First 35mm SLR? Leica? : LUSENET : Leica Photography : One Thread

I know that Leica produced the first ever 35mm camera in Wetzler in 1913 but was the Leicaflex Std the first 35 SLR? SR

-- Steve Rasmussen (, December 23, 1999


This doesn't directly answer your question, but I think technically the M3 could be considered the first SLR because of the Visoflex attachment.

-- Tony Rowlett (, December 23, 1999.

The first 35mm SLR with a pentaprism as we know today, was the 1949 Zeiss Ikon VEB Contax S camera made in Dresden, Germany.

-- martin tai (, January 03, 2000.

The Leicaflex did not come along until 1964 and the M3 was introduced in 1953. Back in 1935 Leica introduced the PLOOT reflex housing along with a 200mm f4.5 lens. This, when used with a camera :-), is considered the first 35mm SLR. The PLOOT used a vertical finder with the image inverted horizontally (no pentaprism). The Visoflex 3 reflex housing and lenses (direct decendants of the PLOOT) for the M cameras were discontinued in 1984. Leica was not the first camera to use motion picture film (which we now call 35mm film) nor was it the first camera with the now standard 24mm x 35mm format; however, it was the camera that popularized both. This is a garbage sentence so all of the previou

-- John Collier (, March 11, 2000.

The first SLR using the 24x36 format was the Kine-Exakta, launched in 1936.

Paul Perron

-- Paul Perron (, March 31, 2000.

Boy! It sure took a long time to get THERE, didn't it! :-) (I'm agreeing with the Exacta.)

-- Michael Darnton (, May 25, 2000.

The (Ihagee) Exacta, I always thought... I have a couple of old German pre and post war camera store catalogs. Two things stand out

1) How many innovative configurations were available-a far cry from today's standardized camera offerings.

2) How luxuriously well produced the catalogs were.

-- Mani Sitaraman (, May 25, 2000.

This is quoted from page 18 of Ivor Matanle's Collecting Classic Cameras (New York: Thames & Hudsons, 1986):

"In 1936, Ihagee of Dresden, which had since 1934 been manufacturing its VP Exakta single-lens reflexes designed for 127 size film (eight exposures) launched what is usually credited with being the world's first 35mm single-lens reflex, a major landmark in camera development. According to a 1984 editorial in the British magazine Amateur Photographer, the Kine-Exakta, as it was then known to distinguish it from the rolfilm cameras, was not actually first, having been just preceded by a Russian camera known as the 'Sport'. However, recent (1994) research by the Exakta Circle, a specialist group within the Photographic Collectors Club of Great Britain has confirmed to most collectors' satisfaction that the Kine- Exacta was indeed the first 35mm SLR. The Knie-Exakta, available only with waist-level finder (the advent of the pentaprism had to await the Contax S of 1984), developed an enthusiatic following which continues to this day."

If I'm not wrong, Leica did not enter the SLR-market fray until relatively recently, with the 1964 Leicaflex (sometimes referred to as the Leicaflex I).

-- Hoyin Lee (, October 22, 2000.

Erratum; part of the above quote from Ivor Mantanle's book should read: ". . . (the advent of the pentaprism had to await the Contax S of 1948) . . . ." Sorry for the typo.

-- Hoyin Lee (, October 22, 2000.

The first 35mm SLR was not Exakta. It was a 1935 Russian SLR camera.

-- martin tai (, October 25, 2000.

If your talking about "viewing through the lens" not an actual SLR,then it really is the original large-format glass plate cameras from last centuary.

-- Sean anderson. (, October 01, 2001.

Nice point, but they were neither 35mm nor SLReflex. I thought it had been the Ihagee Exak(IMHO)ta, the one my father used and loved - and, boy, not only the manuals were well made and solid - but what about the Russian one, any name, photos of that one available?

-- Lutz Konermann (, October 02, 2001.

Oops, just noticed that this one is a last centuries thread... Will anybody follow it? Hello...?! Anybody out there...? ;o)

-- Lutz Konermann (, October 02, 2001.

Lutz: I'm here.

The Russian camera, which continued into the early forties, was the C*opt (Sport). I can't find any pictures on the web yet. As to whether it actually preceded the Exakta, I have no evidence either - very contemporary with it in any case.

1st SUCCESSFUL 35mm S(ingle) L(ens) R(eflex) - Exakta; 1936. Wait-level viewing, no instant return mirror, manual aperture. "Reflex" refers to a viewing system with a mirror in the light path to make the focusing/viewing image upright and horizontal.

1st eye-level (pentaprism) 35mm SLR - Contax S, 1948-ish. Still had a mirror that stayed up (a la Hasselblad) after exposure until film was wound.

1st instant-return mirror: 1955-ish Asahiflex.

-- Andy Piper (, October 02, 2001.

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