Japan 1969-2004: Cosina:

Cosina: The producer.

Cosina of Japan was first of all a producer for other brands. There is a list, the Cosina List, containing more than 113 models they produced, with only a little share bearing the Cosina label.

Cosina was a mass producer of cameras, mostly for other brands. They never came up with any big news themselves, but produced well functioning cameras. I came across a list of 113 models confirmed to be produced by Cosina, according to the author, and three more not yet confirmed. Only 25 of these models wore the Cosina label. Here is a CT-1A a good working plain camera. All Cosinas, also most of the house brands they produced, had Pentax K-mount, the closest one came to a universal mount. Size: 133x85x51. Weight: 418 grams. Sn. 90602046.
A Cosninon 50/2 lens followed most Cosinas. Note that Cosina did a smart choice by featuring the Pentax K-mount on all Cosina labelled cameras and on most house brands they produced, thus avoiding being isolated with a mount that few would want. The K-mount opened a door to all Pentax lenses (and most others by adapters).

The Cosina list:

 
 
Argus STL-1000
Bauer RX 1, RX 2
Canon T60
Carena CX 300, CX 500, KSM 1, KSM 2, MSTL, 1000, SRH 760, 1000 SX
Cavalier MSTL
Chinon CE II, CM 3, 5000 SE, GAFL-ES, Chinonflex, CE-3, CS-4, CM-5, CM-7, CG-5, 
          CX II, CP X
Cimko LS-1
Cosina C1, C2, CT-1, CT1EX, CX-2, CT-1A, CT-1G, CT-1 Super, CS-1, CS-2, CS-3, CT-4, 
          CT-7, CT-7D, CT-9, CT-10, CT-20, CT-90, EL Solar, Hi-Lite, Hi-Lite HDL, 
          Hi-Lite EC, Hi-Lite 405, CSM, C-1A
Elicar MN-1
Exakta Twin TL, HS-2, HS-3, HS-4, HS-10, HS-40, KE-5
Haking HG 1, HG 2
Hanimex DR-1
Kenlock KG-1
Konica TC-X
Miranda MS-1, MS-2, MS-2 Super, Memoflex
Nikon FM-10, FE-10
Olympus OM-10, OM-2000
Panagor CT 1 EX, CT 90
Pentax P 30T
Petri GX-1, GX-2, GX-3, GX-4, MF2, MF3, MF4, MF 101, MF 102, MF 103, MF 104
Porst Compact Reflex
Prinzflex Super TTL
Quantaray R400, RZ 800, DZ-RZ
Ricoh Singlex TLS, XR-1, KR-5, KR-5 Super 2, KR-10 Super, KR 500
Sears SL2, TLS 
Seimax SV7, SV9
Soligor SC-1
Topcon AM-1
Vivitar 220 SL, 420 SL, 650 SL, XV2, XV3, V2000, V6000
Voigtländer VSL 43
Yashica, FX-3 Super 2000
Zodel 2 MTL
 
Not confirmed:
Chinon/GAF L-CS
Topcon RE-200
Vivitar 400SL
 
About this list:
The actual number is probably higher than 113. For example, the Yashica mentioned is really not one camera, but threee: FX-3 of 1979, FX-3 Super and the Super 2000.
The German trading company Photo Porst produced their Porst and Carena cameras mostly at Cosina. Of the 26 Porst SLRs and 20 Carenas, probably a lot more than the few listed above were produced by Cosina. For instance, the Porst M-CE is identical to the Chinon CE-II. And among the many Chinon cameras produced by Cosina was the CE-II. But the Porst M-CE is not on the list. And Miranda MS-3 is also missing.
There are other similar examples.
 
So, probably most of the many house brands sold by warehouses all over the world were produced by Cosina. And they bought (or just used) some brand names after famous brands that had to give up producing PP SLRs, like Miranda, Topcon, Petri, Exakta and Voigtländer. Miranda MS-series of the 80s, for instance, had nothing to do with Miranda, as they ended in 1976.
Even more interesting are the names Canon, Konica, Nikon, Olympus and Pentax on the list. They are not represented by their top models, but Cosina evidently was so cost effective that they were able to produce some not too advanced top sellers for the big ones, and more economically than they could do themselves. The Canon, Nikons, Konica and Olympuses are confirmed through other sources, such as Camerapedia. The Pentax P30T is not confirmed elsewhere. But after having outsourced first assembly, then production of the K1000 for some 20 years, it would not be unlikely if Pentax did it again.
 
Cosina made PP SLRs into the new millennium. 2004 may be the year they ended production.
Today, giants like Asia Optical in Taiwan (and elsewhere) is doing the job. And most likely making more models with famous labels than we would like to know.
 
 
 
 

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Bosse | Svar 25.06.2017 21.36

The official producer was Chinon, according to Alpa sources. But we know that Cosina produced some cameras (and lenses) for Chinon.

M. Man | Svar 25.06.2017 21.23

The ALPA 2000 was a Cosina with M42 mount. I used to own one. Ever wonder why there are ALPA badged M42 lenses on eBay? They are from Cosina too.

Max | Svar 13.05.2017 14.20

Sadly not found the Ricoh XR-7 / Sigma SA-1 / Sears KS-2 camera(s) on the site. They could be produced by Cosina as well, but I have no information about this.

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25.06 | 21:36

The official producer was Chinon, according to Alpa sources. But we know that Cosina produced some cameras (and lenses) for Chinon.

...
25.06 | 21:23

The ALPA 2000 was a Cosina with M42 mount. I used to own one. Ever wonder why there are ALPA badged M42 lenses on eBay? They are from Cosina too.

...
13.05 | 14:20

Sadly not found the Ricoh XR-7 / Sigma SA-1 / Sears KS-2 camera(s) on the site. They could be produced by Cosina as well, but I have no information about this.

...
21.04 | 21:14

For an explanation of the penta mirror, please see the page "Some Definitions".
My definition of PP SLR also include the penta mirror cameras.

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