History of The Single-lens Reflex Camera - The Autofocus Revolution

The Autofocus Revolution

Autofocus compact cameras had been introduced in the late 1970s. The SLR market of the time was crowded, and autofocus seemed an excellent option to attract novice photographers.

The first autofocus SLR was the 1978 Polaroid SX-70 SONAR OneStep. It used an ultrasonic autofocus system called SONAR.

The first 35 mm SLR (the SX-70 was not 35 mm) with autofocus capability was the Pentax ME F of 1981 (using a special autofocus lens with an integral motor).

In 1981 Canon introduced a self-contained autofocus lens, the 35–70 mm AF, which contained an optical triangulation system that would focus the lens on the subject in the exact center when a button on the side of the lens was pushed. It would work on any Canon FD camera body. Nikon's F3AF was a highly specialized autofocus camera. It was a variant of the Nikon F3 that worked with the full range of Nikon manual focus lenses, but also featured two dedicated AF lenses (an 80 mm and a 200 mm) that coupled with a special AF viewfinder and would not work with any other Nikon model. Nikon's later AF cameras used an entirely different design.

These cameras, and other experiments in autofocus from other manufacturers, had limited success.

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

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