Alpa – cameras without factory?

Nikon, Canon, and, and, and, …: Few coarse companies dominate the camera industry and are headline encoders of daily updating reporting around the topic of photography. Quickly smaller companies from the focus – such as the camera manufacturer Alpa. The Swiss company not only looks back on a long-term history, it also has well-known lover – Rene Staud: He sets Alpa cameras for his photographs – c’t digital photography had reported in magazine 03/2014. Here is a background report on the company and its products:

The beginnings

The name Alpa goes back to the 1918 rounded company Pignons S.A. In Ballaigues / Western Switzerland, the home of the watch industry. Pignons was a classic supply company for the conveyor parts for watches of the same name, which searched for the highly fluctuating demand for the watch manufacturers after a balance.

Alpa models

Alpa - cameras without factory?

Alpa 12 fps

Then the company reached a suggestion of Jaques Bolsky (Bolex) in 1933 for a small picture SLR camera. In 1942, the first camera of the brand Alpa came to the Swiss market. Two years later, she was presented at the Basel model fair and sold worldwide from this time. By 1965, the production figures rose to 1500 pieces per year and, however, decreased significantly in the following years. In 1976, the Alpa 11SI with TTL exposure resources on three Si cells was presented the last of Pignon’s cameram model.

To the advantages of the Alpa-Kleinbild cameras belated from the beginning the lens support from only 37.80 mm, which allows it to mechanically adapt objectives from other small-screen SLR systems. Electrical contacts did not exist then. Partly it was even possible, shutting the aperture of the lenses over the camera outer. Without own objective production in Ballaigues, it was dependent on purchase and adaptation of objectives. The end for the Alpa and the Pignons S.A. came in 1990 under the prere of the Asian manufacturers who could offer complete camera systems from a single source. Six years later, there should be a new beginning in Zurich for the Alpa brand.

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