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Canon 39mm screw lenses

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Canon (and its predecessor Seiki Kōgaku) made various 39mm screw lenses under the Serenar and later the Canon brand name. These were primarily marketed for the company's own rangefinder cameras, but most[1] fit any camera — Leica, Bessa, etc. — that has either such a lens mount or an adapter that provides it.

Canon made other lenses for its rangefinder cameras that are not dealt with here: a 50/0.95 lens that requires an alternative mount, and a 135/2.5 and 200mm and longer lenses used with a mirror box that turns the camera into an SLR.

19mmEdit

The Canon 19mm f/3.5 lens, designed by Mr Koyanagi[2] has nine elements in seven groups. Its minimum aperture is f/16, with six aperture blades. It is rigid, and finished in black and silver with a scalloped black focusing ring. Its diameter is 58.6mm, length 30.5mm, and weight 200g; it has a 55mm filter thread. It is marked in metres and feet, minimum focusing distance 50cm. Released in August 1964 for ¥40,100. Supplied with a case and finder.[3] Oddly, some of these lenses — in addition to the lenses described immediately below — were marked "FL".[4]

This was the last rangefinder lens that Canon would release. (Unusually, Canon did not participate in the Japanese rangefinder revival of the 1990s, which even brought a Pentax LTM lens.)

Also in August 1964, Canon released the earlier of two 19/3.5 FL-mount lenses (for SLR) [5] as a set with a finder and FL-to-LTM adapter.[6] The specifications are the same as those of the rangefinder-coupled lens, except for its dimensions (in addition to any adapter: diameter 65mm, length 18mm, filter thread 58mm, weight 150g). It cost ¥45,000; presumably the adapter cost extra.

25mmEdit

  • f3.5 Canon. Five elements in three groups, purple coated. According to Canon, the design was based on that of the Zeiss Topogon. The rear element is flat. Rigid, satin chrome, with infinity lock. Marked in metres or feet, minimum focussing distance 1 metre, rangefinder-coupled. Designed by Mukai Jirō (向井二郎). Aperture ring has click stops, minimum f22. Diameter 48mm, length 15mm, weight 145g, takes 40mm filters. December 1956.[7] Supplied with a case and finder. It seems that no lens hood was sold for this lens, whose front element is well recessed.[8] Deschin says (72) that this lens “rotates with the diaphragm scale, but this has no special significance, according to the manufacturer, who says ‘there is neither advantage nor disadvantage to this system, optically speaking. It was made this way to simplify manufacture.’ ” There are a couple of rather dismissive comments about it in this Photo.net thread.

28mmEdit

  • f3.5 Serenar (later Canon). Six elements in four groups, magenta coating. Focuses down to 1m, marked in feet. Minimum aperture f/22, six aperture blades. Satin chrome barrel. Diameter 48mm, length 18.5mm, filter size 34mm, weight 145g. Designed by Itō Hiroshi (伊藤宏). Released in October 1951, priced at ¥27,000. Canon describes it as a Gauss-type lens and claims that it was very popular owing to its great speed advantage over the Carl Zeiss Tessar 28/8.[9] In 1955, this lens was also made with a Contax mount "CT"; with this focal length and aperture, it is fully compatible with Nikon rangefinder cameras as well.[10]
  • f3.5 Canon. Specifications as above, except that its length is 24.7mm and it weighs 120g. Black and silver. Released in January 1957, priced at ¥25,300.[11]
  • f2.8 Canon. Six elements in four groups. Rigid, brass, with infinity lock. 1956.[12] Designed by Itō Hiroshi.

35mmEdit

  • f3.5 Serenar. Four elements in three groups. Rigid, brass, with infinity lock. March 1950. Supplied with a case and finder. Designed by Kuroki Masana (黒木正名).
  • f3.5 Canon. Six elements in four groups. March 1957. Supplied with a case.
  • f3.2 Serenar. Six elements in four groups. June 1951. Rigid, brass, with infinity lock. marked in feet. Minimum aperture f22, six leaves. Supplied with a case and finder.[13] Designed by Itō Hiroshi.
  • f2.8 Serenar. Rigid, brass, with infinity lock. October 1951.
  • f2.8 Canon. Six elements in four groups. Rigid, black and silver, marked in feet. March 1957.[14]
  • f2 Canon. Seven elements in four groups. Minimum aperture f22, nine aperture blades. Rigid, black, scalloped focusing ring, no infinity lock. Diameter 49mm, length 28mm, weight 107g, filter size 40mm. Designed by Mukai Jirō. April 1962. The front of a typical example reads: CANON LENS 35mm 1:2 No [number] Canon Camera Co. Inc LENS MADE IN JAPAN[15] Davidde Stella praises it very highly.[16]
  • f2 Canon. As they are listed by Canon, the specifications are identical to those of the earlier lens (aside from the diameter and length, which go unmentioned for the new lens). The optical design is different. Designed by Mukai Jirō. July 1963. The front of a typical example reads: CANON LENS 35mm 1:2 [number] CANON LENS MADE IN JAPAN[17]
  • f1.8 Canon. Seven elements in four groups. Rigid. Designed by Mukai Jirō. April 1956.
  • f1.5 Canon. Eight elements in four groups. Rigid, black and silver, marked in metres. Designed by Mukai Jirō. August 1959.

50mmEdit

  • f4 Serenar. Four elements in three groups. March 1947. Comes with a finder; not rangefinder coupled.
  • f3.5 Serenar. Four elements in three groups. Collapsible. October 1946. Has a filter thread. In both the earlier, Canon-only mount and the regular LTM. Designed by Furukawa Ryōzō (古川良三).[18]
  • f3.5 Serenar. Four elements in three groups. Collapsible. August 1952. Has a filter thread.
  • f2.8 Canon. Four elements in three groups. Designed by Mukai Jirō. January 1955.
  • f2.8 Canon. Four elements in three groups. Rigid, black and silver, marked in metres. November 1957.
  • f2.8 Canon. Four elements in three groups. Rigid, black and silver (focussing ring gives an effect of broad silver/black stripes), marked in feet. February 1959.[19]
  • f2.2 Canon. Five elements in four groups. Rigid. Designed by Mukai Jirō. January 1961.
  • f2 Serenar. Six elements in four groups. February 1947. In both the earlier, Canon-only mount and the regular LTM. Designed by Furukawa Ryōzō.
  • f1.9 Serenar. Six elements in four groups. Collapsible, with infinity lock. marked in feet. Designed by Kuroki Masana. April 1949.[20]
  • f1.8 Serenar (later Canon). Six elements in four groups. Rigid, brass, with infinity lock. marked in feet. November 1951.[21] Designed by Itō Hiroshi.
  • f1.8 Canon. Six elements in four groups. Rigid. marked in metres or feet. August 1956.[22]
  • f1.8 Canon. Six elements in four groups. Rigid. December 1958.[23]
  • f1.5 Serenar (later Canon). Seven elements in three groups. Rigid, brass. November 1952.[24] Mild praise as a Sonnar copy from Davidde Stella.[25] Designed by Kuroki Masana.
  • f1.4 Canon. Six elements in four groups. Rigid, black and silver, with infinity lock. Marked in metres. August 1959. Designed by Itō Hiroshi.
  • f1.4 Canon. Six elements in four groups. Rigid, black and silver, with infinity lock. marked in metres and feet.[26]
  • f1.2 Canon. Seven elements in five groups. April 1956.[27] Review by Davidde Stella.[28] Designed by Itō Hiroshi.

Famously, Canon also made an f0.95 lens for its rangefinder cameras; this is not screwmount but instead requires an additional bayonet mount provided on the Canon 7 and Canon 7s.

85mmEdit

  • f2 Serenar. Designed by Kuroki Masana.
  • f2 Serenar. Six elements in four groups. Brass. September 1951.[29]
  • f1.9 Serenar (later Canon). Six elements in four groups. Brass. marked in feet. April 1949.[30] Designed by Itō Hiroshi.
  • f1.9 Canon. Six elements in four groups. Black. marked in metres and feet. August 1958. Supplied with a case.
  • f1.8 Canon. Five elements in four groups. Black. marked in metres and feet. Designed by Mukai Jirō. March 1961. Supplied with a case and hood.
  • f1.5 Serenar. Seven elements in four groups. Brass. marked in feet. July 1952. Designed by Itō Hiroshi.
  • f1.5 Serenar. Seven elements in four groups. January 1953.
  • f1.5 Canon. Seven elements in four groups. Silver and black. March 1960.[31]

100mmEdit

  • f4 Serenar. Three elements in three groups. Brass. Designed by Kuroki Masana. January 1948. Supplied with case and finder.[32]
  • f4 Serenar. Three elements in three groups. Brass. Weighs 265g (lighter than its predecessor). April 1950. Supplied with case and finder.[33]
  • f3.5 Serenar (later Canon). Five elements in four groups. February 1953. Supplied with case, finder, and hood.[34][35] Designed by Itō Hiroshi.
  • f3.5 Canon. Five elements in four groups. Black and silver. marked in metres. April 1958. Supplied with case and hood.
  • f2 Canon. Six elements in four groups. Black. marked in metres and feet. Designed by Mukai Jirō. January 1959. Supplied with case and hood.[36]

135mmEdit

  • f4 Serenar. Four elements in three groups. Brass. March 1947. Designed by Furukawa Ryōzō.
  • f4 Serenar. Four elements in three groups. Brass. February 1948. Supplied with case and finder.
  • f4 Serenar. Four elements in three groups. June 1948. Supplied with case and finder.
  • f3.5 Serenar. Four elements in three groups. Brass. marked in feet. Designed by Mukai Jirō. January 1953. Supplied with a case, finder, and hood.
  • f3.5 Canon. Four elements in three groups. marked in metres and feet. April 1958. Supplied with a case and hood.
  • f3.5 Canon. Four elements in three groups. January 1961. Supplied with a case and hood.[37]

Canon also made a 135/2.5 lens for rangefinder cameras; this needs a mirror box to be usable.

Notes for prospective buyersEdit

Canon also made several of the lenses described above (particularly the faster ones) in other mounts, notably mounts for cinephotography. Most, perhaps all of these are completely unusable with still cameras (with the possible exception of SLRs used for extreme close-ups). Worse, some have mounts with the Leica thread but designed for a shorter distance to the film plane: you may be able to screw these lenses into a still camera body but they will then be unusable. Ignorant or unscrupulous dealers may describe such lenses as being for Leica. Make sure that the lens is rangefinder-coupled: those for rangefinder use are coupled (with occasional exceptions as noted above); those for other uses are not.

FootnotesEdit

  1. The 19mm lens extends some way into the body and thus may be incompatible with certain bodies. The collapsible lenses may be used in extended state with any body; however, like the collapsible lenses of Leitz or any other manufacturer they should be collapsed with great care within any body with which they are not known to be completely compatible. The Bessa and small Leitz/Minolta bodies are rather less accommodating than most.
  2. Miyazaki specifies the surname in roman letters within a chart (Canon Rangefinder Camera, 167) but does not seem to mention the name elsewhere, in either English or Japanese. We can infer 小柳修爾 from the table of contents [PDF] of the January 2006 issue of Shashin Kōgyō, which has an article about Koyanagi.
  3. Screwmount 19/3.5 at the Canon Camera Museum. Also, this Photo.Net thread.
  4. Dechert, p. 200.
  5. FL 19/3.5 at the Canon Camera Museum. This lens of course lacks rangefinder coupling. It can only be used with an SLR whose mirror has been locked up, and it was therefore replaced in late 1965 by an entirely different and much larger 19/3.5 FL-mount lens that lacked this restriction.
  6. Sale as a set: Dechert, pp. 199–200. There's a review in Camera Review 33 and also on pp. 34–5 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 2.
  7. Miyazaki's book says January 1956.
  8. Canon 25/3.5 at the Canon Camera Museum. Review by Davidde Stella (via Wayback machine, therefore slow). Article on pp. 120–21 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 1.
  9. Serenar 28/3.5 and its block diagram at Canon Camera Museum.
  10. Dechert, 119; Contax-mount 28/3.5, by Stephen Gandy, within Cameraquest ("Cantax" is Gandy's own coinage).
  11. Canon 28/3.5 at the Canon Camera Museum.
  12. Article on pp. 122–3 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 1. Photo.net thread.
  13. Article on pp. 114–15 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 1.
  14. Article on pp. 40–41 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 2.
  15. Earlier 35/2 in the Canon Camera Museum. The information on the Canon page is repeated in Manyuaru Kyanon no subete. Hagiya Takeshi (萩谷剛) writes it up on pp. 36–7 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 2; he (or his editor) says it weighs 115g. See this Photo.net thread for the block diagram.
  16. Review by Davidde Stella, which, typically for material in English about these lenses, doesn't mention a later refinement to the design. (Slow, because via Wayback.) Also see this Photo.net thread.
  17. Later 35/2 in the Canon Camera Museum. The information on the Canon page is repeated in Manyuaru Kyanon no subete. 広渡孝 writes it up on pp. 38–9 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 2; he or his editor says it weighs 120g. See this Photonet thread for the block diagram.
  18. Miyazawa says "Ryuzo" within the English text of Canon Rangefinder Camera on p. 122; 良三 within the Japanese text on p. 46. "Ryūzō" (let alone "Ryuzo") is a most unlikely reading of 良三, for which the obvious reading is "Ryōzō".
  19. Article on pp. 108–9 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 3.
  20. Article on pp. 56–7 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 2.
  21. Article on pp. 46–7 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 2.
  22. Article on pp. 126–7 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 1.
  23. Review of this lens or its predecessor by Davidde Stella. (Via Wayback and therefore slow.)
  24. Article on pp. 44–5 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 2.
  25. Sonnar copies (via Wayback, therefore slow).
  26. Article on pp. 42–3 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 2.
  27. Article on pp. 124–5 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 1.
  28. Review of 50/1.2 by Davidde Stella (via Wayback, therefore slow).
  29. Article on pp. 116–17 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 1.
  30. Date from Miyazaki. "Canon" version written up on pp. 48–9 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 2; the writer says that the "Serenar" version came out in 1951.
  31. Article on pp. 110–11 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 3.
  32. Article on pp. 118–19 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 1.
  33. Article on pp. 106–107 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 3. Review by Davidde Stella (via Wayback, therefore slow).
  34. Article on pp. 52–3 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 2.
  35. The Serenar version is mentioned in Awano, p.124 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.32.
  36. Article on pp. 50–51 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 2.
  37. Article on pp. 54–5 of Sekai no Raika-renzu Part 2.

Bibliography Edit

  • Dechert, Peter. Canon Rangefinder Cameras 1933–68. Hove, East Sussex: Hove Foto Books, 1985. ISBN 0-906447-30-5.
  • Deschin, Jacob. Canon Photography: A Working Manual of 35mm Photography with the Canon V and IVS2. San Francisco: Camera Craft; London: Fountain Press, 1957. Chapter 7 is devoted to the lenses of the time.
  • Kikan kurashikku kamera (季刊クラシックカメラ) / Classic Camera 6. Tokyo: Futabasha, 2000. ISBN 4-575-47235-2. This issue of the quarterly is devoted to Canon. Although there is an English as well as a Japanese title, the content is in Japanese only.
  • Manyuaru Kyanon no subete (マニュアルキヤノンのすべて, All about manual Canons). Tokyo: Ei, 2001. ISBN 4-87099-524-7. The screwmount lenses, and others for rangefinder cameras, are listed on pp.116–18.
  • Miyazaki Yōji (宮崎洋司). Kyanon renjifaindā kamera (キヤノンレンジファインダーカメラ) / Canon Rangefinder Camera. Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1996. ISBN 4-257-04011-4.
  • Miyazaki Yōji (宮崎洋司). "Kyanon 50mm hyōjun renzu no hensen" (キヤノン50mm標準レンズの変遷). In Shashin Kōgyō (写真工業), December 2003. Pp.70–74.
  • Sekai no Raika-renzu (世界のライカレンズ, Leica lenses of the world). Tokyo: Shashinkogyo Syuppan-sha.
  • Teranishi Jirō (寺西二郎). "Omoshiro-renzu kyanon FL19mm F3.5" (面白レンズ キヤノン FL19mm F3.5, An interesting lens,the Canon FL 19mm f/3.5). In Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review. No.23. Pp.32–3. Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1992.

LinksEdit

In English


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