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Canon II/III/IV

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Japanese 35mm focal plane VF and RF (edit)
Leica screw mount Alta | Bessa L/T/R | Canon II/III/IV | Canon VT | Canon VIT | Canon P | Canon 7 | Canon 7s | ChiyocaChiyotax | Honor S1 | Honor SL | Ichicon-35 | Jeicy | Konica FR | Leotax | Leotax G | Melcon | Melcon II | Minolta 35 | Muley | Nicca | Nicca III-L | Nippon | Tanack 35/IIIS/IV-S | Tanack SD | Tanack VP | Teica | Yasuhara T981
Leica M mount Bessa R2/R3/R4 | Konica Hexar RF | Minolta CLE | Rollei 35 RF
Nikon mount Bessa R2S | Nikon rangefinder models
Contax G mount Contax G1 | Contax G2
Other Bessa R2C | Kwanon | Tanack V3
Japanese TLR and pseudo TLR ->
Japanese 6×6, 4.5×6, 3×4 and 4×4 ->

The Canon rangefinders of the late 1940s and early 1950s are Leica-compatible screw-mount cameras. Many were brought to the U.S. by servicemen who bought them while visiting Japan during the Korean war. Typically they were mounted with a 50mm Serenar (later, Canon) lens.

Many of them are still in use, and are similar in function to the Leica III. The top speed is 1/500 for the II and 1/1000 for the III and IV models. Some models are flash synchronized, using Canon's side-rail synch contacts. The lens mount is compatible with all standard Leitz M39 mount lenses.

The original ones came with a spring-loaded takeup spool that most photographers found easier to use than the one provided by Leica -- many are now missing the spool since the spools were taken for use in Leica cameras.

Unlike many Leica copies, quality control and finish are fully up to Leitz standards.

Where the Canon cameras surpass the Leica is the finder. Viewfinder and rangefinder are integrated, and a three-way switch allows a view for 50mm, 100mm, and critical rangefinder use. This arrangement however has made the viewfinders on Canon II/III/IV cameras tend to be dimmer and less brilliant than their counterparts found in Leica or other Barnack-style copy cameras.

Further reading Edit

In Japanese:

  • Ōba Eiichi (大場栄一). Kyanon no tsukaikata (キヤノンの使い方, How to use the Canon). Tokyo: Kōgasō, 1955.

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