2014-07-04

Japanese SLR production numbers. Part 5: Miranda

Not many know Miranda anymore today, but concerning Japanese SLR history they played quite a role. They've been the first to introduce a modern Pentaprism SLR on the Japanese market, and in the beginning they were a serious competitor to Asahi Pentax and Nippon Kogaku (Nikon), at least from the technical perspective. Technical details about their cameras and a little bit of history of the company can be found mainly in this two web-sites: www.mirandacamera.com and at pentax-slr.com. Both sites don't answer the question or at least give a hint, how many cameras Miranda produced. Except of some speculation in a forum there was not much to find to help me with my assessment. 
Fortunately, Miranda serial numbers are easy to find on (mostly e-bay) pictures and I could use my method to determine the production numbers of at least the majority of the models. I guess, the few types I was not able to find at least 4 or 5 different units have not been produced in a huge amount anyway. Here is my list and the corresponding best estimates:

Miranda … Comments Introd. Disc. Numbers produced
T, S, TII, ST Knob winder types 1955 1961 30,000 *
A, B, C, D, … early lever winders 1957 1962 70,000 *
F, Fv, G, … and similar 1963 1969 90,000 **
Sensomat 1969 1971 40,000 **
Sensomat RE 1971 1975 75,000 **
Sensomat RE II 1975 1975 20,000 **
TM (M42) Miranda, Soligor + Pallas TM 1969 1974 120,000 *
Automex I, II, and III 1960 1966 40,000 **
Sensorex incl. Sesorex C 1966 1972 160,000 ***
Sensorex II 1972 1975 60,000 ***
Sensorex EE incl. EE2 1971 1976 100,000 ***
DX-3 1975 1976 60,000 **
   *** high (+/- 5%), ** medium (+/- 15%), * low (+/- 25%) confidence level

In total Miranda produced 865,000 (+/- 15%) units and therefore much less than the Big Four I've assessed so far. This is no surprise as Miranda went bankrupt and out of business in 1976, where others just took off, number wise. However, while in the beginning their numbers were comparable to other producers, they missed out at the growth the early 60ies provided and never caught up. Beside other reasons described elsewhere the low production might be one reason for Miranda's demise.
The most popular single model is definitely the Sensorex, although smaller technical changes have been implemented during its production period. Out of the 120 cameras I used for my assessment 50 were Sensorex. As these 120 is not a huge number, every Miranda fan can contribute to make this here more accurate. Just drop a comment below including type and serial number and I'll be happy to update the numbers if needed. 

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