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Miranda T and TII

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The Miranda T is the first Japanese 35mm SLR camera with an eyelevel pentaprism finder, launched in 1955 by the Orion Camera Co. A prototype called the Phoenix was presented in 1954 by Orion Seiki, but the camera name was changed due to a trademark conflict.

The prototype enabled the owners of Orion Seiki to raise sufficient funds to establish the Orion Camera Co., and start production in 1955. The camera is engraved Orion Camera Co. above the lens. In 1957, after just two years in existence, the company name was changed to Miranda Camera Company, and their products accordingly marked Miranda Camera Co..

The Miranda T was an advanced camera at the time of introduction. It was the first camera made by this manufacturer, but they were already widely known for their engineering ingenuity, reputedly able to solve almost any problem, like special lens adapters for most cameras, even those otherwise considered impossible to match (see e.g. the Orion Coupler). A particular speciality leading up to the introduction of this camera was the Mirax reflex housing for use on rangefinder cameras.

The Miranda T is the first 35mm SLR camera specially designed for, and equipped with an interchangeable pentaprism finder. The Contax S, the Rectaflex, and the Alpa Prisma Reflex pioneered the use of a fixed pentaprism in 1949, and a prism finder was made available at an extra cost in 1950 for the Exakta Varex. The convenient Miranda slide-on prism mount concept is next seen on the 1957 Topcon R and the USSR Start in 1958, and the following year on the Canonflex, while the 1959 Nikon F is based on the Exakta Varex mount, securing the prism by a number of hooks.

The Miranda T is equipped with a dual lens mount, inherited from the Mirax reflex housing. It consists of a large-diameter 44mm screw mount and a sturdy external bayonet mount. The original standard lens was the rare Zunow 5cm f/1.9. Among the early interchangeable lenses available for the camera was the Orion Supreme 10.5cm f/2.8. The Focabell bellows, which actually preceded the Miranda camera, was also available from the start.

A small number of these cameras were made available with shutter speeds to 1/1000 sec., known as the Miranda TII. It has a slightly different styling, including a black shutter-speed dial, and it was usually sold with the Arco 5cm f/2.4. The Miranda camera with the Orion Camera Co. markings is among the most sought after 35mm SLRs by camera collectors today. The serial numbers have six digits in the 55xxxx range.

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