Before the R ~ FL ~ FD mounts

Canon II F
35mm Focal-Plane Shutter Camera



Serial is : #144963


Marketed   1953
Original Price  

The Canon IIF model was specifically marketed for export (not available for purchase in Japan), which is why you will typically see them with the E.P. (Post Exchange) stamp on the top … you will find may auctions calling this a Canon EP camera model name in the USA as many military personnel had purchased these cameras. One unique feature of the Canon II rangefinders is the three position viewfinder magnifier makes focusing easier and can also be used to reflect the field of view for an image of 50mm, 100mm and 135mm.

It had a combination of attributes:

  • included flash synchronization for flash bulbs via a flash rail built into the side of the camera
  • more economical shutter having a 1/500 top speed.
  • the 50mm f1.8 lens in a rigid chrome setting was standard on all IIF cameras.
  • a combination of high quality construction with low price. Since it was not sold in Japan, Canon was able to offer a low selling price, while it incurred no commercial or distribution expenses.
Canon III
35mm Focal-Plane Shutter Camera



Serial is : #56768


Marketed   February 1951
Original Price  

First of the 1951 introductions was the Canon III launched in February 1951. 4. The bodies of the Canon III, IIC, and IV were new and had a small hole below the lens mount opening for a flash synchronization wire into the new shutter, a groove along the bottom front of the body for the synchronization wire, and holes below the film rewind knob for attachment of a new synchronizing flash rail. The Canon III did not feature flash synchronization, so these body openings were filled with white grout.

The Canon III continued to have the three position 'F' for normal 50mm finder image, '1.5x' for magnified focusing and a 135mm telephoto finder image, and '1x' for a 100mm medium telephoto finder image. The two piece viewfinder switch was the same as for the Canon IIB.

Canon IV Sb
35mm Focal-Plane Shutter Camera



Serial is : #216887


Marketed   December 1952
Original Price  

In his comprehensive study of Canon rangefiner camera, Peter Dechert wrote:

"The Canon IVSB was after the IIB the second most important rangefinder camera model in Canon's history." 
The reasons for this importance include:

  • it was the first Canon rangefinder to include flash synchronization for both flash bulb and electronic strobe flash
  • it used the fully compatible universal M39 lens mount thread
  • it featured the improved shutter with 1/1000 second speed
  • it used the new solid camera body construction
  • it featured the Canon's three position integrated viewfinder-rangefinder with rangefinder focusing superimposed in the viewfinder. Leica did not combine the rangefinder - viewfinder image until two years later.

Canon's history website also states that the IVSB was the world's first camera synchronized for electronic strobe flash. For this reason, the Canon IVSB began to be adopted also by professional photographers who could also use the camera with all their Leica lenses if they chose. These characteristics made the Canon IVSB the first Canon camera widely accepted in North America and in Europe.

Canon built a new rail on the camera side for connection to Canon flash units. This bracket allowed both an electrical connection to a flash unit, but also a solid physical connection to the camera. Other cameras which included flash synchronization generally used either a pin or a coaxial electrical connection. However, they then required a wire going to the flash unit, and the flash mounted on a bracket connected to the tripod socket. Alternatively sometimes a flash was connected, less securely, attached to the accessory shoe of the camera. The accessory shoe was generally too weak for prolonged flash connection. This Canon solid bracket continued to be used on all synchronized Canons until the new connection of in 1956.


Rangefinder P
35mm Focal-Plane Shutter Camera



Serial is : #769191


Marketed   March 1959
Original Price   52,700 yen (w/50mm f/1.4)
37,700 yen (w/50mm f/2.8)

The "P" for "Populaire" may have been an ironic name for this exclusive-looking camera. By omitting the three-mode optical viewfinder, the price could be lowered. The viewfinder magnification was fixed at 1x for the 35mm lens. Reflective frames for 50mm and 100mm lenses were inscribed for automatic parallax correction. The parallax correction pin on the accessory shoe featured in other V-series cameras was gone.This camera targeted people who used lens focal lengths from 35mm to 100mm. The compromise in price and features worked well to boost sales to almost 100,000 units.


35mm Lens Shutter Camera


Canonet   canonet_19
Canon version
Serial is : #612676
  Bell & Howell version
Serial is : #602300


Marketed   Jan 1961
Original Price   18,800 yen, 1,700 yen (case)
450 yen (hood), 1,050 yen (Flash Unit J2)

This is Canon's first intermediate-class, Lens-Shutter 35mm camera. The first prototype looked very orthodox.

The camera had the EE (Electric Eye) feature which was also developed. With shutter speed-priority autoexposure, the camera could take nice pictures. You just had to press the shutter button.

The camera industry went into an uproar upon learning that Canon, maker of high-end cameras, was to introduce a mid-class 35mm camera with a fast f/1.9 lens for less than 20,000 yen. However, the Canonet safely went to market in January 1961. A week's worth of stock was sold out in only two hours. It was the start of the Canonet boom. Two and a half years later, a million Canonets were sold. Major Features All-round View (98K & 77K)


Rangefinder 7
35mm Focal-Plane Shutter Camera



Serial is : #831471


Marketed   Sept. 1961
Original Price   86,000 yen (w/50mm f/0.95)
47,500 yen (w/50mm f/1.4)

The successor to the VI-series, this Canon camera was the first to have an Arabic numeral designation. Around 1961, the market for top-quality 35mm cameras was quickly shifting to SLR cameras. Although Canon had already marketed the Canonflex, it concluded that rangefinder cameras for quick shooting was still in strong demand. The 7 had a built-in exposure meter which cameras up to the VI did not have. The viewfinder featured projected frames matching lenses from 35mm to 135mm. The ultra-fast 50mm f/0.95 dream lens was also developed at the same time for the camera. Both the Canonet and the 7 were announced at the 7th Photokina.

Last update : May-19-2023 00:36:57 CEST

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