With the development of SLR -cameras, the ability to compose your image exactly with a full range of functions (such as manual aperture and shutter speed settings) finally became possible, even with compact cameras.
The post-war years saw the rise of another photographic development that was to turn photography upside down. The first serial produced S L R (single- lens reflex) cameras hit the market. Even though they cannot be considered as real compact cameras, these single-lens reflex cameras were quite small for the options they offered. With the help of a movable mirror, it became possible to look through the viewfinder and to see the exact same image as it was projected onto the film. As soon as the picture is taken, the mirror, which is situated behind the objective moves away and the exact image that is seen through the viewfinder is burnt onto the film. This was truly novel, as previously viewfinders had always showed a slightly different picture from what the camera was in fact taking.
With the development of SLR -cameras, the ability to compose your image exactly with a full range of functions (such as manual aperture and shutter speed settings) finally became possible, even with compact cameras. Shortly before, this option was restricted to more expensive and larger professional. Even though single-lens reflex cameras were already around in the late 1930s they reached their true perfection only in the 1950s and 1960s. The 1936 German Ihagee Kine-Exakta is considered to be the first 35mm SLR, but rumour has it that our friends at LOMO PLC in Russia had already planned the reflex-camera S PO R T a little bit earlier. Many say that the East German Contax S of 1949 was the first serially produced SLR. As usual, many different and advanced models were introduced in the following decade. It was notably Japanese manufacturers who quickly developed the single-lens reflex technique. Models from companies such as Asahi Pentax, Canon, Yashica and Nikon were released and are still popular today for their high quality and sharp optics. The Nikon F is therefore said to be the most successful 35mm SLR ever.
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