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Actiplan

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The Actiplan 105mm f/4.5 lenses are mounted on the Minolta and Auto Minolta strut-folders made from 1933 to 1937. They were succeeded by the four-element Promar 105mm f/3.5 on the Auto Press Minolta released in 1937.

The full engraving is Actiplan Anastigmat München on the earlier lenses, later replaced by Actiplan Anastigmat Nippon.[1]

Origin Edit

The early name "Actiplan Anastigmat München" is very similar to the "Heliostar Anastigmat München" lens name found on various Japanese cameras of the early 1930s, including some Sirius, Lomax, Arcadia, Eaton and Happy manufactured by Minolta's predecessor Molta. This suggests that the Actiplan and Heliostar were supplied by the same company. The origin of the Heliostar itself is unclear; it was perhaps assembled in Japan from loose elements imported from Germany (see the discussion in the corresponding page).

The switch from "München" to "Nippon" certainly indicates that the production of the Actiplan was transferred to Japan at some time. The new name "Actiplan Anastigmat Nippon" is similar to the names "Coronar Anastigmat Nippon" and "Promar Anastigmat Nippon" used by Asahi Kōgaku (predecessor of Pentax) for lenses mounted on various other Minolta models. The Actiplan was probably manufactured by Asahi Kōgaku too.[2] That company was perhaps the assembler of the first "München" lenses too.

Lens numbers Edit

It seems that the same sequence of serial numbers is shared by the Heliostar, Actiplan, Coronar 105mm (on the Happy) and Promar 105mm (on the Auto Press Minolta). That sequence starts around 73xxx with the earliest Heliostar, and goes up to 108xxx with the last Promar. The common numbering further suggests that all these lenses were assembled by Asahi Kōgaku, but it is no definitive proof because the numbering was perhaps decided by a distributor company acting as a third party — for example Asanuma Shōkai, distributor of the Minolta cameras.

Serial numbers for the Actiplan Anastigmat München are found between 77xxx and 80xxx, parallel the Heliostar Anastigmat München. For the Actiplan Anastigmat Nippon, serial numbers are known from 84xxx to 102xxx, parallel to the Coronar Anastigmat Nippon 105mm f/4.5 of the Happy and to the late Heliostar Anastigmat München. The Promar Anastigmat Nippon 105mm f/3.5 of the Auto Press Minolta comes immediately after, with the earliest numbers reported in the 102xxx or 103xxx range.

Notes Edit

  1. The early engraving is visible in Awano, p.15 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.12, in Tanimura, p.97 of the same magazine, and on the original Minolta pictured in the 70th anniversary Minolta poster reproduced at Photoclub Alpha.
  2. The Actiplan is attributed to Asahi Kōgaku in Lewis, p.182. No original document has yet been found to confirm this.

Bibliography Edit

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