, six of these cards were printed as a large scale portfolio in 1970 eventually, in 1977, 96 of these altered Picadillies were collected in a book, including the unaltered backs ...