PHOENIX


The name "Phoenix" is often confused with the name "Phenix".  People just assume it is some sort of typo, but there are two different companies -- one named Phoenix and the other Phenix.  Both companies made cameras that had the Minolta/Rokkor lens mount -- type DFB.  But the similarities end there.  None of the Phoenix cameras are the same as the Phenix cameras. There were either three or four Phoenix cameras with the Minolta / Rokkor lens mount -- depending on your definition.

The first SLR camera with the "Phoenix" name was not made in China.  It was made in Japan in 1954 by the Orion Camera Company -- which wanted to use the "Phoenix" name, but discovered that it was already "taken".

It was only a prototype, and when they discovered that the "Phoenix" name was already trade-marked, they decided to name their camera "Miranda" instead -- the "MIR" signifying the reflex mirror.

In China, however, the name "PHOENIX" was not so restricted, and a company was created to make Phoenix SLR cameras -- with the Minolta DFB lens mount.  The Phoenix cameras, if not the lenses, were made by Seagull -- and all are similar to certain Seagull models.

Phoenix P-2000

The P-2000 is a stripped-down version of the Minolta X-370n.  But it is strictly a manual exposure only camera.  It has a built-in TTL meter, but it lacks the auto-exposure of the X-370n.  It has three LED's in the viewfinder which indicate the correct exposure as you manually change the shutter speed (1-1/1,000, plus B) and the aperture. The viewfinder has a split-image rangefinder with a micro-prism collar, and displays LEDs on the right-hand side of the viewfinder -- a RED LED on the top for "over-exposure", a GREEN LED in the middle for "correct exposure", and a YELLOW LED on the bottom for "under-exposure" -- when the plain (non-sensa-switch) shutter release is pressed half-way.  It has an ON/OFF switch -- and no LEDs lighting up in the viewfinder is the battery check.  The shutter is an electronic, quartz-controlled, horizontal-traverse cloth curtain, using two A76 batteries.  It uses a silicon, center-weighted meter cell, has a self-timer, a non-dedicated hot shoe, and film speeds from 12-3200. So it is a very capable shooter , but it will not acccept a motor drive.  

It is often seen with a Phoenix 28-80 f3.5/5.6 zoom lens.  It is the same cameras as the Seagull DF-2000A except it has a black bofy -- insead of champagne colored.

The Phoenix P-2000 was also manufactured with a Pentax K mount.  

Phoenix P-3000

The body of the P-3000 is the same as the P-2000, but the P-3000 adds several features as you might expect.  The first is that it adds autowinder capability.  The hand grip in over-sized and too large to allow the use of the Minolta Motor Drive 1, but Phoenix, made an improved version of the Minolta Autowinder G that does fit and offers continuos and single shot expoure settings.

Perhaps the most interesting feature is that the front of the autowinder is marked "SEAGULL F-10 AUTO WINDER".

It also has a dedicated hot shoe for the flash -- unlike the P-2000 -- but has no PC connection. The other feature difference is the T shutter speed setting is replaced with an AUTO setting, for typical aperture-priority automatic exposure.  An AE lock is added to the self-timer lever, of course.  Manually and automatically selected shutter speeds are displayed on a typical LED scale on the right-hand side of the viefinder.

The Phoenix P-3000 was also manufactured with a Pentax K mount.  

Phoenix P-5000

It's really the same thing as the Seagull DF5000. So it is obviously made by Seagull.  The only difference is that it has a "-" in the name.  It has the same Colani-designed body covering, as well as the auto-winder, but they are simply labeled "Phoenix" without any mention of Colani.  The hand grip is over-sized and too large to allow the use of the Minolta Motor Drive 1.

Phoenix P5000

For some reason, the "-" was dropped from the name, otherwise it is the same as the Phoenix P-5000.  It might be that since it was manufactured by Seagull -- which labelled the Seagull version "P5000" and not "P-5000" -- that it was just easier to drop the "-".

Many people only know of Phoenix because of the many lenses they make -- and they make a LOT, not just in the Minolta Rokkor mount, but in Pentax, Nikon, Contax/Yashica and several other mounts. They even make auto-focus lenses.  There are far too many to list all of them here -- even just in the Minolta Rokkor style!

There are many lenses with a Minolta / Rokkor mount that are labeled "Phoenix" and some sold as "Phoenix/Samyang".  They were made in a wide variety of common and unusual prime and zoom focal lengths.  How about an 18-28mm zoom?  As with the Phoenix cameras, who knows if these lenses were made by Phoenix, Samyang, Seagull, or even Phenix!  The mystery and intrigue goes on!  Here's my favorite odd-ball Phoenix lens.  It is their 100mm f3.5 macro lens.  Like most macro lenses, it focuses to 1/2 life-size.  But unlike the typical macro lenses -- which use an extension tube to reach 1:1 life-size magnification -- Phoenix uses a close-up lens/filter that screws into the front of the lens!  

Here is another winner -- a 24mm f2.8 super-wide-angle with macro capability.

At the other extreme, Phoenix made 500mm lenses in various styles.

It was reported that either the P-5000 or the P5000 was also to be made available with a Pentax K mount, but apparently that never happened.  

  Shutter Shutter
speeds
Flash
synch
speed
TTL
meter-
ing?
ISO
settings
Auto
expo-
sure?
AE
lock?
View-
finder
info
Flash
shoe
Sensa-
switch?
PC
plug?
Multi-
expo-
sure?
Cable
release
plug?
Stop
down
button?
Self
timer?
Mirror
lock-up?
Motor
drive
option?
Battery
used
for
Film
indicator 
Phoenix P-2000 cloth,
horizontal
4-1,000
B
1/60 Y 12-
3200
Y Y Shutter
speed
scale
Dedicated Y N N Y N Y N Y meter Film
tab
holder
Phoenix P-3000 cloth,
horizontal
4-1,000
B
1/60 Y 12-
3200
Y Y Shutter
speed
scale
Dedicated Y N N Y N Y N Y meter Film
tab
holder
Phoenix P-5000 cloth,
horizontal
4-1,000
B
1/60 Y 12-
3200
Y Y Shutter
speed
scale
Dedicated Y N N Y N Y N Y meter  Film
window
Phoenix P5000 cloth,
horizontal
4-1,000
B
1/60 Y 12-
3200
Y Y Shutter
speed
scale
Dedicated Y N N Y N Y N Y meter  Film
window



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