Film Cameras

35mm Focal-Plane Shutter Rangefinder Camera

Hansa Canon (Standard Model)

  • Japan
  • Americas
  • Europe, Asia, Oceania
  • Outline
  • Specifications
Marketed February 1936
Original Price 275 yen (w/Nikkor 50mm f/3.5, lens hood,
2 film magazines, film take-up spool, case)

Canon’s first production model and Japan’s first high-quality 35mm camera. An improved version of the KWANON camera, it also incorporated technology from Nippon Kogaku (Nikon). Although some say that the camera was marketed in October 1935, the marketing date was February 1936. The lens was a Nikkor 5cm f/3.5 mounted for the first time on a civilian camera. The rangefinder optics and focusing mount were made by Nippon Kogaku. The viewfinder was a reversed Galilean type and it was separate from the rangefinder window. The viewfinder was nicknamed “surprise box” because it popped up when a button was pressed. Saburo Uchida, Goro Yoshida’s brother-in-law and manager of the company’s business affairs, changed the “KWANON” name to “Canon.” “Canon” also refers to the Bible and standards or laws. “Hansa” was (and still is) the trademark of Omiya Photo Supply, the distributor of the Hansa Canon.

* September 3, 2019: Registered with Essential Historical Materials for Science and Technology, National Museum of Nature and Science.

Type 35mm focal-plane shutter camera
Picture Size 24 x 36 mm
Normal Lens Nikkor 50mm f/3.5 (Tessar with 4 elements in 3 groups)
Lens Mount Dedicated bayonet mount with three inner lugs for interchangeable lenses
Shutter Two-axis, horizontal-travel focal-plane shutter with cloth curtains. Single-axis rotating dial for Z (Zeit or bulb), 1/20, 1/30, 1/40, 1/60, 1/100, 1/200, 1/500 sec.
Viewfinder Coincidence rangefinder and separate reversed Galilean pop-up viewfinder. Focusing enabled with rotating gear (with stopper released).
Film Loading &
After baseplate removal, drop-in bottom loading. Advances with camera-top knob.
Frame Counter Manually set from 0 to 36 on camera front.
Film Rewind Camera-top knob
Dimensions &
136.5 x 69 x 31 mm, 640 g (with Nikkor 50mm f/3.5)