Pam Britar lens

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by l._david_tomei|1, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. I am always interested in odd lenses, particularly LTM's. So recently I saw a Pam Britar 105mm f/4.5 that looked interesting. However, in spite of the fact that these lenses are advertised as rare Kardon lenses, I can find no evidence that the lens manufacturer had any relationship with Kardon beyond the fact that the Britar lenses fit Kardon and other LTM cameras.
    After Googling "Pam Britar", I found that most sellers included some reference to Kardon, either stating or implying that the PAM lens was an exceptionally rare Kardon lens. The prices of these lens are very high apparently as a consequence of the Kardon association claim. PAM was the Photographic Arts Mfg. Corporation of New York formed in 1946. They made the Britar lens and an 8mm "zoom" viewfinder as far as I can see. By 1951 the company name had been changed to the Starr Corporation (unknown products) and by 1994 they went out of business. By the end they were no longer in the optics business but rather the corporation was a bakery(!).
    So, does anyone have information on these odd lenses and perhaps why so many claim that they are Kardon lenses?
  2. I think the association between PAM Britar lenses & Kardon cameras comes from the fact that they were both sold in the period immediately following WWII when Leitz lenses & Leica cameras were in short supply in the U.S. As you probably know, the "normal" lens sold w/the Kardon was the Kodak 47/2 Ektar, but since there was no Kodak telephoto offered w/the camera, it is not inconceivable that a buyer wanting a long lens would buy the PAM Britar or some other non-Leitz product @ the same time. Whether or not there was an official relationship (as opposed to the policy of some retailers) is a question only camera historians like Marc James Small could answer.
  3. Hi,
    most sellers referred to Kardon/Leica to get a bonus. I've owned one for Exakta and just sold it for a few bucks. Nice made but still a triplet, my impression was that a Zeiss Triotar performs better.
  4. I agree with you guys. There are a lot of "rare" and expensive cameras and lenses out there like the Detrola 400 or the Argus K. They aren't valued only because of rarity, nor quality for that matter, for sure. However, they have histories, American stories. On the other hand, the Britar lens isn't thought to be great though it may be uncommon, but nobody seems to know much about the company. There's no story with this lens. None the less, they are highly valued and that is because, in my opinion of course, there is a myth that they are a Kardon lens.
    Anyway, thanks Christopher and Thomas.

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