Trying to spot the most important milestones in the post-war development of the 35mm SLRSLR
Acronym of "Single Lens Reflex". See also "Reflex", you'll see that five out of ten have been set by Pentax (instant-return mirror, spot metering, TTLTTL
acronym of "Through The Lens" metering, aperture priority auto exposure, autofocus), while the remaining five are shared between five different manufacturers (either Pentacon or Rectaflex for pentaprism viewfinder, Topcon for full-aperture TTL metering, Konica for mass-produced shutter priority auto exposure, Olympus for TTL flash and Nikon for multi-pattern metering).
Of course there were also many other improvements, and many of them are due to Pentax again. Maybe somebody could claim different innovations as being more important than the above mentioned ones. I feel not too far from being correct when listing the above improvements as the 10 most important; anyway this is matter of opinion, and discussion could be endless.
Nevertheless, should you replace some "top milestones" with different ones at your leisure, you see that conclusion remains substantially unchanged: no other manufacturer can even approach Pentax as the leader in the development of the modern SLR concept.
This can probably disappoint many fans of other titled camera makers, but I can point out here some good reasons for that:
When Asahi started developing the 35mm SLR concept from the awkward and specialized stuff of the early days to the modern action camera, all of the other major manufacturers were still relying on vintage rangefinder and TLR cameras, whose limits were impossible to overcome. The resulting gap required many years to be filled by competitors.
From 1951 to 1983 Asahi Opt. Co. Ltd. manufactured only SLR cameras, from 110 to 6x7 formats, concentrating all of their research on the step-to-step development of the SLR concept. This also resulted in better feeling with SLR users and more effective innovations. Pentax marketing was also only focused to SLR users, and that helped a lot giving Pentax the role of SLR leader.
In the late Sixties / mid-Seventies, Pentax manufactured more SLR's per month that Canon and Nikon together, thus making well visible how much successfull they were at the time.
You will notice that some milestones in SLR history are also listed in the Masterpieces page.
- Meeting of AOHC
- PENTAX DAY 2016