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An overview of Fujica ST M42 35mm SLR camera models - 1971 to 1980

 

Fuji's 1970s SLR camera designs were clearly developed as competitors to the Pentax Spotmatic series: their choice of the M42 lens mount formed a bridge for Pentax users to cross to Fujica ownership. The ST701 competed with the Spotmatic II, and improved on that camera's performance. Models were initially smaller than their competitors, with faster, more responsive SPD metering, and exceptionally bright viewfinders, courtesy of a silvered prism. The ST801 offered more new technology via its viewfinder LEDs, and advanced open aperture metering, yet the required divergence in lens design coupling created a rift between Fujica / Pentax compatibility. The ST901's auto exposure, and step-less shutter went toe-to-toe with the flagship Pentax ESII, nevertheless, Fujica cameras failed to capture the market share they deserved - perhaps because, as a new brand, they were too expensive? The later 600 cameras took a different route: instead of competing through cutting edge technology, they offered lower cost, less technological photography, coupled with compatibility with any M42 lens through its stop down metering system. Of course, the full aperture metering models retained compatibility with other M42 lenses, but this required stop down metering, which detracted from their appeal.

 

1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 Metering/Eposure Notes
ST701 v1   Stop-down/centre-the-needle. First SLR to use SPD light measurement. Uses mercury cells and is unable to operate with any battery voltage variations (i.e. modern silver oxide batteries).
ST701 v2     Cosmetic changes only - shiny raised pentaprism logo replaced by engraved lettering.
  ST701 v3     Revised styling used in all subsequent models. Gained a split screen focusing spot and a hot shoe.
  ST801 v1   Full aperture/centre-the-LED. First SLR to use viewfinder LEDs in place of a needle pointer. Uses modern silver oxide batteries.
  ST801 v2     Cosmetic changes only - shiny raised pentaprism logo replaced by engraved lettering.
  ST901   Full aperture/aperture priority auto exposure with step-less shutter and digital viewfinder shutter speed display. First SLR to use viewfinder LED digital display. Meter inoperative in manual mode. Uses modern silver oxide batteries.
  ST601   Stop-down/centre-the-needle. Unconventional 1/700th top shutter speed. Uses mercury cells. None of the 600 series models were available in a black finish.
  ST605     Replaced the ST601 and uses modern silver oxide batteries. Revised styling used in all subsequent models.
  ST705   Full aperture/centre-the-needle. Unconventional 1/1500th top shutter speed.
  ST605n   Like ST605, but with viewfinder shutter speed pointer display.
  ST705w   Like ST705, but with viewfinder shutter speed pointer display, and motor drive connectivity ... the only ST series camera with this feature.
  ST605 II Full aperture/centre-the-needle. An ST605n/ST705w hybrid with a 1/700th top shutter speed, but no viewfinder shutter speed pointer display, or motor drive connectivity.