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Canon Rangefinders - Peter Dechert and Peter Kitchingman Peter Dechert is best known for his Canon Rangefinder, Canon SLR, and Olympus Pen books, the latter two long out-of-print. He was a monthly columnist for many years for SHUTTERBUG magazine, and has contributed to many others. Most recently he has written about the pre-WW2 Zeiss 35mm cameras, but his interests in camera equipment and optics are many and varied. As a pro protographer and honorary life member of ASMP, Peter is also expert in using the gear! Peter Kitchingman - author of Canon Rangefinder Lens book Peter Kitchingman's 'Canon M39 Rangefinder Lenses 1939-71' book is the definitive source on these very interesting optics. His interests also go to the entire Canon Rangefinder system and beyond.

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Old 10-08-2007   #41
xayraa33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rover
Well, the eyepiece in the VT is still larger than the IVSb2, but I think the finder itself is the same. The improved finder moved up to the V series.

I think that is correct, oh well, another reason to pick up Peter's book again and do more re-reading.
No Ralph, the finder is not the same, the VT's finder is larger at both openings front and back (eyepiece).
it is not a Canon P or a VIT finder, yes, but the VT is a real improvement over the so called improved bottomloader Canons.

Canon should have made a bottomloader with a Zorki 3 type Viewfinder.
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Old 10-08-2007   #42
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I have a P, L1 and VT and tend towards the L1 as a true user, the only downside for me is the two shutter speed dials. The P is also a gem and I do tend to pick it up quite often but only because I know if it gets lost or broken I can replace it easily whereas the L1 is rarer. The VT is for those more playful days. All i need now is a 50 1.2 for my P!!!
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Old 10-08-2007   #43
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I have the IVsb and not the IVsb2 since the speeds are 25/40/60/100/...
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Old 10-10-2007   #44
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With a L-1, VI (L), P and 7, beeing an eyeglass-wearer, I found the minifiying finders and small metal eyepieces annoying. I don't care much about finder brightness but with my cameras it is all comparable, and the etched framelines are visible good enough. Even with a 35mm attached, the P (with attached meter) and 7 are still the Canons I use most. Who cares which is the most "collectable"? As far as aesthetics are concerned, the "last" to chose is obviously the 7, but the first? I cannot decide.
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Old 10-10-2007   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonnar2
With a L-1, VI (L), P and 7, beeing an eyeglass-wearer, I found the minifiying finders and small metal eyepieces annoying. I don't care much about finder brightness but with my cameras it is all comparable, and the etched framelines are visible good enough. Even with a 35mm attached, the P (with attached meter) and 7 are still the Canons I use most. Who cares which is the most "collectable"? As far as aesthetics are concerned, the "last" to chose is obviously the 7, but the first? I cannot decide.
the Canon P and the 7 still have some of the best viewfinders there is for LTM Canons.
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Old 10-12-2007   #46
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I have an SIIB (I think) s/n is 37113 and top shutter speed is 1/500. Has the "made in occupied japan" written out onf the bottom and top reads CANON CAMERA COMPANY LTD. Also has 3 position setting for the viewfinder (if you can call it that) - F 1x 1.5x...

I'm guessing 1949; Anybody know for sure???
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Old 10-15-2007   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fehutchings
I have an SIIB (I think) s/n is 37113 and top shutter speed is 1/500. Has the "made in occupied japan" written out onf the bottom and top reads CANON CAMERA COMPANY LTD. Also has 3 position setting for the viewfinder (if you can call it that) - F 1x 1.5x...

I'm guessing 1949; Anybody know for sure???
I'm betting you have a IIB, rather than an SIIB. SN is too late, and the position setting started on that model. Also, MIOJ engravings are seen on those, as well. That would date it to 1950, possibly 1951. Nice camera, and usable if recently CLA'd.

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Canon IIB
Old 10-16-2007   #48
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Canon IIB

Quote:
Originally Posted by fehutchings
I have an SIIB (I think) s/n is 37113 and top shutter speed is 1/500. Has the "made in occupied japan" written out onf the bottom and top reads CANON CAMERA COMPANY LTD. Also has 3 position setting for the viewfinder (if you can call it that) - F 1x 1.5x...

I'm guessing 1949; Anybody know for sure???
*****

Your camera is in fact a IIB, and was probably made toward the end of 1949, as you suggest. The serial number is too early for it to be the improved version of the IIB that was made from sometime in 1950 until 1952. The "Occupied Japan" engraving was required by the occupation forces at that time, and is entirely proper on your camera. Thanks for getting in touch!
Peter D
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Old 01-25-2008   #49
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Thanks for the help. Took me a while to get back to the forum The IIB works fine. Put a 35 summaron on it and a canon viewfinder. It travels with me every day. Sorry about the delay. We're still involved in the post Katrina stuff here. Nuff said. Just wanted to say Thanks.
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Old 03-28-2008   #50
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The only I have is a Vt de luxe with a 2/35... and I love it. The finder is the old-fashioned version before the P and other cameras came, but it has that wonderful "RF" feature: I can enlarge the rangefinder spot and focus very exactly. My camera has a lot of sign of use, but it works like a new camera.
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Old 04-23-2008   #51
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I have an L and have owned a 7 and a P. I like the L best because it is smallish and quiet. I think the P is over-rated, with an unusable (to me) 35mm finder with too many frame lines and the 7 is just too big. Also, I like the look of the L with its funky slow-speed dial on the front and I like the cloth shutter too. I've got the Canon 35mm f1.8 but tend to use an Ultron instead because it's got better performance at wide apertures, quicker focussing and better balance. The L is a terrific little camera and the best of the Canon rangefinders.
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Old 04-23-2008   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lawrence View Post
I have an L and have owned a 7 and a P. I like the L best because it is smallish and quiet. I think the P is over-rated, with an unusable (to me) 35mm finder with too many frame lines and the 7 is just too big. Also, I like the look of the L with its funky slow-speed dial on the front and I like the cloth shutter too. I've got the Canon 35mm f1.8 but tend to use an Ultron instead because it's got better performance at wide apertures, quicker focussing and better balance. The L is a terrific little camera and the best of the Canon rangefinders.
If the Model P is "overrated", it was also oversold w/ 100,000 purchased. There's a reason-it is simply the sturdiest, best engineered, and simplest to use non-metered RF ever made IMHO.
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Old 04-24-2008   #53
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Well, with an RF I currently don't use anything except a 35 or a 50.. so the range isn't as big a deal.

Projected framelines are nice. But I've never had an issue with the ones etched into the P. And the 1:1 viewfinder is a clincher for me.

But that's just me and the way i shoot.
What he said. The 35 is my perfect lens, but I love the 50 as well. So I bought a second P and will mount a CV Ultron 35/1.7 on one and a Canon 50/1.4 on the other. I think it's perfect that way. For me, anyway.
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Old 05-31-2009   #54
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The only 35mm rf I have is a Canon L1, but with a metal shutter. I really enjoy shooting with it, but being a glasses wearer, the viewfinder can be a little tricky. I put some masking tape over the wheel beneath the viewfinder that changes the focal length.
The only lens I've got for it (so far) is the 50/1.2. I would like to find a decent collapsable 35mm lens.
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Old 05-31-2009   #55
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My L1 VF eyepiece scratches my glasses unmercifully. I've found out that the various Leica M eyepiece protectors on the market don't fit. What can we do? I like my Model P too, but my L1 is my favorite due to a brighter RF patch and vintage looks.
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Old 05-31-2009   #56
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What he said. The 35 is my perfect lens, but I love the 50 as well. So I bought a second P and will mount a CV Ultron 35/1.7 on one and a Canon 50/1.4 on the other. I think it's perfect that way. For me, anyway.
Jim,

I have two P's for a very practical set of cameras. I have a wide angle lens on one P and a 50mm lens on the second P. It is just great.
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Old 06-02-2009   #57
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Quote:
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If the Model P is "overrated", it was also oversold w/ 100,000 purchased. There's a reason-it is simply the sturdiest, best engineered, and simplest to use non-metered RF ever made IMHO.
Good said. If you don't like the 35mm finder on a P, or want a 85mm, buy a 7 and don't complain: about size, weight, the 100mm frame too small, or other stuff.

Buy a P as FIRST rangefinder camera with changable lenses. I can highly recommend that. You can buy 10's of other cameras in addition LATER ONE, but you will hardly find a (alltogether) "better" one...

I thought it until I bought my L1 and VI. Both have good finders but smaller eyepiece and eyeglass killers. Alltogether they aren't "better". Different taste, best. And of course, no cloth shutter (my L1) is a match for the metal shutter of a P or VII.
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Old 06-02-2009   #58
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I thought it until I bought my L1 and VI. Both have good finders but smaller eyepiece and eyeglass killers.
The solution to the eyepiece problem for spectacle wearers is to find a small rubber washer:



This works perfectly, though perhaps it is not for the purist...
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Old 02-27-2010   #59
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Thanks for that, Lawrence. I glued a washer on my L1, and it works great, even with plastic glasses lens. This solves my major issue with the camera.

I have a Canon III that I often use with Voigtlander 21 and 25 mm lenses and the respective external finders.

I have a Canon 7 that I take when I know am going to use an assortment of lenses in one day.

I just got my first parallax corrected 100 mm brightline finder, and if I can find these for my other focal lengths, I may go back to my L1 in preference to the 7 for the longer lenses. I also got the sport finder, but haven't had a chance to use it yet. These appear to be fairly rare, after doing an internet search. Does anyone else use one?

I really enjoy all three cameras.

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Old 02-28-2010   #60
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Glad it works! I hope you enjoy your L1 as I think it's a camera with 'soul'. I've had the P and the 7 but the L1 is the one I kept.
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Old 06-23-2010   #61
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I vote for the P as a user and the VI-T as a looker.
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Old 06-23-2010   #62
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This thread allows me to bring up a question about the Canon rangefinders that no one has yet answered to my satisfaction.
I'm a life-long Nikon manual focus film camera / lens shooter (SLRs and rangefinders) so I know very little about Canon cameras.
In the Nikon world, the SP is/was the epitome of their rangefinder development, and seems to have been (along with some S3s) the choice of the pros.
Is there a similar top-of-the-line, choice-of-the-pros body in the Canon rangefinder line-up?
And did Canon make a motor-drive for any bodies?
Sorry if I'm asking stupid questions, but I am a Stanger in a Strange Land here among the Canonvolk.
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Old 06-24-2010   #63
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Interesting question, but I don't think Canon pursued this market during most of the RF period. Canon did very well selling to their home market, and through the Military Post Exchange system into the 1950's. When they entered the US market, their emphasis was on cameras like their late Barnack-type, and the huge success, the Canon P.
The closest thing to a pro camera, IMHO, would have been the model 7 and the later 7s, where they featured the unique f0.95 lens. That lens was extensively modified then, and later, to work with the M3 and later models of the M-series. The same lens was also produced for a number of years for the TV and movie industries, with apparent success. It seems to be still a cult favorite, and is a better lens than its reputation.
So, in my considered opinion, the 7s, or last model 7sZ, would probably be as close as they came in the RF era.
Later, of course, they emerged into the SLR's, with the several models of the F-1, another story, for another forum. That was also when they produced their first motor drive, AFAIK. They did make winders for the Barnack tyhpes, and the trigger wind, like the VI-T.
Their lenses were practically all of high quality, and are mostly bargains in today's market, compared to the Leica, especially.
Brian Sweeney, who is a Nikon collector, and quite familiar with many things Canon may have opinions that he will share. Of course, Peter Kitchingman, who wrote the lovely book on the lenses and Peter Dechert who wrote the seminal book on the cameras are also major figures who, hopefully, will give us some thoughts.

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Old 07-08-2010   #64
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If you get the 7s then you are set to get the 50mm F1:.95 lens.

Man, I wish they had made the .95 in LTM instead of external bayonet.
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Old 07-08-2010   #65
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I totally forgot my Canon 7, which I hardly ever use. It looks not as nice as the P or a Leica M.
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Old 09-05-2010   #66
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Does anyone know if there is a modification that can be made to the squinty viewfinders of a IIIa
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Old 01-02-2012   #67
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I'd vote for the Canon P if the 50mm and 100mm lenses were my favorite focal lengths.

I wear glasses and I can't see the 35mm frame of the Canon P.

If the 35mm focal length were my "standard", then I'd opt for the VI-L.

If the 25mm or 28mm were my "standards", then it matters not.

To me, the lens most frequently used usually determines what RF body I choose.
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Old 01-02-2012   #68
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The Canon P times three. Next the Canon IIs2 or the III, I also have a 7 and a VI-T but neither of the two get much use. Lens use includes Canon, Jupiter, a single Minolta and a CZJ .
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Old 01-02-2012   #69
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Canon P is my choice. I sold the mintish VI-L and kept a user P (chrome). Then came along an olive P, followed by a black P. Life is good. I use all three cameras a lot.
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Old 01-02-2012   #70
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For me, it's the Canon 7s first followed by the L1. I had a P many years back but sold it. Just couldn't stand the viewfinder.

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Old 01-02-2012   #71
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I have a mint Canon P but find myself most often reading for my M6 which currently has Canon 50/1.4, and yesterday with Canon 35/2.8. Maybe I should move 50/1.4 to the P. Is gorgeous and this thread reminds me I should use it more..
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Old 01-02-2012   #72
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I've been enjoying shooting a IVSB2 recently. It's the same size and quality feel as a Barnack w/ a nicer vf (IMO).
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Old 01-27-2012   #73
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It would be any variety of the 7 - the viewfinder is the best for me. But lately I've been using a VT Deluxe quite a bit.
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Old 02-25-2012   #74
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Recently bought a Canon 7. Got a good price on it, but I had to spend another couple hundred to have a CLA. LOVE the viewfinder, nice and bright and the switchable framelines are great. Compares favorably with my Leica M4-P.

Years ago I had a Canon VT deluxe (good cold weather camera- I could operate it with gloves on) and a Canon L1- wonderful, wish I had kept it, I don't remember exactly why I sold it
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Which Canon?
Old 02-28-2012   #75
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Wink Which Canon?

It's the P for me I have a 7, a VI-T, a III, and when I want to have the feel of a bottom loader I pick up my Canon IIF or a Canon III. Mostly it's one of three P's I'm lucky to own.
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Old 02-28-2012   #76
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I am now at three Canon P cameras plus the IVsb2. The P cannot be beaten for functionality.
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Old 04-04-2012   #77
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Raid, have you had a chance to compare the P with an L1?
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Old 05-22-2013   #78
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My favorite was the vt and vt delux I had one of each and I liked them better than the P becasue the P I had the view finder was darkish. I also really liked the trigger winder on the vt
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Old 05-22-2013   #79
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I also had an L briefly which if I understand it correctly was intended for JDM only. just like a p though. and 7. the seven was my least favorite it always made me wonder why I wasnt using an m3
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Old 05-24-2013   #80
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Quote:
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I've been enjoying shooting a IVSB2 recently. It's the same size and quality feel as a Barnack w/ a nicer vf (IMO).
Hi neighbor I have owned a couple two three P and a7 and a vt and a vt delux my favorite was the vt with the trigger wind.
you ever get down to rio vista you might see me out shooting
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