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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 IIIg. There is a top speed of 1/500 or 1/1000, on some models a flash synchronization (via a proprietary connection), and the Leica-mount flange replaced the similar but incompatible "Canon mount" of earlier Canon rangefinders. These new cameras can use any Leica-mount lens.

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.

Further reading

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.