Allied Impex

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Allied Impex Corporation, also known as AIC Photo, Inc and later Soligor, was an importer, distributor, and manufacturer of photographic equipment.

Contents

History

Allied Impex Corporation was founded by Four German Jews who fled to America after the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party. Victor and Ben Silverman were the owners. Bruno Multer handled Finances. The final original founder was Ralph Lowenstein, who was much younger than the other three men. Once the company began making money, a second entity, known as AIC Photo, Inc., was founded to act as the parent corporation with Allied Impex becoming the import/export company.[1]

The word "Impex" is believed to be a contraction of "Import Export". From 1956, AIC Photo, Inc. began using the brand name Soligor for cameras, lenses and accessories imported from Japan.[2] It imported the Miranda cameras and later, using money acquired from taking AIC Photo public, took control of the Miranda company at some time in the 1960s.[3]

The company founded a German sub-company called A.I.C. Phototechnik GmbH in 1968, that became Soligor GmbH in 1993.[4] This German company is the only one still active today (2009).[5] It is known for its rich product range of camera accessories.

Distributed cameras

35mm film

120 film

  • Soligor Reflex (TLR)
  • Soligor Reflex II (TLR)
  • Soligor Semi-Auto (TLR)
  • Soligor 66 (SLR)


Distributed lenses

Soligor distributed lenses in many different camera mounts, including nearly every 35mm SLR mount. It competed with Vivitar, and both sold the T and T4 mount lenses with interchangeable mounts. Vivitar also sold TX mount lenses, but Soligor did not. Soligor C/D lenses were intended to be higher-quality, much like Canon L lenses or Vivitar's Series 1 lenses. The C/D moniker is said to stand for either "Computer Designed" or "Compact Design" by collectors. Both designations are claimed to have been used in Soligor brochures but neither claim has been substantiated with a scan or photo showing the usage in print.[6]

The same rebadged lenses sold under the Soligor name by Allied Impex were often being sold at the same time through other distributors under badges such as Derek, Elicar, Gardenar, Flexar, Hanimex, Infotar, J.C. Penny, Mirage, Prinzflex, Porst, Super Carenar, Vivitar, and Weltblick


Soligor Argus Mount Lenses

  • Soligor 35mm f/3.5 for Argus C3
  • Soligor 135mm f/4.5 (black) for Argus C3
  • Soligor Elephoto 135mm f/4.5 (silver) for Argus C3

Soligor 35mm SLR T-4 Lenses

Soligor distributed a family of interchangeable mount lenses based on the T-4 system developed by Tokina in cooperation with Soligor and Vivitar. All the lenses in this line were manufactured by Tokina and are similar to the Vivitar T-4 family with the exception of minor cosmetic differences.

  • Soligor T-4 21mm f/3.8
  • Soligor T-4 28mm f/2.8
  • Soligor T-4 35mm f/2.8
  • Soligor T-4 105mm f/2.8
  • Soligor T-4 135mm f/2.8
  • Soligor T-4 135mm f/3.5
  • Soligor T-4 200mm f/3.5
  • Soligor T-4 250mm f/4.5
  • Soligor T-4 300mm f/5.5
  • Soligor T-4 55-135mm f/3.5 Zoom
  • Soligor T-4 75-260mm f/4.5 Zoom
  • Soligor T-4 90-230mm f/4.5 Zoom

Soligor 35mm SLR Fixed-Mount Lenses

  • MC Soligor AF Zoom 19-35mm f/3.5-4.5
  • Soligor 24mm f/2.8
  • Soligor 28mm f/2
  • Soligor 28mm f/2.8 Wide-Auto
  • MC Soligor S/M 28-70mm f/3.9-4.8 Zoom Macro
  • Soligor 28-80mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom Macro
  • Soligor 35mm f/2.8 Wide Auto
  • Soligor 35mm f/3.5
  • MC Soligor 35-70mm f/2.5-3.5 Zoom-Auto
  • Soligor MC 35-70mm f/3.5 Zoom Auto
  • MC Soligor 70-150mm f/3.5 Auto-Zoom (AI)
  • MC Soligor 70-160mm f/3.5 Zoom Macro
  • MC Soligor 70-220mm f/3.5 Zoom (AI)
  • Soligor 70-235mm f/4.5 Zoom (AI)
  • Soligor 75-205mm f/3.8 Zoom
  • MC Soligor 75-205mm f/3.8-4.5
  • Soligor 80-200mm f/4.5 Zoom
  • Soligor 80-210mm f/3.8 Auto Zoom
  • Soligor 85-205mm f/3.8 Macro+Zoom[7]
  • Soligor 90-230mm f/4.5 Auto Zoom, 58mm filter size
  • Soligor 105mm f/2.8 Tele-Auto
  • Soligor 130-500mm f/5.6-7.5 Zoom Auto
  • Soligor 135mm f/1.5
  • Soligor 135mm f/1.8
  • MC Soligor 135mm f/2.8 Auto
  • Soligor 200mm f/2.8
  • Soligor 200mm f/3.5 Tele-Auto
  • Soligor 300mm f/4.5 Tele-Auto
  • Soligor 400mm f/6.3
  • Soligor 400mm f/6.3 Auto
  • Soligor 450mm f/8
  • Soligor 500mm f/8 mirror
  • Soligor MC Auto Tele Converter 2x
  • Soligor MC Auto Tele Converter 3x
  • Soligor MP Auto Tele Converter 2x
  • Soligor 2x teleconverter

Soligor C/D 35mm SLR Mount Lenses

  • MC Soligor C/D 20mm f/2.8 Wide-Auto
  • MC Soligor C/D 28mm f/2.8 Wide-Auto
  • MC Soligor 28-55mm f/3.3-4.5 C/D Zoom Macro
  • MC Soligor C/D 28-80mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom Macro
  • MC Soligor C/D 35-70mm f/2.5-3.5 Zoom+Macro
  • MC Soligor C/D 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom+Macro
  • MC Soligor C/D 35-200mm f/3.5-4.8 Zoom Macro
  • MC Soligor C/D 35-200mm f/3.8-5.3 Zoom
  • MC Soligor C/D 45-150mm f/3.5 Zoom Macro
  • Soligor C/D 55mm f/2.8 Macro
  • MC Soligor C/D 55-210mm Zoom+Macro
  • Soligor C/D Zoom/Macro 70-160mm f/3.5
  • MC Soligor C/D 75-250mm f/4.5 Zoom Macro
  • MC Soligor C/D 80-200 f/4.5 Zoom+Macro
  • MC Soligor C/D Dual-focal 85mm f/4 / 135mm f/4
  • MC Soligor C/D 85-300mm f/5 Zoom Macro
  • MC Soligor C/D 90mm f/2.5 Macro MC
  • MC Soligor 95-310mm f/5.6 C/D Zoom Macro
  • MC Soligor C/D 100-300mm f/5 Zoom Macro
  • Soligor C/D 135mm f/2
  • Soligor C/D 135mm f/2.8
  • Soligor C/D 500mm f/8 Mirror
  • Soligor C/D 7 Auto Tele Converter 2x

Soligor Lens Codes

Soligor sometimes changed manufacturers for the same make and model lens multiple times and did not always indicate the manufacturer through any easily discernible means such as the serial number. It's often difficult to know what company manufactured a given lens. However, lens enthusiasts at the MFlenses forum are working to reverse engineer any information available through the lens coding system used by Soligor. You can help by contributing your lens make, model, and serial number.[8]

Light meters

  • Soligor Auto
  • Soligor Digital Spot
  • Soligor Flash Meter
  • Soligor Selector Cds
  • Soligor Spot Sensor
  • Soligor Spot Sensor II
  • Soligor UF
  • Soligor UF-II

Notes

  1. * The Demise of AIC and Miranda Camera Company by Lee Mannheimer GeoCity page archived 21 Oct 2009 via the Internet Archive
  2. Date: filing dated 1998 at Edgar Online.
  3. The FAQ of the Miranda Camera site says 1963, but the main page of the Miranda Society Japan says that it bought the shares in 1968 and took complete control in 1969.
  4. See this page of the Soligor GmbH official website.
  5. It seems that in 1997, the company Allied Impex Corporation was an empty structure based in the USA, owning the German company Soligor GmbH and itself owned by AIC International, Inc., another empty structure. Source: filing dated 1998 at Edgar Online.
  6. Debate over meaning of C/D on Soligor lenses
  7. MFlenses forum: Soligor 85-205
  8. MFlenses forum: Soligor lens manufacturer codes

Links

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In Japanese:

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