35mm Focal-Plane Shutter Rangefinder Camera
- Europe, Asia, Oceania
The advertisement about “Kwanon,” a prototype of the Japanese produced 35mm rangefinder camera was appeared in the Asahi Camera magazine. It was June 1934 and the ad was placed by Seiki-Kogaku Kenkyusho (Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory), the forerunner of Canon Inc. Seiki-Kogaku was started to develop the KWANON which was conceived by Goro Yoshida (1900-1993). Germany’s Leica and Contax were already well-established makers of high-end 35mm cameras when Yoshida pursued his dream of the ideal Japan-made 35mm camera.
There were supposedly four variants of the Kwanon camera. However, none is thought to exist today. Yoshida was a believer in Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. The name “Kwanon” came from this Goddess’ name. The lens which came with the camera was named “Kasyapa” which came from Mahakashapa, a disciple of the Buddha.