Makina Optical Co., Ltd was a Japanese manufacturer of cameras and lenses. In Japan they were known as Makina Kogaku Kambushiki Kaisha. Makina Optical was founded in 1967 in Gotanda, Shinagawa, Tokyo. According to stories, the company started manufacturing in a garage and employed part time housewives for assembly Makina manufactured lenses for OEM branding by other companies such as Vivitar and Hanimex. Starting in 1974 they began selling lenses under their own brand names, primarily Makinon but they also registered the Makinar trademark. (note that Makina, Makinon and Makinar were also brand names used by German company Plaubel prior to the 1970s). Like many small Japanese lens manufacturers, Makina Optical went out of business in the 1980s as consumers switched from manual focus to auto focus camera systems. High-patent licensing costs made development of auto focus lenses cost-prohibitive for small companies. The exact date company went out of business is unknown but they are not listed in the 1985 edition of Camerart Photo Trade Directory, suggesting it was sometime between their last recorded trademark filing in 1979 and 1985.
The Makinon 28mm f/2.8 is generally well-regarded by collectors, as is the 28-85mm zoom. Otherwise, while their lenses were solidly built, they have a reputation for inconsistent quality control and sometimes have slight alignment issues that affect the image quality or operation of the lens. None of their lenses are considered a match for the quality of major Camera-brand lenses or high-end 3rd party lenses.
The company published an English-language book in 1983 titled Makinon Lens Photography by Stephen Bayley to promote the sales of their lenses in the United Kingdom.
Their trademark filings from the late 1970s provide this contact information:
MAKINA OPTICAL CO., LTD. (MAKINA KOGAKU KAMBUSHIKI KAISHA) NO. 31-1, KITASENZOKU 2-CHOME OHTA-KU, TOKYO-TU Japan
According to trademark filings the Makinon brand name was first used in February of 1975. The Makinon trademark was filed in the United States on 11 November, 1976, in Canada on 15 November 1976, in Australia on 10 September 1979, and in Ireland on 23 October, 1979. The Makinar trademark was filed in the United States on 8 November 1976 and in Canada on 15 November 1976. Both the Makinar and Mikinon trademarks have expired and are no longer actively used.
- Makinon MK-II 35mm Range-finder
- Makinon MK-V 35mm SLR
| Makinon 135mm f/2.8 Macro|
image by Jerry Kee (Image rights)
- Makinon 24mm f/2.8 Multi-Coated
- Makinon 28mm f/2.8 Multi-Coated
- Makinon 50mm f/1.7 Multi-Coated
- Makinon 135mm f/2.8 Multi-Coated
- Makinon 200mm f/4.5 Multi-Coated
- Makinon 200mm f/3.3 Multi-Coated
- Makinon 300mm f/5.6 MC Catadioptric Reflex Macro
- Makinon 500mm f/8 MC Catadioptric Reflex
- Makinon 1000mm f/11 MC Catadioptric Reflex
- Makinon 24-50mm f/3.3-4.5 MC Zoom
- Makinon 28-80mm f/3.5-4.5 MC Zoom
- Makinon 35-70mm f/3.5 MC Zoom
- Makinon 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom
- Makinon 75-150mm f/4.5 MC Zoom
- Makinon 75-150mm f/3.8 MC Zoom
- Makinon 80-200mm f/4.5 MC Zoom
- Makinon Auto 2X Tele Converter
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Spiral Blog: Makina Optical Co. History
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Makinon History
- ↑ Camerart Photo Trade Directory, 1982, ISBN 9780800230319
- ↑ Bayley, Stephen, Makinon Lens Photography, Dorkstar, Ltd. UK.
- ↑ Makinon trademark filing in United States
- ↑ Makinon trademark filing in Canada
- ↑ Makinon trademark filing in Australia
- ↑ Makinon trademark filing in Ireland
- ↑ Markinar trademark filing in United States
- ↑ Makinar trademark filing in Canada