Agfa Optima: Pop Photography 1959 Articles

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by marc_rochkind, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. A few days ago Peter Naylor write about the Agfa Optima, introduced in that great year of 1959 (also the year of the Nikon F and the Canonflex):
    http://www.photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00TiQl
    I've scanned two short articles about this camera from the November 1959 issue of Popular Photography:
    http://basepath.com/images/cameras/PopPhoto-AgfaOptimaReview-Nov1959.jpg
    http://basepath.com/images/cameras/PopPhoto-AgfaOptimaReport-Nov1959.jpg
    --Marc
     
  2. Hi, Marc Thanks for putting in the hard yards and finding those '59 PP articles so quickly. Your old mag library must be better organised than mine ......
    The Test Report was most interesting and objective, unlike some mag features which give the impression that they're over-favourable towards new stuff - especially when the maker/distributor has coincidentally taken out a large advert in the same publication! The scenario of an indoor but high-contrast situation would have been quite a challenge to any exposure meter back then, let alone one incorporated in a camera and doing the sums. So that one pic with the pronounced 'silhouette' would have been a typical result.
    Incidentally, I had a closer look at my Optima Original and now realise that it's not stuck at max aperture, but min aperture (prob F16-ish). I took it outside along with my working Optima 111 and did a few tests against high and low light sources. It's just getting the 'Green' signal pointed at our wintery sun, but 'Red' for all others. I must have got confused with a couple of Olympus Trips I've seen at Thrift Shops, which seem to go max aperture only when the selenium cell carks it. (Pete In Perth)
     
  3. Thanks for posting those. A world away from today.
     
  4. Peter--
    I'm not usually organized, but I recently got on eBay all 12 1959 issues of Pop Photo bound into a book. As 1959 was so significant, it's a goldmine.
    I now have acquired 3 cameras from the class of '59: Zeiss Ikon Contarex, Canonflex, and, of course, Nikon F.
    --Marc
     
  5. Hi, Marc Nevertheless, I'm very jealous about your cataloguing procedures, mate! Now, if my missis would only stop her 'tidying up' and leave all my old stuff the way it was supposed to be left .....
    One other watershed camera from that era of '59 might well be the original 'Miranda Automex' SLR, which featured cross-linked aperture/shutter speeds from a selenium meter, viewable in the VF. Wow! Not TTL for obvious reasons, but nevertheless quite a Great Leap Forward. The introductory dates for most early Mirandas are a bit 'grey',which is why I've gone the safe route and said '1960' in my Flickr Portfolio. However, there does appear to be evidence that late 1959 is more correct. Here's the link anyway to my Automexes:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/32113303@N07/3102334518/in/set-72157611159905533/
    (Pete N)
     
  6. Peter--
    Settling on a date for a camera's introduction, or even a year, seems to be problematical. For example, very recently Olympus made a big spash about the Olympus Pen being introduced in 1959, but there is no mention of it in Pop Photo in 1959, not even in columns about trade shows. I think it was introduced only in Japan. US introduction seems to have been in 1960. In fact, a later Pop Photo article mentions a 1960 date.
    We have first shown, first sold somewhere in the world, first advertised, first in US, etc., etc.
    --Marc
     

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