Film Cameras

35mm Lens-Shutter Camera




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Marketed Jan 1961
Original Price 18,800 yen, 1,700 yen (case)
450 yen (hood), 1,050 yen (Flash Unit J2)

This is Canon’s first intermediate-class, Lens-Shutter 35mm camera. The first prototype looked very orthodox.

The camera had the EE (Electric Eye) feature which was also developed. With shutter speed-priority autoexposure, the camera could take nice pictures. You just had to press the shutter button.

The camera industry went into an uproar upon learning that Canon, maker of high-end cameras, was to introduce a mid-class 35mm camera with a fast f/1.9 lens for less than 20,000 yen. However, the Canonet safely went to market in January 1961. A week’s worth of stock was sold out in only two hours. It was the start of the Canonet boom. Two and a half years later, a million Canonets were sold.

Type 35mm Lens Shutter rangerfinder camera with shutter speed-priority EE
Picture Size 24 x 36 mm
Normal Lens SE45mm f/1.9 (5 elements in 4 grousp)
Shutter Copal SLV; B, 1 to 1/500 sec. Built-in self-timer. Time exposures with T ring set to B. M-X switchable sync contacts with German socket.
Viewfinder Coincidence rangefinder integrated with reversed Galilean viewfinder. Automatic parallax correction with projected frames. 0.67x magnification. Viewfinder bottom features aperture scale (f/1.9 – f/16) with inside-pointing arrows on both ends. Red circle, coupled to match needle and EE, is displayed in viewfinder as an exposure warning.
Exposure Meterand EE Selenium photocell for comb-controlled shutter speed-priority EE. Metering range of EV 5 – 7 and f/2, 1/8 sec. to f/16, 1/500 sec. (at ISO 100). Film speed range of ISO 10 – 200. Manual exposure enabled by disabling AUTO (EE).
Film Loading & Advance After opening camera back, insertion onto spool. Advances with camera-bottom trigger. (100°single stroke).
Frame Counter Counts up. Resets automatically when camera back is opened.
Film Rewind Camera-bottom collapsible crank
Dimensions & Weight 140 x 78 x 64 mm, 700 g