Home
SearchSearch MemberlistMemberlist RegisterRegister ProfileProfile Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages Log inLog in

Researching your favorite Lens/Camera Gear
View previous topic :: View next topic  


PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 4:40 am    Post subject: Researching your favorite Lens/Camera Gear Reply with quote

I have a question for those of you who take your collecting one step further, and start too research the history of your favorite photographic equipment.

How do you go about it? What information do you consider beyond reproach...meaning its more than internet hearsay,speculation etc.


PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I buy books Smile


PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Books, internet, Leica Historica e.V. Wink


PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 6:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Researching your favorite Lens/Camera Gear Reply with quote

mo wrote:
I have a question for those of you who take your collecting one step further, and start too research the history of your favorite photographic equipment.

How do you go about it? What information do you consider beyond reproach...meaning its more than internet hearsay,speculation etc.


That depends what specifically one is researching. My special interest is Konica, especially the AR system and the information about it in the West is basically limited to the Konica instruction manuals, brochures, advertising materials, and a few books whose general tone also place them squarely in the promotional material sphere. To get more detailed information the better photo magazines of the day are useful. Their drawback is that though they may give a detailed description of the gear, they usually say little about the company itself. The best source for info by far are Japanese photo magazines from the period and there was a half dozen very good titles that examined photo gear and their makers in depth. The only, if enormous, drawback of such sources is the language barrier. There is also the problem that the Japanese photo media was a pretty closed shop and most of their titles never left Japan. To give you an idea, even the better stocked academic and professional libraries in Europe don't have some of the titles I'd be interested in, of if they do, it's one or two libraries, and they have 3-4 years worth, and no more. And when you do manage to locate an article - after weeks if not months of efforts - you need to hire a translator with some rudimentary knowledge of photography to make sense of the text. It can be an expensive hobby at times.

But a hobbyist like me can also find much interesting information on his/her own. I was very interested in Konica Hexanon lenses, their time and volume of production. After months of searching for information and writing to Konica-Minolta (only to find that the twenty-somethings that staff their History Dept. know even less than I do, if that's possible), I decided to start collecting data myself. It took me 5-6 years to get a database of over 10,000 Hexanon lenses. Such a sample of serial numbers and production codes produces an image that allows one to answer many questions and, just as importantly, debunk many a fancy assumption.

Very often, to answer certain questions it is enough to keep one's eyes open, and exercise one's deductive skills. It's amazing how much seemingly unrelated information is floating around out there. Very often it's just a matter of putting 2 and 2 (and 3) together. This way of uncovering things does not come with a 100% factual guarantee, but very often delivers a degree of "beyond reasonable doubt" probability that one can live with quite comfortably.

Researching something?


Last edited by konicamera on Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:19 am; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 6:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Researching your favorite Lens/Camera Gear Reply with quote

mo wrote:
I have a question for those of you who take your collecting one step further, and start too research the history of your favorite photographic equipment.

How do you go about it? What information do you consider beyond reproach...meaning its more than internet hearsay,speculation etc.


MFLenses.com, Online Books, Sales materials, Manuals, other online sources.
Books. For Asashi Pentax M42 I used:

Gurjan van Oosten "The UIltimate Asahi Pentax Screw Mount Guide 1952-1977"
Herbert Keppler "The Asahi Pentax Way", 5th ed, 1971
Joseph D. Cooper "The Pentax Manual", 1975

The last two authors also wrote books about other camera systems, such as for Nikon equipments.

Why was the word "internet" inserted in explanation of your question meaning? Wink (makes no difference internet or not, eh? Smile)


PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to all who have replied.

I am, casually at best, researching the Humble Pancolar 2/50,why because I like its style : ) I have been, on and off over three years (I have forgotten when I started) collecting the serial numbers of this particular lens from ebay and other sites.Mainly ebay as other language sites can be hard to find and navigate your way through.I certainly understand how hard the language barrier is. I have,many thanks to Klaus, Hartmut Thieles Fabrikationsbuch Photooptik II,which has helped me a great deal.

There is possibly not that much too really find out or discover about this lens, but its something I enjoy doing in my down time.

I mentioned the internet, as there can be alot of "misleading" "speculative" comments that come up when you are searching.Perhaps not so much for the lens I am looking at but its there.


PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mo wrote:
. . . There is possibly not that much too really find out or discover about this lens, but its something I enjoy doing in my down time.

I mentioned the internet, as there can be alot of "misleading" "speculative" comments that come up when you are searching.Perhaps not so much for the lens I am looking at but its there.


Plotting its variations might give you some idea about the ups and downs of the East German photo industry. It's unfortunate that you don't live in Germany and don't speak fluent German because there will certainly be a mass of archive material on both the Jena Zeiss set up and the rest of the DDR's photographic makers Wink What really interests me is WHY things happened, but without trustworthy documentary sources that can be very difficult to find out. Mmm, it's sometimes nearly as hard even if you do have the records !

You're 100% right about misleading and speculative material on the internet. I can think of one highly detailed set of web pages that, although seemingly based on factory records, are so highly coloured in their comments that the content is seriously devalued. And Konicamera makes an excellent point in saying how seemingly unrelated snippets of information can come together to fill larger gaps in knowledge.

Keep on looking - don't trust anything without a source reference (and check that if you can) but never discard or disbelieve anything until you've definitely dis-proved it. Research is sometimes exciting but can also be a long slog.