The club has a number of accomplished collectors and authors that regularly contribute to the club magazine. Persons wanting to join the club should contact Dario Bonazza at his e-mail below. Dario has been the primary catalist in moving the club. He takes on many of the club and magazine related duties. He is also an avid collector of Asahi Optical Company photographic equipment and literature. Dario welcomes contact with other collectors, and, he encourages all those interested in AOC and Pentax items to become a member in the AOHC.
Asahi Optical Historical Club
Via Badiali, 138
Introduced in February 1960 in Japan and staying in production for 3 years, this was the meter that started the 'spot' metering exposure readings. It looks like a miniature medium format camera made for viewing into at chest level, and containing a reflex prism viewing system with a 3 degree angle of view.
The sensitive CDs element is centered in the 21 degree viewing area angle and it also has
a 1.5X magnified image field. Power is by two 1.3V batteries for the CdS light meter and
also a dry cell 22.5V battery for the meter mechanism switch. With the meter there was a
leather carrying case, strap, lens cap and a rubber eyecup. Looking through the viewer
there is the ground glass viewing screen similar to that of the H2 and H3. On the screen
is a circular area of 21 degrees and in the center is a smaller 3 degree circle for the
'spot' metering. This gives the light reading in two reading scales 'H' for high 10 to 18
and 'L'for low light levels from 2 to 10.
The button on top of the meter is switchable for High or Low light; pressed half-way gives you readings for bright light and fully depressed for low dim lighting. On earlier units the lens was of the Asahiflex chrome finish with the front element tube of AOC black finish with chrome serrated flange edge. The lens takes the Leica 46mm filters and lens hood. This was ideal if a filter was to be used on the camera because you could simply fit the same type on the meter and take the corrected reading. This is the main reason why the meter was so popular with photographers worldwide, it was a major success for AOC.
Color balance was also compensated for, when using the Cadmium Sulphide CdS cells, which are so light sensitive the unit was compensated for the color correction reading in the 30 meter. To make and read a reading of view, press the button as per the brightness of light available, half or fully pressed, the LL meter needle on the scale noted, then use the two rings on the lens to get the correct camera settings. The scale have aperture settings f/l to f/128, film speeds from ASA 3 to ASA 6400. Line up your ASA speed to the index mark programmed the meter, then the LL number on the viewing scale in the screen was also lined up with a mark on the ring, now these two settings would give you a selection of shutter speeds and correct aperture settings for a correct exposure of your camera. So an example, set the first ring 'ASA' set to 100 align to 'dot' index mark on casing. On this same ring the aperture marks are above the ASA markings, now looking into viewer and pressing chrome button fully down as light is dim, read the scale which says just before 9, so now rotate top ring and set 9 next to 'dot' on lens barrel, now we can take settings for the camera, we can have f/22 at 1 second going larger f/5.6 at 1/1 5 second or f/2.8 giving 1/60 second.
The lower half of the body which is satin chrome finished unscrews for insert of batteries. There is a screw just behind of the eyepiece that is for fine adjustment of the meter needle as you would adjust any CdS meter. This is the only meter made by Asahi Opt. Co, in this guise, the following Spotmeters were and are of the pistol grip shape with side dials and a 10/21 degree angle view 'spot' metering, but this is the milestone for every camera manufactor, in giving the world of photography the true 'spot' meter system.
At nearly the same time in 1960 AOC introduced the clip-on CdS exposure meter for the Hl and H3 but early models of these and that of the H2 could be modified by simply fitting new type speed dials that incorporated a slot to engage the pin on the under side of the clip-on exposure meters. So this is a part of the early cameras that you can't take as original equipment when trying to date your cameras with the serial number, but this is another article story for AOHC. -original text by the author- Info sources: Honeywell Pentax and A.O.C. Japan Technical Dept.