photo:kl:slr_timeline

a historic timeline of the Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera 1676-2010 compiled by Khen Lim

© Copyright Khen Lim, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

Note: This list is compiled using existing information available from the Internet. While the information is not exclusive, the arrangement and combination here is unique.

see also:

overview

The following timeline records the development history of two milestones in camera design – the significance of the 35mm still camera film format and the adoption of the Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) physical design involving the instant-return mirror. Of the two, the SLR design has had a far longer gestation, adopted across photographic films that existed before the 35mm film was available. Through the development timeline, technologies and various features have also been introduced to the 35mm SLR camera from other form factors including rangefinders and even compact cameras. The timeline is also significant in underlining the emergence of Japan as the eventual power in the camera industry as it gradually eclipsed Germany and other European countries including USA once electronics became an invaluable aspect of (camera) design.

timeline

1676

Germany

First known reflex mirror camera obscura first described by Johann Sturm

1685

Germany

Portable SLR-type camera obscura with focusable lens by Johann Zahn (Germany)

1861

UK

First patent for an SLR camera granted to Thomas Sutton

1884

USA

First known production SLR - Monocular Duplex by Calvin Rae Smith

1887

UK

Reverend Hannibal Goodwin invents a way to coat light-sensitive emulsion on to a cellulose base in order to make film flexible to use

1889

USA

The original 35mm film format is developed and produced at Thomas A Edison’s experimental laboratory in New Jersey before Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company (Rochester) acquired it and became a Kodak product

1891

Holland

A.D. Reflex Camera with first focal plane shutter with 1/1000 sec max speed but hampered by ISO 1 to 3 limitations

1907

USA

1A, first medium-format SLR, uses 116-type film

1913

USA

The American Tourist Multiple becomes the first top-selling 35mm still camera, costing around US$175, which by today’s standard is around the price of a modern Leica camera

Germany

Oskar Barnack designs the first prototype that eventually leads to an experimental run of ur-Leicas

1914

USA

The ‘Simplex’ is the first camera to take 35mm film at the current 24 x 36mm format albeit in 50-foot (15.2m) rolls

1923

France

The ‘Furet’ camera becomes the first inexpensive (affordable) 35mm camera to take full frame (24 x 36mm)

Germany

ur-Leicas undergo experimental production run, serialising from 100 to 130 inclusive

1925

Germany

Ermanox Reflex by Ernemann who later merged with Zeiss Ikon in 1926 – first with high-speed lens (Ernostar 105mm f1.8 or 85mm f1.8); helped establish the SLR as a viable photojournalist’s ambient light camera

Full scale production of Leica 35mm cameras officially begin, Leica was essentially the source of influence that made 35mm film the standard in the industry

1933

Germany

Ihagee (or IHG) VP Exacta – first 127-film SLR; VP stands for Vest Pocket, a reference to 127 film format

1934

USA

Eastman Kodak Company officially announces the term ‘135’ (ISO 1007) to denote the light-tight felt-lined cassette used to house 35mm film meant for still photography.

1935

USA

Eastman Kodak Company releases 35mm film at 24x36mm, which is double the frame size of 35mm cine film; uses acetate base, double perforation (called ‘Kodak Standard’) and preloaded in a felt-lined light-tight daylight canister; designed initially for Kodak Retina, Leitz Leica and Zeiss Ikon Contax, the Retina camera and the daylight cassette are the invention of Dr August Nagel and Dr Nagel Werk of Kodak AG in Stuttgart

1936

USA

Kodak launches Kodachrome colour film rated at ISO 8 and offering 18 exposures

Germany

Ihagee Kine Exacta – first production 35mm SLR camera, first with interchangeable lens capability, bayonet lens mount, rapid film wind thumb lever, 12 to 1/1000 sec shutter speeds, focal plane shutter,

Coated lenses – Carl Zeiss (Jena) develops single-coating for lenses, uses 130-140 nanometre thin layering of magnesium or calcium fluoride for flare suppression (surface reflections)

Agfa-Gevaert launches the Agfacolor Neu colour film for 35mm use for use with their Agfa Karat cameras

1937

Soviet Union

State-owned Leningrad-based Gosudarstevennyi Optiko-Mekhanichesky Zavod (GOMZ) launches the Sport  (Спорт),35mm SLR

1947

Hungary

Gamma Duplex – first 35mm camera with instant return mirror; first with metal focal plane shutter; first with internal semi-automatic lens diaphragm; uses a mirror-type prism viewfinder

1948

Sweden

Hasselblad 1600F – first 2¼ inch square-format SLR; 1/1600 sec max shutter speed possible with corrugated stainless steel focal plane shutter but unreliable

Japan

Olympus 35 Model I rangefinder made by Takachiho Seisakusho (name later changed to Olympus) – first 35mm camera made in Japan

Switzerland

Alpa Prisma Reflex – pentaprism viewfinder with 45o angled eyepiece

1949

East Germany

VEB Zeiss Ikon (Dresden) Contax S – first pentaprism eyelevel viewing 35mm SLR, first with M42 screw mount

1950

East Germany

Ihagee Exacta Varex – first interchangeable viewfinder, first interchangeable focusing screen, first viewfinder condenser lens

France

Angénieux 35mm f2.5 Retrofocus Type R 1 lens – first retrofocus design wide-angle lens for 35mm SLR; mainly for Exacta cameras

1952

Soviet Union

(Зенит) – first Russian 35mm SLR with pentaprism eyelevel viewing

Japan

Asahiflex I – first Japanese 35mm SLR, focal plane shutter, foldable waist-level finder

1953

East Germany

VEB Zeiss Ikon (Dresden) Contax E – first built-in light meter, uncoupled selenium photoelectric cell

West Germany

Zeiss Ikon Contaflex I – first 35mm SLR with leaf shutter, Tessar-based 45mm f2.8 with Synchro-Compur leaf shutter

Metz/Kilfitt Mecaflex – first and only square-format 35mm SLR, up to 50 exposures per film roll

1954

East Germany

Praktina FX – first 35mm SLR with spring-powered motordrive accessory, first with breech-lock lens mount

Japan

Tokiwa Seiki Firstflex 35 – first Japanese 35mm SLR with interchangeable lenses, first in Japan with leaf-shutter

Asahiflex IIB – first 35mm SLR with a reliable instant return mirror

1955

West Germany / Liechtenstein

Kilfitt 40mm f3.5 Makro-Kilar – first close-focusing macro lens for 35mm SLR (Exactas and others)

Japan

Olympus 35 S1.9 – first Japanese 35mm leaf-shutter camera to feature an f1.9 lens

Miranda T (by Orion Seiki) – first Japanese 35mm SLR with pentaprism eye-level viewing

Olympus 35 S3.5 – first Japanese-made 35mm leaf-shutter camera to feature a film advance lever

1956

West Germany

Zeiss Ikon Contaflex III – first high-quality interchangeable lens (with leaf shutter) 35mm SLR

1957

Sweden

Hasselblad 500C – first to make 2 ¼ format cameras the pro studio benchmark, replaces the 1600F/1000F models

Japan

Asahi Pentax – first 35mm SLR with right-hand rapid-wind thumb lever, first foldable film rewind crank, first with microprism focusing aid, first Asahi 35mm SLR with M42 screw mount, responsible for setting the benchmark for top panel control layout for all 35mm SLRs

Nikon SP (35mm rangefinder) – first camera to feature an electric motordrive accessory

Olympus Wide E – first Japanese-made 35mm camera to feature an uncoupled light meter

Olympus Wide Super – first 35mm camera to have a ‘free light value’ metering system that enabled the shutter speed and aperture combination to be set simply by referencing the light value in a small window positioned between the shutter speed and aperture selector rings

1958

Japan

Zunow SLR – first 35mm SLR with internal auto diaphragm (called Zunow-matic Diaphragm System)

Olympus Ace – first 35mm leaf-shutter camera with lens interchangeability, lenses include 45mm standard, 35mm wide-angle and 80mm telephoto, all lenses can be coupled with the built-in light meter

1959

West Germany

Zeiss Ikon Contarex – first 35mm SLR with built-in light meter coupled to shutter speed and aperture, first with couped viewfinder exposure indicator using galvanometer-based needle pointer

Japan

Nikon F – first pro grade 35mm SLR, first with electric motordrive accessory, first to make 35mm SLR the dominant pro ‘miniature’ format camera displacing the 35mm rangefinders

Note: The well-conceived mechanical finesse and the vast range of excellent lenses as exemplified by the interchangeable-lens SLRs such as the Hasselblad 500C and the Nikon F finally put paid to the Sixties dominance of the roll-film twin-lens reflex (TLR) cameras including the popular Franke & Heidecke Rolleiflex/Rolleicord from Germany (later West Germany).

Olympus Pen – first 35mm half-frame camera capable of extracting two exposures out of a single 24 x 36mm frame, each frame is 24 x 18mm, height is taller than width, 72 exposures out of a 36-exp roll

USA / West Germany

Voigtländer-Zoomar 36-82mm f2.8 – first zoom lens made for 35mm SLR (for Voigtländer Bessamatic and later Exactas), designed by Zoomar (USA) and manufactured by Kilfitt (West Germany), built-in leaf shutter

1960

Japan

Konica F – first 35mm SLR with 1/2000 sec shutter, first with 1/125 sec flash sync for focal plane shutters

France

Royer Savoyflex Automatique – first 35mm SLR with auto exposure, Shutter Priority

1961

Japan

PC-Nikkor 35m f3.5 – first 35mm SLR lens with perspective correction

1962

Japan

Nikkorex Zoom 35 – first 35mm SLR with fixed zoom lens (Zoom-Nikkor Auto 43-86mm f3.5), features the use of a four-mirror reflex viewfinder, lens has leaf shutter

Olympus Pen EES – first 35mm camera to feature a programmable EE shutter, speeds range from 1/30 to 1/250 sec, speed changes according to light level, largely responsible for sparking the programmable EE camera boom in the industry

1963

Japan

Topcon RE Super – first 35mm SLR with TTL light metering, using internal cadmium sulphide (CdS) photo-resistive cells

Olympus Pen F – first 35mm SLR with half-frame capability, up to 72 exposures per roll, 18x24mm, porroprism optical relay viewfinder, titanium rotary focal plane shutter

1964

Soviet Union

Krasnogorsky Mekhanichesky Zavod (KMZ) Zenit 5  (Зенит 5) – first 35mm SLR with built-in electric motordrive; powered by nickel-cadmium (NiCd) battery, auto single-frame advance with backup film advance knob

USA / West Germany

Kodak Retina Reflex IV – first 35mm SLR with standard ISO flash hotshoe with auto synchronisation

West Germany

Agfa-Gevaert introduces the 35mm Rapid film cassette

1965

Japan

Canon Pellix – first 35mm SLR with pellicle-type reflex mirror; utilises a fixed semi-transparent pellicle mirror to transfer 30% light to the viewfinder and the rest (70%) to the film during exposure

Olympus 35LE – first 35mm camera with a programmable electronic shutter together with a flashmatic function; shutter is programmed to work from 1/15 to 1/500 sec, uses a CdS light sensor

1966

East Germany

Praktica Electronic – first 35mm SLR with electronically-controlled shutter; uses electronic circuitry timing in deference to the usual springs, gears and levers

Japan

Konica Autoreflex – first 35mm SLR with successful (reliable) shutter-priority auto

West Germany

Leitz 50mm f1.2 Noctilux – first time a 35mm SLR lens with aspheric elements is successfully produced for consumer use

1968

Japan

Konica Autoreflex T – first 35mm SLR with internal open-aperture TTL metering for auto exposure; uses mechanical shutter-priority, based on the original Autoreflex with improvements

OP Fisheye-Nikkor 10mm f5.6 – first 35mm SLR lens with aspheric elements, features a 180o (field of view) orthographic projection fisheye lens

1969

Japan

Yashica TL Electro X – first 35mm SLR with solid-state electronic exposure metering system; features metal-bladed Copal Square EE focal plane shutter

Olympus 35SP – first 35mm leaf-shutter camera to support the use of a spot and average metering; offers both manual and Program-AE modes

1970

Japan

Minolta SRM – first 35mm SLR with built-in motorised sequential advance motordrive, first with auto film rewinding; model based on modified SRT101; runs on eight AA batteries; has no built-in light meter; features a detachable handgrip for continuous 3fps continuous mode

1971

Japan

Olympus 35DC – first 35mm camera with built-in automatic flashmatic system and backlight correction thus allowing for programmable auto photography with a hotshoe flash

Asahi Pentax Spotmatic ES – first 35mm SLR with electronic aperture-priority auto mode; uses stop-down TTL metering; ES stands for Electro Spotmatic; sports an electronically-controlled shutter

Note: Cameras like the Spotmatic ES spelt the beginning of the end of the German domination of the camera industry. With increased implementation of electronics for auto exposure, the Japanese began to stretch their lead in the industry where and when the Germans were struggling to cope before they eventually gave up their market control.

Having struggled through the Sixties, many of the famous German brands began to wilt and go under the hammer. They included Exacta, Ikonta, Ihagee, Contax, Edixa, Rollei/Rolleiflex/Rolleicord, Leica and Voigtländer. All of these were either bankrupt or sold off. A few were contracted to East Asia for production.

A case in point was Voigtländer, which became a premium niche boutique brand, existing under the Cosina umbrella and now having a revitalised future servicing the mirrorless camera market that in itself is now threatening to cause the demise of the very format that destroyed Voigtländer in the first place – the Single-Lens Reflex.

Canon FTb – first 35mm SLR to support dedicated flash synchronisation hotshoe; additional flash contacts are available

Canon FD 55mm f1.2 AL – first 35mm SLR rectilinear aspheric lens

Fujica ST701 – first 35mm SLR to use silicon photodiode (SPD) metering cells in replacement of cadmium-sulphide (CdS), SPD cells are small enough to now be internalised within the camera

Note: Although CdS was the choice for many camera makers prior to this point, its effectiveness relied on bright lighting conditions after which there would be a ‘memory’ effect causing a sluggish response to changes in light level.

This sluggishness could be as much as 30 seconds before the meter could resume normal operation. SPD was far faster in reaction – just about instantaneous – but its infrared response quality required blue filtration in order that it matches the spectral response of the human eye. The overall performance and reliability of the SPD was more than enough to finally displace CdS by the late 1970’s especially after the Olympus OM-2’s SBCs (Silicon Blue Cell) proved the point so decisively.

Japan / West Germany

Takumar SMC lenses – first 35mm SLR lens system to feature multicoating; SMC stands for Super Multi Coating; designed for M42 screw-mount cameras; co-developed with Zeiss of Oberkochen

East Germany

Praktica LLC – first 35mm SLR to feature electric contacts at the lens mount, first with electromechanical lens diaphragm stop-down control; modified M42 lens mount for open-aperture metering

Note: Despite the remarkable universal pervasiveness of the M42 screw mount,its limitations proved unacceptable by early 1970s because by that time, the rise of electronics in the camera industry had forced the issue of electronic versus mechanical interfacing. Because M42 could not provide for auto-diaphragm lens open-aperture viewing and metering, it was in many ways the sounding death knell.

Asahi had been the most prolific in their attempts to modify the screw mount to bring into effect support for auto-diaphragm control with open-aperture metering but even they failed in the end. By 1975, Asahi finally abandoned the screw mount thus effectively ending the life of this design throughout the industry. It was also at this point that the company introduced the famous Pentax-K mount that provided just as universal.

1972

Japan

Fujica ST801 – first 35mm SLR to feature LEDs in the viewfinder with a seven-LED dot scale to register not just correct but also over and underexposures

Olympus OM-1 – first 35mm SLR with compact dimensions despite full-featured capabilities and performance, measures 83 x 136 x 50 mm and weighs 510g body only; almost two-thirds the size and weight of most of its contemporaries; true system camera backed up by a very promising OM System; the first of many immortal 35mm SLR designs designed by the brilliant Yoshihisa Maitani; originally referred to as M-1 until E. Leitz complained

USA

Polaroid SX-70 – first instant-film SLR, mirror reflex system but not pentaprism in design; features fully electronic auto exposure; utilises a flat-folding form factor with bellows connected to a fixed 116mm f8 lens, based on 3⅛ x3⅛ inch film format

1974

USA / Japan

Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f3.5 – first 35mm SLR pro calibre close-focusing zoom lens, designed by Ponder & Best but made in Japan

Japan

Fujica ST901 – first 35mm SLR with a viewfinder featuring an LED digital data display, adopts a calculator-style LED design to display shutter speed settings in Aperture-AE from 20 to 1/1000 sec

1975

West Germany

E. Leitz APO-Telyt-R 180mm f3.4 – first 35mm SLR apochromatic lens for consumer use; designed for use with Leicaflex SLRs

Japan / West Germany

Takumar SMC 15mm f3.5 – first 35mm SLR rectilinear aspheric wide-angle lens; designed for Pentax screw-mount SLRs only; co-designed with Zeiss of Oberkochen

Japan

Olympus OM-2 – first 35mm SLR with TTL OTF (Off-The-Film) flash auto exposure, first with TTL OTF for Aperture-Priority auto mode, first to work with a motordrive at 5 frames per second without requiring mirror lockup; TTL flash metering was designed to worked originally with Olympus Auto 310; interchangeable hotshoe allows for operation with later T-series flash units*, is first to utilise SBC (Silicon Blue Cell) for light metering

Note: True TTL flash metering with the T-series flash units was only possible with the revised OM-2n which was released in 1979.

1976

Japan

Canon AE-1 – first 35mm SLR with microprocessor electronics

Asahi Pentax ME – first 35mm SLR with full auto exposure control; only aperture-priority was offered (no manual mode)

Fujica AZ-1 – first 35mm SLR sold with a zoom lens as part of its standard kit; replaces the 50mm standard lens, lens in question was the Fujinon-Z 43-75mm f3.5-4.5 although available in M42 screw mount only

Minolta 110 Zoom SLR – first SLR to use the 110 cartridge film format (Pocket Instamatic 110); features the built-in Zoom Rokkor-Macro 25-50mm f4.5

1977

Japan

Minolta XD11 – first 35mm SLR to feature dual-mode auto exposure capability; on offer were aperture- and shutter-priority modes, also called XD7 in Europe and XD in Japan

1978

Japan

Canon A-1 – first 35mm SLR to have an electronically-controlled programmed exposure mode

Asahi Pentax Auto 110 – first SLR to adopt 110 film format AND offer interchangeable lens at the same time; purely and fully programmed auto mode only as there are no manual controls; smallest and lightest SLR ever made, measures 56 x 99 x 45 mm, weighs only 189g even when matched to the Pentax-110 24mm f2.8; indisputable the most advanced 110-format camera ever made; the only 110-type camera with system accessory support including its own enlarger

USA

Polaroid SX-70 Sonar – first SLR to feature active ultrasonic sonar echo-location rangefinder AF system; utilises full electronic control; the AF technology was unique to Polaroid only

1979

Japan

Olympus OM10 – first 35mm SLR to feature fully plastic body panels and moulded body, first to feature a Manual Adaptor that, when plugged in, transforms camera from single auto (Aperture-AE) to dual modes; Manual Adaptor features shutter speed selector

Konica FS-1 – first 35mm SLR to feature built-in motordriven film auto-loading; also has single and continuous frame advance at 1.5fps; however there was no auto rewind

Asahi Pentax ME-Super – first 35mm SLR with full electronic button control where shutter speed control is possible via + and – button pair

Australia / Japan

Hanimex Reflex Flash 35 – first 35mm SLR with built-in electronic flash, features a fixed Hanimar 41mm f2.8 lens and mirror gate shutter

1980

Japan

Nikon F3 – first 35mm SLR with full-featured LCD info display inside the viewfinder

AF-Rikenon 50mm f2.0 – first 35mm SLR lens with built-in autofocusing capability making it compatible with all Pentax K mount cameras; uses self-contained passive electronic rangefinder AF system

1981

West Germany

Rolleiflex SL2000F – first 35mm SLR in a box-type configuration and not the conventional T-shape; in many ways similar to the Kine Exacta, first with interchangeable film back, first with dual viewfinder system (eye-level and waist-level)

Japan

Pentax ME-F – first 35mm SLR with built-in autofocusing system, utilises a passive contrast-detection AF (CDAF); lens mount changed from conventional Pentax K to K-F featuring five electrical contacts; key lens in question was the SMC Pentax-AF 35-70mm f2.8

Sigma 21-35mm f3.5-4.0 – first 35mm SLR zoom lens to incorporate the super-wide angle focal length with a 91o field of view; all eleven elements inside the lens are designed to move

1982

Japan

Ricoh XR-S – first 35mm SLR that is powered by solar energy; S stands for Solar; model was based on a modified Ricoh XR-7 but with an added pair of silicon photovoltaic cells on the sides of the pentaprism to charge the 3-volt 2G13R rechargeable silver-oxide battery; can be replaced with a pair of conventional 1.5V SR44/PX76 silver oxide batteries; has an unusual digital simulation of a needle pointing along a shutter speed scale printed on the viewfinder LCD panel

Nikon FM2 – first 35mm SLR with 1/4000 sec shutter, first with 1/200 sec flash sync; variation of the original Nikon FM

USA

Polaroid SLR 680 – first premium-class SLR to feature a built-in electronic flash; uses a similar autofocusing system first adopted by the earlier SX-70 Sonar

1983

Japan

Nikon FE2 – first 35mm SLR with 1/250 flash sync speed, 3.3ms curtain travel time; variation of the original Nikon FE; uses titanium sheets for its vertical shutter blades; proved to be relatively brittle and struggled with reliability issues

Pentax Super-A – first 35mm SLR with an external LCD display; uses push buttons for shutter speed selection in place of conventional turn dial; LCD displays speed setting; also called Super Program in USA

Olympus OM-3 – first 35mm SLR with pure mechanical manual operation to feature a multiple spot metering capability; designed initially to replace the OM-1

Olympus OM-4 – first 35mm SLR to feature a spot meter capable of recording up to 8 continuous separate readings, first to feature an EV Memo for memorising the Exposure Value (EV) of the aggregated reading; first to feature Hilight and Shadow bias spot metering; spot meter covers 2% of the total field of view and occupies 3.3o of a 50mm lens; arguably the finest technical camera in the world till today; designed to displace the OM-2 as the top-of-the-line model

Olympus Motor Drive 2 – first 35mm SLR motordrive accessory that features a dual contra-rotating motor where the auxiliary unit turns in the opposite direction in order to quieten and smoothen the operation

Olympus T45 – first 35mm SLR grip flash unit that features twin flash heads

Olympus AFL Quickflash – first 35mm camera to feature the use of a lithium battery, flash recharge time is 1.5 secs, also known as Picasso in Japan, ‘Picasso’ is derived from the Japanese word for ‘flash’ which is ‘pika’

1984

Japan

Canon T70 – first 35mm SLR with built-in motordrive capable of auto-loading, auto-wind and auto-rewind, first to offer Program Scene modes such as Action, Portrait etc

1985

Japan

Minolta Maxxum 7000 – first 35mm SLR with a commercially successful implementation of autofocusing, first to use passive phase-detection AF (PDAF), first AF-SLR that is built around a range of system accessories including a vast line-up of compatible lenses, first to feature DX film decoding together with the full gamut of auto film loading/wind/rewind; also called Alpha 7000 in Japan and 7000AF in Europe

Kiron 28-210mm f4-5.6 – first 35mm SLR zoom lens that features such a large zoom factor, first to reach the ‘superzoom’ class covering from wide to telephoto

Olympus OM40 Program – first 35mm SLR to feature ESP advanced predictive metering, first to allow such metering to work across other modes including Manual, first consumer-grade SLR to support the use of TTL flash metering and motordrive at 3fps, first to use advanced computerisation to solve tricky backlit conditions for consumers; ESP stands for Electro Selective Pattern that is able to compensate for light readings that potentially skew from an average metered lighting condition, utilises built-in computer programmed map to analyse incoming light using multiple segments within the field of view

1986

Japan

Olympus OM707 – first 35mm SLR with interchangeable handgrip, first with interchangeable grip-integrated flash; separate dedicated AF lenses available; compatibility with traditional MF lenses assured; also called OM-77AF in USA

Olympus OM-4Ti – first 35mm SLR with 1/2000 sec flash sync speed; technology revolves around the use of a strobe effect over 40 milliseconds which is long enough for the curtain slit to travel across the full frame at high speeds; sync speed is achievable with the F280 Full-Synchro flash; premium variant of the original OM-4; also known as OM-4T in USA

1987

Japan

Pentax SFX – first 35mm SLR to feature a built-in electronic flash, first to feature a built-in TTL-capable flash; also called SF1 in USA

Canon EF – first 35mm SLR range of lenses to feature full electronic control; meaning there are no mechanical links; lens range was introduced ahead of the arrival of the coming EOS 650 and 620 AF-SLR cameras

1988

Japan

Olympus OM101 PowerFocus – first 35mm SLR with built-in focus-by-wire featuring a motordriven manual focusing mechanism that is controlled by a rear wheel operated by the thumb; has its own Olympus PF lenses; also called OM88PF in USA

Yashica Samurai – first 35mm SLR designed in a vertical configuration not unlike a video camera; purely point-and-shoot mode camera

Olympus AZ-300 Superzoom - first 35mm camera to feature a zoom-coupled non-reflex optical viewfinder, first to be able to correct for parallax errors optically, first 35mm AF camera to incorporate 300 defined steps in its built-in Servo AF step motor, first to underpin the ‘bridge camera’ concept; able to focus down to 80cm in Macro mode; has double-exposure capability; also known as Infinity 300 in USA or IZM300 in Japan

Olympus AZ-4 Superzoom – first 35mm SLR designed in a flat configuration with a foldable gun-grip handle, purely point-and-shoot mode camera; identical model as Ricoh Mirai

Minolta Dynax 7000i – first 35mm SLR to use a multi-sensor passive autofocusing system, first to feature an intake slot for use with a range of interchangeable program cards (called Minolta Creative Expansion Card System) that re-optimises the camera’s parameters for different photographic applications; multi-sensor relies on three arranged in an H pattern to counter off-centre subjects; designed to replace the original Maxxum 7000; also known as Maxxum 7000i in USA and α-7000i in Japan

1989

Japan

Olympus AZ-200 Superzoom – first 35mm camera to feature a red-eye reduction flash mode (Auto-S); technology involves the repeated preliminary firing of the flash in a strobe-like fashion to force the iris to retract; also known as IZM200 in Japan

Yashica Samurai Z-L – first 35mm SLR that is designed to suit left-handed users; L stands for Left as in left handedness; shoots in half-frame mode 18 x 24mm; utilises a mirror reflex in place of the pentaprism; uses a fixed 25-75mm f4-5.6 autofocus lens with leaf shutter; based on the original Samurai Z model,

Olympus iS-1000 – first 35mm SLR to utilise the L-shape configuration in deference to the conventional T-shape, first to use an M-path optical finder, first to position the LCD info display at the rear of the camera, first to utilise a reverse-direction film auto-loading method, first to feature a built-in 35-135mm f4.5-5.6 lens, first to offer a built-in twin-flash unit, first to offer a fully motorised zoom function operable via T and W buttons; also known as L-1000 in Japan and IS-1 in USA

1990

Japan

Minolta Maxxum 8000i – first 35mm SLR that comes with ‘panoramic’ format film gate mask and focusing screen accessory

Olympus AZ-330 Superzoom - first 35mm camera to feature up to 330 defined steps in its built-in Servo AF step motor, first to incorporate a feature capable of automatically adjusting the zoom to cover three different portraiture modes, first to provide IR remote control operation in its lens cap; identical in most other ways to the original AZ-300 Superzoom; features spot metering and red-eye reduction flash mode; also known as Infinity Zoom 330 in USA or IZM330 in Japan

1991

USA / Japan

Kodak DCS – first digital SLR (DSLR) to be commercially available, DCS stands for Digital Camera System; uses a 1024 x 1280 (1.3 megapixels) CCD sensors and equipped with 8MB DRAM memory; relies on a tethered 200MB DSU (Digital Storage Unit) hard drive for storing 160 images; uses Nikon’s F lens mount for compatibility with Nikkor-AF lenses; sensor used is Kodak’s KAF-1300 first released in 1986; heavily based on the original Nikon F3 integrated with the MD-4 motordrive

Japan

Olympus AZ-220 Panorama Zoom – first 35mm camera to provide a built-in panorama mode that can be switched on and off; selectable between full size and panorama size frame shots within the same roll; viewfinder view changes at the same time, also known as IZM220 in Japan

1992

Japan

Minolta Maxxum 9xi – first 35mm SLR with 1/12000 sec focal plane shutter, first with 1/300 sec flash sync (1.8ms curtain travel time); shutter blades use combination of duralumin and carbon fibre for lightness and durability

1995

Japan

Canon 75-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM – first 35mm SLR lens with built-in image stabiliser using an electromechanical system to sense and correct instability; IS stands for Image Stability; USM stands for Ultra Sonic Motor; designed for use with EOS SLR cameras

Olympus OM-3Ti – first 35mm mechanical manual SLR to feature 1/2000th sec flash sync speed, first manual SLR to be able to deliver auto-based FP flash exposures; technology used is identical to the OM-4Ti except that the shutter system is purely mechanical and works exclusively in Manual mode; sync speed is achievable with the F280 Full-Synchro flash; premium variant of the original OM-3

1996

USA

Kodak Advanced Photo System – first significant modern variation of the 35mm film; APS in short; uses the IX240 single-perforated 24mm-wide film; image frame measures 16.7 x 30.2 mm; emulsion developed on polyethylenenapthalate base; offers 40 exposures; has embedded invisible magnetic data encoding stripe; preloaded into self-locking ready-to-use cartridges; film standard introduced by a collaboration effort between Kodak, Canon, Fuji, Minolta and Nikon; initially popular but declined and discontinued by 2002 in light of the rapid migration to the digital medium

Japan / Malaysia

Minolta Vectis VS-1 – first 35mm SLR to support the use of the APS film; features a non-pentaprism sideways reflex mirror and optical relay viewfinder

1997

Japan

Olympus Camedia C-1400L – first DSLR to feature a 1.41MP progressive CCD and yet remain affordable; fixed lens is not interchangeable

2000

Japan

Canon EOS 30D – first DSLR to feature the use of a CMOS sensor; CMOS stands for Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor; cheaper to manufacture by comparison with CCD sensors; fully designed and built in-house by Canon; first intended for affordable consumer/amateur use, sensor features a 3.11MP (1440 x 2160 pixels), adoption of APS-C format translates to 1.6X crop factor

Olympus Camedia E-10 – first DSLR with built-in 4x zoom lens meant for pro usage, features 4MP CCD sensor; spiritual progenitor of the FourThirds-based E-1

2001

Japan

Olympus Camedia E-20 – first DSLR to feature a hybrid scanning system that is switchable between interlaced and progressive scanning; uses a 5MP CCD sensor; based on the original Camedia E-10

FourThirds – first 4:3 aspect ratio DSLR imaging format presented by Olympus and Kodak in a cross-licensing agreement; agreement opens Olympus to more than 1,000 patents held by Kodak relating to digital still imaging systems including high-density imager design architectures, image processing algorithms, CCD and CMOS sensor designs including convergence technologies involving cameras, print devices, PDAs and future smartphone devices; also written as ‘Four Thirds’ (but not ‘Four-Thirds,’ ‘Fourthirds,’ ‘4/3,’ ‘43’ or ‘FT’)

2003

Japan

Canon EOS 300D – first high-resolution DSLR to be priced under the USD1,000 mark; uses a penta (five-sided) mirror, has built-in auto flash; features 6.3MP (2048 x 3072 pixels) CMOS sensor; sold 1.2 million units in 16 months; also known as Kiss Digital in Japan or EOS Digital Rebel in USA

Olympus E-1 – first DSLR to adopt the FourThirds format, features a 7.5MP (2352 x 3136 pixels) sensor, first to feature a built-in dust-reduction system (SSWF), first DSLR with flash sync capability up to 1/2000 sec in FP mode; first Olympus effort at producing an interchangeable-lens DSLR; sensor design is a collaboration between Olympus and Kodak

2004

Japan

Olympus E-300 – first DSLR to feature the use of a porroprism via optical relay path viewfinder; in effect, a sideways reflex mirror; also known as Evolt E-300 in Japan and USA

Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspheric HSM – first SLR zoom lens that covers up to 122o field of view making it wider than any others before it

Konica-Minolta Maxxum 7D – first SLR with IBIS (In-Body Image Stabiliser) as opposed to the lens solution adopted by Canon and Nikon

2005

Japan

Olympus E-500 – lightest DSLR in the world, features 8MP CCD sensor made by Kodak

2006

Japan

Olympus E-330 – first DSLR with LiveView technology, first to feature an articulable rear LCD panel up to 90o and down 45o, uses a secondary CCD sensor to send live video feed to the rear LCD panel for viewing, utilises same sensor as the E-1, features, similar camera as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L10 and the Leica equivalent, also known as Olympus Evolt E-330 in Japan and USA

Olympus E-400 – the smallest and lightest DSLR in the world; the last DSLR by any camera manufacturer to use Kodak sensors

2007

Japan

Nikon D3 – first DSLR to feature as many as 51 AF points; basically the same system shared with Nikon D300 launched in the same year

Olympus E-3 – first DSLR to feature fully articulable LiveView LCD panel; articulating adjustments are available in horizontal and vertical planes using a double-jointed elbow/arm mechanism

Olympus E-510 – the smallest DSLR in the world; also known as Evolt E-510 in USA

2008

Japan

Nikon D90 – first DSLR with high-definition video recording feature; features a 12.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor but also 1280 x 720 pixel (720p) 24fps HD video capture with mono audio for 5 minutes

Olympus E-30 – first DSLR to provide built-in Art filters, first to feature a two-way digital leveller

Canon EOS 5D Mk II – first DSLR with high-definition video recording capability up to 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution at 1080p for 12 minutes (30fps); features a CMOS sensor; mono recording with stereo option via external microphone

Tamron AF 18-270mm f3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspheric (IF) Macro – first SLR zoom lens to reach 15X zoom factor

2009

Japan

Olympus E-620 – the smallest and lightest DSLR to feature LiveView capability

2010

Japan

Sony SLT α33 and α55 – first DSLRs that use built-in electronic viewfinders (EVF); no optical viewfinder option available; features 16.2MP (α55) and 14.2MP (α33) APS-C CMOS sensors; has articulating LiveView LCD panel; SLT stands for Single Lens Translucent to refer to ‘Translucent Mirror Technology’ reflex mirrors; similar in principle to pellicle mirror (refer Canon Pellix); has the ability to channel portions of light to 15 PDAF sensors in order to provide C-AF functionality when in HD video mode

photo/kl/slr_timeline.txt · Last modified: 2013/09/23 14:13 by gary1