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Berthiot

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SOM Berthiot or Berthiot in short was a French optical company from about the beginning of the XXth century. SOM standed for Société d'Optique et de Mécanique, i.e. Optical and Mechanical Company.

Very early, it made the Périgraphe wide angle lenses for large format. These had a very slow aperture but a huge coverage and some are still in use today. After World War I, it sold some cameras under their name (see for example this page at Photoptic); it is not certain if Berthiot made them or had them manufactured by someone else.

It was one of the most famous French lens makers. After the war, it competed with Angénieux in both still and cine lenses. Berthiot made a handful of lenses in Leica screw mount and Contax rangefinder mount. They are very rare and today they can fetch high prices at collectors auctions.

For the cine lens market, Berthiot launched the Pan-Cinor lenses in 1950 with variable focal length (today called zoom lenses), whereas Angénieux released its Zoom lenses in 1958. In 1960, Berthiot released the Servo-Cinor lens for 8mm cameras with a built-in selenium meter driving auto exposure.

In 1964, SOM Berthiot merged with OPL (the maker of the Foca rangefinder camera) to become SOPELEM (Société d'Optique Précision ELEctronique et Mécanique).

Some trademarks of Berthiot were:

  • Flor
  • Angulor
  • Olor
  • Cinor, Pan Cinor, Servo Cinor
  • Périgraphe
  • Aquilor

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In English:

In French:

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