Kyocera  –  Vintage Camera Brand

Kyocera Brand Overview

Kyocera logo

Founded: 1959 — Kyoto, Japan
   
Currently: Kyocera Corporation

Kyocera Brand History

Kyocera is a Japanese company founded in 1959 in the city of Kyoto. Although better known for its mobile phones and ceramic goods than for its cameras, Kyocera’s brief foray into the world of photography produced some of the finest compact 35mm cameras ever made.

Originally founded as the Kyoto Ceramic Co., Ltd., the company produced ceramic goods like insulators for television sets and other electronics. Later on in the 1970s, the product line was expanded to include solar cells, synthetic gemstones, and industrial cutting tools. After buying out various electronic companies, the company renamed itself the Kyocera Corporation and began producing electronics like laptop computers, CD players, and turntables.

In 1983, Kyocera bought Yashica and entered the camera market. Fortunately, the purchase of Yashica included its partnership with famed German optical company Carl Zeiss. Taking full advantage of the situation, Kyocera launched the famous Yashica/Kyocera (and later Contax) T* series of compact 35mm cameras. With Japanese electronics and German lenses, T* cameras were discreet powerhouses with their unassuming exteriors. Kyocera also produced inexpensive compact cameras under the Yashica name as well as Contax-branded high-end 35mm rangefinders and SLRs.

Unfortunately, Kyocera exited the market in 2005 and ceased production of all Kyocera, Yashica, and Contax branded film and digital cameras. Kyocera currently manufactures ceramic goods and electronics for both consumer and industrial applications including printers, mobile phones, LCD panels, ceramic knives, and solar panels.

Interested in starting or growing your own collection of Kyocera cameras?
Check eBay to see what’s available.

References:

McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 2001-2002. (Grantsburg: Centennial Photo Service, 2001), 701-707.

“History,” Kyocera Corporation, http://global.kyocera.com/company/summary/history/until1979.html

“Contax brand comes to an end?,” Digital Photography Review, http://www.dpreview.com/articles/1936477124/contaxend

“Kyocera,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyocera

“Yashica,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yashica

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