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03-30-2017, 07:27 AM - 1 Like   #1
deus ursus's Avatar

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The first Canon

Noticed a funny detail on the first Canon, pictured on Old Pics Archive | Historical and Vintage Photographs

It had a Nikkor lens!

03-30-2017, 07:53 AM   #2
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Canikon begins here!!!

Man, what a lens - it looks like someone took an Industar and rammed all sorts of steampunk gears and knobs on it then painted it silver.

(It's a rangefinder by the look of it, and back then, probably just about everyone was using a Leica mount or clone thereof on those - this is probably the closest photography ever got to a truly universal mount!)
03-30-2017, 08:19 AM - 2 Likes   #3
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An Interesting relationship between Nikon and Canon
03-30-2017, 09:49 AM   #4
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That thing really is steampunky. Too bad it's not brass!

03-30-2017, 10:02 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Interestimg story - thanks for posting the link!
03-30-2017, 12:35 PM - 3 Likes   #6
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The original first advertised was the Kwanon - named after a Hindu deity. Their planned model combined features of the German Leica and Contax cameras. The three men who started the company were interested in precision mechanisms, not optics, so the contracted with Nippon Kogaku for the rangefinder, lens, and lens mount. The name was changed after one of the founders left (who had wanted the Kwanon name), and they picked Canon as it sounded similar without the religious overtones, and indicated a recognized "standard."
The first production model, like the one pictured, had a threaded body flange similar to the Leica lens mount but with a different thread form, and Nippon Kogaku supplied a focusing adapter which fit the body and had a bayonet mount to the lens. The focusing adapter was permanently attached to the body.
Before Hansa started production Leica got their patents registered in Japan, covering the mount and rangefinder linkage to the lens, so Nippon Kogaku designed around those patents. The pop-up viewfinder was also a way around Leica's patent on the viewfinder path between the rangefinder windows.
During the war Hansa bought an optical company, and as Nippon Kogaku turned to cameras, Hansa / Canon started with lenses. After the war Leica's patents were invalidated, so Canon could incorporate some ideas and the pop-up disappeared, and they went back to a threaded lens mount, but it took until about 1953 before the Canon lens mount was fully compatible with Leica.
04-09-2017, 12:24 AM   #7

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It sure looks a lot like my old (1952) Leica llf rangefinder and that Nikon lens looks a lot like my old Leitz 50 mm F 3.5 collapsible lens.

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