The rise of the full-auto compact and the fall of the SLR
Nikon F-501 (N2020) (Photo: right) was released in April 1986.
Around that time, there had been no increase in the sale of the 35mm (135) format SLR camera.
The lens-shutter type 35mm compact camera was getting more convenient because it was equipped with speedlight (electronic flash), auto focus and auto winding and rewinding. Beautiful photos can be easily taken with a compact camera, without taking a trouble to use a large and heavy SLR camera.
Each manufacturer took various countermeasures to recover the popularity of the 35mm SLR which was losing its edge to the growing compact cameras.
One of them was the built-in auto winding and rewinding, and the other was the auto focus.
Nikon F-501 and its sister model F-301 (N2000) (1985, photo: left) were born in such background of the age.