Where have all the 3rd party “flowers” (lenses) gone?

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by phyliss_crowe, May 7, 2009.

  1. Leading up to a lens origin question, I promise.

    At one time, there were literally dozens of 3rd party lensmakers. Now I think we’re down to what – 2? Sad; really sad.

    This used to be an informative site
    but whoever created it has apparently not maintained it since 2003. Most, if not all, the links are dead. Shame, that. Anybody know anything about this? Somebody’s still paying to keep the pages live.

    Also, one link I found a while back to the robertstech 3rd party lens site has always been a 404 link. Not sure if both of these are one and the same or not.

    Two years or so ago, however, I did come across this one:


    I believe nifty.com is a Korean ISP. I really don’t think I agree with the 1998 valuations given there, but that’s neither here nor there. Somebody did put in a lot of work on that list.

    Long story short – somewhere I saw my QT II 80-200mm one-touch zoom lens w/macro tagged a “Ricoh ” QT II. Naturally, I got very curious about that, especially since given their history, of all the dozens of manufacturers on the nifty.com list, Ricoh is totally missing from it. Variations of the name are on it, though. One rumor I came across says Pentax hired Ricoh to make lenses for them or some such.

    According to camerapedia.org:

    “In 1937, Riken Kankōshi bought the company Asahi Bussan and its associated manufacturing facility, producer of the Olympic and Super Olympic cameras.”

    Riken later became Ricoh.

    Asahi Bussan? Asahi Pentax? Babelfish doesn’t translate “Asahi” into anything different. Tried both simple and traditional Chinese and Japanese and Korean to English. What does Asahi mean?

    Anyway, this QT II takes very nice pictures. Sharp; pleasant, very smooth bokeh. Compact yet has some nice heft and good balance.

    Any info on this QT II's true heritage?
  2. Literally translated, Asahi means "rising sun."
  3. stemked

    stemked Moderator

    There are still more than two.
    In addition to Tamron and Sigma, a quick buzz by B&H finds Bower, Vivitar, Voigtlander, Zeiss, and Phoenix (Phoenix and Vivitar I imagine are done by the same company). And there still are screw and K-mounts made by Eastern European makers that are .
    Back in the days when there were 'dozens' I think you would have found many of those lenses were being made by a small number of companies who rebagged the lenses under different names.
    It would obviously be nice if Tokina, Tamron, and Sigma offered more of their lenses in K-mount (especially longer focal lengths), but I think considering the K-mount's market share there isn't a whole lot to complain about.
  4. The Voigtlander and 35mm Zeiss SLR lenses are all made by Cosina. Phoenix and Vivitar also relabel Cosina lenses, although Vivitar also buys from Korea (Samyang). The Bower/Vivitar/Phoenix 85mm f1.4 is a Samyang.
    So I guess a more accurate list of 3rd party manufacturers would be: Tamron, Tokina, Sigma, Cosina, Samyang.
    I think Angenieux and Taylor Hobson are still around as well..
  5. There are also ARAX, Hartblie and technicaly lens babies is a lens too. I am sure there are more still.
  6. What does Asahi mean?​
    Asahi is rōmaji transcript for "朝日" which consists of:
    朝 - asa = Morning
    日 - hi/bi = Sun or Day
    So "Asahi" can loosely be translated as morning sun or even rising sun.
  7. I wonder if Topcon is making any third-party lenses for cameras, behind the scenes. I know that they are very active making lenses for video projectors, even the complete optical assemblies. They also made a lot of photocopier lenses, until photocopiers switched from optical to digital. I'm sure that they also make the lenses for all their surveying gear and opthalmology products, which are their primary businesses now.

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