Brands that disappeared in the 00s:


Some of the biggest and most influential brands disappeared during the first decade of the new millennium. Both Praktica of East Germany and Zenith of the Soviet Union were among the pathfinders to develop the PP SLR. They had a considerable home market in the eastern block, but were often refused or hampered to export to the west. After the return of capitalism to the eastern Europe, the big state driven factories with masses of people given jobs could not compete against the more cost effective western companies. Or, if they could, the official policy was not to run factories, so they were sold to private investors. The brands still excisted for a little more than a decade before they closed down.
Another big player to disappear was Minolta, or Konica Minolta as the company was named after the merging of the two in 2003. Minolta had a long history of innovations and quality, but was alway squeezed between the giants, first Pentax and Nikon, then more severely by Canon and Nikon. The merging with Konica did not really help any of them, and they sold their camera division to Sony in 2006.
Contax of Dresden gave up in 1962, but their west german counterpart started PP SLR production in Japan in cooperation with Yashica. They kept it going for a long while, but ceased production in 2005.

East Germany: PRAKTICA: 1950-2001:

Soviet-Union: ZENIT: 1952-2005:

Read more about Zenit under:
Read about the Zenit cameras under: Zenit: 1952-2005

Japan: Konica: 1960-1987, 2002-2006:

Konica was an innovative brand. Their first PP SLR came in 1960, not among the first, but through the 60s they built many interesting cameras. Like this Autoreflex T, the first to feature a TTL full opening automatic aperture when setting shutter time. Konica stopped producing PP SLRs in the 80s, but their name reappeared as Konica Minolta after merging with Minolta in 2003.

Japan: MINOLTA:1958-2006:

See more under: 1958-2006: Minolta

Japan: Cosina: 1969-2004?:

See more under 1969-2004: Cosina

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23.02 | 00:17

The Konica Autoreflex of 1968 was the first automatic system to measure light through the lens, TTL. I will rewrite things to make this more clear. Thank you!

23.02 | 00:14

Savoyflex was first, but not regarded as a very useful system. Then Kowa H in 1963. Then Kiev Avtomat in '64. But Konica got all the credit from 1965.....

23.02 | 00:06

Hi Dave, When looking back I note that I have given the title to several cameras!
The Optima was not a SLR camera and not counting here. To be continued..

22.02 | 20:24

How is the 1963 Kowa H the first Selenium Electric Eye when you consider earlier releases inclusing the 1959 Agfa Optima, and the 1959 Royer Savoyflex Automatic

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