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“Retro” Camera Ads

Those of us who lived during the times of the film SLRs remember that these times were indeed exciting as we waited for the next film SLR model, with better features and functionality. Camera manufacturers numbered in the dozens, with names like (in alphabetical order): Canon, Hasselblad, Leica, Mamiya, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Ricoh, Rollei, Yashica; and film manufacturers with names like Agfa, Fuji, Ilford, Kodak. Only a handful continue to this day, some have changed hands, a couple are trying to re-invent themselves, others have unfortunately disappeared.

American Photographer was a monthly magazine that was in circulation from 1978 until 1990, focusing on professional photography. (The magazine was renamed American Photo in 1990.) Photography and camera enthusiast Karl Blessing has scanned many of the print ads from American Photographer magazine for the years 1979 through 1987. The face you see in the ad up there is probably one of the most famous face of that time period and is that of Yoshihisa Maitani, main designer of the Olympus OM-1 SLR, the OM System and the Olympus PEN cameras.

Want more “retro” camera ads? Google Books has scanned issues of Popular Photography from Jan 1981 to Aug 2005, and you’ll find 1,000s of ads there. Enjoy!

Take a look and read through them: have times changed–or are camera manufacturers still making the same promises about their latest and greatest state-of-the-art cameras?

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