Topcon  –  Vintage Camera Brand

Topcon Brand Overview

Topcon logo

Founded: 1932 — Tokyo, Empire of Japan
(modern day Japan)
Currently: Topcon Corporation

Topcon Brand History

Topcon is a Japanese brand founded in 1932 as Tokyo Kogaku Kikai K.K. (Tokyo Optical Co., Ltd.) to make instruments for the Imperial Japanese Army. The company began as a spinoff from the shutter manufacturer Seikosha, itself a subsidiary of K.Hattori & Co.,Ltd. which later became wristwatch and clock company Seiko.

In 1937, the company started making medium format folding cameras like the Minion for the consumer market. In 1957, the company began manufacturing its famous line of Topcon-branded 35mm SLRs, a move that proved so commercially successful that they suspended all other products. By 1963, the company debuted the revolutionary Topcon RE Super, the very first SLR to feature a TTL (through-the-lens) metering system.

Unfortunately, the company lost its innovative touch with SLRs by the late 1960s and defaulted instead to manufacturing variants of the same basic models until camera production ceased entirely in 1981. The company officially changed its name to Topcon Corporation in 1989 and now produces optical equipment for both industrial and medical applications.

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

McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 2001-2002. (Grantsburg, WI, USA: Centennial Photo Service, 2001), p 635-638.

“History of Topcon,” Topcon Global Gateway,

“Tokyo Kogaku,” Camerapedia,

Vintage Camera Lab