and who made your camera?

Camera Module

Toronto. You do know don’t you? No? I thought so! Photography has a long history of camera makers, lens makers, film manufacturers, paper makers, etc. In the 1930s to 1950s photographers argued heatedly about Zeiss and Leitz and who made the best camera and the best lenses. Whether “minicams” like the Leica could make decent fine grain prints or should one use a 4×5 Graphic instead? Is a tripod necessary or are there other ways to hold a camera steady? Can flash augment the light or should photo floods be used?

In the last century a camera maker might buy shutters, or lenses, or timers, or rangefinders or exposure meters from another source specializing in those items. Even Leitz used other suppliers –  a Swiss company made the slow speed module and a German company (Metrawatt) made the exposure meters, both selenium cell and CdS cell versions.  Zeiss lenses where used on many different cameras. My Exakta used lenses from Zeiss and many other suppliers like Steinheil and Angenieux.

Leitz even used lenses from Schneider to extend its line. Others made Leica lenses as well for various reasons. Wollensak in the States during the second world war, and some German companies also made Leica screw mount lenses. Even French makers such as Berthiot made lenses for the Leica (I have one – a light aluminum model I bought from Bill Belier).

And in the latter part of the last century Leitz even used Japanese companies Like Fuji, Minolta, and Panasonic to make cameras rebadged as Leicas (I called them my Leica Plastikas).

Today, camera modules are simply added to smartphones during assembly and nobody bothers to learn who made their camera, lens, or sensor anymore. I don’t! All I know is my Apple iPod Touch has a 5 mpx camera with a 3mm lens that equates to 35mm focal length and auto sets the exposure (combination of aperture, shutter and ISO) and light balance for me. Built in software lets me adjust the image to suit me. With my photography background I can appreciate the importance of sufficient light and holding the tiny “camera” very still during the brief exposure to get reasonably sharp images immediately ready to upload or print.

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