The Matahari 35, and Show your Cameras with Strange Names

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by John Seaman, Sep 4, 2020.

  1. Did you ever buy a camera just because of the name? Our Japanese friends seemed to have the knack of finding odd names for their products, at least in English speaking markets. There's a 35mm camera called the Three C's, and of course the mysterious Elbowflex TLR.

    Enter the Matahari 35, which arrived today for 10 quid plus postage from the auction site. It's quite a basic but solidly made viewfinder camera with a 4.5cm F.2.8 Tokinon lens, an un-named 5 speed shutter and a built in Selenium meter. The shutter release is angled on the front, Praktica style. Somewhat to my surprise everything seems to work, except the meter is way off.

    I don't know if the name infers it's use as a spy camera, but I did find a reference to a Matahari projector too.

    So, do you have a camera with a strange name?

  2. I always cringed at the name. I wondered just what US market they were aiming at -- a choice that seems increasingly "unwise" nowadays.
    Everywhere else this particular model was called the EOS 400.

    Popular Photography 2005-04
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
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  3. Yes. I would have loved to have been a Japanese speaking fly on the wall at the Nikon board meeting when the name "Coolpix" was chosen for their digital compacts. Or when Pentax chose *ist D.
  4. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    The Chinese had some interesting names for their cameras, including the Peafowl and the Five Goats. o_O

    Chinese Page
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
  5. Fujifilm 'Finepix' - I think I detect a bit of a theme here...

    Oddly enough, I was reading an article on the Konica AiBORG just the other day.

    The Japanese manufacturers appear to have understood the need to internationalise their product names these days, and the aversion to the number 4 appears to be waning, though not entirely gone.

    Small Chinese lens manufacturers on the other hand... 'Risespray' anyone?

    I can't help but think that the world will become a little more boring when names that translate awkwardly or unfortunately are abolished.
  6. AJG


    That Pentax *istD was my first DSLR, which I bought because I could use my existing set of Pentax lenses and despite the ridiculous name. For its time it wasn't a bad camera, but I can't say that I have any nostalgia for its performance at this point.
  7. I wonder what the Japanese and Chinese make of names like Hasselblad, Linhof, DeVere, Robot, Agiflex, Rectaflex etc?

    Probably a good job there was never a strong Welsh camera industry!

    Llanfairpwylgwingylgolgerichllantisiliogogogochaflex anyone?
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  8. I know. I missed out 'wyrndrobwll', but don't be silly - how would you fit that on the front of a camera?
  9. Don't forget the Gnome Pixie, Pixie Flex and Baby Pixie, the pride of Cardiff.
  10. This one was pretty unimaginative -- I'm not sure it was even given a name at first. It's now known as the Konica 1 I think. Nice little cheap camera that sold in the Base Exchanges of Air Force Bases after WWII (that's where my Dad bought it). I used it for years and still have it. Fixed lens, but a good one.

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  11. Four cameras with slightly oddball names. They are the aptly-named Agfa Clack and Click, and two little Japanese cameras from the 1950's, the Rippa and the Emi-K.

    Oddly named cameras Pnet.jpg
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  12. John Seaman said :
    John, I knew I'd seen that camera before, and a little poking around unearthed this version, the Hamano 35. I wonder how many other guises it appeared in? Like your copy, this one is in full working condition, but with the meter appearing to be accurate. I might run a film for next weeks thread...

    Hamano Pnet.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2020
  13. That's interesting Rick. "Tokinon" seems like a conflation of Tokina and Rokinon.

    I can't quite work out what to think of the viewfinder. The image is bright but small, surrounded by a large dark area. The eye relief (if that's what it's called) seems excellent especially when wearing glasses, you can hold your eye quite a distance away and still see the full view. However I've noticed that if you move your eye away from the centre of the eyepiece, the view changes significantly, causing possible major framing errors.

    And could the silvering on the front be for doing selfies, Rollei lens cap style? But then, there's no self timer ...
  14. It would seem that the viewfinder on the Hamano is an improved (?) design, in that it's very big, bright and clear with a floating frameline. As you say, the eye relief is great as the frameline is visible when wearing specs. No self-timer, though external threads around the shutter release suggest a cable release could be fitted.
  15. I think the frame lines on my copy have just faded or disappeared, as otherwise the cameras seem identical.

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