Dating argus cameras

The most popular design in the '50s were folding designs like the Kodak Retina and the Zeiss Contessa.

In the 1960s many fixed-lens 35mm rangefinder cameras for the amateur market were produced by several manufacturers, mainly Japanese, including Canon, Fujica, Konica, Mamiya, Minolta, Olympus, Petri Camera, Ricoh, and Yashica.

Many of them, such as the Minolta 7s II and the Vivitar 35ES, were fitted with high-speed, extremely high quality optics.

Though eventually replaced in the market with newer compact autofocus cameras, many of these older rangefinders continue to operate, having outlived most of their newer (and less well-constructed) successors.

The best-known rangefinder cameras take 35mm film, use focal plane shutters, and have interchangeable lenses.

These are Leica screwmount (also known as M39) cameras developed for lens manufacturer Ernst Leitz Wetzlar by Oskar Barnack (which gave rise to very many imitations and derivatives), Contax cameras manufactured for Carl Zeiss Optics by camera subsidiary Zeiss-Ikon and, after Germany's defeat in World War II, produced again and then developed as the Ukrainian Kiev), Nikon S-series cameras from 1951 to 1962 (with design inspired by the Contax and function by the Leica), and Leica M-series cameras.

Canon manufactured several models from the 1930s until the 1960s; models from 1946 onwards were more or less compatible with the Leica thread mount.

Starting with a camera made by the small Japanese company Yasuhara in the 1990s, there has been something of a revival of rangefinder cameras.

Aside from the Leica M series, rangefinder models from this period include the Konica Hexar RF, Cosina, who makes the Voigtländer Bessa T/R/R2/R3/R4 (the last three are made in both manual or aperture automatic version, which use respectly the "m" or "a" sign in model), and the Hasselblad Xpan/Xpan 2.

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