History of the single-lens reflex camera

The first practical reflex camera was the Franke & Heidecke Rolleiflex medium format TLR of 1928. Though both single- and twin-lens reflex cameras had been available for decades, they were too bulky to achieve much popularity. The Rolleiflex, however, was sufficiently compact to achieve widespread popularity and the medium-format TLR design became popular for both high- and low-end cameras. A similar revolution in SLR design began in 1933 with the introduction of the Ihagee Exakta, a compact SLR which used 127 rollfilm. This was followed three years later by the first Western SLR to use 35mm film, the Kine Exakta (World's first true 35mm SLR was Soviet "Sport" camera, marketed several months before Kine Exakta, though "Sport" used its own film cartridge). The 35mm SLR design gained immediate popularity and there was an explosion of new models and innovative features after World War II. There were also a few 35mm TLRs, the best-known of which was the Contaflex of 1935, but for the most part these met with little success. The first major post-war SLR innovation was the eye-level viewfinder, which first appeared on the Hungarian Duflex in 1947 and was refined in 1948 with the Contax S, the first camera to use a pentaprism. Prior to this, all SLRs were equipped with waist-level focusing screens. The Duflex was also the first SLR with an instant-return mirror, which prevented the viewfinder from being blacked out after each exposure. This same time period also saw the introduction of the Hasselblad 1600F, which set the standard for medium format SLRs for decades. In 1952 the Asahi Optical Company (which later became well known for its Pentax cameras) introduced the first Japanese SLR using 3

mm film, the Asahiflex. Several other Japanese camera makers also entered the SLR market in the 1950s, including Canon, Yashica, and Nikon. Nikon's entry, the Nikon F, had a full line of interchangeable components and accessories and is generally regarded as the first Japanese system camera. It was the F, along with the earlier S series of rangefinder cameras, that helped establish Nikon's reputation as a maker of professional-quality equipment.The photographic single-lens reflex camera (SLR) was invented in 1861 by Thomas Sutton, a photography author and camera inventor who ran a photography related company together with Louis Desire Blanquart-Evrard on Jersey. Only a few of his SLR's were made.[1] The first production SLR with a brand name was Calvin Rae Smith's Monocular Duplex (USA, 1884). Other early SLR cameras were constructed for example by Louis van Neck (Belgium, 1889), Thomas Rudolphus Dallmeyer (England, 1894) and Max Steckelmann (Germany, 1896), and Graflex of the United States and Konishi in Japan produced SLR cameras as early as 1898 and 1907 respectively. These first SLRs were large format cameras.[2][3] While SLR cameras were not very popular at the time, they proved useful for some work. These cameras were used at waist level; the ground glass screen was viewed directly, using a large hood to keep out extraneous light. In most cases, the mirror had to be raised manually as a separate operation before the shutter could be operated. Following camera technology in general, SLR cameras became available in smaller and smaller sizes; medium format SLRs soon became common; at first larger box cameras, and later "pocketable" models such as the Ihagee Vest-Pocket Exakta of 1933.