THE TOPCON CAMERAS:
A truly great camera is the product of years of planning, of scientific research, of ingenious design, of precision craftsmanship and of the most advanced production methods. Such a program was undertaken by Tokyo Kogaku, one of the oldest and largest Japanese manufacturers of precision optical and photographic equipment. The result was the famous TOPCON.
- R (aka BESELER B TOPCON) - a SLR with quick mirror return mechanism, focal plane shutter with top speed of 1/1000th of a second, interchangeable pentaprism, bayonet lens mount (a copy of the EXAKTA mount), plus support of Auto-TOPCOR lenses with external semi-automatic diaphragm;
- R II (aka BESELER C TOPCON) - a model that added support of F. Auto-TOPCOR lenses with internally coupled fully automatic diaphragm, and a self-timer;
- R III Automatic - as R II, but with shutter speeds combined on a single dial, plus a front accessory shoe to enable mounting of an externally-coupled exposure meter;
- RS - an early meterless version of the RE SUPER;
- RE SUPER (aka BESELER TOPCON SUPER D) - the world's first 35mm SLR camera with through-the-lens (TTL) open-aperture metering system. The new RE. Auto-TOPCOR lenses automatically indexed the lens aperture to the internal metering system when one was mounted;
- RE-2 (aka BESELER TOPCON D-1) - a model for advanced amateurs / a less-expensive backup camera for professionals. It had a newly-developed, vertically-travelling, metal, Copal Square shutter, top X-Sync shutter speed of 1/125th of a second (compared to 1/60th of the RE SUPER), fixed pentaprism finder/focusing screen, and lacked a DoF preview lever;
- SUPER D (aka BESELER TOPCON SUPER D) - a revised RE SUPER with a shutter release lock, mirror lock-up, and reduced travel of the wind lever;
- SUPER DM - a model with a new CC (Control Center) pentaprism finder and support for motorized Auto Winder;
- RE 200 (aka EXAKTA EDX 2) - a model with fixed pentaprism finder with match LED, centerweighted metering system using two CdS cells, and a built-in hot shoe, but without mirror lock-up and a DoF preview lever;
- RE 300 (aka EXAKTA EDX 3) - as RE 200, but with support for motorized Auto Winder-II. This was Tokyo Kogaku's last 35mm SLR camera, as the company exited the consumer camera market altogether at the end of the year 1980.
THE TOPCOR LENSES:
The brand TOPCOR was always synonymous with the finest in optical quality. The top quality TOPCOR lens group included lenses in the most-used focal lengths up to super telephoto 500mm, plus zoom and macro lenses. The diameter of the TOPCON/EXAKTA mount was quite small, only 38mm, which imposed certain restrictions on the development of ultra-wide angle and large aperture lenses, however, Tokyo Kogaku managed to release both 20mm ultra-wide angle lens (for use without mirror lock-up) and standard lenses with a large maximum aperture of F/1.4. Plans included a RE. Fish-Eye Auto-TOPCOR 7mm F/4, as well as Reflex-TOPCOR 1000mm F/7 and RE. Auto-TOPCOR 1000mm F/11 super telephoto lenses, but these were never put into mass production.
- The Auto-TOPCOR series - the first generation of lenses with external semi-automatic diaphragm. These lenses are not recorded in our database;
- The R. TOPCOR series - telephoto lenses with semi-automatic preset diaphragm action. Could be used on any TOPCON cameras, from the R to RE 300;
- The F. Auto-TOPCOR series - models with internal fully automatic diaphragm action. These lenses were designed for the R II and R III Automatic, and were not compatible with the RE SUPER. Styling was very different from the RE. Auto-TOPCOR lenses, with the focusing distance scale behind a plastic window;
- The RE. Auto-TOPCOR series - models with internal fully automatic instant-opening diaphragm action internally coupled to the built-in exposure meter of the RE SUPER and its successors. These lenses originally featured a matte chrome finish, but with the introduction of the SUPER DM, the finish was changed to professional black, except for the 20mm and 25mm lenses;
- The RE GN TOPCOR series - as the RE. Auto-TOPCOR lenses, but with a Flash-Matic system for automatically setting the correct f/number to the lens for the focused distance when the guide number (GN) of the flash bulb or electronic flash unit was first set to the lens and locked in. The Flash-Matic system eliminated the need for calculating the correct f/number in flash photography and gave accurately exposed flash-illuminated photos all the time;
- The RE TOPCOR series - models introduced in 1977 along with the RE 200. These lenses were designed and produced by Cima Kogaku and do not have the same cult status as Tokyo Kogaku branded lenses.
To round out the TOPCON system of photography, a full range of top quality accessories were also available for greatly increasing versatility in various fields of photography - such as, macrophotography, photomicrography, slide copying and reproduction work.