Company Profile: Porst

Pekka Buttler, 12/2023

Quick summary

Porst is purely a rebrander, not a photographic manufacturer.
For several decades Photo Porst was a very successful German camera retailer and distributor. Besides main brand offerings, Photo Porst always offered its own ‘house brand’ – cameras, lenses, films and other photographic accessories rebranded under the names Hapo, Porst and Carena.


Photo Porst was founded in the city of Nürnberg (Nuremberg), Germany in 1919 by Hanns Porst. From the beginning Porst was a photographic equipment retailer, but started very early buying cameras from other manufacturers (including Agfa, Braun, Dacora etc.) in bulk and rebranding them – initially under the trade name Hapo (a contraction of Hans Porst). While Hanns Porst initially intended to conduct business through his shop, an acquisition of a too big number of plate cameras forced Porst to try to sell them outside Nuremberg. Thus Porst’s mail order catalogue business was born.

After WWII, as West German economic fortunes developed favourably, the company grew to the point that it had stores in every city and town of a respectable size. As a young man travelling in Germany, I remember that you could find a Photo Porst (most of them run on a franchise basis) pretty much everywhere. The company reached its peak in 1994, sporting 200 own stores and 2620 franchise stores. Less than 10 years later (in 2002) Photo Porst goes into insolvency. Such was the impact of the digitalisation of photography.

Porst House Brands

Hapo (≈1930–1950)
Porst (cameras and lenses) (≈1950–1980)
Carena (cameras) and Carenar (lenses) (≈1970–2000)

Who were the OEM’s?

One interesting question with rebranders is always the origin of the actual gear. Problematically – in the case of Porst – there is no easy answer.

Porst and Carena branded SLRs were produced by companies such as Pentacon, Mamiya, Cosina, Topcon, Fuji, and Chinon. They typically used either the m42, Pentax K or Fujica-X mount. That said, there are exceptions (such as a Chinese-manufactured SLR with a Minolta SR mount).

Porst and Carenar branded SLR lenses were manufactured by companies such as Cosina, Tomioka, Mitake, and likely several more Japanese OEM manufacturers.

Porst gear on JAPB

The Porst WW 35 mm f/1.8 MC AUTO (m42 mount) participated in a comparison review of fast 35 mm lenses with mixed results. That same lens has also been reviewed by JAPB.

The following Porst lenses have data sheets on JAPB:
Porst Color Reflex 50 mm f/1.2 UMC (Fujica X)
Porst Color Reflex MC auto 55 mm f/1.2 (Pentax K)
Porst Color Reflex MC Auto 55 mm f/1.4 (M42)
Porst TELE MC AUTO 135 mm f/1.8 (M42)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.