#Arkive EV: Adapting the first interchangeable SLR AF lens. Ricoh AF Rikenon.

Started Nov 27, 2019 | Discussions thread
Ching-Kuang Shene
Ching-Kuang Shene Veteran Member • Posts: 6,369
Some Notes on AF SLR Lens History

Aoi Usagi wrote:

Here is the first interchangeable SLR autofocus lens, the Ricoh AF Rikenon 50mm F2 lens.

Is it really the first SLR AF lens? According to Ricoh it is. However there is a big asterisk. This lens came out in 1981 or there about. In the late 1970’s Pentax already came out with the SMC Pentax- AF 35-70mm F2.8 lens with AF functionality, which like the Ricoh is also a K-mount lens. So why do Ricoh claim it’s the first AF SLR lens? That’s because it is the first stand-alone lens with autofocus function. The Pentax lens needed the camera body for AF functionality where the Ricoh can be mounted to any K-mount SLR and have full AF functionality. The lens does not have any type of electronic communication to the camera body and the only mechanical linkage is the aperture lever. This makes it very suitable for adapting, or so I thought. The lens itself is the same optical construction as the Ricoh P 50mm F2 lens with 6 elements in 5 groups as well as the rebranded Sears lenses.

Well, the Pentax AF 35-70 f/2.8 is not released in the late 1970's. Instead, it appeared on the market in early 1982 or late 1981. The Pentax is NOT the first AF SLR lens, instead it is the first TTL AF SLR lens because the AF sensor is in the SLR body. The first batch of the so-called self-contained AF lenses consisted of Canon FD 35-70mm f/4 AF and Chinon AF 50mm f/1.7. During that era every company claimed their things being the first based on their own timelines.

This thread has a brief discussion of the Chinon CE-4s with Chinon AF 50mm 1:1.7. A brief review of the SLR AF lenses can be found here (in Chinese) . But, don't forget that Nikon showed their first AF camera/lens prototype in 1971 and Leica also demoed their Correfot in 1976 Photokina.


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